The Euro Travel Coach Team recently completed the Tour du Mont Blanc. It was a truly amazing experience. The hike was a challenge, both physically and mentally, with incredible rewards including spectacular views, fantastic camaraderie, and the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve achieved a goal you’ve been planning for months and months.
We’ll be posting new blogs on the Tour du Mont Blanc, but it is worth reposting this one, originally written in September 2019, just a few months before we ever heard of coronavirus. The hike described here was the inspiration for us to complete the tour all together. It is something we talked about during lockdowns caused by the pandemic, and dreamed about before we could travel freely again.
The key to making this trip successful is great planning. Plan ahead, book your refuges early in the fall and early in the spring for a tour the following summer. Also, pack light, carry blister bandaids and get your camera ready to take amazing pictures and create memories that will stay with you the rest of your life.
We hope you enjoy this reposting of Chelsea’s blog from her first time in this area.
Four days on the tour du mont blanc
My husband Sam and I live in Bristol, UK, and we typically choose our vacation destinations based on flight price and timing. When we were searching Skyscanner recently for a place to go over the August bank holiday, an inexpensive flight to Geneva popped up that left on a Friday morning and returned on a Tuesday night. We knew it was meant to be! Sam only had to use two days of vacation and we got nearly five full days of travel time. We knew we didn’t want to spend the whole time in Geneva – it’s a beautiful city but it can be expensive and there’s not all that much we wanted to see in the city itself – so we started brainstorming options nearby. We discussed renting a car and checking out the Jura wine region, and exploring the Vanoise Glaciers (both things that I’d still really like to do), before eventually settling on doing a portion of the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). The TMB is a 170 kilometer hiking route that passes through Switzerland, Italy and France, encircling the Mont Blanc massif. The full tour typically takes around 7-10 days to complete. Since we were limited on time (we hiked for three and a half days, and spent our final day in Geneva) we were only able to complete about 1/3 of the route (plus a little detour), from Les Houches to Courmeyeur. It was an incredible way to spend our long weekend!
We used Cicerone’s The Tour of Mont Blanc Complete Two-Way Trekking Guide by Kev Reynolds both in advance of our trip to help plan our schedule and during our time on the trail. It was absolutely invaluable and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the TMB. We stayed at mountain “refuges” while we were on the trail, which are lodges dotted around the TMB which provide beds (most have dorms and private rooms available), water, and meals. We packed everything we needed into two hiking backpacks and carried them with us on the trail. There are companies that will provide luggage transfers, but it does limit where you can stay, as the accommodations must be accessible by car. If possible, I would highly recommend carrying your own pack – pack light and do sink laundry if necessary. You could always store larger luggage in Geneva if you’re incorporating the TMB into a longer European trip.
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