A novel method for the synthesis of high-active-surface-area, platinum–tobacco mosaic virus (Pt–TMV) nanotubes is presented. A platinum salt is reduced to its metallic form on the external surface of a rod-shaped TMV by methanol, which serves as a solvent and reductant simultaneously. It was found that for the same Pt loading the Pt–TMV nanotubes had an electrochemically active surface area between 4 to 8 times larger than similarly sized Pt nanoparticles. A Pt–TMV catalyst displays greater stability in acidic conditions than those based on nanoparticles. When used as a catalyst for methanol oxidation, these Pt nanotubes display a 65% increase in catalytic mass activity compared to that based on Pt nanoparticles.