Trekking the TMB vs AV1

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So having done TMB 1 time and AV1 3 times….Here’s my short guide on the highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc vs the highlights of the Alta Via 1 trek.

You really can’t go wrong on either one for a magical summer hiking vacation.

TMB Highlights

The good:

  • More Americans on trail to talk to
  • More glaciers!
  • More dramatic up/downs
  • More villages and towns
  • paragliding
  • slightly cheaper
  • way easier to navigate (av1 signs are sh*&t)
  • easier logistically to get to
  • a lot more older people on trail
  • way more awesome cows
  • more water features (waterfalls, streams lakes execpt braies)
  • bigger mountains

Read my guide on the difficulty of the Tour du Mont Blanc hike.

AV1 Highlights

The good:

  • Scenery is epic and varied
  • Warmer hosts at rifugios
  • Food is twice as good
  • wine is better
  • more places on trail where you’re alone
  • interactions with rock climbers
  • less crowded around gondolas
  • depending on hut better linens

Final Verdict

They both are a pain in the ass to book, which is a good thing to keep away instagrammers. But they are both iconic European hut to hut hikes that should be on your bucketlist.

Go and take your kids. Take your friends, take your family.

But don’t take your dogs. The huts will not allow them inside. Learn more about hut to hut hiking trips.

Final Verdict: Ways to Book a Hut to Hut Hiking Trip

Best to Hike Your Own Pace but Forgo Logistical Challenge
Self-Guided Tour Planning Service

Self-Guided Tour Planning Service

  • [Self-Guided] - You're on your own once you start
  • Must book in Oct to Jan of year prior to hike
  • Fully done for you route
  • Service finds and books your huts
  • Maps provided on app
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: The logistics of the TMB and other hut to hut hikes can be very daunting, especially if you don't speak Italian and French. 

Note: Lesser known trails are often easier to book.  

  • Ease of route
  • No finding or dealing with huts
  • Tapping into expertise
  • No waiting for slow hikers
  • No feeling rushed if you're slower
  • Less control of dates
  • No guide on the trail
  • Unknown - you didn't "plan"
Best for Beginners & Social People
Guided Group Tour : 4 Days

Guided Group Tour : 4 Days

  • small groups (<10 typically)
  • local Chamonix guides
  • all transfers/breakfast/dinner/accommodations included
  • airport transfer included
  • stay in the insanely beautiful Rifugio Bonatti and other huts at high elevation
Click Here to Read More

What we liked:  Designed for busy people that want to experience the highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc without having to take 2 weeks of their precious vacation time.  Everything is done-for-you and you can show up and relax in the most stunning mountains. 

Note: The standard price includes shared rooms in the huts.

  • All transfers included
  • Best price for a guided trip
  • Local Chamonix Guides
  • At the mercy of group pace
  • Not the full circuit
Best on a Budget
DIY: Book Your Own Huts

DIY: Book Your Own Huts

  • Cheapest Option
  • Most Freedom
  • Take side excursions as you like
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What we liked: The challenge of it.  It's so fun to route plan, find trails and the huts you want.  Often it's not the expense saved, but the learning of the trail while planning that is satisfying. 

Note: Be prepared to spend some time with spreadsheets and wait weeks for replies from hut owners. 

BONUS:  Click on the link to watch my 10 part video series on HOW to book a hut to hut trip.  It's a Dolomites hut trip but it's basically the same process for TMB. 

  • Cheapest option
  • Most freedom
  • Learn the Trail by planning
  • Time suck
  • You must be organized
  • Map skills are essential
Most Freedom


  • campgrounds can be crowded
  • reservations often needed in advance
  • Wild camping is prohibited or limited by elevation
Click Here to Read More

Not really my favorite thing for hut to hut trails in Europe. The huts are quite often the best part of the hiking trip and the rules are so complicated about wild camping.

  • Price is good
  • Quiet
  • More Flexibilty
  • Wild camping is tricky
  • Rules change
  • harder and heavier pack

We hope this quick guide on Trekking the TMB vs AV1 has given you a little insight for your summer planning.

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.