Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a legendary long distance circular hiking trail in the Alps, around the Mont Blanc massive, that takes hikers crossing three countries, namely France, Italy, and Switzerland. The trail encompasses around 170 km of trekking with around 10000 meters of ascend and descent.

The route takes you through some of the most beautiful area in the Alps, in the foot of the tallest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc. Most people undertake the hike in around 10-12 days, staying in the mountain huts, hotels, bed & breakfasts, or camping sites spread along the way.

Staying in an alpine mountain hut may sound nice and romantic, but the exorbitant price, up to €50 per night per person or more for a bed in a large dorm, may be prohibitive for most travelers. To make matters worse, these beds are usually booked up months in advance, forcing hikers to already map out their desired route way in advance. Similarly, hotels and bed & breakfast price in the mountain resort towns in the area charge very steep price for their rooms, especially during the summer high season.

This is where camping sites come in handy. Costing so much lower, the sites are never booked up and no onward reservation is necessary in any of the sites, allowing you full flexibility. Wanna spend another day in a particular area that you like? No problem, simply tell the camping guards that you’d stay another night. Plus, who wouldn’t want to wake up to fresh mountain air underneath a mountain glacier.

View from Mount Chetif
Great view, low budget

In this comprehensive low budget guide to tackling the Tour du Mont Blanc, I’d detail the cost and location of the camping sites along the path (camping price for summer 2019), where to get food supplies and my food strategy and budgeting, plus the TMB route I undertook in handy maps.

Note that I did the TMB from Chamonix, taking the classic counter-clockwise route. But this guide would also work just fine for the clockwise route, or for when starting at Courmayeur. The time needed to complete each daily leg may vary depending on your pace, but can be roughly estimated from TMB’s website.

Another peculiarity from my trip was that I did the full trip from Chamonix to Chamonix, while my partner, reluctant to hike for two weeks straight, joined me halfway in Courmayeur in the second week.

Jump to: Budgeting

The official route
Check out our highlights from hiking the TMB

Getting there:

The most common starting point for the hike would be either Chamonix on the French side or Courmayeur on the Italian side. These two towns are connected via a tunnel that goes right through the base of the Mont Blanc.

For international travelers, there are multiple main cities with international airports located at a couple of hours distance. The Swiss city of Geneva offers a direct bus route to Chamonix, and some to Courmayeur. Alternatively, there’s also direct bus connection from the Italian city of Turin to both towns.

There are plenty of bus operator companies offering the route, such as Swiss Tours, BlaBlaBus, FlixBus, EasyBus to name a few. All buses stop at Chamonix-SUD bus station, or at Courmayeur’s Piazzale Monte Bianco, both are very close to the city center. Tickets can be bought online.

Day 0: Arriving at Chamonix + day hike

I arrived at Chamonix from the Geneva airport, and then did a day hike around the beautiful area before starting the TMB trek.

Camping site Chamonix: Les Arolles, located very close to Chamonix-SUD bus station.

Camping site info: €11.5 per person or €18.6 per 2 persons. Hot shower is for free! There is a small open air communal area with one picnic table and power socket, but tend to get very overcrowded.

Food supply availability: Plenty of supermarkets and other food shops available in Chamonix, such as Super U and SPAR. Camping stove gas and fuel are also available in one of the many outdoor shops.

Alternative camping site in Les Houches: Camping Bellevue, located very close to the starting point of TMB.

Tent at Camping Les Arolles Chamonix
My messy tent at the crowded Les Arolles camping site

Day 1: Chamonix – Les Houches – Les Contamines-Montjoie

I started the TMB trek by boarding the bus from Chamonix to Les Houches where the official starting point is located.

Camping site Les Contamines-Montjoie: Camping Le Pontet, located about another 30 minutes walk further down the TMB trail from the center of Les Contamines-Montjoie.

Camping site info: €10.2 per person or €15.8 per 2 persons. Hot shower is for free! There are some picnic tables with parasol for communal use. Power socket is available around the shower area.

Food supply availability: There are supermarkets available in the town of Les Contamines-Montjoie (Carrefour and Spar). Stock up for the next day too since in Les Chapieux there’s no proper supermarket.

Mind you that you’d first pass the town before reaching the camping site and thus I’d recommend to drop by the shops before going to the camping site. A restaurant is also available at the camping site for those with bigger budget.

TMB waypoint
Won’t be easy to get lost during TMB

Day 2: Les Contamines-Montjoie – Les Chapieux

This is arguably the hardest leg of the TMB route, with a distance of over 18 km and over 1300 meters of ascend and 900 meters of descend.

Camping site Les Chapieux: Open air camping, located on a big open field in the beautiful valley.

Camping site info: Free camping! It’s an unmanned camping ground, thus no facility. No shower available, only a small building with toilet and a wash basin with ice cold water. No communal area available, neither power socket. The whole valley has no mobile internet access as of 2019, so you’d might want to remind your relatives and friends not to worry if they don’t hear from you for one night.

Food supply availability: No supermarket in the area, but there is a small deli selling limited assortments of basic and local products, albeit at an elevated price. I spent around €5 for only croissant, boiled egg, and small yogurt, hence my advice to stock up from Les Contamines-Montjoie.

Les Chapieux camping site
Camping at Les Chapieux valley

Day 3: Les Chapieux – Camping Aiguille Noire (outskirt of Courmayeur)

Many people would break this leg by staying in Rifugio Elisabetta hut halfway through the trek. But in order to camp, I had to continue further to the camping site located in the outskirt of Courmayeur, taking a bit of a detour from the official TMB route.

For the same reason, I chose to shorten the route by taking the bus from Les Chapieux to Refuge Des Mottets which would take two hours walking. Mind you that this bus would fill up very quickly and it is recommended to buy the ticket the day before or queue at least half an hour before. The bus schedule can easily be found in the small building next to the Les Chapieux camping site.

Camping site Courmayeur (outskirt): Aiguille Noire, technically not in Courmayeur itself, but on the outskirt before entering the town. There are no camping sites available in Courmayeur.

Camping site info: €12.5 per person or €20 per 2 persons. Hot shower costs €0.5 for about 5 minutes. There is a communal building with tables and power socket is available.

Food supply availability: There is a mini market at the camping site selling many kinds of products at a slightly elevated price, but still reasonable. Another option would be to take the bus from the bus stop in front of the camping ground to Carrefour supermarket at La Saxe Pontal bus stop. There is a restaurant at the camping site though.

Alternative camping site Courmayeur (outskirt): HOBO Val Veny, located right next to Aiguille Noire.

Rifugio Elisabetta
I’d love to stay in that Rifugio Elisabetta hut…
Camping Aiguille Noire
…but I had to settle for this instead

Day 4: Day hike around Camping Aiguille Noire

Since I had to wait for my partner’s arrival in Courmayeur on day 6, I did a day hike in the mountains around the camping site Aiguille Noire, which was not part of the official TMB route itself, but no less stunning nevertheless.

This further highlights the advantage and flexibility of camping, since I could simply inform the camping owner that I’d stay for another night.

Note: For those who would continue with the TMB route to Courmayeur, simply follow the green route indicated in the map. Remember that there is no camping site in Courmayeur and you’d have to stay in a hotel or bed & breakfast. Alternatively, you could camp in Plampincieux, also located in the outskirt of Courmayeur (see Day 5 route below).

Val Veny Courmayeur
The valleys around Courmayeur must not be missed

Day 5: Day hike around Plampincieux

I moved from Camping Aiguille Noire to the camping site in Plampincieux by bus, with a transfer in Courmayeur. From there I then started a day hike which covered most of the TMB route.

Camping site Plampincieux: Grandes Jorasses, located in a pine forest area in Plampincieux, an area outside Courmayeur.

Camping site info: €~10-12 per person or €~20 per 2 persons. Hot shower costs €0.5 for ~100 seconds(!), so get your soap and shampoo ready. There is no communal room apart from the restaurant where you can sit if you purchase something. There is a power socket available above the sink in the wash area.

Food supply availability: A mini market at the camping site sells limited assortment of products, although at elevated price. It’s best to shop beforehand in Courmayeur (Carrefour supermarket at La Saxe Pontal bus stop). The restaurant at the camping site also serves some food.

Alternative camping site Plampincieux: Tronchey, located further down the road from camping Grandes Jorasses.

Note: To continue with the TMB route from Courmayeur, simply follow the green route indicated in the map, which would join the day hike that I did around Plampincieux above Rifugio Giorgio Bertone. Mind you that this TMB leg would end up at Rifugio Walter Bonatti in the mountain, and the nearest camping possibility would be to go back down to Grandes Jorasses or Tronchey.

Camping Grandes Jorasses
Camping site Grandes Jorasses amid the pine trees

Day 6: Rendesvouz at Courmayeur

I stayed at the same camping site Grandes Jorasses in Plampincieux, this time for two persons after I picked up my partner at Courmayeur for hiking the second half of TMB together.

Again, I could simply inform the camping manager in the morning that my partner would join in the tent for the second night and it’s arranged.

Since we were in Courmayeur, there were more options for food supply, such as from Carrefour in the city center. We could also purchase another gas/fuel canister from one of the outdoor shops in Courmayeur.

Settling down in camping site Grandes Jorasses

Day 7: Plampincieux – Fouly

To continue with the TMB trek, we took the bus from the camping site in Plampincieux to the base of Col Ferret where the TMB route starts again. Officially, the TMB route runs from Rifugio Walter Bonatti to the base of Col Ferret, shown in green in the map.

Camping site Fouly: Camping des Glaciers, possibly the camping site with the best view, located on a big plain downstream of a glacial river with mountain glaciers visible in the distance.

Camping site info: CHF 29.6 per person or CHF 39.2 per 2 persons (man, Switzerland is expensive!). Hot shower is available for free. There is also a large communal room with tables and power sockets.

Food supply availability: The camping reception sells some snacks although it’s best to go to the supermarket in the nearby town center. Again, mind you that everything in Switzerland is expensive, including the supermarket.

Camping des Glaciers
Camping under the glacier

Day 8: Fouly – Champex

This is one of the easiest leg since it does not involve a lot of ascend and descent. The route also passes several towns where you could easily eat or take a break in one of the cafes or restaurants.

Camping site Champex: Les Rocailles, located further down the street from the Champex lake.

Camping site info: CHF 25.6 per person, CHF 35.2 per 2 persons. Hot shower is available for free, and there is a small communal area in front of the reception with power socket available.

Food supply availability: There is a supermarket in Champex, although the options are not as diverse as in bigger towns. We recommend to stock up for the next day too since there is virtually no shop in Peuty, the destination of the next day.

Bier by Champex lake
Nothing beats a nice, cheap, refreshing beer at the end of a long hiking day

Day 9: Champex – Peuty

Similar to the previous day, this day’s route entirely in Switzerland is also not very heavy.

Camping site Peuty: open air camping site, located on an open field in the valley.

Camping site info: Donation of CHF 6 for the camping site’s maintenance. A person usually comes once a day in late afternoon to collect the donation. At that time some people did not have CHF but only euro and the attendant grumpily exempted them from paying.

There are plastic portable shower cabins available but you’d have to be lucky to get hot water. Mine had glacial water and my partner had warm water. There is also a small roofed area with tables as a communal area, but no power socket available.

Food supply availability: None, nothing, nada. That’s why it’s better to stock up food from Champex. For those who are desperate, there is a small cafe at Refuge Le Peuty selling sandwiches and some other foods.

Camping Le Peuty
Late afternoon in Peuty

Day 10: Peuty – Tre Le Champ

After this day’s hike, you’d leave expensive Switzerland behind and can enjoy lower price again for everything.

Camping site Tre Le Champ: Pierre Semard.

Camping site info: €~10-12 per person, €~20 per 2 persons. Hot shower is available and there are power sockets at the large communal area equipped with many tables.

Food supply availability: There is a supermarket in the nearby town Argentiere, a lovely small town. The camping site has a restaurant as well though.

Alternative camping site Argentiere: Camping du Glacier, located a bit removed from the TMB trail itself in Argentiere.

Camping Pierre Semard
Camping site Pierre Semard

Day 11: Tre Le Champ – Chamonix

This is the last leg that we undertook in the TMB hike to return to Chamonix. Officially, you would only stop at Refuge La Flegere here and continue the next day to Les Houches (blue route in the map).

Camping site Chamonix: Les Arolles.

Aternative camping site in Les Houches: Camping Bellevue, located very close to the starting point of TMB.

Finally completing the TMB! See information about Chamonix on Day 0 above.


There are two main expenses for the trip, namely on the accommodation and food. In this part I’d detail how we did the budgeting for the two weeks trip in this particularly expensive region.

Camping cost

In the first six days I camped solo before my partner joined me for another six days of hiking together. Here are the cost breakdown:

Six days solo (1st half of the trip)6-nights: 57.7 (avg 9.6/night)
Six days duo (2nd half of the trip)4-nights: 58.6 (avg 14.7/night)2-nights: 74.4 (avg 37.2/night)
Total116.374.4 (~EUR 70)
Camping cost breakdown

In the end the camping cost added up to around €186.3, or say, rounded up to €190 for 12-days trip’s worth of accommodation. That amounted to around €10.6 per person per night. In towns in the Alps you’d easily spend €190 on only two or three nights in a modest hotel. In Switzerland maybe just one night.

Rifugio Monte Bianco
Much cheaper than staying in mountain huts…
…or in hotels in towns

Food strategy and cost

During the entire trip we did not once eat out despite the temptation of some of the restaurants at the camping sites. We always got our food supplies in the supermarket and cooked ourselves. Water was always free either at camping sites or at water sources along the trail.

Morning coffee Les Contamines
The obligatory morning coffee
Lunch above Chamonix
Lunch with a view


Mostly plenty of bread such as croissant or pain au chocolat which were ubiquitous in France and Switzerland, accompanied by yogurt with oatmeal. We brought our own coffee powder and tea to freshly prepare these mood-boosting warm hot drinks every morning.

Average cost: ~€3 per person (expect higher price in Switzerland). As a comparison, a cup of coffee in and a croissant a cafe would already cost €~5.

On trail snack:

Our all time favorite is cereal bar, packed with energy and easy to carry, which can be found in almost every supermarket. We also like to bring some small salami or mixed nuts (e.g. almond, cashew) for extra protein and energy. Cost would be around €2-3 per person.

Picking blueberries during TMB
With a bit of effort…
Wild blueberries from TMB
…you’ll be rewarded with nature’s bounty (yummy wild blueberries)


Mostly crackers or sandwiches with ham or cheese bought the previous day, accompanied by cherry tomatoes or other vegetables and fruit. Don’t forget to try the typically local Gruyere cheese that can be found in Swiss supermarkets.

Average cost: €4-5 per person (of course a bit higher in Switzerland). You definitely could not eat lunch in a restaurant during the hike. But sometimes you could find some mountain hut/refuge offering lunch along the trail, which can set you back around €12-20 for a hearty lunch.

Lunch at Val Veny
Another lunch with a view


This is the time to prepare warm meal. We bought camping gas/fuel in Chamonix and Courmayeur, costing around €5-8 per canister, for our mini camping stove (Primus Express).

We cooked mainly pasta or noodles. We prepared pasta with ready made sauce, and we just added e.g. tuna, bacon, mushroom. Instant noodles or rice vermicelli can also be found in various supermarkets and we cooked that with added tuna or bacon. We topped that with a pre-cut salad mix or other vegetables to make it complete and healthy.

Average cost: €5-7 per person (+occasional beer €~1.5 extra). Dining in a restaurant costs a fortune in the Alps mountain towns; expect to shell out upwards of €20 per person.

Cooking at camping Grandes Jorasses
Cooking time!
Cooking at Peuty
The chef is working

Total food cost:

BreakfastOn trail snackLunchDinnerTotal
1 person€3€2-3€4-5€5-7€14-18
2 persons€6€4-6€8-10€10-14€28-36
Daily food cost breakdown
1 person 6 days (1st half of the trip)€84-108
2 persons 6 days (2nd half of the trip)€168-216
Final cost€252-324
Total food cost breakdown

The total spent on food for the 12-days trip (€252-324) would definitely range widely depending on how much you’d like to eat and splurge. The estimate given here is already quite generous in our opinion.

We tended to stay on the lower end of the daily cost range, but sometimes treated ourselves to something more pricey, such as the Swiss Gruyere cheese or a bottle of beer from the local Italian brewery.

I would not even bother to calculate how much you’d spend eating out three times a day for the whole 12 days in this super expensive region. Spoiler: a lot!

Total cost

To sum up the camping and food cost, we spent around €442-514, or say, rounded up to €450-520, for 12-days trip for one person plus 6-days trip for another one. That translates to roughly €25-29 per person per day.

Camping cost€190
Food cost€252-324
Total cost for TMB hike€442-514
Average cost per person per day€25-29

Of course other extra cost should be added too, such as the flight ticket (we flew Amsterdam-Geneva return for around €130 per person) and bus fare to Chamonix or Courmayeur, which typically costs €25-40 return. These brought the grand total to around €850 for the both of us.

That concludes my detailed low budget guide to camping sites and food supplies for hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). Hope that can help and inspire you to plan and tackle this truly legendary and amazing long distance hiking route. Feel free to drop any question. Happy hiking!

Start of TMB Col Ferret
Happy hiking!

About Author

Born and raised in Indonesia, bitten by the travel bug since moving to Europe.

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