Is the Tour du Mont Blanc right for me?
The Tour du Mont Blanc is the most marketed and best known long distance hiking trail in the Alps. However, this means that many hikers who want a charming hut to hut experience in the Alps end up on the Tour du Mont Blanc, even if it isn't the best hut to hut hike for them. There are approximately 800 mountain huts scattered throughout the Alps, and with that come hundreds of other potential hut to hut routes. If you are going to purchase a plane ticket, and take precious vacation time, we want to make sure you get the hut to hut experience that is right for you. If the Tour du Mont Blanc isn't right for you, we can recommend other tours that might be a better fit.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is right for you if:
You have 9 to 11 days (depending on your fitness level) to commit to hiking hut to hut
You are fit enough for a daily average of 1,000+ m. (3,000+ ft.) per day for 9 to 11 consecutive days
You prefer to stay in hotels as often as possible as opposed to mountain huts
You can do the tour between mid-July and the end of August
You would like to have a restaurant along the way each day, so you can purchase your lunches, and carry only very little food
You might consider having your luggage transported for you
We recommend choosing a different tour if:
You are okay with doing a tour that is more crowded and touristy than most
You have less than 9 days to commit
You are looking for a tour in June, early July, or early September
You are NOT fit enough for a daily average of 1,000+ m. (3,000+ ft.) per day for 9 to 11 consecutive days
You want a backcountry feel
We are happy to recommend other hut to hut experiences that may fit your needs better. You can check out our standard self-guided tours on our
Hut-to-Hut Hiking Webpage, or
contact us with any specific questions or requests. Don't miss our
Culinary Delight Hut Hiking Tour or our
Tour du Mont Blanc Alternative.
You want a local and authentic experience that is not crowded
The factor that limits the TMB hiking season the most is the opening season of the huts. Most huts should be open from June to mid-September, although the higher elevation huts may open in the beginning of July and close already at the end of August.
However, snow often remains in the higher elevation areas through the end of June, and can remain into mid-July after a snowy winter. Although snow storms may occur at any time on the Tour du Mont Blanc, even in July, there is a high likelihood of a snowstorm in early September.
From October through May, the Tour du Mont Blanc should be done only by mountaineers with extensive snow experience, as well as avalanche training and recovery gear.
For best conditions, we recommend planning the Tour du Mont Blanc between mid-July and the end of August.
Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc is an annual race that many hikers like to avoid. You can find the current schedule on their
The norwegian website,
YR has some of the best weather forecast information for all of Europe - all available in English.
Mountain-forecast.com is also a great website, and allows toggling between both Imperial and Metric values.
Before you plan, check out these
The following airports are all convenient to the Tour du Mont Blanc:
There are more direct flights to Zurich, Switzerland from the Americas than to the other airports, and that may be the least expensive airport to fly to. Check out our tips on
Finding the Best Flight Fares to the Alps.
Best TMB starting point: Chamonix and Les Houches, France
The Geneva airport lies closest to the Tour du Mont Blanc. It is possible to book a shuttle directly to Chamonix in the arrival lounge at the Geneva Airport. A local bus or train can be taken from Chamonix to Les Houches, or you can take the cable car from Chamonix to
Le Brevent, and start the tour there.
Best TMB Starting Point: Trient or Champex, Switzerland
Although it takes longer, there are many options each day to travel from the Zurich Airport to TMB. The most direct route is a train connection from the Zurich Airport to Visp, and then on to Martigny. From Martigny, you take a bus up to Trient. From Martigny, you can also connect to Sembrancher, Orsières and finally Champex. Martigny is a great place to stock up on supplies, and visit the famous St. Bernard dogs of St. Bernard Pass. You can check the train schedule on the
Best TMB starting point: Courmayeur, Italy
We can't think of any advantages of this option, but if it works for you, you can take a
bus between Milan and Courmayeur. However, the bus does not leave from the Milan Airport (there are multiple airports, but you will likely fly into Malpensa), so you will need to arrange for additional transportation there.
We strongly recommend booking accommodations in advance. There are hikers who do the TMB without any advance reservations, but this often puts quite a strain on the huts and puts hikers in a risky situation when they aren't able to find a hut with availability along their route.
Booking the huts is likely to be the most time-consuming part of the planning process. Check out our blog post:
9-Step Guide to Booking the Tour du Mont Blanc. Many huts (although not all) can be booked online through the
TMB Website. This website is a great resource, and even includes an interactive map. However, it does not include all possible accommodations.
If you would rather use your time for training and packing for the tour, we would be happy to book the huts for you. We can also arrange all your transportation and accommodations from the time you land until the time you depart. Check out our
self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc packages. We have packages for the budget-conscience and comfort seekers alike.
Warning: Some huts on the TMB have a reputation for cancelling reservations at the last minute. For this reason, we recommend using a self-guided tour company that offers an emergency re-booking service, just like Alpenventures UNGUIDED does
Not enough time for the full Tour du Mont Blanc?
It is hard to believe, but sometimes limited vacation time, family commitments, and other obligations might limit our time on the trail. One of our most common requests in regard to the TMB is to complete it in less days. While there are ways to speed up or shorten the Tour du Mont Blanc, we recommend choosing a different hut to hut hike that you can complete entirely during the time you have allotted. This is one of the many reasons our
Tour du Mont Blanc Alternative is so popular. It only requires 6 hiking days, is just as spectacular as the
Tour du Mont Blanc, and also less crowded and provides a more authentic experience. We also recommend checking out our other
Hut to Hut Hiking Tours for something that fits better for the time you have.
If you are 100% set on the Tour du Mont Blanc, and don't have the time to walk the entire tour, here are some ways you can speed it up:
There are quite a few chairlifts and gondolas that run in the summer that TMB hikers often use to accelerate their itinerary, or even to catch a break from the relentless elevation gain on the tour. Here are a few of the options you have:
There is a shuttle service between Les Chapieux and Rifugio Les Mottets that departs 5 times a day from mid-July through August, and an even more frequent shuttle from Les Chapieux that goes to Ville des Glaciers. The shuttle costs 6€ per person. Ask at your hut the night before for the exact timetable.
Do Half the Tour
A surprisingly high volume of trekkers seek to shorten the tour by only doing part of it. However, due to the nature of the terrain in the area, and the large mountain standing in the way, public transportation to and from various points on the tour is extremely inconvenient. The one exception is between Chamonix on the west side and Courmayeur on the east side, thanks to a tunnel that travels under the Mont Blanc massif.
This tunnel makes it possible to do either the north half or the south half of the Tour du Mont Blanc. To help you choose which side you do, we will say that the south half has more huts and is a little more wild, while the north half spends more time in civilization and has more hotel options. You can find the
timetable and prices for this bus online. As this is an external link, please let us know if it does not work.
Take a cable car down into Courmayeur from the Restaurante Maison Vieille