Are you thinking of trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc? Book your accommodation as soon as possible! Unfortunately, refuges (mountain huts) book super fast, requiring you to book as early as January and February for the summer season. However, if you’re reading this blog post in spring and kicking yourself for not securing your Mont Blanc accommodation earlier, don’t you worry! You can look into camping, hotels, or booking a tour. Read on to find more information on booking accommodation for the Tour du Mont Blanc!
Types of Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation
As we mentioned above, Tour du Mont Blanc boasts a handful of accommodation options, with refuges being the most popular choice. Let’s take a look at some of the options out there, what’s included, and how your accommodations may affect your trek.
Tour du Mont Blanc - the point of a trek is to escape the hustle
If you’re taking the self-guided route, book your accommodation now—don’t wait any longer!
Thankfully, most refuges grant a half-board option, which we highly recommend taking up. Who wants to carry food in their bags when you already have to carry so much? Catch a glimpse of what most mountain huts offer here in terms of food!
You’ll also need to carry your own sleeping liner, and due to the ongoing pandemic, a sleeping bag is required as well—although you can double-check the regulations before heading out. Don’t expect hot showers, either. Most refugees ask for a small fee to shower and depending on your luck, you may or may not get hot water. We know this description isn’t painting the most enchanting picture of mountain huts, but hey, the point of a trek is to escape the hustle and bustle of the everyday world, right?
Lastly, do remember to pack earplugs. If you’re leaning towards more budget-friendly stays, you will want something to block the noise of the snores, rustles, and background noise echoing throughout the dormitory. Curious as to what else you need to bring? You’re in luck! We dive further into depth on other essential items to carry with you in our article on the crucial Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.
If you have space in your budget, you can avoid dormitories by booking a private room at some (not all) refuges. Do yourself a favour and prepare for the Tour Du Mont Blanc early. One of the first things on your to-do list? Secure your accommodation!
Which mountain huts should I book?
First of all: counter-clockwise or clockwise? Tricky question—and one we answer more in our Frequently Asked Questions About the Tour du Mont Blanc article. The short answer? Most trekkers go counter-clockwise. If you’re going this direction— as in setting out from Les Houches—start with Refuge Nant Borrant, located just one hour past Les Contamines (you can also look into staying in Les Contamines). Next, look into Refuge de la Bonhomme, which doesn’t have the best reviews food-wise, so pick up a lot of snacks in Les Contamines! This spot is almost only essential if you’re hiking with kids or need to stop between Les Contamines and Les Chapieux. However, if you can continue onward, do it. Most people end up in Les Chapieux on night two if they are trekking counter-clockwise.
Important: Book your accommodation in Les Chapieux first! There are only three places to stay here: Refuge de la Nova, Les Chambres du Soleil, or camping. If you can’t secure a spot in Les Chapieux, look into Refuge des Mottets, requiring an additional hour of hiking from the quaint mountain hamlet town. You could also take a 30-minute shuttle from Les Chapieux to Refuge des Mottets.
When you cross the French-Italian border on day 3, you can book either Rifugio Elisabetta or Caban Combal, with the latter offering cozy private rooms with an ensuite. Talk about luxury. Canan Combal is just 50 minutes from Rifugio Elisabetta. From here, travel 18.0 km to 20.0 km to Courmayeur, where a large selection of rifugios await in and around the area. Next, you’ll find Rifugio Bonatti tucked up high, granting an unreal view of Val Ferret below. This hut ensures a cozy, calm stay, with memorable meals!
You’ll then travel into Switzerland, where the beauty continues to amaze, but your wallet will take a hit. It might be best to sprint through Switzerland if the steep prices cause budget anxieties. Sadly, there aren’t many refuge options on the Swiss side. The first stop will see you staying at Alpage de la Peule, a simple refuge. If you book here, you may also want to consider booking Relais d’Arpette along the alternate route. Following this, you’ll head to Col de la Forclaz, which only offers a hotel and a campsite, making it almost easier to walk 30 minutes to Le Peuty and staying at Refuge du Peuty.
When you re-enter France, your first stop is Tré-le-Champ, where the ever-so-charming La Boerne sits, another one that books up fast! There’s also the option to stop at the Refuge du Col de Balme, located halfway between Trient in Switzerland and Tré-le-Champ. Lastly, you’ll reach La Flégère, where we can recommend two accommodations: Refuge Lac Blanc (no children under eight allowed) and Refuge Bellachat.
Okay. That was a lot of information. Here’s a list of the refuges we recommend booking as soon as you can if you’re going counter-clockwise!
Tour du Mont Blanc - unreal view of Val Ferret
Refuge Nant Borrant
Optional night two (if you have kids or want to stop)
Refuge de la Bonhomme
Refuge de la Nova
Les Chambres du Soleil
Refuge des Mottets (if you miss out on the two refuges in Les Chapieux)
Night four (Courmayeur)
Rifugio Monte Bianco CAI Uget
Rifugio G. Bertone
Rifugio Maison Vieille
Tour du Mont Blanc - Trient in Switzerland
Alpage de la Peule
Night seven (alternate route)
Refuge du Peuty
Refuge du Col de Balme
Refuge Lac Blanc
Keep in mind that these suggestions are for trekkers completing the route counter-clockwise!
Chamonix - Offer Hotel Accommodations
Are you looking to elevate the comfort? You can find hotels along the Tour du Mont Blanc! The ski resort towns en route—Les Contamines, Chamonix, and Courmayeur—offer hotel accommodations. The Switzerland section also provides more hotels than refuges, but the options in each location may not be as explosive as the ski resort towns. Meanwhile, Les Chapieux offers an auberge (an inn).
On a super budget or crave breathing in fresh air day and night? Consider tenting along the Tour du Mont Blanc. Sure, your bag may be heavier, but you’ll save cash, and experience Mont Blanc in its true, majestic ruggedness! Plus, if you’re a last-minute type of person who prefers a flexible schedule, camping really is the best option for you. FYI: You might be able to munch on some meals at refuges en route. Check with the mountain huts before you go! This information may help to ease the load in your bag.
While there are some wild camping options in France and Italy at high altitudes between dawn and dusk, setting up your tent anywhere in Switzerland is illegal. However, you can find more information on wild camping here.
However, thankfully, you’ll find official campsites (these will cost more) and somewhat designated wild camp zones and free camping areas along the route. Some refuges will also allow you to camp nearby—double-check all this information before you hit the trail!
One thing to note is that camping is not allowed around Rifugio Elisabetta, and there are no campsites within proximity! So you can either choose to stay at Rifugio Elisabetta or continue off the traditional route along a mundane road to Val Veny Campgrounds. This is about 6.0 km-8.0 km from Rifugio Elisabetta. Courmayeur also doesn’t allow you to pitch a tent, but you can find a range of accommodation there. Might be nice to sleep in a bed for a night?
But you may need to sleep in a bed two nights in a row as it’s slim pickings for campers on this section of the trail, too. We recommend just staying in Rifugio Bonatti, but if you’re okay with heading off the route, follow the linked path from Rifugio Bonatti to Val Ferret, and then take the bus to Camping Grandes Jorasses. The next day, hop on the bus to go towards Arp Nouvaz stop to get back on the Tour du Mont Blanc and head to La Fouly.
After all of this fuss, you’ll find yourself, once again, surrounded by camping options that don’t require busses or alternate routes for the remainder of the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Which type of accommodation stands out to you? The Tour du Mont Blanc seems to cater to all sleeping-style needs, doesn’t it? Another reason to pack your bag, lace up your boots, and wind through this incredibly famous route!