Are you considering taking a hiking trip for your upcoming vacation? Have you ever wondered what a Tour du Mont Blanc organised hike in the Alps would be like? For every outdoor enthusiast, the Tour du Mont Blanc is a perfect adventure. This escorted tour takes you to some of Europe’s most stunning natural settings. One of the tallest mountains in the Alps, Mont Blanc, may be seen as you climb across three nations: France, Switzerland, and Italy.
For you to have a better understanding of what to anticipate when you join up for a guided tour, We’ll talk about where to stay, what to eat, and hiking, of course! Please keep in mind that as there are numerous tour operators out there offering various alternate routes, trip lengths, lodgings, and luggage transfer alternatives, your experience may vary.
Tour Du Mont Blanc
Every adventurous hiker should attempt the TMB, one of the most stunning long hikes in the world. Tour du Mont Blanc is a big and epic adventure, covering a distance of about 100 miles across 10 days on average. Every day, while you travel around the Mont Blanc mountain, you will pass through towns in France, Switzerland, and Italy. As you hike, you will pass through stunning snow-capped peaks, enormous glaciers, and sparkling alpine lakes.
Traditional villages, guest homes, mountain huts, and even opulent alpine village hotels are all options for lodging. If you choose to eat cheese, bread, & wine in large quantities, you will be doing so. Even though you won’t actually reach the top of Mont Blanc (that would be a whole other journey), it will still be difficult mentally and physically.
The tallest mountain in Europe west of the Caucasus, Mont Blanc, which is also part of the Mont Blanc mountain range, bears the name of the range. This narrow granite range is characterised by ice-crusted domes, flowing glaciers, and pointed needle-like summits.
Providing views of Europe’s highest mountains that constantly change. Mont Blanc is not reached at all. Traditionally, the Tour du Mont Blanc trek begins and concludes in Chamonix, France. Geneva Airport in Switzerland can be reached by shuttle bus or private conveyance.
The TMB is a very well-liked trek. Due to its scenic beauty, moderate technical challenge, and comfort (private accommodation, luggage transport, good meals, etc.), the TMB is a very well-liked hike in the Western Alps. Because of its fame, it’s essential to reserve lodging along the TMB path early.
You can use this comprehensive guide to organise and get ready for your adventure. This Tour du Mont Blanc itinerary, complete route map, information on difficulty & safety, signage & waymarking, alternate routes and shortcuts, and lodging are all included in this TMB guide.
Everyone will have a slightly different experience using the TMB because it is so adjustable. You can hike in one of two directions, which will determine which vistas you see first and last. There are plenty of different places to begin. Basically, each town represents a starting point. If you wanted to travel from point A to B using ski lifts and public transportation, you could. When making plans, you can select to stay at any one of the available lodging alternatives.
1. Difficulty Level
You want to set out the facts and dispel any myths. You’ve come across while searching the internet before you go into day-by-day detail about the trip. As some websites might suggest, the Tour du Mont Blanc isn’t a “leisurely stroll.” We believed that anyone could take on the task at the drop of a hat.
You had the impression that the TMB would be a fairly relaxing “luxury hike,” with gourmet cheese, wine, and local cuisine available at every turn. But you should also be aware that, especially if you decide to carry your own kit and skip the luggage transfer, you would be working up a sweat and feeling sore.
In a single day, you will ascend across mountain passes from valley bottoms and descend the entire way. You will witness some breathtaking sights. Share a tonne of special memories with the trekkers you go on the journey with, and feel tremendous pride when you reach your destination.
2. Get a Self-Guided Hiking Trip Booked
Self-guided hiking tour companies will make hotel reservations on your behalf based on your requirements and budget. Additionally, they typically offer a thorough itinerary that includes paper or digital maps and stage summaries. They might also provide extra services like lunch packs, luggage transfers, shuttle reservations etc.
These businesses handle all the logistics, so your only concerns should be making sure you pack appropriately and make your airline arrangements. But unlike a typical guided tour, you trek the trail on your own. The majority of your costs are covered by a self-guided tour. You just need cash for drinks, a few meals, cable cars, and buses while you’re on the hike (optional).
- There are numerous companies offering independent hiking tours.
- Other hikers on the TMB informed us they were dissatisfied with their tour operators since they didn’t pay attention to their preferences and didn’t give them enough information.
- It’s crucial to be picky and pick a reliable self-guided hiking business.
- The 10-Day Standard Tour du Mont Blanc hike was scheduled with Alpenventures UNGUIDED. The procedure went without a hitch.
- They are friendly, focused on providing excellent customer service, and incredibly knowledgeable about TMB. They are aware of which hotels to reserve and which to stay away from.
- A TMB guidebook with the tour overview (stages, accommodations, as well as meals provided) and the day-by-day schedule with maps, trail descriptions & advice was given to you as soon as your lodging was reserved (cableway, variant options, places to eat).
- Additional details regarding the weather, what to do in an emergency, hut protocol, coming across livestock on the trail, and other topics are also provided in the guidebook.
- Alpenventures UNGUIDED unlocks a 30-day upgrade to the Outdooractive pro subscription level just before the commencement of the journey.
- You should install the app, log in, & download each section of the tour as directed by them. You can travel with this app during the walk without reception or data (as long as you’ve downloaded each leg in advance).
Let’s Start the Hiking Tour Du Mont Blanc
It’s essential to reserve your TMB tour as soon as possible if you have a strict schedule and just want private rooms. It is feasible to plan a TMB trek later, though, provided you approach the online booking with more pliability (date range, lodging, original itinerary).
1. Les Contamines
The TMB beginning point arch is seen here. Once you have taken a picture, continue walking for around 10 minutes till you reach the “Telecabine Bellevue.” This will eliminate a 2600-foot/800-metre ascent through the forest.
Today, you’ll go through a lot of cities and villages without feeling particularly “out there.” Just be sure to pay attention and avoid passing any turnoffs because the signage isn’t great. Use the GPS and the guidebooks as resources.
2. Les Chapieux to Les Contamines
You will ascend two Cols today (mountain passes). There won’t be as many towns to see, and you’ll be delighted by how beautiful everything is. Be ready for a significant elevation rise and potential weather. At the summit of the cols, it can become extremely chilly (and wet!).
You will reach Croix du Bonhomme, a refuge, as you start to descend from the second col. Don’t stay here; just stop by for coffee or hot chocolate.
3. Les Chapieux to Cabane du Combal Refuge
Today you will see Mont Blanc for the first time from the route and enter Italy through Col de la Seigne. Catch a bus from Les Chapieux to Les Mottets to get started (NOT Ville des Glaciers). This will save us from having to walk for an additional hour & a half on a narrow paved route.
Just outside the Auberge de la Nova at Les Chapieux, there is a tiny wooden information centre. After reaching Cabane du Combal, keep on for another 10 min to see Lac Miage as well as the nearby moraine; the signs are outside the rifugio. You can hear minor rockslides occurring every few minutes if you sit at the top and listen, which is caused by the glacier melting.
The Rifugio Elisabetta is located on the All Trails map that is linked below. Many visitors choose to stay here; however, after seeing the sleeping area, I strongly advise moving on to Cabane du Combal. 1.5 miles and another 30 minutes are on a FLAT gravel road. But make sure you stop at Elisabetta for a coffee. Their lengthy, steep driveway will require some climbing, but it’s worth it!
4. Rifugio Maison Vieille from Cabane du Combal
The day was brief yet SO breathtaking. On certain days, your trip takes you past towns and villages, but on this day, you spend the entire time in the mountains. You’ll be strolling next to grazing sheep and cows and at eye level with glaciers. Take your time & savour the beauty that surrounds you.
In spite of the fact that we adored Maison Vielle, We advise moving on after Rifugio Maison Vielle & reserving a hotel in Courmayeur. The biggest town you’ll pass through is Courmayeur, which is a terrific option to stay anywhere nicer and will even out the miles on days 4 & 5. Courmayeur is located on the Alltrails map below.
5. Rifugio Walter Bonatti to Rifugio Maison Vieille
A ski lift’s top station is where you’ll find Maison Vieille. On day 5, you have two options for departure: either sleep in and wait until the ski lift opens at 9 am to bring you down to Dolonne or walk the 2-hour-long, extremely steep descent. Another benefit of staying in Courmayeur is that you can utilise the ski lift to descend the day before in the afternoon.
You may decide to use the ski lift as soon as it is open in order to protect the knees. The lift that lowers you off in Dolonne must be followed by a Gondola. Because this place is so adorable, schedule some time to stroll around and have a coffee.
Next, start climbing through a neighbourhood with sidewalks before entering a well-liked woodland hiking area. Take a break for a bite and a drink at Rifugio Bertone at the summit before continuing. Another day of hiking along enormous glaciers awaits you today—in fact, at Rifugio Bonatti, you’ll be sleeping right next to one!
It is a great site since Rifugio Bonatti is placed immediately across from a sizable glacier. The rifugio is a little more recent and provides clean, comfortable dorms and individual rooms. The meal was not too bad. For the shower, you must obtain a coin, and you only have four minutes. There is some service but no wifi. However, the employees may share the wifi password if you approach them respectfully.
6. Rifugio La Fouly to Walter Bonatti
You’ll enter Switzerland on day 6 of the whole tour du Mont Blanc plan. The hike today is really magnificent, especially the challenging ascent to Grand Col Ferret. Be prepared to witness numerous glaciers, cows, sheep, and sweeping green landscapes. When you arrive at La Fouly, you will notice this auberge because it is located in the very heart of the city.
Dinner was excellent here, but the inn/refuge was pricey. If you need to restock on munchies, there is a market conveniently located directly next door.
7. Champex to La Fouly
One of the simpler days on our Tour de Mont Blanc schedule is Day 7. By the time you arrived, By the time you had arrived in La Fouly, we were drenched, but in the end. Although today isn’t the most exciting day, you’ll pass through some quaint and fascinating Swiss towns.
8. Champex to Contin
You felt that this was the stage where it was easier to become lost. Keep to the main road into town after leaving Champex Lac and heed the TMB signals. A network of trails awaits you if you pull off the road too soon, and the GPS is useless in this area. There is a sizable boulder that has the words “bovine TMB” painted on it. Here is where you stop.
Once you get to Trient, go another kilometre (around 15 minutes) to locate Le Peuty; it is marked on the map. The Alp Bovine is a small, unassuming, rustic restaurant in the hills that you will pass by if you take the main path and not a diversion. Amazing handmade tarts are available. The surroundings and views are inviting and real. A must-visit.
Of all the accommodations you may stay at while on this tour du Mont Blanc programme, it was one of, if not the best. This place has an unmatched vibe and atmosphere. A large camping field, a hostel above the kitchen, and a single private yurt are all there. You were able to get the yurt. But without a doubt, the food was the BEST aspect of your visit. Dinner was prepared entirely from scratch and resembled something out of a five-star establishment. The breakfast was just as good. The best meals and atmosphere of the trip.
9. To Tre le Champ to Mont blanc Massif
The weather and vistas were stunning, but your bodies felt accustomed to the daily work. Today, across the Col du Balme, you’ll travel back to France. Because it’s a hard climb to the top, pause there for a beer or coffee (and photos!). Mont Blanc is once again clearly visible as you ascend to the summit, and it is visible the entire way down.
This auberge has a fantastic position, is charming and rustic, is distinctive, and has a fascinating history. The dormitory you resided in, however, was merely a closet’s size. It was just humorous; it was good. Additionally, the supper wasn’t great—possibly the worst part of the entire trip.
10. Chamonix to Tre
The home stretch now! During your TMB planning, you will hear about the “ladder section,” which you will experience. Don’t let the nerves dissuade you; it’s a little scary but completely achievable. You can stay away from heights if you have a severe fear of them. You can skip the ladders by performing the Col Des Montets version if you have a severe fear of heights.
The views are worth the extra hour or so of walking and slight elevation gain, in our opinion. And unlike a lot of the rest of the trail, the hike from out Lac Blanc is really cool.
Take the ski lift to La Flegere when you arrive at it, then continue down the TMB route towards the Plan Praz gondola. With this, you’ll land in Chamonix! Simply follow the signs if you want to undertake the Lac Blanc variation. Once you reach the top of the ladder part, simply follow the signs if you want to complete the Lac Blanc variant.
Choose the best option for you from the various options available to drop into the Chamonix valley (such as at La Flegere or further on). So made the decision to go on to Plan Praz since you felt strong when you arrived in La Felgere. It is NOT necessary to purchase lift cable car tickets in advance. However, be sure to arrive before the store closes (5 pm).
11. Mont Blanc Tour Alltrails
Alltrails was the finest GPS application for us, despite its occasional errors. In this manner, you can still utilise the map even if you don’t have service, which you won’t. The complete loop, as well as variations, alternate stages, and all conventional stages, are all drawn out by Alltrails.
Find the stage you want, verify its accuracy by comparing it to manuals, & then download it. You would be able to open the app while hiking and select the appropriate stage; the app’s GPS will then follow the route.
12. The ideal time for hiking the Tour du mont Blanc
August, Early August might have less rain, but We believe that August is often a great month for hiking the TMB. In Chamonix, it was in the 80s, but farther up the trail, it was ideal hiking weather.
You might still see some signs of winter if you visit in June, it might be sweltering hot in July, and it might snow in September. In light of this, the route will be busy from June through September.
13. What to Expect While Hiking
Various types of weather! Make careful you pack for all possible weather. Wildlife! Specifically, chamois, deer, sheep, cows, & goats; marmots; ibex; and vultures, crowds. There are certain days when you might not see numerous people, but generally, you will. One advantage is that it makes the hike feel quite safe and like a fantastic choice for female hikers going it alone.
Natural berries! Much of the route is covered by wild blueberry patches, and there are also sporadic wild raspberry patches. Stations for refilling water. Each section of the trip has a number of water refill troughs, as we have said. Always make sure to have extra water for the entire day in case they run out.
So let us just give you a little nudge if you’re debating hiking the TMB. Allow yourself to take in the cleanest air possible, gaze out at the enormous glaciers everywhere around you, and sleep in locations where the distance from civilisation makes the stars appear brighter and more numerous than anywhere else you’ve ever been.
Take a break from the screen, relax, and socialise with fascinating individuals from all around the world. Consume daily home-cooked cuisine and unprocessed mountain spring water.