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Tour du Mont Blanc - 170km through France, Italy and Switzerland (TMB)

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a popular long-distance hiking trail that circles the Mont Blanc massif and leads through France, Italy and Switzerland. The trail is about 170 kilometres long and usually takes 8-11 days. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and passes through charming Alpine villages. Experience some of the most impressive views and landscapes of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps and marvel at Europe's king of mountains from all sides on this hike. I found the tour magnificent. Chapeau!

Tour du Mont Blanc

Content

1. Journey

2. Route

3. Accommodation

4. Weather and best time to travel

5. Further information

6. Recommended stages

7. Packing list

8. GPX and map information

9. Conclusion


Winter has started and with it the annual holiday planning for the next hiking season. This is your opportunity for one of the most beautiful hikes in Europe. Adventure and full mountain enjoyment at the same time, including culinary delights from three countries with baguette, pizza and Swiss cheese fondue. A circular hike through idyllic valleys, along high-altitude paths and glacier tongues, and past fantastic glacier lakes - the purest Eldorado for all hikers and mountaineers.


As always, I recommend my video of the tour:

Journey

Flight: It is best to take a flight to one of the airports that are close to the starting point, such as the airport in Geneva (Switzerland), the airport in Lyon-Saint Exupéry (France) or the airport in Turin (Italy). My experience relates to the airport in Geneva.

Bus: There are regular shuttle buses from Geneva airport to Les Houches, the official starting point of the Tour du Mont Blanc. Some buses also go to Charmonix, but this is not a problem as Les Houches is easily accessible on foot from Charmonix. You can get your ticket in advance online or simply in the airport foyer, at the numerous counters offering shuttle services (note the time and public holidays). The journey takes about 1 hour and costs around 25 euros.


Tip: You can also start the tour in Chamonix, Martigny or Courmayeur (Italy).

Tour du Mont Blanc Wanderung

Route

On this long-distance hike you have to cover about 170 km and a good 11,000 metres in altitude. I completed the tour in 7 days, which is very sporty. For connoisseurs I would recommend 9-11 days.


Day 1: I was very moved by the atmosphere of departure in the small town. Everywhere you see athletes, hikers or mountaineers. A great feeling! Your adventure begins in Les Houches with a sweaty hike uphill through the forest to Col de Voza and Tête aux Vents. From there you have your first magnificent view of Mont Blanc and the Mont Blanc massif. The hike continues through the alpine landscape, past mountain lakes and mountain pastures, until you finally reach the day's destination, the Chalets de Miage or the Chalet du Truc.

Don't forget to take an emergency bivouac with you. It consists of an emergency blanket that is cold-resistant, a whistle and a mini compass. It should be in your rucksack on every hike anyway.

As the old Scottish saying goes: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!"
Tour Mont Blanc Fernwanderweg

Day 2: The second day of the Tour du Mont Blanc starts with a descent route to les Containers-Montjoie. From there, you continue to Lac Blanc, a popular destination for hikers, with breathtaking views of Mont Blanc and the Mont Blanc massif. Now it's time to gather strength for the ascent: you then hike up to 2329 metres to the Col du Bonhomme and then continue along a stony path to the Refuges Col du Bonhomme. Near the refuge at 2479 metres, stones arranged in a semicircle mark the spot for tents. Tip: The sunset is a sensation at this spot. Goosebumps!


As there is little shade and you are exposed to the movement of the air all day, I would like to recommend my beloved Piz Buin Mountain sunscreen, specially developed for mountaineers, as well as my ultra-light sun cap and wind blocker!

„Die Sonne scheint auch hinter den Wolken." Zitat von Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander

I would also like to recommend my beloved Salewa trekking shoes because of the challenging mountain trails:

"Only where you have been on foot have you really been". Quote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Day 3: In order to experience a brilliant sunrise like I did, set off early in the morning for the "Col des Fours". The mountain pass is usually still icy in the morning, so be careful when hiking. Then follow the descent route to the Chalet-Refuge des Mottets. On the way, you will pass a village of three houses and a small farm. The highlight here is the culinary delights. The homemade cheese and salami are highly recommended. Just one hour later, you are looking over the pass into Italy. A barren mountain landscape, adorned with green slopes, but incredibly beautiful. After a short descent, you can already see the Refugio Elisabetta.

Note: The innkeeper tells me that camping is not possible. Well, Italy is unfortunately very strict everywhere. What a pity!

Fernwanderweg tour du mont blanc

Day 4: In the idyllic village of Courmayeur you can fill up your food the next day. Now you also have the chance to enjoy a real original Italian pizza. Take some time to explore Courmayeur and gather strength for the next climb. Then follow the zigzag course through the forest, always uphill, to the Rifugio Bertone, at about 2000 metres altitude, and then on to the Rifugio Walter Bonatti.


Day 5: On this day, blue skies greeted me very early in the morning. I hope you are as lucky as I was, because then a pleasant high-altitude trail to the Swiss border begins. The first view of Switzerland was already an overwhelming feeling. Now it's time to say: grazie Italia è stato molto bello (thank you Italy, it was very nice). After the impressive mountain pass, you now enter enchanting Switzerland, followed immediately by a descent route to the Alpage de la Peule. Then you continue along a long path in the valley to the Relais d'Arpette refuge.

Beware: this is quite a monster stage (approx. 33 km and 600 m), but you can easily shorten it and stop in Graz-de-Forte or Champex-Lac, for example. If you want to cheat, you can also take the bus for a few stops. In La Fouly, you can replenish your food supplies at the supermarket.


Halfway there, a thunderstorm surprised me. One second lies between lightning and thunder. Luckily: the time between lightning and thunder increases, however, so the thunderstorm turned off! Thunderstorms can be dangerous, especially in the mountains. So follow the basic rules about how to behave during thunderstorms.

Verhalten bei Gewitter in den Bergen

Day 6: Today you're going up again. You cross the mountain pass "Fenetre d'Arpette", but before that you have to master a very stony, if not rather rocky ascent. In places you also have to use your hands for easy climbing. For me it was not particularly difficult, but in wet conditions it is not without danger. The descent afterwards is beautiful and technically easy. Tip: In very bad weather, you can also bypass the mountain pass. After the "Buvette de Glacier du Trient" refuge, there is another ascent to the "Refuge du Col de Palme", which lies directly on the French border. Tip: If you still have some energy left, I recommend the short hike to the "Croix de Fer" mountain peak, which is not far from the refuge. It is a magnificent panoramic peak at 2343m. Before the descent, there is another absolutely stunning panoramic path until the day's stage finally ends for you in Argentiere.

Tour du mont blanc fernwanderung

Day 7: I found the saying: "The best comes at the end" to be absolutely true here. For me, this section was the most beautiful of the whole tour. I hope you have as good weather as I did. After a sweaty climb through the forest, you reach a high trail where you have to climb a few ladders. Note: I found the high trail a little exposed, but in the end it was no problem. Then you come to the famous "Lac de Chesery". You probably know it from countless photos on Instagram. I thought it was really great. Unfortunately, it is often overcrowded. It's most beautiful there at sunrise when there's still very little going on. It's exhausting but worth it.

Caution: Be aware that the ladders you have to climb are not safe in the dark. Alternatively, you can spend a night in the "Refuge du Lac Blanc" and then set off from there at sunrise. You then have to continue along a high trail with a fantastic 360-degree panorama to the "Refuge de Bellachat". Now follows the last descent almost directly to Les Houches, where the Tour du Mont Blanc started. If you made it: Congratulations! I would be very happy to receive a comment at the bottom.

tour du mont blanc trekking

Accommodation

Hut: Most huts offer half board, which includes dinner and breakfast. It's a very comfortable option, anyway. A hot meal waiting for you in the hut is not only a good way to end a long day of hiking, but also makes your pack lighter. Carrying your own food during the hike puts extra strain on your back and knees.

Availability in mountain huts is limited during the season and booking a hut is essential on the Tour Du Mont Blanc. Alternatively, you can choose a mix of tent and flat.


Wild camping: On this tour you can occasionally spend the night in a tent near mountain huts. Of course, this is only possible with the permission of the hut owner. In Italy it is strictly forbidden. There are also luxury hotels in Courmayeur and Chamonix, so there is something for everyone.


Les Houches/Charmonix day 1: The cheapest accommodation is at the campsite in Les Houches. It is located roughly between Les Houches and Charmonix.


For optimal preparation for any tour, I recommend the workouts on my YouTube channel:

Weather and best time to travel

The best time to travel around Mont Blanc is usually from June to September, when the weather is most stable and most mountain huts are open. This is also the time when snowmelt is at its lowest, making hiking safer. However, it is also possible to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in winter. In this case, pay special attention to current weather and avalanche situations, as the mountains can be dangerous then. For the winter tour, however, I recommend an experienced guide or a local mountain guide.


It is also important to emphasise that weather conditions can change quickly on the Tour du Mont Blanc. At this altitude, it can often be extreme, e.g. because of cold and wind or because of the strong sunlight. I therefore recommend that you bring appropriate clothing, footwear and sun creams, regardless of the season.


Wind chill: Also note that you can expect a good 0 degrees Celsius in the morning hours. Sometimes it is also extremely windy. Wind chill describes the feeling of cold caused by wind. The higher the wind speed and the lower the air temperature, the greater the feeling of cold.

Tour du mont blanc Etappen

Other important information

Dangers: The Tour du Mont Blanc has a number of dangers that you should be aware of. Some of the most important dangers are:

Weather conditions: Weather in the Alps can change quickly and be unpredictable, especially at higher altitudes. It is important to be aware of weather conditions in advance. Also note the correct behaviour during thunderstorms!

Rockfall and avalanches: At higher altitudes there is a risk of rockfall and avalanches. Find out about the current conditions and follow the instructions of the local rangers and hut wardens.

Injuries from falls: It is important that you use the correct equipment and footwear to avoid injuries from falls.

Orientation: Prepare well for the tour. A map and compass are recommended.

Permit: A permit is not required for the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Surefootedness: To be safe on the trail, sure-footedness and the right footwear are the most important factors - after all, falls due to tripping and slipping are the most common cause of accidents when hiking. So remember: the right footwear and the right walking technique are therefore incredibly important. You are sure to find the right footwear in the article below!


Water: There is almost always water along the route. Either at huts, wells or streams. However, you should definitely use a water filter. No matter how clear the water is, it can still contain impurities, for example from animal excrement or dead animals. However, you can also boil the water.

Gas cartridge: I bought one in Chamonix in an outdoor shop. There are countless shops like this in Chamonix. If you want to be on the safe side, call them and ask if they have enough in stock.


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Safety advice

All the safety rules of mountain sports also apply to hiking and trekking! You can find the safety rules in the link below:

tour du mont blanc Wetter

Tour du mont Blanc stages

As already mentioned, I completed the tour in 7 days, which is very sporty. For the connoisseur, I would recommend the following stages.


Day 1: Les Houches (1008 m) - Chalets de Miage (1559 m) Time: 6 hours Difference in altitude: +1200m, -600m


Day 2: Chalets de Miage (1559 m) - Ref. de la Croix de Bonhomme (2433 m) Time: 7½ hours Altitude gain: +1300m, -700m


Day 3: Refuge de la Croix-de-Bonhomme (2433 m) - Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini (2035 m) Time: 8 hours Altitude difference: +1000m, -1350m


Day 4: Rifugio Elisabetta (2035 m) - Courmayeur (1224 m) -Rifugio Bertone (1991 m) Time: 8 hours Altitude difference: +950m, -900m


Day 5: Rifugio Bertone (1991 m) - Col Sapin (2436 m) - Rifugio Elena (2060 m) Time: 7 hours Altitude difference: +1150m, -1050m


Day 6: Rifugio Elena (2060 m) - Petit Col Ferret (2488 m) - Cabane de la Léchère (1750 m) Time: 4 hours Altitude difference: +400m, -700m


Day 7: Cabane de la Léchère (1750 m) - Le Relais d'Arpette (1680 m) Time: 6 hours Altitude difference: +700m, -850m


Day 8: Le Relais d'Arpette (1680 m) - Fenêtre d' Arpette ( 2665 m) Gîte Le Peuty (1326 m) Time: 7 hours Altitude difference: +1000m, -1350m


Day 9: Gîte Le Peuty (1326 m) - Col de Balme (2191 m) - Châlet de la Flégère (1877 m) Time: 8 hours Altitude difference: +1350m, -800m


Day 10: La Flégère (1877 m) - Brévent (2526 m) - Les Houches (1008 m) Time: 6 hours Altitude difference: +650m, -1500m

tour du mont blanc Wanderweg

Packing list

Here I recommend the most important hiking equipment that I own, have tested myself and have also bought myself. I pay a lot of attention to the weight and quality of my equipment. The equipment should simply feel good on longer tours and also be light. I can recommend the equipment for women because my wife uses it and it is basically the same as the equipment for men.


Note: Please keep in mind that the packing list is general and you will have to adapt it depending on the season and your needs!


Advertising note: These product links are affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, I will receive a small commission without you having to pay more. This is for the maintenance of my blog and you support me with my project, for which I am very grateful. Thank you very much!


Clothes

Hiking boots

Hiking shorts


Long hiking pants


Functional shirt


Hybridjacket


Fleece-jacket


Rain jacket


Functional underwear


Hiking socks


Other hiking equipment:

Sun cap


Hiking backback (approx. 60 litres or as required)

by EXPED - unfortunately not available on Amazon.

Backback - Ospray (was my old one and is also good)


Technology and orientation:

Compass

• GPS device or GPS watch if necessary

• Binoculars if necessary


Catering:

• Sweets to keep up morale :)


Health & first Aid:

First Aid (small and light)

Tape

Bivouac

• Toilet paper


Other:

• Passport/Insurance certificate

• cash

• Gas cartridge


Film equipment:

Drone

Tripod

Clip

tour du mont blanc packliste

GPX and map information

The GPX files are available for download from the following providers.


Outdooractive: https://out.ac/vjExx




Here is the route on the map:

tour du mont blanc trailmap

Conclusion

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a fantastic adventure that offers an incredible amount. It shows a cross-section of the beautiful landscape of France, Italy and Switzerland. I really enjoyed the tour! Have a great time and good luck ;)


As always, I would be very happy to receive feedback via one of my channels.



You are also welcome to leave me a comment.

 
HikingFex

Hello, I am Christian, the chief globetrotter of this Site and an enthusiastic adventurer, hiker and filmmaker. I love to explore new paths and inspire people with them, and I love to share my hiking knowledge with you! You can also find my videos on YouTube! On my blog you can find tips for beginners and professionals on the greatest and most beautiful hiking tours there are. I want to encourage people to explore the world as a hiker, whether in the countryside, through the forest or in the mountains. True to the motto: If you haven't hiked, you haven't seen the world,


On my blog, I also write about hiking gear, the right summit training and nature conservation, as well as tips and information about hiking.


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Best hiking tour in europe

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