7 Reasons Why You Should Hike Mont Blanc
Iconic. It’s the only word that can properly describe Western Europe’s highest mountain peak, Mont Blanc.
Located on the border between Italy and France, Mont Blanc stands at 15,774 feet above sea level, clocking in as the tallest peak in the Alps. Despite its impressive stature, around 20,000 people ascend to the summit each year, showing it to be a very achievable goal for avid hikers.
Mont Blanc combines everything you want from a hiking adventure: beautiful scenery, moderately difficult terrain, and a chance to experience the culture from within multiple countries. Best of all, it accommodates a variety of different skill levels.
For these reasons, and many more, it’s no surprise that Mont Blanc is on a lot of hikers’ lists⎯and why it should be on yours too. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why Mont Blanc is highly recommended by all those who have experienced it.
7 Reasons Why You Should Hike Mont Blanc
1. Ease of Accessibility and Accommodation
While the Tour du Mont Blanc should not be misconstrued as an easy hike by any means, it does offer a variety of ways to make it less stressful and more accessible.
The trail itself is extremely well marked, making it very easy to follow with very little risk of getting lost. There are always people and resting options nearby. You’re not going to be stuck anywhere without a person for days on end; there’s always a way to seek recovery or a break if you need it. And because of that, if you don’t feel like tent camping on the journey, you can always book a spot at one of the refuges each night (and refuges are a great place to stop during the day, too).
Knowing that you have options along the route should ease the mind of those that are concerned with having to carry too much with them, or having to sleep under the stars.
2. It’s Not a Climb – You’ll Be Walking
Unlike other mountain ranges throughout the world, the Tour du Mont Blanc is not an actual climb. You will not need any sort of technical climbing equipment, you will not be required to be skilled in any sort of rock climbing activities. You will be walking! As we said, don’t think that this is just going to be a walk in the park.
While the Tour du Mont Blanc may be a walk, you will travel up many high alpine ridges, usually followed by a difficult descent. With over 35,000 feet in elevation gain (and loss), you’ll ultimately ascend more vertical feet than Mount Everest after completing the whole tour.
In terms of difficulty, this is still a hike that you’ll want to prepare for in regards to conditioning your body, ensuring that your physical prowess can maintain walking for 7-8 hours per day for up to 10 days. Because it is not a climb, however, it opens up the hike to a lot more people that may not be able to do the more aggressive climbs required by other mountain ranges.
3. You’ll Travel Through 3 Different Countries
Unlike most hikes, the Tour du Mont Blanc will take you through three different countries as you journey along the trails. While Italy and France split the summit itself, you’ll also travel through Switzerland as make your way along the trail around the mountain.
You’ll get to experience a slice of three different cultures while on a walk! How cool is that? You may spend the morning saying “bonjour” to folks as you eat your breakfast, and then spend your night eating pasta in Italy. It’s truly an amazing way to experience a small piece of the local life within these three different locales.
4. Ease of Language Barrier for English Speakers
When traveling to another part of the world, to a country that you’re unfamiliar with, it can be quite nerve wracking. Not just because you’re thousands of miles from home, but because you may not speak the native language.
In the United States, while there is no formal official language of the country, the majority of the country speaks English and is never really exposed to, or fully taught, another language. The next most popular language in the United States, Spanish, is not required as part of the school curriculum. It’s because of this language barrier that Americans sometimes hold back from traveling to other countries. However, countries in Europe are very accommodating of English language speakers and you should have no problem communicating with the majority of the people you meet along this trek through Mont Blanc and the Alps.
5. The People You’ll Meet
The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular hiking destinations on the planet for good reason, and one of those reasons is the variety of people you’ll meet along the way. In addition to experiencing the culture and people from Italy, France and Switzerland, you’ll also discover people from all over the world that have come together to make this incredible journey as well.
Mont Blanc draws tens of thousands of people each year to its incredible trails, from all around the world. It’s not uncommon to see folks from all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds as you make your way around the mountains. And if you choose to stay in the refuges along the trail, chances are you will be spending some nights with all different types of people who all share the same love of hiking and the outdoors that you do.
6. The Villages and Culture
Mont Blanc itself is an incredible experience, but don’t you want to get a little taste of the culture and daily life of those that live in the area? Chamonix (France) is the traditional start and end destination of the Tour du Mont Blanc. You’ll find a variety of shopping options as well as local restaurants filled with live music.
On the southern side of Mont Blanc you’ll find the town Courmayeur (Italy). Courmayeur is the halfway point around the mountain if you started in Chamonix, and is a wonderful place to venture through, grab some food, and take some time to relax.
In addition to Chamonix and Courmayeur you’ll find Champex, a sleepy lakeside village in Switzerland, is a wonderful place to explore during your adventure. If you spend time here, you’ll want to check out the Belvedere hotel on the edge of town. Here you’ll find incredible local foods and friendly hospitality.
7. The Spectacular Views
We saved the best reason why you should add Mont Blanc to your list of travel destinations for last: the views. The views throughout the entire hike are absolutely spectacular. You’ll hike through peaks and valleys, catch sight of magical glaciers and rock formations unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And there, looming over you the entire time, is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain Western in Europe.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is truly one of the best hiking trips you can take in the world. It’s full of incredible people and culture, amazing views, and best of all, it’s easily accessible for most people. If you’re an avid hiker, or just want to try something challenging and new, we highly recommend that you consider this trail when planning your next hiking adventure.