Tour Du Mont Blanc:

Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Epic Adventure!

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is not only one of the most popular hikes in Europe but one of the best treks in the world!

Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the best hikes in Europe that goes through France, Italy and Switzerland.

The 160km, 8000+ elevation gain trek around the highest peak (4810 m) in Western Europe is a classic! Having completed it through France, Italy, and Switzerland, I can highly recommend it.  Although you don’t go to the peak itself (that involves mountaineering), it’s tough.  It will challenge you both physically and mentally, but with a little bit of planning, you can choose how much of a challenge you want.

There are a variety of ways that you can hike the TMB:

You can choose from guided hikes, some, that include a donkey, like Coco, pictured below. He/she will carry 7 kg of your gear.  I kept running into him along the way on our tour and rewarded him for his efforts with fruit – even though he wasn’t carrying any of my gear. What can I say? He has the same name as my cat, so I took to him immediately. And had apples to spare – see below!

Donkey led tour of the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) which goes through France, Italy and Switzerland.

Coco carried 7kg of each of his group’s stuff. He’s not fond of tomatoes but likes peaches and apples.

There are also self-guided treks of the Tour du Mont Blanc, in which a tour operator consults with you and makes all the arrangements best suited to your needs and wants. This is the option that I highly recommend. That way you can avoid the mistakes that we did by planning it all ourselves.

I’m pleased to offer self-guided 7-day, 9-day or 10-day tours in which you choose whether to stay in huts or private accommodation. You also choose whether to carry all your luggage or have it transferred.

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Another alternative is to plan your TMB adventure on your own. It’s the most time consuming, but also the cheapest option, especially if you’re camping. Below you’ll find the how to plan your own trek if you’re staying in mountain huts.

So how do you plan your own Tour du Mont Blanc Trek?

If you want to design it yourself, I recommend that you plan it using a combination of this site,  and the Tour of Mont Blanc: Complete Two-Way Trekking Guide Book by Cicerone Guides.  And of course a good map.

Tour du mont blanc map

Map of the Tour du Mont Blanc 160km circuit.

Choose Your Starting Point for the TMB:

We started in Chamonix, known as the “Capital of Extreme” for all of its climbing, mountaineering and rafting activities. But the traditional starting point and where most people that we met started is in the nearby village of Les Houches or St. Gervais, the starting point for the self-guided tours that we offer.

Travel tip:  If you do decide to start in Les Houches or St. Gervais ensure you buy everything you need in Chamonix first. We walked from Chamonix to Les Houches and had to take the bus back to Chamonix again to buy an iPhone cable since I couldn’t find one in Les Houches.

 

Choose the direction you will trek the Tour du Mont Blanc:

The traditional way is to do it counter-clockwise which is how we did it. The advantage to doing it this way is that you will keep running into the same people. If you want to hike with others, it’s easy enough to meet up. We did a combination of hiking on our own and with other people, we met on the trail, including a fellow Canadian! You can spend as much, or as little time with other people as you choose. It’s really up to you!

 

Decide How Many Days Is Right For You:

Don’t start by saying that you will do the trek in so and so many days.  Take a look at the itineraries for the self-guided tour and see whether the 7-day, 9-day or 10-day tour, is the best choice for you. You can use these guidelines, even if you’re planning on booking your accommodation on your own. On some days, you will have the option of an easier or more challenging route. On these days see how you’re feeling. I.e. how sore you are and how tired you are. It’s also critical to consider the weather. We had one day that I wanted to take the longer route, but the heavy rain made it unadvisable.

 

Check out this TMB Video

 

Use a combination of the TMB site, book, and map to plan each day:

If you’re doing the trek totally on your own, refer to the TMB site, listed above. It shows you the availability of the refuges (mountain huts) and how long it takes to hike to the other hut.  You’re also able to book the huts directly through their site. While this is time-consuming, it has the advantage of being the second cheapest option for trekking the TMB. The first is camping but as I didn’t camp, I, unfortunately, can’t offer any advice on that.

 

What I Didn’t Like About Booking Through the TMB Site:

The disadvantage to the TMB site though is that it doesn’t provide the elevation gain, nor the distance. It’s also only possible to book some refuges by phone. We called a few and found some didn’t speak English or German, the only two languages we speak.

Also, each booking is dependent upon each other. I.e. you want to have your reservation secured for Days 1,2, 3, before you book for Day 4, to ensure that you don’t have too short a day or too long. Furthermore, after we confirmed our booking, two refuges contacted us a few days later to tell us they were full.

As a result, we had to do all of our bookings again twice, starting from scratch. While it is doable to book everything yourself, it’s also time-consuming. It took us ~12 hours from start to finish. That’s why if you’re short on time, I highly recommend doing a self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc and letting someone else make all the time-consuming bookings for you. After doing this once, I wouldn’t do it again. On future hikes, I used self-guided tours for hiking the Wicklow Way in Ireland and the West Highland Way in Scotland.

Lastly, some of the refuges are nice, some less so. We stayed in a four bedroom at one which was nice, but the dorm room was awful! The beds were both inches off the floor and from each other – keeping in mind that you may be sleeping next to a stranger! We also heard horror stories of refuges that were filthy. We stayed in one in Switzerland after a 13 1/2 day of trekking that wasn’t exactly disgusting, but not exactly clean either. It added to my already sour mode.

Note: I am not able to tell you the mountain huts that I wouldn’t recommend since it was three years ago and things may have changed. I’m also eager to avoid a law suit, which I know has happened to other bloggers who have said less than complimentary things about hotels (not on the TMB). It’s also as a courtesy to our paying clients.

That’s another advantage to having a self-guided tour company make the bookings for you. They know which ones get rave reviews from hikers and which ones to avoid!

Also worth nothing: If you’re choosing a longer trek that often means going up two separate cols/mountain passes.  Keep in mind that you will likely be much slower later on in the day when your legs are already tired.

Also remember to purchase Travel Insurance. You hope you won’t need it, but mountain rescues are expensive if you do, so better to be safe than sorry!

BOOK YOUR TOUR DU MONT BLANC ADVENTURE HERE

How to Pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc:

I’ve written a comprehensive post on this indicating every essential item while eliminating those that you don’t need. Check it out!

 

Our 8 Day Schedule of Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc:

Note: This is NOT a recommendation, but is what we did as many of you have asked for our route. We had some long days, including a 13 1/2 hour one. If you’ve ever hiked for that long in the pouring rain,  you know that’s not much fun. Also worth noting is that our start to finish time includes a short lunch stop and breaks in between. We walked every kilometre and didn’t take any public transportation. I will take nine to ten days when I hike it again.

Day 1: Chamonix to Refuge Fioux. Start to finish time: 3.5 hours, 14 km

Day 2: Refuge Fioux to Refuge Nant Borrant: Start to finish time: 9.5 hours, 25 km

Day 3: Refuge Nant Borrant to Refuge Mottets: Start to finish time: 9.9 hours, 22 km, 1300 m elevation

Day 4: Refuge Mottets to Refuge Mont Blanco: Start to finish time: 9.8 hours, 17 km, 740 m elevation

Day 5: Refuge Mont Blanc to Refuge Bonatti: Start to finish time: 7.1 hours, 21 km, 800 m elevation

Day 6: Refuge Bonatti to La Fouly: Start to finish time: 6.5 hours, 18 km, 600 m elevation

Day 7: La Fouly to Trent: Start to finish time: 13.5 hours, 35 km, 800 m elevation

Day 8: Trent to Chamonix: Start to finish time: 10 hours, 25 km, 900 m elevation

 

Allow Additional Time for Breaks/Stops/Slower Hiking Along the TMB:

The times mentioned in the book and on the TMB site do not include breaks/stopping for route finding etc.  Nor do they account for going slower on a long day.  If it says  6 hours, you probably want to calculate for somewhere between 7-8 hours.

We had one long day listed as just over 9 hours of hiking. That seemed long but doable. It ended up taking us over 13 1/2 hours (including breakfast and lunch stop).  By the time we finally hit the second bit of elevation, we were already 22km into our hike. We did the remaining 700m of elevation at a tortoise pace – in the rain, without seeming Mont Blanc the entire day. Several years later, I look back on that day and still shudder. Anyone who was familiar with TMB Trail would have known that trekking from La Fouley to Trent was not a good idea – especially when you’re carrying a heavy backpack!

 

 

Inform TMB Hotels & Refuges Prior of any Dietary Preferences:

I have a gluten allergy and told all of the refuges before we left.  Despite that, two of them claimed to be unaware of my allergy. My guess is that they were either busy and forgot, or there was a language barrier (French, Italian, and German are spoken with varying degrees of English depending on the refuge). One place made up for it quite well; another one served me a salad. Safe to say that it didn’t exactly hit the spot after hiking for hours.

It was also a problem at breakfast where typically just bread was served.  None of the refuges had gluten-free bread, so I requested a piece of fruit instead. We ordered lunches to go the night before from each hut. Despite being informed ahead of time, lunch was usually sandwiches which I couldn’t eat. As a substitute, I’d be given 3 or 4 apples instead.

If you have any special dietary needs, many of the mountain huts won’t be able to accommodate them satisfactorily. In this case, I highly recommend the private accommodation option versus the mountain hut option, in which you’ll be staying at more hotels/inns which are better equipped to handle dietary preferences. At the mountain huts, dinner is the same three to four-course meal for everyone unless you make special arrangements.

 

To Reserve or Not to Reserve Refuges on the Tour du Mont Blanc Trail?:

Relaxing at Fioux Refuge and enjoying the views of Mont Blanc.

Relaxing at Fioux Refuge and enjoying the views of Mont Blanc.

As we planned our trek ourselves, we reserved all of our refuges along the TMB in advance.  We wanted to enjoy our holiday and not be on our phone each day trying to call ahead to see if there was space.  We also didn’t want just to show up and find out there was no space left.

The disadvantage of this is that it allowed us no flexibility.  The advantage was that we never had to worry about finding a place to sleep and – in theory, each place knew in advance about my gluten allergy.

As it turned out, all of the refuges we stayed at, did have space. Reservations may not always be necessary, but often the only space left was in a dormitory, and we preferred to sleep in private rooms when possible.

Travel tip: If you don’t have reservations for a refuge, then try to get an early start and arrive early, before it does come full with other hikers who have the same idea.

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Pamper Yourself at the Beginning and End of Your Tour du Mont Blanc Trek

View of Mont Blanc from our room at Boutique Hôtel Le Morgane in Chamonix.

View of Mont Blanc from our room at Boutique Hôtel Le Morgane in Chamonix.

We stayed at the Hôtel Les Aiglons, Resort & Spa the night before our trek and at Boutique Hôtel Le Morgane on the last day of our trek. Both are four-star eco hotels in Chamonix, complete with a spa!  After staying in refuges,  it was pure bliss. We sat on our huge patio enjoying the killer views of Mont Blanc, as we rested our blistered, aching feet.  Trust me, on the final day; you’ll likely be tired, so it’s worth a bit of a splurge!

So How Did Planning our Own TMB Trek Planning Work Out?

Overall it worked out OK for us.  We did it in 8 days ( 7-12 days is the recommendation).  We did have several long days, which were manageable, but our 13 1/2 hour day was way too long. I was THISCLOSE to calling a taxi for the last 3km but sustained. In truth,  J.P. wisely prevented me.  It would have been nice to have had an extra day or two to reduce the amount of hiking we did on some days.  I liked all the refuges we stayed in, with one exception.

 

But the best thing about the TMB?

Us posing at one of the high points along the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), 2700m

Us posing at one of the high points along the TMB – 2700m

WE DID IT!  AND ENJOYED MOST OF IT! I don’t believe anyone who says they enjoyed every second of the TMB. There are some tough parts! Even better, it left me a lasting gift that is still giving, the gift of personal strength, both on and off the mountain!

Check out my Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List!

 

Tour du Mont Blanc self-guided hiking tour around the highest mountain Western Europe - an adventure of a lifetime!
Note: Originally published in 2013, updated in Jan, 2016.

BOOK YOUR TOUR DU MONT BLANC ADVENTURE TODAY!

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.

2018-01-01T11:34:37+00:00

78 Comments

  1. john August 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Congrat for finishing the TMB, it has been on my list for a while.
    Question: did you see any kids doing the TMB while you were trekking ?

    • Laurel August 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      @John – Thanks so much. I only saw 2 kids doing the entire trek and they were having a great time singing. I did see other families hiking, but they were doing day trips. If you need any further info let me know. I’ll also be writing more about it.

  2. Ali August 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Congrats on finishing this hike! I saw you posting about it on FB the other day, and I was pretty impressed. I’m not into hiking, but it looks like you had a great time despite the long days.

    • Laurel August 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks @Ali. I did enjoy it, although there were definitely a couple days that were way too long 🙂

  3. Jennifer August 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Way to go! It seems much easier to plan TMB than Alta Via 1. It’s nice there is a central website to book all the refuges. That was a challenge for Alta Via 1 because every single one had to be Googled individually.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your photos!

    • Laurel August 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks @Ali. I did enjoy it, although there were definitely a couple days that were way too long 🙂

    • Laurel August 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      @Jennifer – Thanks. That definitely sounds like a challenge, plus it can be difficult to figure out how far one is from the next one in terms of hiking. I was running into the same thing until I discovered the TMB site. It’s not perfect, but definitely makes things much easier.

  4. Life Leaps August 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the post! Mont Blanc is awesome beyond belief. My family is from the region, and my mother used to go to mountain summer camp. We go back whenever we’re in Italy, and I must say that as many times as we’ve gone up there, we’ve never made the loop around. I’m stoked now. Gonna absolutely do it next time!

    • Laurel August 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      @Life Leaps – Agreed, Mont Blanc is incredible. You’re lucky that you have such a strong connection. Definitely recommend doing the tour, gives you a new appreciation for just how big the massive actually is.

  5. Cherina August 14, 2013 at 1:50 am - Reply

    What an awesome effort! So impressed that you guys finished it 8 days! A really good run down of the trip, Laurel – TMB is very high on my hiking to-do list. Will be picking your brain some more when I actually get around to doing it. Looking forward to the rest of the posts 🙂

    • Laurel August 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      @Cherina – Thanks, 8 days was definitely challenging. Feel free to pick my brain anytime 🙂

  6. John Williams August 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    I have the book (Cicerone) and the map and all of the other equipment. Just waiting for the go ahead from my other half!

    • Laurel August 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      @John – Sounds like you’re all set. Hope you’re able to go soon. I think you’d love it.

  7. Lisa Goodmurphy August 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    What an incredible experience! I can’t even imagine hiking for that many days and I don’t think my kids would have any part of it but I would love to do some day hiking in that area.

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      @Lisa – It was the longest I’ve ever hiked as well, I’m more of a day hiker, but there are some great day hikes along the way and we saw quite a few kids doing them as well.

  8. Roberta Loufek August 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    What an inspiring post! Congratulations on completing this amazing hike. I’ve been thinking of planning just such a hike for a birthday milestone – my 60th, which thankfully is not for another 8 years. I’ll be keeping this post as a reference. So now I have to keep attending my weekday exercise boot camps, plus I better start adding regular hiking around Flagstaff and Sedona to prepare. Thanks so much for the lovely photos.

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      @Roberta – Thank you! The Tour du Mont Blanc would definitely be a great hike for a birthday milestone. We hike regularly on weekends which definitely helped us prepare.

  9. Mary @ Green Global Travel August 16, 2013 at 12:53 am - Reply

    Your article is a fantastic resource and is chock full of very helpful information. I would love to do this trek and greatly appreciated your suggestions in terms of web resources, books, accommodation, booking in advance and start points! Thank you! It looks like an amazing experience – phenomenally beautiful region and great shelters along the way!

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      @Mary – Thanks so much. Glad it was useful and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to appreciate such a beautiful area that changes along the way.

  10. Mary {The World Is A Book} August 17, 2013 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Congratulations to the both of you for completing this trek! Looking at that map made me a bit exhausted already 🙂 The scenery is just gorgeous and to be pampered before and after in those refuges I’m sure helped a lot. I can’t imagine doing this hike with kids but it sure looks worth it. Love how the white looks like they’re sparkling on some photos. Great tips and resource here, Laurel. Wonderful to see a triumphant picture of the happy couple. What an awesome experience.

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      @Mary – Thank you! The refuges along the way were quite simple, but I was glad to have a hot shower, home cooked meal and comfortable bed – so glad we splurged at the end our trip. We saw a lot of kids doing day hikes along the way, but think it would be a bit much for most kids to do the whole thing unless they really liked hiking. Definitely recommend it though. Maybe on your next visit to Europe? 🙂

  11. Sophie August 18, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Well done! Tour de Mont Blanc is on my list, but probably in segments over a longer time – some with and some without kids, probably. Will definitely look to your blog for tips when we do; very useful this.

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      @Sophie – Thank you. It’s definitely easy to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in segments. My favorites were the last stretch in France and the parts in Italy. We saw quite a few kids doing day hikes, but only 2 kids who were doing the whole tour.

  12. Traveling Ted August 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    That is quite an elevation gain and sure to be a tough climb, but it is well worth it for the view and the sense of adventure and accomplishment.

    • Laurel August 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      @Ted – Agreed, although I felt more relief than accomplishment right after finishing 🙂

  13. Cheryl Howard August 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Congrats Laurel! A great accomplishment. And a great idea pampering yourself before AND after. 🙂

  14. Yana October 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Laurel! I clicked “mountains” on google and i got to your lovely blog. I too love mountains (hence the google search) and GIRAFFES 🙂 You have a very informing and interesting blog! You’re welcome to visit my blog as well. Maybe we should climb a mountain together someday huh?
    Yana

    • Laurel October 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      @Yana – Thanks for stopping by. Great minds think alike. Let me know if you’re ever in the Alps area. I’m based in Munich.

  15. Eray Celebi October 8, 2013 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Congrat for finishing and thanks for great info, thats what I am planning for next year hopefully.

    • Laurel October 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      @Eray – Thank you. If you need any advice for planning your trek, let me know.

  16. Marty November 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    We are in the beginning stages of planning. Our plan is for July, 2014. My wife is a teacher and July/Aug are the only times she can get off. I ordered the guide book last week, should be here any day. Where is a good place to get a map? I am unsure as to guided or on our own. We did the Camino this past summer, St Jean-Santiago, and wouldn’t have considered guided or any help. It is a different type of experience. Your thoughts on pros/cons would be greatly appreciated. The biggest being cost…we probably can do it for 1/3 the amount. Any tour groups you would recommend?

    • Laurel November 9, 2013 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      @Marty – We did it ourselves without any problem. The website I listed above to book accommodation is really helpful and makes it easy for you to determine how far you want to walk each day. We bought our map in Germany (in German) at an outdoor store, but I’m sure you could find one online. Can’t recommend any tour groups as we didn’t use one.

  17. Gabriel November 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Awesome, I would want to make it to the peak though. Being at the peak just makes it feel like you’re on top of the world.

  18. Ross January 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Great advice. Well done on doing it. It is some trek. I actually went to climb Mt. Blanc 2 years ago but due to snow we had to settle for Gran Paradisso in Italy which was a cool mountain to get to the top of. Not as high as Mount Blanc but a guide is still recommended though if you havent done it before.

    • Laurel March 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the recommendation Ross, I’ll have to check Gran Paradisso out.

  19. Aisling March 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Loved reading this- I also had a great experience on the TMB! Just of note: it is possible to camp each night (which saves a lot of money). We wrote about camping the route here: http://bigadventuressmallbudgets.wordpress.com

    • Laurel March 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks @Aisling and true, camping is also possible. You’re much braver than I am, I like having a roof over my head after a long day of hiking 🙂

  20. Will June 22, 2014 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Looks like an awesome mix of outdoor adventure and European class and luxury. I’ll have to try this trip out in the future!

  21. Stan June 23, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Great, thanks a lot for sharing this! I plan to go this August or September, hope it will be not too crowded!

  22. John March 18, 2015 at 3:19 am - Reply

    Is tent camping not allowed?

    • Laurel March 24, 2015 at 12:03 am - Reply

      @John – It is, but only in certain places, so it’s good to have a guide book or do research prior to going so you know where you can put up a tent.

  23. Michelle April 23, 2015 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Hi Laurel,

    Thank you for sharing this! I really enjoyed reading your article. You wrote that you completed the TMB in 8days, did you write about the itinerary you followed anywhere for reference?

    I am thinking of completing the tour in 8 days as well but am quite worried if it’s too short. About how much time did you take per day to reach your destinations?

    • Laurel August 10, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      @Michelle – I took anywhere from 4 hours to 14 1/2 hours (that was a brutal day), but the average was around 6 to 8 hours. Best of luck!

  24. Alex June 25, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I really want to do this trail but none of my friends want to bring their gear while we walk around Europe. Do you know if you can either ship things somewhere or rent gear there? If they don’t want to go would i still be ok doing it myself? Thank you so much for your help i will be studying in England all next year and am looking for trails to do.

    • Laurel August 10, 2015 at 6:42 pm - Reply

      @Alex – I’m sure you could ship gear to somewhere in Chamonix. If you stay in the huts, all you really require is a large backpack, hiking boots, sleeping bag slip cover (hardly takes any space) and your hiking clothes. You’d be fine if you decided to do it alone. I met many people who were also doing it alone and you’ll meet people along the way.

  25. Holland Reid September 22, 2015 at 3:31 am - Reply

    You guys rock! Congrats! What time of year did you go? Was there a lot of snow, cold weather? Where were you when you did the 13.5 hour day so I can avoid that ( you are awesome for making it through that). Between what cities are the hardest a parts of the trail- elevation and strenuous effort wise?
    Thanks!!

    • Laurel January 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Reid, We went at the beginning of August and the weather for the most part was warm, although we did have a couple of rainy days. I’ve updated the post, so that you can see how to avoid a 13.5 hour day like we had, along with the elevations, kilometres and time we spent hiking each day. Hope that helps.

  26. Jeremy December 4, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    The TMB is one of my favourite walks and I would strongly recommend early September as the best time to go. There are fewer people than in August and the refuges are still open and almost always have places. I lugged a Nikon D300 around with me and was fortunate to have some great weather.

    • Laurel January 9, 2016 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      @Jeremy – Great tip, thank you!

  27. Tobi February 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    I did the trip last year and it is of course one of my favourite walks too.

    • Laurel February 5, 2016 at 11:09 am - Reply

      @Tobi – Glad to hear that you enjoyed it as well! the TMB really is a fantastic trip!

  28. Anca February 18, 2016 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    When did you start booking the accommodation? You think it is to early to start now ?

    • Laurel February 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      @Anca – We booked ours only a couple of weeks before, but I recommend booking earlier, since the nice huts fill up, or if you want a semi-private room, since those also fill up quickly.

      • Suzanne December 6, 2017 at 12:29 am - Reply

        Hi. We are planning to hike Mont Blanca the first week of August, 2018. We want to stay in a hotel in Courmayeur, any recommendations?

  29. Para March 1, 2016 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Laurel,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your post.
    My husband and I have decided to do this tour summer of 2017.
    I have just started researching it, but still don’t know any details.

    Do you end up in towns/villages at the end of each hike? Or are the refuges and huts simply in the middle of the mountain?
    What site/guide did you use to book the refuges & huts?

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Para

    • Laurel March 14, 2016 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      @Para – You can end up in towns/villages each day, but you have to take public transportation to reach them, then take it back to the trail each day (we provide directions on how to do this with the self-guided tour we offer). When my husband and I did it, we stayed in mountain huts and only visited towns/villages that were directly on the route. The site we used to book our huts is listed in the post.

  30. Fernando April 4, 2016 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Hi, Laurel. Great tips!
    Just a quick question, do the huts/refuges you stayed in have plugs to charge electric devices, such as cell phones, etc.?
    Thanks!
    Fernando

    • Laurel April 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      @Fernando – Yes, they have plugs to charge devices, the challenge is that everyone wants to charge their devices and there are more devices than plugins. To get around this, it’s not a bad idea to bring in an extension, where you can plug in multiple devices to a single outlet.

  31. Arden April 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Hello,
    As serious and highly experienced backpackers used to hiking in the Rocky Mountains of the USA, we are seriously thinking of doing this trek in late Aug- early Sept 2016, to celebrate 40 years of marriage!! However, we we want to stay in our own tent occasionally to avoid dorm style nights and want to extend the trip to 14 nights. Is that possible? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Laurel April 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      @Arden, Congrats on 40 years of marriage, that’s fantastic! Yes, it’s possible to stay in your own tent. There are usually camping spots near the huts where you can set up your own tent and then take as long or as short as you want. The book I recommended in the post has more info on camping. I stayed in the huts, so I don’t know the exact details, but did meet people along the way who were camping.

  32. Karen April 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Great post! Planning on doing TMB this summer with my husband except we will be camping the whole thing.

    • Laurel April 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks Karen, and best of luck! I’d love to hear how your trip goes!

  33. Meredith May 12, 2016 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Hi! Great Article:) Any suggested transport options from Geneva to starting point in Saint Gervais les Bains? Thank you!

    • Laurel May 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      @Meredith – Thank you! There are shuttle services available directly from Geneva airport to Chamonix, or to the nearby village of Les Houches. From there, you can either take the Mont Blanc Express Train or the Chamonix Bus to the starting point of Saint Gervais.

  34. WEON JUNG June 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Could you give me a tip about local bus in switzerland along the TMB for making 1 or 2 day saving time? Just in case because of wearher or something. I will follow your 8days schedule. Thank you :))

    • Laurel June 1, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      @Weon – I didn’t take a bus in Switzerland, but I know they exist, as the tour co. I work with offers it as an option for our clients. You could ask at one of the refuges that you’re staying at. Best of luck!

  35. Lady November 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    I am not really sure If I will be able to make it but my husband definitely will be thrilled doing this. Hope we can go back and include this one in our itinerary.

    • Laurel January 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      @Lady Hope that you and your husband are able to do it. It’s a great way to reconnect with each other. My husband and I were much closer after doing it together.

  36. Cristina February 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Hi! I am wondering how much experience i need to have to do this walk? I completed El Camino last year from SJPDP, so i know i can walk for days on end..? I am looking at doing a guided tour.

    • Laurel February 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      @Cristina – If you did El Camino you’d likely be fine to do the Tour du Mont Blanc. I would just recommend training for elevation since you’ll be doing more elevation on the TMB each day than what you do most days on the camino.

  37. Francois Magny June 1, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Hej Laurel, For which period on the year have you done the TMB ? I planed to do it with my son who has 14 the 7 last days of june. Do you think we need to reserve our refuges even for this period in advance ?

    • Laurel June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

      @Francois – I did it at the beginning of August. I would definitely reserve your refuges in advance as we’ve had difficulty in finding suitable accommodation for some clients who are starting their trek the end of June. Have a great trip.

  38. Becca June 10, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I’m interested in knowing how much euro to bring? On average how much did you spend per day/for the whole trip?

    • Laurel June 12, 2017 at 9:59 am - Reply

      @Becca – Assuming that you’ve already paid for your accommodation and it includes breakfast and dinner (if not you’ll need to bring cash to pay for it as most places don’t accept cards), plan to spend ~ €15 for lunch each day, plus extra for snacks and up to €50 for lifts and public transfers for the entire trip. Have a great trip!

  39. Nathan June 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Hi! I’m having some problems booking a refuge around Trient and Col de Balme, I’m going around mid July. I was wondering if it was a safe bet to just go without a booking at that time of year or will I be left stranded with nowhere to sleep?

    • Laurel June 12, 2017 at 9:57 am - Reply

      @Nathan – I personally prefer to book in advance since July and August are extremely busy. Best of luck in finding accommodation.

  40. Oleksii August 8, 2017 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Hi Laurel,
    thank you very much for such detailed TMB description and answers in the comments! I believe they are already very useful for me! 🙂
    But I’m now looking for the information about what type of the sleeping bag I will need to stay in the refuges along TMB? Are they usually warm enough to have a blanket sleeping bag or should I use real touristic one? I’m planning to do my trip in the middle of August.

    • Laurel August 21, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Glad it was useful. You’ll be fine with a sleeping bag liner (which is really thin) as the refuges provide warm blankets. I’m always cold and I was warm with the blankets provided. Enjoy!

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