The Mont Blanc Circular trek is the Alps, is one of the most popular alpine treks in Europe. The 160 km circular journey is through three countries and the Alps at their highest. Have a read of this guide to the Mont Blanc Circular Trek to find out why it is one of the best treks in the world.
Circulating the Mount Blanc Massif the route encompasses France, Italy and Switzerland. It is a challenging trek, through alpine passes, vast and unique landscapes, and hidden valleys of the region.
You can expect warm welcomes in alpine villages along the way, each with it’s own specialities and style of hospitality which varies by valley and country. At the end of a day’s hike you can enjoy French wine, Italian food, or Swiss chocolate – the food and wine are a real highlight.
The route is straightforward and well-trodden reaching a highest point of 2584 meters. You can start where suits you, but beginning and finishing in Chamonix, France is most common. The Mont Blanc Circular Trek in the Alps can be done in either direction, but is normally tackled anti-clockwise.
It is recommended to allow 10-12 days to cover the whole trek. Each hiker is expected to have a good level of fitness as parts of the route can be quite strenuous. If time or fitness levels are an issue then certain sections of the Mont Blanc Circular Route trek can be cut out. This potentially shortens the journey to 5-7 days.
Starting in Chamonix the Mont Blanc Circular Trek in the Alps takes hikers through picturesque secluded mountain villages. The train also passes through the ski resorts of Les Houches and Les Contamines until reaching Chapieux at the end of day three.
The next day walkers cross the Italian border at the Col du Seigne at 2516 meters. Most hikers spend a night in a refuge, before heading into the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur on day five. Passing through more remote villages it is not until day seven you cross Col Du Ferret (2490 m) into Switzerland.
The Mont Blanc Circular trek in the Alps then passes through small Swiss towns and villages before reaching Trient on day nine. Hikers return to France and the Chamonix Valley via the Col du Balme (2195 m) on day ten. The final day is trekking from Tre Le Champ back to Chamonix and a well deserved rest.
If time is not an issue, then self-guided hikers have the option of staying longer and exploring local villages, valleys and peaks. Have a go at mountain biking, via ferrata, canyoning and rock climbing. It is even possible for first time mountaineers to summit Mont Blanc.
Nature lovers will not be disappointed with the range of wild flora and fauna along the way. You can expect to spot wildlife such as chamois, mountain hares, marmots and foxes. Plus if you are very lucky you might see one of the rare lynx.
If travelling in spring time, watch out for the male pheasants parading and fighting for the attention of females. The majestic Golden Eagle can also be spotted along with the Bearded Vulture, thanks to the repopulation of the species in the 1980s.
Flora can mostly be found in the forest and the meadowland areas and is similar across France, Switzerland and Italy. Common wildflowers are the orchard and the lily. Rarer species such as the Ranunculus Glacialis and Saxifraga can be found flowering high on the alpine arch.
The name gives it away but you’ll get plenty of stunning views of Mont Blanc – Western Europe’s highest mountain. Expect stunning glaciers, lush green valleys rising to snow topped mountains. Views are of course weather dependent.
The most striking panoramic views of Mont Blanc are considered to be the two stages above the Chamonix Valley from Argentiere to Les Houches on the French side. The Italian side boosts exceptional views from Col de la Seine, Tete de la Tronche and Grand Col Ferret.
June to September is the best time of year to enjoy the trek as the weather is favourable. It is not however unusual to experience a downpour in the morning and sunny skies in the afternoon as weather of any kind can be expected on this route.
August is the busiest month, with the end of August to be avoided if possible. This is because the Mont Blanc Ultra Marathon events are held then. There are a range of routes with competitors running up to 163 kilometers in under 46 hours.
Sunscreen and waterproofs go hand in hand in any alpine trek. It is not that rare for it to snow in the summer months, so pack for all seasons. You’ll also need good sturdy hiking boots – that are already broken in – and a comfy backpack to carry it all.
We hope this guide to the Mont Blanc Circular Trek in the Alps has you raring to pull on your hiking boots and hit the trail. If it has then check out our trekking holiday discounts.