I am currently planning a hike on the Tour du Mont Blanc because I found the idea of a long-distance hike at high altitudes in the mountains very appealing.

However, the system seems to be designed (by making bivouac illegal (like Switzerland or Italy below 2500m)) to force me to pay for nights in a refuge. While I wouldn't mind paying to stay in a nice place in the mountains, I am a student; with the prices averaging 50 euros for a night, a week-long hike could easily use my budget for a month (counting food, transportation, etc). I am really avid fan of nature but I quite simply cannot afford to sleep on refuges every day.

Are there any long distance trails where bivouac is allowed or tolerated in at least a good part of it? As I said, I wouldn't mind staying 1 or 2 nights in a refuge during a week hike (I would actually want that to recharge from time to time), but the prospect of setting a bivouac and being fined what would mean a semester worth of money is scary.

Any suggestions? I have a preference for the western part of the alps (France,CH,Austria).

  • Would you consider spending the night in your own tent close to a refuge? That's often an option (although this list suggests it's not for most huts on the TMB) You may have to pay a small fee, definitely if you want to get water but that should be much cheaper than €40-50.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 11:09
  • @Relaxed Yes, this would be an option. Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 11:25
  • 1
    The approach @Relaxed suggests has worked well for me - a long time ago. It was far cheaper to camp at the mountain huts than to stay in them, where available Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 11:28
  • 2
    While you state a preference for the alps, you should consider Scandinavia. In Norway and Sweden you may camp in the wild nature, and it is not necessarily that expensive to get there if you combine a cheap flight and taking the train the last part of the way.
    – madsb
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 13:04


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