How Much It Cost Us to Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc

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At first glance, the Tour du Mont Blanc might seem physically daunting, but many might find it even more financially intimidating. Traversing three Western European countries and staying in the many “quaint” (read: pricey) resort towns along the way? Buying enough food to fuel yourself through day after day of long miles on the trail? Doesn’t seem cheap, does it?

The beautiful thing about the TMB, however, is that it’s pretty much up to you how expensive you want to make it. There are hikers who choose to spend more to take guided tours, stay in private rooms at upscale hotels and huts, and buy all of their meals at restaurants along the way. Others take the extremely frugal route, camping as much as possible, cooking their own meals, and minimizing expenses wherever they can.

We tend to travel on the frugal side, as we enjoy the simplicity and authentic experiences that go hand in hand with this type of travel. That being said, we’re not claiming the most hardcore budget travelers out there; we certainly allow ourselves to indulge in things that bring value to our experience, such as a post-hike beer or a hotel room on our rest day.

Everything you need to to plan your TMB trek – all in one place.

Whether you prefer mountain huts or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

From custom itineraries and GPS maps created specifically for you we can help you plan your perfect Tour du Mont Blanc adventure!

Our downloadable Guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc is ultimate resource to help you plan your perfect trip.

Guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc

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Our 50+ page downloadable guide has everything you need to know to plan your Tour du Mont Blanc adventure. From three unique itineraries with custom GPS data to a full training plan, our guide is the quintessential handbook for trekking this incredible trail. Each section provides in-depth information and resources, including:

  • Stage-by-stage itineraries
  • Detailed maps for every stop
  • Complete 9-day, 11-day, and 12-day TMB itineraries
  • Custom GPS data for the entire route & all three itineraries
  • Offline map access for the entire route
  • Lodging recommendations
  • Getting to/from the TMB
  • The ultimate packing list
  • A 15-week training plan

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Below we’ve outlined what we spent on our Tour du Mont Blanc adventure. We hope that by sharing this information, our fellow hikers will be able to plan and budget more accurately for their own trip. Additionally, you might find that an experience like the TMB is more within reach than you originally thought, if you just make a few intentional decisions when planning your travel. So grab your tent and get out there!

Refuge du Col de Balme.

Accommodation

We chose to camp as much as possible along the Tour du Mont Blanc and we highly recommend it to others for a number of reasons. First, many of the campgrounds were quite luxurious, with amenities such as hot showers and wifi. We also preferred the privacy of our tent versus the dorm-style sleeping arrangements of the huts. Sleeping outdoors in such spectacular alpine surroundings became a highlight of our trip. And of course, the price of camping can’t be beat! There are a few places along the TMB where there are no official campgrounds and wild camping is not permitted. For those situations, we opted to stay in the mountain huts, which offered amazing ambiance and delicious meals for a reasonable price. We also stayed in a hotel for our rest day in Courmayeur, which proved to be a wonderful treat after roughing it for so many days. Here’s a breakdown of our accommodation spending:

  • Average Hut Price: €54 (per person)
  • Average Campsite Price: €12 (per person)
  • Hotel in Chamonix for before and after the hike: €85 (per night)
  • Hotel in Courmayeur for rest day: €132 (per night)

Read more: TMB Accommodation and Refuge Guide

 

Interested in finding the best places to stay on the TMB? We can help by creating a custom itinerary for your trip!
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Transit

  • Bus from Geneva to Chamonix: €43 (round trip)
  • Bus from Chamonix to Les Houches: €3 (each way)
  • Shuttle Bus from Les Chapieux to Refuge Des Mottets: €3

Flights:

We strategically used credit card points and miles in order to fly from Denver to Geneva for nearly free. Read more about how we did it here.

Airline Taxes and Fees: $98.63 + 60,000 United Airlines miles (per person)

Food and Drink

You may be backpacking through rugged mountains, but that doesn’t necessitate spending a small fortune on fancy freeze-dried meals. We preferred to stock up on lightweight, nutritious, and tasty dry goods from the local grocery stores to fuel us along the TMB. We tended to eat ramen noodles or local cheese, sausage, and bread for most dinners. For lunches, we snacked on a trail mix blend that we made from salted peanuts and raisins, which we purchased copious amounts of whenever we found them at reasonable prices along the route. For breakfast, we ate muesli with powdered milk and instant coffee. Occasionally, we’d pick up some fresh fruit from a local shop. These foods kept us feeling full throughout long days of hiking, and we found them to be more enjoyable than those space-age style backpacker meals. Plus, they were a fraction of the price!

On average, we spent about €8-€12 per person, per day on our food and drink.

Of course, we allowed ourselves a few treats along the way, too. Here’s what you can expect to pay, on average, for the following indulgences:

  • Beer: €6
  • Bottle of Wine: €10
  • Baguette: €2
  • Breakfast/Lunch Mountain Hut: €15
  • Dinner at Mountain Hut: €25
  • Coffee/Tea: €3
  • Sandwich: €10

Miscellaneous

As you can see, we happily teetered between dirtbag and deluxe on our TMB holiday. While there’s no escaping the high costs of some essentials, in general, one can experience the Tour du Mont Blanc on a modest budget (and enjoy some excellent wine and cheese while doing so). Obviously, you’ll also want to factor in the cost of hiking gear that you’ll need to purchase prior to setting off on your trek. Check out our packing list to get an idea of what you might need to purchase ahead of time. Also, our Backpacking Gear on a Budget article has some helpful ideas for keeping your costs low when putting together your backpacking kit. Whether you choose to splurge or keep it simple, we feel confident you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime.

What’s Next?

Ready to keep planning your TMB adventure? Be sure to read our entire series on the Tour du Mont Blanc to learn everything you’ll need to know to prepare for this incredible adventure!

If you’re looking for one-on-one support in preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc, we can help! Learn more about what we offer. 

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9 thoughts on “How Much It Cost Us to Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc”

  1. My husband and I are looking at camping the TMB this summer (July 2019). This article is a great resource to help us budget our trip! We wondered if you have a list of the campsites you stayed at, and if you had to book them in advance.

    Reply
  2. Could you please provide some guidance on when to buy food and how much water to carry. I’m starting in Courmayer. I have purchased your guide.

    If I stay at the campgrounds you recommend, did you purchase the food you needed for the day in the morning? Did you ever carry food for more than 1 day?

    Did you fill up on water for the day in the morning or were there some wild camping nights you needed water for more than one day? What was the maximum water you carried (3L)?

    Thanks! A great article!

    Reply
    • Hi Allee,
      In terms of food, we generally recommend carrying about 2-3 days’ worth of food with you. There are shops in most of the places you’ll pass through (Champex, Les Contamines, Les Chapieux, Trient, La Fouly) where you can restock, but the options and opening hours can be somewhat limited. It also depends on how you prefer to travel. If you want to purchase meals from restaurants and huts along the route, you could carry less food. Many of the campgrounds sell snacks and bread in the mornings, as well. In terms of water, it is pretty abundant on the trail. We never had to carry more than one day’s worth of water, and found that we could refill at huts and in towns at least once a day. We typically carried about 2L of water per person, and we usually refilled 1L at least once per day. So I’d say that 3L is a good maximum to carry. However, we did not wild camp at all along the route, opting instead to stay in huts in the places where camping wasn’t permitted. If you plan on wild camping near a hut, you can fill up using their tap, but if not you may want to bring extra water. Look at the route and see how far until the next town or hut, and plan based on that. Please let us know if you have other questions and have a fabulous hike!

      Reply
  3. Dear Emily,
    Your webpage is really useful and easy to find all necessary information!!! It will be very hard to find this information if not your page. I am so happy I found it. I have a question about the prices of the campsites, so if we are two and we want to carry our tent, we need to pay both Price adult / day and Price tent/day? Do we need to pay price/electricity? I need to accept it is quite costly.
    Is it possible to stay for free near the huts?
    With kind regards,
    Thank you a lot,
    Nat

    Reply
    • Hi Nat,
      We’re so glad you are finding it useful. In terms of pricing for the campsites, they typically charge per person. So for example, you may pay between €7-10 for each of you (€14-20 total), but they won’t also charge you for your tent. When we hiked the TMB, we did not have to pay for electricity at any of the campgrounds we visited. The camping is costly, but it usually includes a hot shower, electricity, and sometimes wifi. It is not possible to stay for free near the huts. None of the huts officially allow camping nearby, although I have heard of others wild camping near Refuge La Felgere. It is also free to camp at Les Chapieux.

      Have a great hike!
      Emily & Ian

      Reply

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