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Chamonix is an absolutely must visit when you are in the French Alps. This place has a lot of amazing activities from hiking in the summer to skiing in the winter and you can go all year round to a Spa.
This blog is about visiting Chamonix in the winter but if you like hiking you should visit Chamonix also in summer and do some hikes. There is a long-distance hike that takes you around the Mont Blanc massif. Most people start the hike in Chamonix, and you will finish back in Chamonix. The hike is called the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) and takes around 7 to 12 days hiking, depending on your experience and preference. The hike takes you through three different countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland.
Why you should visit Chamonix
Chamonix is located near the Mont Blanc (in Italian: Monte Bianco) which is the highest mountain peak of the Alps. The peak lies at 4,807 meters high. The whole mountain massif is located on the French and Italian border, but it also reaches into Switzerland.
Besides this famous mountain range the city has a lot to offer. There is always something to do, you will not be bored in this typical French mountain city.
Tip: there are many nice places to eat in Chamonix. There is this amazing burger place called Poco Loco. They have a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. Try to sit upstairs, it’s really cosy.
Skiing and snowboarding in Chamonix
Chamonix is a big ski area with many places to ski. In Chamonix you can ski with views over the Mont Blanc which is amazing. The best views you’ll find when you take the cable car Brévent. You will find the most stunning views while you are skiing here.
When you reach the top of the cable car Brévent, you’ll see another cable car that goes higher. It’s possible to go up with the higher cable car for a panoramic view. There is a restaurant here that is right in front of the Mont-Blanc which is an epic vies. You can ski down but it’s only a black slope. So, if you’re not a good skier leave your skies at the cable car.
Tip: make sure you have a ski lock so you can lock your skies when you leave them somewhere. It happens that skis get stolen. You can easily buy a small ski lock to lock up your gear, buy it on Amazon or in the Intersport in Chamonix.
From Brévent you can ski all the way to the cable car la Flégère because those two ski areas are connected to each other.
The other ski areas like Les Grand Montets and Balme are also amazing to go skiing. We heard that Les Houches is also worth to ski for a day.
Chamonix offers challenging and off-piste skiing. It’s perfect for skiers and snowboarders who are experienced and love to discover around. You need to be advanced if you want to go off-piste because here, you’ll find deep and steep descents that are not for the faint of heart. You can ski on l’Aiguille du Midi and the Vallee Blanche, but you need to have the right equipment and have enough experience.
You can take a ski pass for one area or take the unlimited day pass for a day. If you take the unlimited day pass for skiing, you get access to the whole ski area from Chamonix and Les Houches plus there are a lot of extras. The ski areas are not connected to each other and are really spread out. You need to take busses to go to go to another ski area.
You can also buy separate passes if you want to ski. There are day passes for each ski area or you can buy the Chamonix pass or the Les Houches pass depending on where you want to ski.
The unlimited day pass is interesting and cheaper if you want to visit l’Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers Mer de Glace and Brévent (read below in winter activities what I suggest). More information about the passes can be found on their website.
Tip: take the unlimited day pass for one day to visit the highlights, read below in winter activities in Chamonix. For the other ski days take a cheaper ski pass.
The most legendary après-ski happens at La Folie Douce.
Special winter activities in Chamonix
There are many things to do during the winter in Chamonix. Most people come for the skiing and snowboarding but there is a lot more that you can do here. In the winter the best thing you can do is to take an unlimited day pass for a day because it’s way cheaper than buying separate tickets. With this pass you get access to L’Aiguille du Midi, Mer de Glace and all the ski areas.
ONE DAY IN CHAMONIX: I would suggest you take the unlimited pass for one day. You can start early in the morning with L’Aiguille du Midi, then go to Mer de Glace and finish going to the viewpoint at Brévent. This is a perfect way to do all the highlights in one day! If you want to ski, you can bring your skis at Brévent and ski around with views over the Mont-Blanc.
More information about the passes you can find on their website. Below the must visits in Chamonix will be discussed:
L’Aiguille du Midi
The two cable cars bring you up to 3,842 meters high where you have 360 degrees view over the French, Italian and Swiss Alps. This place is amazing for the views so make sure you only go up when the weather is good, otherwise you won’t have a view.
Because of the height, some people might experience hight sickness. To prevent this, you might need to wait a few days after your arrival in Chamonix to go to the highest point.
Tip: take an extra coat or wear an extra layer because it’s windy and very cold on the top.
There are no ski slopes here, but it is possible to ski on the glacier of the Mont Blanc if you’re an advanced skier and have the right equipment. This is only for skilled skiers and snowboarders.
Tip: take the first cable car up to beat the crowd. Normally it’s at 8 am but double check on their website.
Mer de Glace – Montenvers
This is the glacier that comes from the Mont Blanc. You get to this glacier by train from the centre of Chamonix.
When you reach the glacier, you can walk around and take the cable car down and walk to an ice cave. The walk is a lot of stairs, just so you know. There is also a gift shop here and a restaurant in case you need to wait on the train to get back.
More information about pricing and opening hours you’ll find here.
6 adventurous activities in Chamonix
There are many other adventures besides skiing, visiting l’Aiguille du Midi and Mer du Glace that you can do in Chamonix.
You can go Ice skating in Chamonix or go and watch an Ice hockey match. More information about ice skating or going to watch a game you’ll find on their website.
Go paragliding around the mountains in Chamonix. There are many companies that offer paragliding flights, so look around and compare the prices and the offers. Here is one company that offers different options.
Another nice activity is hiking or snowshoeing. During the winter there are a lot of hiking opportunities. Make sure to wear decent winter hiking boots. In Decathlon or Intersport in Chamonix you can buy spikes for on your shoes. Another nice thing to do is rent snowshoes in Intersport or go snowshoeing with a guide (they provide snowshoes for you).
You can easily rent snowshoes at Intersport for around € 10 a day including walking sticks. When there is fresh snow, I recommend renting snowshoes, it’s easy to rent online.
In Chamonix it’s also possible to go cross-country skiing
There are many more amazing activities that you can do if you’re a non-skier. If you have the budget, you can always schedule a helicopter flight or you can just go to a sport center and have fun.
In Richard Bozon sport centre you will find pools, indoor sports courts, a gym, a bouldering room and a lot more. Check out this website to get all the information about this sport center.
Time to relax
QC Terme Chamonix is one of the best places to relax and to enjoy some beautiful views. It’s a spa where you can spend the whole day if you want.
This is just a selection of activities you can do. There is of course much more to do in Chamonix, check out their website if this wasn’t enough. Discover more Winter sports or continue reading about Winter activities in Morzine which isn’t too far from Chamonix.