Six reasons to hike the TMB

Views across the Mont Blanc massifs from the Grand Balcon Sud route in Chamonix
Grand Balcon Sud route above Chamonix

The Tour de Mont Blanc (TMB) is a multi-day hike around the Mont Blanc massif that passes through France, Italy, and Switzerland. When hiking the entire TMB loop, most guidebooks advise taking 10 days to complete it, to factor in shorter days or rest days. If you don’t have 10 days to spare, you can condense it down into longer days, or you can hike sections of it at different points in time instead. How quickly you can hike the TMB will depend on your fitness level and availability. 

  1. 1. The views
  2. 2. Immerse yourself in nature
  3. 3. Take a peek at Mont Blanc’s summit
  4. 4. Accessible hiking no matter your fitness
  5. 5. A sense of accomplishment
  6. 6. Time to reconnect to yourself
  7. What to expect when hiking the TMB

Here are our top six reasons why we think you should hike the TMB:

1. The views

Rising to a mid-mountain elevation, the TMB grants you incredible views across Alpine valleys, mountain peaks, and glaciers. In late spring and early summer wildflowers are abundant making the views even more spectacular. Following the TMB path, you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains, without the technical difficulty of getting up too high.

2. Immerse yourself in nature

Spend your hike immersed in Alpine landscapes, surrounded by nature. Although it’s a popular route, so you’ll never be alone too long, there are moments of feeling totally immersed and connected to nature.

3. Take a peek at Mont Blanc’s summit

If you follow the traditional anti-clockwise route from Chamonix, then you’ll get views of Mont Blanc’s peaks from day one, and then as you head away around the massif, won’t be greeted with it again until the last few legs of the journey. Hope for sunny weather, so that as you’re walking the Grand Balcon Sud route in Chamonix, you’ll be greeted with arguably the most spectacular views of the entire hike.

4. Accessible hiking no matter your fitness

Despite being a challenging hike, the TMB is very accessible for all hiking levels. You can hike the entire route, or skip more challenging parts with gondolas, chairlifts, and buses. You can also stick to the shorter, guide-book recommended legs of the route, which will give you plenty of time to tackle each uphill and reach your mountain hut with time to spare. 

5. A sense of accomplishment

Overall, there’s around 10,000 m (32,800 ft) of elevation gain, not exactly a walk in the park! Once you’ve completed the entire loop or even a part of it, you’ll have an amazing sense of achievement, and plenty of stories to take home with you. 

6. Time to reconnect to yourself

We couldn’t write a post without getting in a little bit of mindfulness and the TMB provides bucketloads. Your goal for each day is to get from A to B and navigate any obstacles that might come up between – such as checking the route, sheltering from rain, or just getting to your mountain hut before dinner’s served. It’s a great practice in staying in the present moment and letting go of life’s daily problems. 

What to expect when hiking the TMB

Typically, you hike between mountain huts, which need booking in advance to ensure a spot. This can range from fairly basic accommodation to comfortable hotels, depending on where you base your stay. Bear in mind that mountain huts in Switzerland are generally more pricey and will be paid for in Swiss Francs, rather than Euros. 

Mountain huts are usually set up with dormitories that vary in size. You’ll often get the choice to pick a smaller one, or even a private room for a slightly higher price. Dinner is often served at 7 pm and lights out is usually around 9 pm, mainly because everyone is very tired and there’s not a lot else to do past then!

It’s a good idea to book well in advance and be generous with your timings to ensure you reach your accommodation before it gets dark. Unfortunately booking so far in advance makes it difficult to account for weather issues, but it’s the only way to secure yourself a spot. For the most part, a decent set of waterproofs and dry bags will help you out if you get caught out in the rain, and there is transport available at some points which can help you make up for any lost time if necessary.

If we’ve managed to convince you to hike the TMB, please let us know if you have any other questions, and what kind of information might be helpful for your planning!

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