Each Wednesday, I plan to share one place in the world I’m dying to go. Whether it’s a specific hotel I’m yearning to stay in or just a spot on the globe I haven’t visited, I hope to build the ultimate travel bucket list. So join me for the journey if you feel like it!
For the first edition of Wanderlust Wednesday, I’m featuring a hike in Europe I’m DYING to do, since it seems much less daunting than a lot of the backpacking treks out there and the views are simply to die for.
I love hiking, but I’ve never been “backpacking.” This is known as a perfect first solo hike, according to HuffPost, because it’s accessible, well-marked for tourists, it’s not too technical, and has plenty of accommodation along the way. There are so many articles to be read regarding how to go about this hike, but I’ll try to summarize the basics of what I’ve learned through my research.
The trail is a giant loop around Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain, and trails through France, Italy and Switzerland, giving divine views of the Alps the whole way around. It’s accessible from any point, and hikers can choose as long or as short a path to follow on their journey. Almost 20,000 climbers take on this trek each year, and the ideal time to go is mid- to late-summer, after the snow melts. It’s easily done in about 10 days to two weeks.
The best places to start the hike are Courmayeur, Italy, or Chamonix, France, which both offer transportation to and from major airports. From these cities you can take the trail either direction and either complete the loop, or finish in a different city. If you finish the whole trek, you will have hiked through three different countries! Imagine eating your french croissant for breakfast and finishing your day with a plate of authentic Italian pasta and wine, without even setting foot inside any form of transportation.
One of the reasons this really stood out to me is that you really don’t need to invest in the heavy duty hiking equipment that most hikes need. All you really need for footwear would be basic hiking shoes that will protect your feet and won’t wear down from the many steps you’ll take each day. There isn’t any actual climbing involved - it’s more of a long walk. The numerous accommodations also appealed to me, because there are so many small towns along the route that make nice stops for snacks, meals, or overnight stays.
It sounds like a great solo trip because you’re never really alone. There are plenty of other hikers to help you if you get lost, or to make friends with for your stays in small chateaus and towns. If a hiking trip like this appeals to you, do some more research and start planning! And definitely share your thoughts with me if you’ve already done this hike or are thinking about doing it! I would love to hear from you!
Here are some additional resources to learn more:
Routes, Maps, and Itineraries (Chamonix.net)
An awesome account of someone who hiked Tour de Mont Blanc (The Guardian)
Tour de Mont Blanc Express (for those who don’t want to plan the trip yourselves)