take your time – the planning isn’t easy

Tour du Mont Blanc planning is tricky I’m not going to lie! The first thing you need to decide is ‘how’ you are are going to trek it.

There are several different ways to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. Guided, self guided or independently. Once you’ve decided to hike this epic trail, this is the first decision you will need to make.


The Tour du Mont Blanc trail is very well marked. It’s almost impossible to get lost apart from in bad weather. If you have an adventurous spirit, can read a map, use a compass, GPS device (or app) and take suggested safety precautions then there’s no reason why you can’t trek the Tour du Mont Blanc independently – the biggest issue is booking the refuges which is why many trekkers choose a self-guided tour so they trek by themselves but have the added advantage of eliminating the stress of hut reservations.

If you would prefer a guided tour, perhaps you’re trekking solo and want the company of a group, or the invaluable knowledge of the area that a local guide can bring, and have the budget, then there are plenty of excellent tour companies offering the guided TMB experience.

The third option of self guided assisted tours is relatively new. These packages take the stress out of planning your self guided tour but do still come with a slightly higher price. As well as being able to plan & discuss your itinerary, the company books all your accommodation and plans your trip but you will still walk solo on the trek. Extras such as meeting up in Chamonix upon arrival, having 24hr contact during the trek, detailed hiking notes plus fat map GPX files & being able to booking hiking poles, airport & baggage transfers can make this a much easier option. My 2024 self guided itineraries are now available to book with Adventure Base, a local Chamonix based company who I work with exclusively for readers that want to take the ease out of planning and booking the Tour du Mont Blanc.

If you require assistance with planning for 2024 either as an independent trekker or to learn more about the trail before booking a self guided, I offer private consultations of 60 or 90 minutes via zoom. You can learn more about these sessions here.

We discuss all the options of the advantages and disadvantages of hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc self guided (solo or assisted) or guided in our article here. Read this if you are still unsure which way you’d prefer to trek.

If you plan to hike the trail self guided independently then read on.

mont blanc circuit

Planning your self guided Tour du Mont Blanc

Planning the Tour du Mont Blanc is no easy feat. Factoring in so many unknown aspects makes it extremely difficult for first timers to plan a self guided route. It was for me.

To get a better understanding of the route I hand drew the entire route out on a huge roll of IKEA paper, added all the stages, worked out the distances, elevation and passes and added comments and advice garnered from a million different blog posts. I was trekking with kids so it was vital I tried to piece together the information before setting off to make sure it was safe & doable for all of us.

Questions I pained over, such as how long each stage would take? How much would a full backpack slow me down, hamper the experience and should I get a luggage transfer? How much water would I need to carry each day? What were the best views – were there any rubbish sections I could skip?

Hopefully the sheer number of posts I’ve written below will help you plan your self guided Tour du Mont Blanc adventure a lot easier than it was for me and many other hikers in the past. Of course, there are plenty of guided tours if you don’t feel confident to tread out on the trail solo or there are also lots of self guided tours you can book that organise your itinerary and book your accommodation for you which is another great option. Having said that both obviously add to the cost of trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc. If you have an ounce of adventure in your bones and know how to read a map, it’s easy to trek the well marked Tour du Mont Blanc yourself.

mont blanc trek
general tips & advice