The trail on day 6 started out in the city center of Courmayeur, moving through a residential neighborhood for a while. Turns out, they had gotten the last room in this lodge. We had actually expected it, because, believe it or not, we obsessed about the forecast. Le Tour du Mont Blanc (TBM) est le sentier le plus fréquenté de Haute Savoie, qui passe aussi en Suisse et en Italie. Remember, we won’t go into details with our chosen campsites in this post. It seemed so close but stayed out of reach for soooo long. That brings the total amount of days needed up to 12. One thing that we have thought about a lot since coming back from the TMB is how we never seemed capable of enjoying ourselves. We just wanted to relax, so that is exactly what we did. Soon after passing the campsite, we started regretting our decision. We are slow hikers ourselves, and we were carrying a lot of weight, so we were targeting the far end of that spectrum. Writing this, it’s been quite a while since we hiked the TMB (or part of it), and by now, we have realized what caused our issues. On the TMB, we had plenty of days above 8-10 hours. Walking for the day: 6-7h ↑1,000 m ↓1,050m; Overnight in Caf de Tour refuge, dormitory rooms, half board They came from our own tent, right below our ears, actually, as our sleeping mat decided to delaminate in a dramatic fashion. To pick Hotel de la Forclaz was a mistake. The busiest times on the trail are the summer holidays in mid-July and August. We didn’t think about it at the time, but taking public transportation from Val Ferret to Champex actually meant we skipped TWO stages of the TMB. We’re not ashamed to say it: We underestimated the TMB. About an hour later, we reached the valley floor, quickly found the campsite, and pitched our tent. The route of the Tour du Mont Blanc is used for an annual ultramarathon event called the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. It was like drinking a magic potion, and we were back to our old selves in no time. There were campsites down there, and although it was the safe choice, it would make the following day much tougher. They were also sleeping in tents, and when we spoke to them in the morning, they too had no idea where to pitch it tonight. If you want to follow the traditional route, buy the Cicerone guidebook. The weather had improved, and we could glimpse the sun and the blue sky through the canopy. So far, we have written the following other articles related to our experiences on the Tour du Mont Blanc hike and in Chamonix valley: Camping the Tour du Mont Blanc: This post talks about where and how to camp on the TMB, going through all the campsites we used ourselves and recommend. At this point, what we had seen and achieved was enough for us. If you are one of them, day 1 shouldn’t be too tough. We enjoyed it, at times, and we had some killer views that we will always remember. Later we will reach the Val Ferret, guarded by Dent du Géant and Grandes Jorasses before finally turning … We arrived on an absolutely stunning day, with plenty of sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. We were miserable. Here we would change to a regional connection carrying us to the sizable Italian city of Aosta. We did do a tiny bit of walking this day because once we got to Champex, we had to get to our campsite, Relais d’Arpette. A link can also be made with the walkers' Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. Hike Switzerland, France, and Italy on a 10-day adventure through the Swiss Alps. It turns out that before we went on our trip, we had mostly been reading overly positive blog posts about the experience. Don’t give up on this bucket list adventure after reading our post! It is considered one of the classic long-distance hiking trails. Lucky them. Whether you have a different mindset about cheating or not, you will get a realistic picture of what kind of situations you can expect on the trek. Walking over the Col de la Balme and back to France with fantastic views of the Mont Blanc and Aiguille Verte, you will have the option of two alternative routes for the descent to Le Tour. The Tour du Mont Blanc features in the World’s top ten 'must do' treks and it's not hard to understand why as this trek is outstanding with amazing views day after day. It seems the TMB was pulling a final trick on us. That didn’t matter much to us though, because we would only get out for 10 minutes at the station changing into a Swiss bus. Time: 7.5 hoursDistance: 21 km / 13 milesLowest point: 1.014 m / 3,326 feetHighest point: 1.798 m / 5,899 feetAscent: 818 m / 2,684 feetDescent: 1.007 m / 3,304 feet. Usually, there are even designated free camping spots along the Tour du Mont Blanc marked with signs of “Aire de Bivouac.” Many, but not all, of these designated wild camping spots even have a water source and toilets. Instead, we went on some proper sightseeing around Chamonix, having a blast. The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the great treks of the European Alps, guiding hikers on a 170.0km circuit through three spectacular countries around the Mont Blanc massif. We had conquered Rysy in the High Tatras (the highest peak in Poland) as well as traversed the Icelandic Highlands carrying heavy backpacks filled to the brim with food and equipment. This realization, sparked by the awesome trail runners of the Tor des Geant, would help us tremendously over the coming days. The Tour du Mont Blanc leads through peaceful alpine pastures up to the Col de la Seigne Pass (2,516 m / 8,255 ft) where you will cross the border into Italy. Add to that a pair of destroyed legs from the Fenetre d’Arpette beast yesterday, and you got yourself a dangerous cocktail. The downhill section of the afternoon was tough on our knees, but nowhere near as tough as the ascent. We had spotted a campsite and decided to opt for the safe choice. This was our first small taste of the beautiful natural landscape on the TMB. We were bummed out, though. We recommend you do that if you get the chance. We had never heard about that one before, but rightly so because it turned out to be quite a hole. As a token of appreciation, we will send you a free 25-page PDF guide on getting the best possible deals on flight tickets. We weren’t able to get it replaced then and there, so the problem was pushed to Chamonix. Walking all day to reach the top of a mountain just isn’t very exciting when there is nothing to see up there. On the plus side, when you’ve had a long and miserable day like we had, you sleep like a baby. Your email address will not be published. Unfortunately, fulfilling those dreams come at a cost, especially given it includes a section in Switzerland which is the most expensive country in Europe for tourists. Seemingly, we were the only ones wanting to go to Switzerland because the bus was completely empty. For us, poor campers, though, it is another story. There was nothing to do but just take things as they came and stay positive. full guide to everything there is to see and do in this surprisingly charming town, try out paragliding for the very first time, 15 Super Mega Awesome Day Trips From London, The 7 Best Short Treks in Nepal For Your First Himalaya Trekking Adventure, Hiking in Iceland – 12 Trails to Satisfy Your Wanderlust, The Day Kia Piloted A Cessna Around A Snow-Capped Mountain in New Zealand. It is not. The Tour du Mont Blanc is bursting with epic alpine scenery—glaciers, mountains, rivers, lakes, meadows and wildlife. The day started as the previous day had ended. It was filmed during our TMB hike in September 2019, and we think it captures the essence of the trip quite well. We were dragging ourselves through it and honestly thought we might not make it. The TMB trek is not going to be easy, and there are probably going to be plenty of days without any mountain views whatsoever. It was lucky that we took that approach because it seems the locals had been a tad optimistic in their time estimate. Your email address will not be published. If you are in a hurry, or just don’t like reading, then check out our travel video below. It was time to go, Italy wouldn’t wait for us. On the TMB, the weight of our backpacks really got to us. We had nothing left to shoot with, and we were content with that. About half an hour further on, just before getting to Col de la Croix, there was a small refuge called Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme, which we, well, took refuge in. There were so many switchbacks on this day, we couldn’t keep count. That we had it good. Usual start points are Les Houches in the Chamonix valley or Les Contamines in the Montjoie valley (in France), Courmayeur from the Italian side, and either Champex or a point near Martigny in Switzerland.  It is also the route of an annual mountain marathon in which the men's winner normally covers the entire distance in less than 22 hours (typically less than 26 for female competitors). Let’s say this up front: There are plenty of possibilities! Camp along the route to save as much as $50 per day, but spend at least a few nights in mountain huts and inns to immerse yourself in the local flavor. We didn’t even mind when the weather started acting up again. On the TMB, you pretty much need to hike 1,000 meters up, and 1,000 meters down each day, and it cannot be stressed enough how tough that is. Technically, there are ten sections that enable you to complete the hike. It was a super tough day, but we were well aware of this fact beforehand. The hike was an absolute joy, and we enjoyed every moment of it. Again, this is exactly why we have decided to share our personal trip report – to give you a true feel from real travelers. It circles the Mont Blanc massif, covering a distance of roughly 170 kilometres (110 mi) with 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of ascent/descent and passes through parts of Switzerland, Italy and France. We were also happy that the weather held up so that we got to try out paragliding for the very first time. The weather forecast a couple of days into the future looked really promising, so we would rather save our energy for when there was a chance of real mountain views. The Tour du Mont Blanc passes through France, Italy and Switzerland and is Europe's finest Alpine hike. Beta Fly into Paris and hop a train to Les Houches, the small ski village where you start following yellow diamonds stamped "TMB." Some of these take the intrepid walker onto paths requiring greater fitness, awareness and skill. Mont Blanc Tours & Trips. We answer questions such as “when is the best time to visit?” and “can you wild camp on the TMB?”. We knew the second day would likely be tough, and since we had cheated in the morning, we felt we should cover some more ground. If you, like the majority of people, decide to sleep in refuges you won’t have to worry about the first 2 points. However, for the future, we will look at changing our approach. This spectacular overlook brings you impressively close to famous peaks such as Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, Noire de … Things might have been different if we had been better prepared, but we weren’t. We are just trying to explain our personal choices and why it made sense to us. Experience of walking in mountain country is vital and, because mountain weather can change very rapidly, participants on the Tour du Mont Blanc should be suitably equipped. When you are completely exhausted, fighting just to keep going, you aren’t always able to enjoy the beautiful views. Up went our tent in the large grass field right next to the tourist office. We might even have glimpsed a thin slice of blue skies. Time: 6.5 hoursDistance: 12 km / 7.5 milesLowest point: 1.540 m / 5,052 feetHighest point: 2.503 m / 8,212 feetAscent: 813 m / 2,667 feetDescent: 953 m / 3,127 feet. Of course, we would never actually do that, but you get the point. The traditional route starts in the little cozy French town of Chamonix, taking you through Italy and Switzerland before returning to France. The atmosphere was incredibly Swiss-like. We raced down on the other side of the pass, and the mountain offered good shelter from the elements. If we thought we were tired, wet, and hungry earlier, it was nothing compared to how we felt now. Before our self guided Tour du Mont Blanc hike in September 2019, we felt we were in relatively good shape. A few days prior, our Therm-a-rest sleeping mat had exploded on us, almost literally. Am Wanderweg der Tour du Mont-Blanc auf einer Seehöhe von 2365 m, am Col de La Seigne, Val Veny – Courmayeur gelegen, ist die Casermetta ein Zentrum für Information und gebietsbezogene Sensibilisierung . Of course, it was. This was definitely not why we had wanted to hike the TMB! You'll discover an Alpine village and rest in cozy inns on Mont Blanc. The trek continued along a high ridge, towards the famous Refugio Bonatti, and featured panoramic mountain views across from the Val Ferret valley below. It marked the first time on the TMB that we actually got lost. Autumn on the Mont Blanc Massif September. The History of the Tour du Mont Blanc. We weren’t even remotely prepared for the amazing sight that met us up there. After Les Contamines, there is a long flat section, passing by Les Pontets campground.