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Tour du Mont Blanc or TMB is considered one of the top hikes you can do in the world. It is also one of the most popular long-distance walks in Europe. It circles the Mont Blanc massif, covering a distance of roughly 170 kilometres (110 mi) with 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of ascent/descent and passes through parts of Switzerland, Italy and France. A classic!
This version is the counter-clockwise version. That's the version most people do in about 11 days.
The most popular start points are:
- Les Houches in the Chamonix valley
- Les Contamines in the Montjoie valley (in France)
- Courmayeur from the Italian side
- Champex in Switzerland
- A point near Martigny in Switzerland
The route passes through seven valleys around the Mont-Blanc massif:
- the Chamonix (or Arve) valley
- Vallee des Glaciers
- Italian Val Veni
- Val Ferret
- Swiss Val Ferret
- Trient valley in Switzerland
The ‘official’ route has changed over the course of the years and many alternatives, or ‘Variantes’, exist to the standard route. Some of these take the intrepid walker onto paths requiring greater fitness, awareness and skill. Others provide less demanding options, which are often quicker than the accepted route, but provide lesser viewpoints onto the mountain ranges.
Plentiful accommodation exists along the entire route, allowing it to be broken into segments to suit any fit person. This takes a variety of forms, from separate bedrooms to large mixed-sex dormitories. Cooked meals are available at most.
The highest points on any variant of the trail are the Col des Fours in France and the Fenêtre d'Arpette in Switzerland, both at an altitude of 2,665 m (8,743 ft). This is not high enough to cause altitude sickness for most people, nevertheless the trail provides a tough physical challenge. Experience of walking in mountain country is vital and, because mountain weather can change very rapidly, participants on the Tour du Mont Blanc should be suitably equipped.
Places of interest
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