Top 10 things to do in Chamonix

Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix

What to do in Chamonix, the Mont Blanc resort and playground for a wide range of sports and adventure activities?

Chamonix is a world-renowned ski resort and mountaineering destination. Located in Haute-Savoie, it borders Switzerland andItaly and is dominated by the incredible Aiguilles de Chamonix mountain range, which culminates at the summit of Mont Blanc (4810 m).

Chamonix is known as Europe’s capital of extreme sports. All year round, the resort is open and lively throughout the seasons, making Chamonix a rather unique destination in the French Alps. In addition to alpine sports such as skiing, snowboarding, climbing, mountain biking, cycling, mountaineering and hiking, the region offers a number of leisure activities. Forest trails, adventure playgrounds for children, markets and a number of spa facilities await you here.

Discover our selection of must-do activities in Chamonix!

1. Ski or snowboard down the slopes

Ski à Chamonix

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Taras Hipp

  • 🗓️Meilleure period: end of January to end of March
  • ❄️Datesstation opening times
  • 💙 We love: skiing in one of France’s oldest ski resorts, whether you’re a beginner or an expert on the slopes.

Renowned throughout Europe for the quality and variety of its slopes, Chamonix offers one of the longest ski seasons in the French Alps. The Chamonix-Mont-Blanc ski area gives access to 4 main ski areas: Le Brévent – La Flégère, Les Grands Montets, Balme and Les Houches. The Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass gives access to over 400 km of pistes, straddling France, Switzerland and Italy.

Chamonix offers something for every level of skier. The very young can ski at Savoy, families and beginners at Les Planards, and more experienced skiers can head for the Les Houches and Grands Montets areas. Beginner freestylers can head for La Vormaine or even Le Brévent – La Flégère. Finally, the Vallée Blanche is reserved for off-piste experts. For the latter, we recommend descending the Vallée Blanche with a guide.

💎 Editorial advice 💎

To avoid queues in sports stores, remember to book your skis or snowboard in advance. Generation Voyage offers you 5% on the total amount of your online ski rental.

2. Off-piste skiing in the Vallée Blanche

Ski hors piste dans la Vallée Blanche, Chamonix

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Roberto Caucino

  • ⌛Duration: 1 day
  • 🗓️Période opening hours: December to April
  • 💙Welike: the guide’s personalized advice for a successful experience and guaranteed progress

The Vallée Blanche is an unsupervised, ungroomed off-piste ski route that offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Mont-Blanc chain. Accessible from the top of the Aiguille du Midi cable car, this exceptional ski run should only be used by experienced skiers/snowboarders or accompanied by a qualified mountain guide.

From the summit of the Aiguille du Midi, which rises to 3,812 m, it’s out of the ice tunnel that you start straight onto the ridge! This is one of the most dangerous parts of the whole itinerary, a ridge with a 50-degree slope on both sides. Afterwards, various off-piste ski itineraries, over a distance of 20 km and a vertical drop of 2,000 metres, allow you to discover the glacial world of the high mountains.

3. Take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi

Aiguille du Midi, Un pas dans le vide

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Tatiana Zinchenko

  • ⌛Duration: 20 minutes
  • 🎫Ticket price: €69
  • 💙Welove: riding France’s highest cable car to admire the panoramic view of Mont Blanc

This is one of the best things to do in Chamonix: take the Aiguille du Midi cable car. It takes just 20 minutes to reach the station at 3,777 meters above sea level. An elevator then takes you up to the terrace at 3,842 meters, where you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of Mont Blanc.

Up there, there are several experiences worth taking in. The « Un pas dans le vide  » attraction is a glass box perched above a thousand meters of void beneath your feet. It’s a great opportunity to immortalize your time on the Aiguille du Midi. You can also walk through Le Tube, a 32-meter-long cylinder anchored in the rock above the void. It connects two footbridges, offering a complete tour of the rocky peak.

For the ultimate experience, you can also opt for a guided tour of the Aiguille du Midi with a private mountain guide.

4. Visit the Mer de Glace

Mer de Glace, Chamonix

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Delpixel

  • ⌛Average length ofvisit: 3 hours
  • 🚡Access: Montenvers cog railway and cable car
  • 💙Welove: the privilege of admiring France’s largest glacier

At 200 metres high and 7 kilometers long, the Mer de Glace is France’s largest glacier. This veritable sea of ice is located on the Montenvers site at 1,913 meters, and is accessible via a cogwheel train ride from Chamonix. The simple beauty of the glacier is a sight to behold, but above all, the Mer de Glace bears witness to the undeniable impact of climate change in the Alps.

A visit to the ice cave is a journey to the heart of the glacier. It describes the life of mountain dwellers in the early 19th century. In the Glacorium, you’ll discover just how fast the glacier is retreating. A photo at the Mer de Glace is a must, simply because the opportunity to do so is shrinking every year.

5. Paragliding over the slopes of Mont-Blanc

Décollage de parapentistes au Mont Blanc

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alexey Savchuk

  • ⌛Duration: 1h30 to 3 hours
  • 🗓️Meilleure period: all year round
  • 💙Welike: high above the Chamonix valley to admire Mont Blanc from a privileged vantage point.

Paragliding is a must-do activity in Chamonix. In summer or winter, a qualified instructor will take you paragliding to discover Mont Blanc. Several options are available. We have selected two paragliding experiences.

The first is a tandem paragliding flight opposite Mont Blanc. This flight is ideal for a gentle introduction to paragliding, in incredible surroundings facing Mont Blanc. Depending on the season, you may fly over Le Brevent, Chamonix and even glaciers. If you’re lucky, you might even spot an eagle or a chamois. For those who don’t mind a bit of acrobatics, there’s an option to choose a flight with a few acrobatics.

The second is a paragliding flight over Mont Blanc. The special feature of this flight is that it takes off from the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m. This exceptional flight then takes place over Mont Blanc and the Chamonix peaks (Aiguille des Glaciers, Grandes Jorasses, Aiguille du Grépon, etc.). Your pilot always seeks to optimize the flight according to the conditions. If you feel like it, he can perform a few acrobatic maneuvers and introduce you to piloting.

6. Board the Mont Blanc tramway

Tramway du Mont Blanc, Chamonix

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Radu Razvan

  • 🗺️Plan of TMB
  • 🎫Bookyour ticket
  • ✅ This site is included in the MONT BLANC Multipass.
  • 💙Welove: a vertiginous journey on this legendary cogwheel train, the highest in France

Visiting Chamonix and not too keen on hiking or sports? The Tramway du Mont-Blanc does the job for you. This railway line departs from Le Fayet or Saint-Gervais, crosses the Bellevue plateau and the Prarion, before stopping at Mont-Blanc. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the serenity of snow-covered landscapes at an altitude of 1900 m, thanks to France’s highest cog railway. The Tram Du Mont-Blanc (or TMB) offers a simple mountaineering excursion, without hiking or climbing.

In summer, the tramway takes you up to the Nid d’Aigle (2372 m). Up there, the Bionnassay glacier is just a 30-minute walk from the refuge. This is a family-friendly walk, during which you’ll feel the fresh breath of eternal ice and snow on your face.

7. Admire the Bossons glacier

Glacier des Bossons, Chamonix

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alberto Garcia Guillen

  • Running time: 1 h 25 min
  • 🗓️Meilleure period: May to October
  • 💙Welike: following the route of the very first ascent of Mont Blanc (1786)

Another must-see in Chamonix, the Glacier des Bossons is Europe’s largest icefall, with a vertical drop of 3,630 m! There are two ways to get to the glacier. You can get there on foot via a short, albeit slightly strenuous, 2.6 km hike through wild forest. This takes you straight to the glacier!

The second option, from Les Bossons, aboard a chairlift that takes you in 15 minutes to the edge of the Bossons glacier, at 1425 meters. From up there, learn more about the glacier’s history on an informative walk. If you’re feeling hungry, you can take a look at the amazing photos of the glacier and its history over a raclette at the Chalet des Pyramides.

8. Rafting down the Arve

Rafting à Chamonix

Photo credit: Facebook – Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix – Outdoor : Rafting and Canyoning

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • 👍Number ofparticipants: up to 9 people
  • 💙Welike: a vertiginous descent in the heart of the Alps surrounded by impressive scenery

In summer, one of the best things to do in Chamonix is rafting. At the foot of Mont Blanc, you can raft down the glacier-fed Arve River! A guide will give you all the tips you need to avoid the pitfalls of mountain river navigation. Then, for 45 minutes and over 6 km, you make your way through the tumultuous waters.

The rafting trip is accessible from age 10, and equipment is provided by the organizing guide. Book your adrenaline rush from €40.

9. Hike to Lac Blanc

Randonnée au Lac Blanc, Chamonix

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • 🗓️Meilleure period: May to October
  • 💙Welike: a breathtaking view of the glacier slopes once you reach the summit

There are many hikes to be made in Chamonix and particularly at Lac Blanc. But the Lac Blanc hike from the Col des Montets in the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve is certainly the one that will best reward you for your efforts.

Offering breathtaking views of the slopes of glaciers including Mont Blanc, this 5-hour hike is quite challenging for the first kilometer. Once you’ve settled into your stride, you’ll have the chance to observe the abundant local wildlife, including the famous ibex that are such an integral part of the Savoyard landscape. Good to know: you may have to climb some ladders!

10. Try your hand at via ferrata at Les Evettes

Via Ferrata des Evettes, Chamonix

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Evgeny Subbotsky

  • ⌛Duration: 1 half day
  • 🗓️Période opening dates: June and July
  • 💙Welove: climbing high mountains in a privileged panorama!

Visiting Chamonix is all about outdoor activities. Halfway between hiking and climbing, the via ferrata des Evettes gives you the chance to try your hand at climbing, with an exceptional panorama of the Mont Blanc massif! Your day begins at 9 a.m. at the La Flégère cable car, where your instructor will be waiting for you. After a 20-minute hike, you’ll be on the via des Evettes. A cable leads you through several sections, then you cross a monkey bridge, then a second one. This route takes 1h30.

The second part of the via ferrata is on the Via Corda. On this route, which takes around 2h30, there are two abseils several dozen meters long. Your guide will adapt to your level, so you’ll always be able to take as much time as you need, or choose to take a breakaway.

You’ve just discovered our selection of the 10 must-do things to do in Chamonix. Here are some other ideas for activities you can enjoy in the resort:

    ☀️ In summer:try your hand at

  • rock climbing at Vallorcine or Monte Coudrey.
  • In summer, from June to September, hike the Diosaz Gorges
  • . Mountain biking is a major sport in Chamonix
  • .

  • Explore the Parc Animalier de Merlet,
  • where

  • deer, hinds, ibex, marmots, roe deer, chamois and other animals roam the meadows and forests under the watchful eye of Mont Blanc
  • .

Your successful stay in Chamonix

    How do I get to Chamonix?

    🚅Bytrain: if you’re coming from Paris, your journey to Chamonix is very simple. There are direct trains (allow 5 hours) or trains with a connection. Departure is from Paris-Gare de Lyon and arrival from St Gervais Les Bains – Le Fayet. Then all you have to do is take the train or bus to Chamonix.

    🚗Bycar: From France, you can get to Chamonix directly via the Autoroute Blanche (A40). From Switzerland, you can come via the freeway to Martigny, Col de la Forclaz then Col des Montets. If you’re coming from Italy, just take the Mont-Blanc tunnel.

    Good to know! You’ll need metal or textile snow chains for at least two drive wheels, or four winter tires. Find the best rental offers here

    Where to stay in Chamonix?

    Choosing the right accommodation in the resort is essential, and depends on the type of vacation you’re looking for. Ask yourself what you’re looking for: authentic chalet or practical apartment, party or peace, sport or relaxation – a vacation in Chamonix can offer it all. The range of accommodation on offer is vast, as are the different areas of the valley: from the picturesque Alpine town of Chamonix to the family-friendly village of Les Houches, the Chamonix valley is full of surprises.

    For example, if your main activity in Chamonix is skiing, you should choose accommodation close to the slopes or cable cars. If you prefer après-ski activities, it’s best to stay close to the resort’s restaurants, bars and clubs. If you’re coming with your family, you’ll certainly want to be close to the ski schools.

    Once you’ve identified your desired Chamonix vacation, check out our guide to the best places to stay in Chamonix and book your accommodation using this hotel comparator. You can also find chalets or apartments near the slopes on Airbnb.

    Our picks for the best accommodation in Chamonix

    ❄️Les 9 most beautiful chalets for rent in Chamonix

    🏠Thebest Airbnb rentals in Chamonix

    🛎️Les 12 best hotels in Chamonix

Map of hotels and accommodation – Chamonix, France