Inesa and Rodrigo team up to share their top tips for trekking Tour du Mont Blanc, Europe’s classic alpine trail.
Here’s their essential guide to trekking Tour du Mont Blanc, all you need to know:
BEST TIME TO GO
Due of snow fall, remember you are the heart of the Alps, prime skiing region, it is only possible to trek Mont Blanc in the Summer months (June to September, included).
Our itinerary follows the classic trail for 1 week, taking you from Les Contamines to Chamonix.
You will be hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc classic route anti-clockwise but it can also be done in the other direction so make sure you follow the signs in the right direction.
The trail is very well marked and you will find all the information you need on the markings, including name of the stage, distance and how many hours it will take (which is pretty accurate).
The mountain resort of Chamonix has been welcoming visitors since Victorian times and that old-school charm is still palpable. Did you know the town hosted the first Winter Olympics back in 1924?
Chamonix has been a hub of Alpine adventures whether skiing or hiking for quite a while. It was back in the 1760s when Swiss scientist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure offered a reward for the successful ascent to the town’s most famous mountain: Mont Blanc, the highest in Europe at 4,807m.
But don’t worry, you won’t be trekking up Mont Blanc but the valleys around it.
Tour du Mont Blanc is a challenging trek, it is 95kms long and you will have approximately 10kms of ascending and descending in one week, hiking up and down alpine valleys. The views are well worth the effort though!
Accommodation varies depending on the stage, while resorts such as Chamonix and Courmayeur have a wide range of hotels, some of the stops along the Tour du Mont Blanc are right in the mountain without road access so the only accommodation available will be rustic mountain lodges (rifugio or auberge).
These traditional mountain lodges are designed to provide shelter, food and cover all basic necessities for hikers. Most hikers will stay in shared dorms, as private rooms are really limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note, at TrekkingBug.com we always request private rooms if available but they can’t be guaranteed at the time of booking.
Remember some of these lodges are located in very remote areas and even supplies can’t be delivered by road but weekly by helicopter and sometimes by donkey. This will also mean your luggage will be transferred to the next village and you’ll have to pack essentials for the night. It is all part of the Tour du Mont Blanc experience!
Waterproof gear, as weather can be changeable.
Walking poles to take weight off your legs and give you extra support.
Wear layers and pack spare shoes if you can fit them in your backpack.
Our Tour du Mont Blanc trek package includes luggage transfers, so your luggage will be at your accommodation at the end of your hiking day. However it is worth noting the day you are hiking to Rifugio Elisabetta, you will have to pack your essentials for the following day also, as luggage can’t reach the Rifugio (as there is no road access). Your luggage will be transferred directly to Courmayeur.
Crampons or gaiters are not needed.
The hotels will have more of a range, while the lodges generally have a set menu for all the guests, generally hearty Savoyard mountain dishes. However dietary requirements such as vegan, coeliac or vegetarian will be catered for, they should be specified at the time of booking so the refuges can stock suitable supplies.
Packed lunches are generally available from the hotels and lodges. Buy supplies in the bigger towns as once you hit the higher parts of the mountain trails you won’t have access to shops.
The best airport to fly to is Geneva Airport. To get to Les Contamines, your starting point, you can share a minibus (1 hour journey approximately), take the train or the bus from Geneva to St Gervais (1hr30) and a bus from St Gervais to Les Contamines (15 min approximately). It is worth noting Geneva Airport has a train station right beside it and there are many private companies offering transfers by minibus.
Inesa’s favorite part of the whole trek was the stay at Refugio Elisabetta, because of its scenic location and wide selection of Italian food. The scenic location, outdoor space and great food make it a very popular lunch spot even for hikers who are not staying at the lodge. The walking day from Elisabetta to Courmayeur was, for her, the highlight of the tour, as this is the day with the best close up view of Mont Blanc.
*Additional information about the daily sections can be found in your holiday pack.
For more information about our Tour du Mont Blanc trek or to book your trip, talk to our travel specialists