The Alps stretch for approximately 750 miles across eight Alpine countries from Southern France to Slovenia. It is home to iconic mountains, hidden villages and has wide cultural differences. Mont Blanc, 4808m, sits at the far western end of the High Alps and is the jumping off point for some great hiking. The Tour du Mont Blanc is arguably the most famous long-distance hike in the Alps, but other such as the Haute Route, the Eagle Walk and the many Italian Alta Vias make for endless possibilities for hikers.
Tour du Mont Blanc
The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular long distance hikes in Europe covering approximately 165km (103 miles) with significant ascents and descents. The trip circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif taking in spectacular scenery, pretty villages and tough hiking. The paths are well maintained and route-finding is not to difficult, assuming the weather is fine. Most people complete the hike in 8-10 days, but some will shorten or lengthen the trip.
Often overlooked is the rich variety of wildlife that you can see when exploring the Alps, particularly on the long and quieter hikes. The following are often seen on the TMB:
- The goat-like chamois.
- Ibex with their large curved horns.
- Red deer, often seen in larger herds.
- Marmots. The first thing that will alert you to their presence are their loud whistles!
When to Visit the Alps
Summer is the best season for hiking. The days are warm and the nights are cool. However, be prepared for all weathers: snow is not uncommon on the highest passes on the TMB in summer.