Known for its wintersports and stunning scenery, this famous town in the French Alps also delights with stores, spas, restaurants and summertime activities.
Glaciers, jagged snowcapped peaks and miles of ski slopes have made Chamonix-Mont-Blanc one of Europe’s best-known ski areas. The alpine town is situated at the foot of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak. Come for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and mountaineering and hill walking in the summer.
You can find ski areas for all experience levels spread across three mountainsides. Ski the beautiful Vallée Blanche glacier, Chamonix’s off-piste ski run. Hire a guide from one of the operators in town to take you.
Non-skiers can go ice climbing, ride on a ski-cab or walk along 10 miles (17 kilometers) of trails. Climb aboard the little red train for a scenic trip on the Montenvers Mountain Railway to the base of the Mer de Glace glacier. Walk through the ice grotto that has been cut into the glacier.
Ride a gondola to the summit of Aiguille du Midi. From the viewing platform, watch skiers descend Vallée Blanche. If you are brave enough, Step into the Void, a glass platform that hangs over the mountain and offers incredible views. Access to Step into the Void is included in the price of the cable car ticket to the summit of Aiguille du Midi.
There are plenty of attractions away from the ski runs. Go shopping, pamper yourself at a spa and learn about the area’s history at Musée Alpin. Visit Chamonix’s tearooms, live music bars, international restaurants and nightclubs, or try your luck at the casino. Try traditional Swiss cuisine such as raclette, a dish made with melted cheese and rösti, which is fried, grated potato.
Chamonix offers plenty to do in the summer. Hike along mountain and valley trails, and learn how to paraglide, play golf and scale mountain peaks.
Geneva International Airport is the main gateway to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, and is 64 miles (103 kilometers) from the town. Get around by renting a car or electric bike, or by public transportation. Chamonix experiences snow from November until as late as June. In the summer, it is hot and sunny in the valleys but cooler higher up.