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“Tour Mont Blanc - An Alpine Adventure” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc
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Owner description: Multi-day circular trek around Mont Blanc, passing through France, Italy and Switzerland.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Tour Mont Blanc - An Alpine Adventure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

The advertisement read:

“Hiking nearly 140 km with only a light pack as you circumnavigate the sparkling glaciers of Mont Blanc (4808m), Western Europe's highest peak, you'll cross borders by foot and experience challenging but spectacular hiking in the Alps. Seven valleys radiating out into France, Italy, and Switzerland accompany this immense, glacier-clad massif”.

After reading this attractive introduction to the Tour Mont Blanc (TMB), we both knew that it was now time to attempt this iconic walk. When you’re in your late 50s you start thinking about doing these challenging walks before you get much older.

We flew to Geneva, a mini bus transfer to Les Houches (France), and began our walking journey. We chose the 12 days itinerary to walk the TMB. Mid June to Mid September are the best months to travel.

As we dipped into a new valley each day, we savoured the changes in language, landscape, architecture, and cuisine. Each valley is separated by a col (mountain pass) which always seemed to take an eternity to reach. We walked from village to village along high trails into dream-like landscapes. Out of 12 days, we had 3 which were windy and wet. The others were crowned by clear blue skies.

Our cultural and architectural delights ranged from the lovely medieval city of Courmayeur, Italy to the French resort town of Chamonix and to quaint alpine villages in Switzerland where we enjoyed delicious, hearty meals including local breads, cheeses and wines.

Lodging included two nights in alpine refuges with shared facilities and the rest in comfortable hotels and auberges. It is advisable (almost mandatory) to reserve your accommodation. Along the TMB you will find huts, gites (halts) and hotels where you will be served a meal and a breakfast. Dormitories (Dortoirs) are equipped with blankets. If you plan to stay in one, take a sleeping bag liner.

All the cols presented us with spectacular views, but I would have to give first prize to walking along the Grand Balcony above the Chamonix Valley. Every day we were ascending and descending at least 500m, with our last day, a descent of 1400m, so good walking preparation is necessary.

Being summer, there were lots of walkers on the TMB, however this was not a turn-off, as we met many fascinating people from around the world with their own travel stories. One middle-aged Dutch couple had previous walked the TMB, and this time they were doing it in reverse (clock-wise). There was a Japanese family, including grandparents who were out for a day walk to Col Tricot! The TMB reminded me very much of when we walked the Camino Frances!

There is a section of the walk south of Tres-les-Champs which is named “Passage Dangereuse” due to the 45 minutes of climbing up and along a series of metal ladders which was well worth doing. We utilised teleferiques (cable cars) when possible to avoid crowded and uninteresting parts of the route.

So, if you’re over 50 and thinking of walking one of Europe’s most popular alpine trails – now is the time to do it!

Good Walking... Almis

Visited August 2012
24 Thank almis1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 reviews from our community

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
44 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Petit Tour du Mont Blanc”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

My husband and I did half the hike -- a four day hike from Les Houches to Cormayeur. The hike is very challenging -- each day involves hitting a pass before descending into a valley -- but very beautiful. We took the train to Les Houches from Paris, and then from Cormayeur we took the bus back to Les Houches. We had hoped to take the cable car all the way across the massif from Cormayeur to Les Houches, but it was closed at the time. Another way to get to the hike is to fly to Geneva, which may be a better option.

Visited June 2012
6 Thank Neubz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Almost perfect trek”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012 via mobile

Just completed seven day hike around Mt Blanc with mule and fabulous guide, Nicole. Group of twelve spent long, beautiful days following Nicole and Oscar around the alps and finishing each day in refuges, complete with beers, wine and usually great food. Were however, very disappointed with Elisabetta refuge. Two of our group opted to stay in dormitories throughout the trip and the one at Elisabetta refuge was like a Battery hen cage. Three levels of pine in a small room. If you were on the top level, you couldn't straighten your lega, nor lift your head without hitting your head on the ceiling. You shared a single mattress with another person, that you do or don't know! In our case, the girls opted to sleep on the floor in a corridor, rather than sleep at close proximity to very large unknown men. Two toilets didn't work so there were three toilets for all of the women and one cold shower. Management wre not interested in listening at all. Our guide was also put into the Battery Hen area. Food here was disappointing. However, other refuges were terrific with very friendly management.

10 Thank Gayle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
178 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“A great mountain experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2012

We have just returned from a 9 day Tour du Mont Blanc following the classic semi circular route around the massif of Mont Blanc starting in Les Houches. I will not write this as a travel guide as that is not really the point of this website. If you are English speaking you can do no better than buy the guide book by Kev Reynolds called "Tour of Mont Blanc" and published by Cicerone for about £15. You will also need a map for the planning stages and the most convenient - which shows is all on one sheet is the Rando Editions A1 1:50.000 Pays du Mont Blanc.

This really is a magnificent route around the high mountains with the added pleasure of visiting France - Italy and Switzerland all in one long hike. Three of us did it without a guide and very much enjoyed the comfort provided by the huts and auberges where we stayed. I managed to have a hot shower every night - how soft is that for a mountaineer? The huts provided dinner bed and breakfast of a very good standard generally - and so despite the strenuous days we came back the same weight as at the start.

Here are some essential tips - First - keep your rucksack as light as possible, ideally 15 pounds and no more than 20 including water. Second - it is hard work - most days there is a high coll to climb which may take 3 or 4 hours and with a pack and on a hot day that is challenging - so do carry out some training before you go.

We flew Easyjet to Geneva from UK (about £120 return) and booked a minibus from Chamexpress (Google it) for about £25 each way from Geneva airport to Chamonix.

This is a great adventure well within the reach of anyone who is reasonably fit and able. I would endorse the earlier comment about small children. We found one family trying to take two small children across a stream in torrent - both sides of the stream were snow covered and it was a risky thing to do.

Visited June 2012
22 Thank penarthguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterlooville, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Fabulous walk but don't take very young children as steep drop offs”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2011

We did this as self guided walk in 11 days walking - children were older but not all teenagers-and had great fun- the refuges are superb! I have always booked long distance path accommodation myself but this time I booked through Alpine Exploratory. They were largely good The 5 stars are for the walk not them - they would get 3 stars) as they messed up one night of accommodation. But they did offer a full refund on that night and say it happens rarely. I would get the Cicerone guide and book accommodation from that. I am putting separate reviews for the places we stayed under the place names- avoid La Couronne in Argentiere and do stay at Refuges Elisabetta and definitely at Bonnatti! We also liked the Edelweiss in Fouly.

Visited August 2011
9 Thank Jenni025
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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