7 Best TMB Self Guided Tour Planners – 2024

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7 Best TMB Self Guided Tour Planners
My hubby posing like a champ for me near Bonatti…he’s such a great model, right?

Say goodbye to the stress of planning and hello to the Tour du Mont Blanc Self-Guided adventure of a lifetime!

Despite being arguably the best trekking trail in Europe, planning the TMB is a real hassle. This is the purpose of a “self-guided planner”.

It’s for people that don’t need or want a human guide walking with them, but get overwhelmed (or don’t have time) to piece together the route, in-sequence individual hut and hotel reservations that are extremely limited during the hiking season.

Author’s TL;DR: No time to read the whole article? Here’s my top recommendation based upon personal experience. But keep scrolling for the entire list if you want to learn more 👎


🥾 Ready to book your TMB self guided hut to hut hike??

Hike your own hike. If you want excellent communication and peace of mind, then my personal recommendation is to choose Alpenventures Unguided Hiking Tours. You’ll have all the information and resources you need at your fingertips for the hike, so you can spend less time planning and more time enjoying the stunning beauty of the Alps.

See Dates to Hike TMB (5-12 Days) HERE

Is it more expensive than camping or individually booking your own trip? Yes. Is it worth it? Depends on how much you love spreadsheets and conversing via email in multiple languages.

This is a variant of the TMB we took using the La Gorge gondola. This was probably the best view of Mt Blanc our entire trip. And we only ran into 10 other hikers all day in july ~!

I’ve planned and friend’s and family 5 day TMB hike. And I can confidently say that next time I’ll pay a service to avoid the headache.

My list of recommended self-guided tour planners can help you with:

You just go and hike your hike and leave the logistics up to the agency.

Save Time: Overall Best TMB Self Guided Tour Planner 👉 Communication

There’s quite a few ways you hike the Tour du Mont Blanc.

👉 There’s even guided tours for those of you that want more local insights (or if the planners are fully booked).

For self-guided planning we love Alpenventures because of the professionalism, communication and never feeling ghosted.

Best for Light Sleepers
10 Day Tour All Private Rooms

10 Day Tour All Private Rooms

  • Relaxed pacing
  • Private rooms available except 1 day
  • Rest day in Courmayeur possible
  • Max distance per day 11.7 miles
Click Here to Read More

What we liked:  The availability of private rooms all but one day is appealing for people that are light sleepers and luggage transportation is possible.

Included:

  • Exclusive access to tours in a navigation app, even when offline
  • Custom eGuidebook containing maps, daily itinerary, accommodation information and more
  • GPX File
  • Carbon offsetting for your tour (1 metric ton per customer)
  • Optional Airport to Airport full service booking
  • Booking and logistics assistance during your tour
Pros
  • All private rooms
  • Rest day in Courmayeur
  • Communication with experts
Cons
  • Some short hiking days
  • Need a lot of vacation days
  • Limited # of guaranteed itineraries
Best for Soaking in the Alps
15 Day Itinerary

15 Day Itinerary

  • No RUSH!
  • Super relaxed pacing
  • Experience the FULL range of the TMB accomodations
  • Rest day in Courmayeur
  • Max distance per day 11.1 miles, some as short as 3.9
Click Here to Read More

What we liked:  Shorter days allowing you time to de-compress and really experience the magic of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Included:

  • Exclusive access to tours in a navigation app, even when offline
  • Custom eGuidebook containing maps, daily itinerary, accommodation information and more
  • GPX File
  • Carbon offsetting for your tour (1 metric ton per customer)
  • Optional Airport to Airport full service booking
  • Booking and logistics assistance during your tour
Pros
  • Mix of refuge, hostel, private rooms
  • Rest day in Courmayeur
  • No rush
Cons
  • Some short hiking days
  • Need a lot of vacation days
Best for Busy People
5 Day Southern Section

5 Day Southern Section

  • Only 5 days, good for shorter vacations
  • Hike through more remote sections
  • Stay in mountain huts and hotels
  • Gondolas available to skip long ascents/descents
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: More rugged and rustic charm with expansive vistas and authentic high elevation passes.

Included:

  • Exclusive access to tours in a navigation app, even when offline
  • Custom eGuidebook containing maps, daily itinerary, accommodation information and more
  • GPX File
  • Carbon offsetting for your tour (1 metric ton per customer)
  • Optional Airport to Airport full service booking
  • Booking and logistics assistance during your tour
Pros
  • Shorter time required
  • More rugged terrain
  • Gondolas available in parts
Cons
  • Only half the trek
  • Mountain huts required for sleeping
  • Luggage transport not as easy

Morgan’s Half TMB Hike Video

However, there are multiple great companies doing this service and it’s a fantastic way to contribute to the “responsible tourism” movement by hiring experts in the hut to hut hiking industry.

The costs of the TMB vary depending on the type of experience you want to have (private rooms, number of days, etc). You’ll have to contact each self-guided planner for a bespoke quote based on your needs, but they are generally in a similar price range.

Do some of you have some recommendations? Head over to our facebook group “Plan Hiking Adventures in Europe” and share your thoughts so we can keep this list up to date.

🪂 Also, do the paragliding in Chamonix before or after, it’s worth it!


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Read until the end where I share a free printable TMB Packing list and a detailed guide to the refuges on the trail.

hiking meme tmb

And final protip: You’ve got to get started early.

7 Best TMB Self Guided Tour Planners

Overall Best Company for Self-Guided Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc hike is the most popular multi-day hiking route in Europe. Think about getting in touch a year in advance of your planned travel.

two women pointing to mt blanc on a hike. both wearing cool hats

1. Alpenventures Unguided: Overall Best for English Speakers

Founded by a native-English speaker, Alpenventures Unguided makes the experience fun and seamless with great customer service. Brittany offers trekking, hiking, via ferrata and various bike tours centered in the Alps. I found it really helpful to get on the phone to learn more about the logistics and ended up happily taking my family on a “hiking vacation”.

This firm is great for finding secluded variants (like the one by the La Gorge gondola), private rooms, and providing maps. They have multiple ways to hike the TMB from a short 4 day to 11 days and everything in between. You can also arrange higher levels of “comfort”, i.e. private rooms.

Listen to the founder’s story here.

Book a Self Guided Tour du Mont Blanc Hike Today 👎🏻

Reviews:

“Brittany and her team enabled us to experience a wonderful trip that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. After substantial online research, I realized that reserving refugios and identifying routes in the Dolomites was too complicated on my own, especially on a tight time frame. I’m so glad I came across Alpenventures and felt confident in the offering after a brief call with Brittany. The service she provided from up front assessing route options, to creating the itinerary, to securing all reservations, and then providing super helpful tools (eguidebook and very user-friendly navigation app with detailed turn by turn directions and tips) was top notch. I highly recommend Alpenventures for anyone interested in a trek of a lifetime ;)”

Michelle, Portland OR



2: Cloud 9 Adventure: Overall Runner Up Tour du Mont Blanc Tour Companies

This Chamonix based company came highly recommended to me via a mountain guide from Chamonix. I wanted to try a fastpacking route and he gave me all the details of how to shorten up the route using gondolas and buses to make the itinerary work.

Us Americans only have so much vacation time! We ended up doing only a section, but this company basically gave me everything I needed to know to DIY it without any form of payment. That’s how you build trust!

tmb
You’ll want to catch some of the gondolas to speed up the painful downhills.

“Cloud 9 Adventure organized a first TMB for our family of five. Everything was perfect, our guide Lindsay was amazing, the accommodations were wonderful, the food was excellent and the trek length (10 days) and degree of difficulty were perfect for our family – challenging but very enjoyable. Emma at Cloud 9 had worked out all the details and organized a marvelous trip which we will always remember!”

Nicola


3: Mont Blanc Treks : Best Chamonix Based

This small business based in Chamonix offers both guided and self-guided trekking experiences on the TMB and is one of the best tour du mont blanc companies. With 5 years experience, they’ve shown they are hungry to provide clients with top notch service and support.

They also offer Monte Rosa, Haute Route and Dolomites planning.

tour du mont blanc hike

“Had a fantastic experience with Mont Blanc Treks. They booked our trip and provided a detailed set of instructions for our self guided trek. The instructions were easy to follow while hiking. The hotels that were booked were excellent, and our rooms in each hotel were very nice with great views. The meals were all very good, including the hotel picnic lunches that were recommended to be ordered for each day’s hike. We felt well taken care of, and had a fantastic time. We also were provided with a packing list that we followed, and there was not a single thing that we packed that we didn’t use, and not a single thing that we thought we were missing. Our trekking instructions provided information about daily distances, elevation gains, elevation losses (descents) and also timing milestones to keep us on track for the day. We felt really well set up for success on the trek. The self guided trekking materials and booked hotels exceeded our expectations.”

Yvonne Brill, CA


4: Alpine Exploratory: Best Scotland Based

Founded in 2005, Alpine exploratory offers both guided and self-guided TMB tours typically taking 11 days to walk with a rest day in Courmayeur. They have fantastic reviews within facebook groups and google and have an excellent reputation as a tmb route planner.

7 Best TMB Self Guided Tour Planners -

“[Scenery?] “Unbelievably gorgeous! We had clear views for 10 of the 11 days of hiking, and every day was beautiful.

Wonderful dinner followed by impromptu “concert” by the kitchen staff. Beautiful location — at the end of a challenging day of hiking.

We had a fabulous time and appreciate everything Alpine Exploratory did to schedule each day and arrange for our lodging. It was physically challenging, but in a rewarding way. The route is both extraordinarily beautiful and culturally engaging as we walked through three countries. We took the high route options at every turn, which created extra physical challenges but was definitely worth it. Thank you so much for making this a vacation that was strenuous, care-free (with respect to our daily plans and accommodations), and rewarding on so many levels.”

Tremaine Family


5: Macs Adventure : Best German Based

Macs Adventure and Abentuerweg (sister companies) offer a dazzlingly large number of self-guided tours throughout Europe and is best self-guided tour companies in Europe.

The host of the “Trails Worth Hiking” podcast raved about the hike and booking process the Macs helped him with to do the tour with family and friends. Listen to the podcast here.

“Really great service provided all the way. Helpful app made navigating the trails easy and the onward delivery of luggage a big plus. All bases and eventualities were covered so that you are free and confident to enjoy the walking, which we did immensely. No hesitation in recommending this company. However, the accommodation in some areas was a little below parr but for the price paid understandable.”

Denise


tmb hike

6: The Hiking Club : Best Price & Most Modern TMB Planner

A newcomer on the TMB planning scene, the Hiking Club actually offers a very reasonable price to get you the details you need to do your own tour du mont blanc self guided tour.

They offer free online classes about the whole process, have a stunning website, a noteworthy newsletter with all kinds of hiking and trail tips.

My local German hiking facebook group highly recommended their “Haute Route” self guided tour, but their TMB tour is equally as impressive. They really break down the trails for you so there is no guesswork.

The hiking club does not call to book your huts for you though. So if you’re looking for more high touch, you may consider more comprehensive services like Alpenventures.

They do offer 1-on-1 consultations via phone for those who have more specific or bespoke hikes they are considering.

“The value for the price was outstanding. I am so grateful for the information and resources that were shared. The planning portal was informative and easy to use, and the GPS map was very helpful in planning and pacing my days on the trail. The hiking club is the perfect option for hikers who want to hike the Alps on their own, but take a lot of the guess work out of planning.”

Amy


7: Salamander : Most Experienced but Least Choice

With 30 years of booking the TMB for English speaking clients, Salamander has a great reputation as shown by their almost 200 reviews. They rank lower on the list however as they only have one version of the TMB hike – – 11 days. For a self guided tour du mont blanc that is traditional, you’ll love it.

“Tour du Mont Blanc This is a great trek which I would recommend to anyone. The hotels varied in quality but the most welcoming and helpful was the Hotel Astoria in La Palud. We even elected to stay there a further night!”a

Peter

3 people hiking on tmb

Guide to TMB Self Guided Planners

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a popular hiking trail that takes you through three countries, offering stunning views of the Alps.

Planning a self-guided tour of the TMB can be challenging, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can make your trip a success.

TMB Refuges

There are limited spaces at high elevation mountain huts so planning is essential. Generally plan 1 year in advance.

There are some serious chokepoints in planning. Meaning the bed book up quicky and there’s not many options. If you cannot get the particular hut you’ve got a really long hike around or you’ll need to dip down into a valley village hotel.

Chokepoints:

  • Rifugio Bonatti
  • Croix du Bonhomme
  • Refuge Mottets
  • Col de la Forclaz
  • Auberge la Boerne
  • Refuge la Flegere
  • Refuge du Lac Blanc

Here are some essential tips and considerations for TMB self-guided tour planners:

1. Choose the Right Time of Year:

The TMB is open from June to September, but the best time to hike the trail is from mid-July to mid-September. During this time, the weather is generally good, and the trails are well-maintained. Often you will have to select from a pre-planned period of time where slots are available.

2. They Will Plan Your Route and Send You GPS Routes:

The TMB is a circular trail that spans 170 km and takes around 10-12 days to complete. Study your route carefully, taking into account the distance, elevation gain, and terrain of each day’s hike. Some services use hiking apps like Komoot or AllTrails to plan your route and track your progress. Some companies will send you paper maps as well.

3. They Will Book Your Accommodation:

Accommodation along the TMB can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. You’ll stay at a combination of mountain huts, hotels or airbnb in the valleys or camping.

4. They Should Send you a Packing List:

👉 Read my Full TMB Packing List Post


5. Luggage Transfer:

If you’re bringing extra luggage besides your hiking backpack, a tour company can plan to arrange for your luggage to be stored during the duration of your hike, or they can have a mule transport it. Some refuges are not possible to have luggage transport due to their location.

I recommend to ditch the extra luggage and just wash out your clothes each night. Save the mules! Or give the mules business it’s up to you.

6. Tour du Mont Blanc Costs:

Approximate prices only. Single rooms will cost more.

Each company will have varying levels of service, types and durations of trips, and customer experience.

Read my guide to the typical costs of the TMB broken down by expense and how hard is the Tour du Mont Blanc hike.

While I wouldn’t recommend hikers actually climb Mont Blanc, hiking around it is pretty amazing.


Final Verdict

Overall Best Company
Alpenventures Unguided
9.5

What we liked:Tour du Mont Blanc Hike

This firm is great for finding secluded variants (like the one by the La Gorge gondola), private rooms, and providing maps. 

  • Book 4-11 day trips
  • Get GPS routes, written directions
  • Arrange higher "comfort" levels (i.e. private rooms)
  • Luggage transportation

Note:  It's a good idea to book in September of year previous to hike.

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We hope this guide filled with interesting information about TMB self guided tour planners has given you the proper information to plan your next adventure.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.