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About What to Do in Chamonix

featured in Action & adventure Updated

Whether you're coming here on a day trip, a week's holiday or for a longer stay, Chamonix welcomes visitors from around the world, all year round. The resort operates its cable-cars and lifts in both summer and winter, allowing everyone from mountaineers to sightseers to enjoy the mountains, however adventurous you're feeling.

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Winter Adventure Sports

Skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions in the winter months, but if you'd like to try something different, Chamonix can offer you various alternatives. There are some lovely snowshoeing & winter walking trails up and down the valley where you can escape the crowds and admire the snow-covered scenery. You can make use of the cross-country skiing trails, found at each of the skiing areas. Equipment hire is available at most sports shops relatively inexpensively. More adrenaline-fuelled pursuits include ice climbing, husky dog sledding or ski joering, indoor climbing, and fat biking where you can ride the snowy trails. Or try paragliding, and learn to fly high above the mountains in a tandem jump with an instructor.

Summer Sports

Chamonix has a big international reputation as the home of not just skiing but also for adventure sports in the summer. Mountaineers can tackle the mighty Mont Blanc or the many routes around the massif. Hiring a mountain guide is highly recommended. The Chamonix valley is also a haven for rock climbers with everything from bolted sports routes in the valley to trad climbing at mid-mountain level, plus numerous bouldering opportunities. There are also a couple of Via Ferrata routes for which you don't necessarily need that much climbing experience. There are specific trails for mountain bikers to try and road cyclists will enjoy the challenge of nearby cols, Tour de France stages, and grinding up to the Emosson Dam. Paragliders fill the sky in both summer and winter giving visitors a unique view of the valley. The river Arve in Chamonix, as well as rivers over the border in Italy or Switzerland, provide rafting and canyoning adventures. In the summer, the terrain and beauty of the Chamonix Valley lends itself very well to trail runners, hikers and mountain walkers. Make use of the vast network of pathways that criss-cross the mountain sides and the valley floor - you’ll enjoy the views wherever you choose to go. Take advantage of the mountain huts along the way, they are invariably located in the best spots to admire the views. Chamonix is the traditional starting point for the Tour du Mont Blanc, a very popular hiking route that takes 7-10 days following trails through to Italy and on to Switzerland before returning to Chamonix. Several major sporting races take place each year in Chamonix, open to (athletically trained) eventers. They include mountain/trail running marathons, ultra-trails, triathlons and cycling races.

An image of Chamonix lit up with Christmas decorations

Culture & Relaxation

Of course, you don't have to be sporty to enjoy a trip to Chamonix. The town became established in the 19th century and its history is all around when you take a wander through its pedestrianised streets. Plenty of cafes and restaurants spill out onto the pavements, so you can take in the beautiful views whilst taking refreshments. Many of the shops are sports-focused but you’ll find a number of fashion boutiques, and interiors & gifts shops. Every Saturday, the town hosts an outdoor market brimming with local crafts, clothing and produce. In addition, there is a cinema, a bowling alley, an ice rink, a large sports centre with a swimming pool (an outdoor one in summer), gym and indoor climbing wall and numerous museums in which to while away the day. Some of the 4 and 5-star hotels have spas with outdoor swimming pools if you prefer a more relaxing day in Chamonix. The most popular attractions in Chamonix are the Aiguille du Midi cable car, which takes you up from the town centre to the mountain summit at 3842m, and the Montenvers Train, a traditional cog railway which runs up the mountain to 1913 metres where you can see the Mer de Glace glacier and some ice caves.

Family Activities

Ski schools start taking children from the age of three but if they only want to do half a days skiing, then there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Chamonix. Children love sledging and there are designated areas for this at the bottom of the nursery pistes, plus a permanent luge track (mini-rollercoaster) at Planards. There is an excellent snow play area in Les Houches called Snow Camp, which has snow tubing, sledging, zip wires and tepees. Otherwise, there is ice-skating in both Chamonix and Les Houches, the swimming pool, cinema, bowling alley & mini golf, and an indoor climbing wall in Les Houches. In summer, the kids will love the leisure park at Planards with its year-round luge ride, the summer tree top adventures, the vintage Montenvers train ride to the Mer de Glace glacier or simply taking a ride in one of the gondolas up into the mountains.


Map of the surrounding area