- Additional Info
- 06/07/2024 08:30
- 03/08/2024 08:30
- 31/08/2024 08:30
- 14/09/2024 08:30
- A rich and healthy lunch pack on each stage
- Accommodation (shared bedroom / dormitory)
- All planned transportation according to the itinerary
- Full qualified international mountain leader (IML)
- Half-Board (breakfast, 3 course dinner)
- Airport transfers
- Equipment rental
- Luggage Transfer (max. 15kg per unit)
- Pre- / post-trek accommodation
- Private expenses (souvenirs, drinks, etc.)
The Route : Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)
The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) classic route passes through three countries (France, Italy and Switzerland), and seven distinct alpine valleys. It starts in Les Houches and finishes in Chamonix. It goes around the Mont Blanc, making an almost-complete circuit. The total distance of the TMB classic route is around 170 kilometres (105 miles), with 10,000 metres of ascent. Typically, the TMB classic route takes 10 days to complete. Each day is around 15 – 20 kilometres (12 miles), with 1000 metres of ascent. The highest point of the TMB is at 2665m above sea level. You can do the Tour du Mont Blanc between June – September. For information about the best time to do the TMB, read this post.
The classic route of the TMB is considered a difficult hike. This is because of the distance, the ascent, and because it crosses high mountain passes on patches of rocky trails. Hiking the TMB therefore requires a basic level of fitness, but it does not require any specific experience in the mountains. There is no mountaineering involved in the TMB.
There are many alternatives, or so called “variants”, to the classic route. Some take steeper, more technical trails, which require a greater level of fitness. For example, the most difficult part of the TMB is the climb up to Col de la Fenêtre, but this is a “variant” that most TMB groups choose not to do. Other TMB variants take shorter, easier trails. The exact route that hikers take will depend on the fitness of their group.
Believe it or not, there is an annual ultra-marathon which follows the TMB route. The winners of the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc (UTMB) complete the whole route in less than 20 hours!
TMB Top Highlights
The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is more than just a hike. Completing the circuit is a physical, once-in-a-lifetime achievement. It’s something you can be proud of! And by hiking the TMB with a group, you get to feel an unbeatable sense of camaraderie. Many of our guided groups stay in touch, and go on to build long-lasting friendships.
Hiking the classic Tour du Mont Blanc route, you’ll see a huge variety of plants and landscapes. From dark, damp forests, you’ll emerge into the bright alpine meadows, full of colour and fragrance. Further up, you’ll reach the rocky, windy mountain passes, where only the most specialised plants can survive. Look carefully and you’ll notice different plants at different altitudes. You might even spot a precious gem, such as the Martagon Lily or the Black Vanilla Orchid. Listen out for the distinctive, high-pitched call of a marmot. And if you’re lucky, you might spot a herd of chamois, or an ibex perched on a rock.
A popular TMB highlight is, of course, the food! Because you pass into three different countries, there are many local dishes to try! We especially love the blueberry tarts, which use fresh, hand-picked mountain berries. Other popular favourites include Italian polenta, and Swiss “rösti”.
What to expect
- Hike through France, Italy and Switzerland
- Spectacular views of the Mont Blanc
- Enjoy culinary specialties
- Swim in crystal clear mountain lakes
- Meet other interesting and like-minded people
- Physically challenge yourself to hike 170km
- Feel a sense of achievement and camaraderie
- YOUR ITINERARY
More about Mont Blanc Massif
More about this tour
Some people like to trek the TMB with the comfort of lots of extra clothes and snacks. We get this! It can also be nice to bring luxury items for the evenings, such as a laptop or a big book. If this sounds like you, we recommend using our luggage transfer service.
Using the luggage transfer service will allow you to trek with a small, light-weight day-bag. While you're trekking, we'll drive your bag safely to the next destination. This service is available for 8 out of 9 nights.
To benefit from this service, you'll need to pack your luggage into a soft bag, such as a duffle bag. There aren't any size restrictions, but the weight is limited to 15kg per bag. Loose, single items or open bags (e.g. shopper bags) cannot be transported, and valuable items (e.g. a laptop) should be safely packed to avoid damage.
A general note about the accommodation
Hiking the TMB, you'll get a real feel for Alpine culture by sleeping high up in the mountains. Some nights you'll stay in remote mountain towns and villages, with just a few simple shops. On other nights, you'll stay in mountain refuges.
Mountain refuges are special places. High up in the mountains, they're only accessible by foot or helicopter. The staff often live up here all season, with just the occasional trip down now and then. You will sleep in a dormitory with other people. For more information about mountain refuges, read this post.
In all of these places, you will have access to hot showers and running water. There is electricity, so you can charge your appliances. You will be provided with a blanket and a pillow, but we recommend you bring a sleeping-bag liner.
Alternatively, you could choose private accommodation. We can organise a double or twin room for you on each stage of the TMB.
Please note that a private double room in a mountain refuge is not comparable to a hotel room. There is not always an ensuite bathroom, so you will have to use the big shared bathroom on your floor. Towels are not provided so you will need to pack your own towel.
A single supplement might be charged, depending on group size and room availability.
Trekking the TMB, you'll pass through three distinct countries. Because of this, you'll have the chance to try a variety of dishes. There are lots of mountain refuges along the trail where you'll be able to buy a snack. These refuges often serve warm savoury snacks, such as omelettes and rostï, and they always serve sweet snacks, such apricot cakes and blueberry tarts.
Each day, we'll provide you with a new lunchpack. These consist of one big unit, such as a fresh sandwich or a quiche, a piece of fruit, and an extra snack (e.g. a muesli bar or a bar of chocolate).
The amount of choice that you'll have at breakfast and in the evening will vary, depending on where you are on the TMB. There is more choice in the towns than in the mountain refuges.
A typical refuge breakfast consists of bread, jam, fresh fruit, tea and coffee. A typical refuge evening meal consists of soup, cooked meat (e.g. chicken or beef), vegetables, carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes, polenta), and a dessert (e.g. créme caramel, chocolate pudding). If you want more food, you can normally just help yourself.
Our top 5 TMB food highlights are :
- Beef stew and home-made cheese selection (Day 2, Refuge Mottes)
- Pizza, pasta and gelato (Day 4, Courmayeur town)
- Evening meal (Day 5, Bonatti Refuge)
- Raclette (Day 6, Fouly)
- Rostï and homemade cakes (Day 8, Bovine)
If you have a dietary requirement, it's essential that you let us know in advance.
The TMB refuges and hotels can accommodate the following dietary requirements :
- A nut allergy
- Vegetarian / vegan
- Coeliac / gluten-intolerant
If you have a more complicated dietary requirement, you might have to carry some of your own food. We can easily provide custom-made lunch packs to accommodate dietary requirements.
Most days of the TMB are around 15 kilometres, with 1000 metres of ascent. Even for an experienced trekker, this can be a challenge! Added onto this, the valley temperatures can exceed 30°c, especially in August. It's therefore essential to carry enough water. We recommend carrying 2 - 3 litres of water each day (100floz). Bottles are fine, but a camel bag (water bladder) is easier and comfortable, because you can drink while trekking. Every TMB refuge and hotel has free, drinkable tap water. On the trails, there are safe water fountains to fill up from. Your guide will advise you each day about where you can re-fill your water container.
The "summer" months are June, July, August and September. Each month is unique, so the type of weather you'll experience will depend on which month you choose to come. June and September are fairly dry months, and the temperatures are typically cool, at around 18°C (64°F). As the temperatures increase in July and August, we start to see more afternoon showers and thunderstorms. The TMB classic route crosses several high mountain passes, which can be windy and cold. For more information about TMB weather, visit this post.
Trail / Insurance
In general, trekking the TMB is safe and incidents are not common. In fact, in our 10 years of organising TMB trips, we have never had a single medical incident. That said, the classic TMB route does cross several mountain passes, and it follows some technical trails. It is considered a difficult trek, and the objective dangers should be taken seriously. We strongly recommend getting insurance (travel, medical and mountain insurance). Medical and mountain insurance are both very important, because mountain rescue in Switzerland can be extremely expensive (several thousand Swiss francs, especially if a helicopter rescue is necessary). Rescue in France and Italy is usually not charged, depending on the circumstances. The cost of hospitalisation and subsequent care is normally the most expensive part of any accident if you do not have the correct cover and are hospitalised without insurance. The cost could easily reach an immense level. It is your responsibility to take out the correct level of insurance and we accept no responsibility for any costs that occur as a result of inadequate insurance. If you have any questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Along the TMB you'll travel through France, Italy and Switzerland. France and Italy use Euros (EUR), and Switzerland uses Swiss Francs (CHF). All the places in Switzerland accept Euros, but it's better to have some Swiss Francs as the conversion rate can be high. In the bigger towns (Chamonix, Les Houches, Les Contamines, Courmayeur, La Fouly, Champex, Argentière) there are ATM cash machines, and most places in these towns will accept card payments. The refuges on the TMB trail normally do not accept card payments, so it is a good idea to take out a bit of cash in both Euros and Swiss Francs.
|Day 1||13.80 km||668 m||1344 m|
|Day 2||20.70 km||1650 m||1073 m|
|Day 3||12.00 km||828 m||460 m|
|Day 4||12.70 km||492 m||1274 m|
|Day 5||17.20 km||1194 m||641 m|
|Day 6||14.40 km||773 m||957 m|
|Day 7||14.80 km||473 m||608 m|
|Day 8||16.90 km||764 m||1036 m|
|Day 9||16.40 km||1134 m||1157 m|
|Day 10||15.90 km||1111 m||1313 m|