Summer Activities in Chamonix
Chamonix’s reputation for a fantastic ski holiday is second to none, little did you know that it is also a brilliant location for a summer holiday. The mountain weather, although sometimes temperamental normally yields highs of over 30 degrees making swimming in the crystal clear lakes and reaching the high peaks an absolute dream.
So if you take the plunge and decide to head to the Alps for summer, here is our guide to the fun activities you can partake in in the glorious Chamonix Valley!
The Aiguille du Midi
This incredible lift is certainly the number 1 tourist attraction in Chamonix. With the crown of Europe’s highest ski lift at 3,842m this one is not for the faint hearted! But it is the perfect way to see the heights of Mont Blanc and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world - on a clear day you’ll get a birds eye view of the surrounding valley as far as the eye can see. The trip itself takes around 20 minutes, but leave plenty of time for this adventure as que’s can really mount up, we would recommend allowing at least 3 hours for this trip. Up there you have the chance to ‘Step into the void’ with its glass cage hung out over a 1000 meter precipice. Once at the top you can also take another gondola ride over to the Glacier du Géant to the Pointe Helbronner in Italy.
Ok so hiking may not sound like the most exiting of activities, but in Chamonix it is extremely beautiful and can be very challenging depending on what route you choose to take. If you want to start off easy we would recommend the Les Bois circuit suitable for all the family, and taking you up to Les Tines where you can check out quant churches and woodlands. If you want a little more challenging the famous Lac Blanc is a typical alpine hike which takes you to the fantastic lake where you’ll see a crystal clear reflection of Mont Blanc and a lovely restaurant spot for lunch. Its accessible either from the top of Flegere or via the lift itself which will make the walk around 2 hours, or if you want to take the lift to the top of Flegere to make it around 1.5 hours.
For more detail on the routes available check out the Chamonix Tourist office list of hikes
The Montenvers Railway
To get some of the best views of the Mer de Glace glacier take the retro red train up the valley. Built as one of the first tourist attractions back in 1908 it is truly a great trip. When you reach the top (after a 1000m altitude gain and about 20 minutes on board) you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat and take in your surroundings via the terrace. From here you’ll also get incredible view of the famous Chamonix peaks including the Aiguille du Grepon reaching 3,482m ,Les Drus reaching 3,754m and Les Grands Jorasses reaching 4,205m. In addition to this, visitors can take the cable car that brings them directly to the ice cave that has been carved out of the glacier, truly a spectacle not to be missed.
Prices from €31.50
More info on pricing and timetables of the Montenvers Railways can be found here
Chamonix is a world renowned spot for paragliding, so much so that you will have a plethora of companies to choose from. If you are ready to soar with the eagles, this is the summer activity for you. It will it give you some of the most spectacular views of the town and surrounding peaks with multiple launch points to choose from. Depending on the sort of flight you have selected and in what area, the experts will tell you what sort of thing to expect and the level of difficultly but tandem flights will often require no previous experience. Just beware that weather plays a huge factor in whether or not the flight is possible.
Prices from - €95
Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting
Depending on how you want to enjoy the river in Chamonix you can pick from Kayaking (where you sit inside the kayak facing forward and have a double bladed paddle) or canoeing, where you will usually sit on the raised seats in a team and have just single blade paddle.
Some prefer to Kayak due to them generally being easier to navigate, but why not try a bit of both and see what you enjoy the most. Rental of the gear is available on the larger lakes or if you want more of a challenge try out the local rivers, all with a guide of course.
If you want to take a slightly more exhilarating approach to the river then white water rafting in Chamonix will definitely tick the boxes for you. Trips usually last and hour or two and can be taken from the Arve where you navigate the decent with a guide in tow, great fun for all the family.
Prices from €30
Not for the faint hearted but certainly a fantastic experience, canyoning takes you and your guided group on an adventure down the river. Not only will you get the chance to jump into the natural formed pools but you can abseil down waterfalls and rock faces and enjoy the river rapids. There are several companies that offer this experience, all with different options available, so if you want a refreshing dunk on a hot summers day, cannoning is certainly one way to cool down.
Available all summer, weather dependant.
Try Ace Chamonix
Prices from €62
Road biking in Chamonix and the Alps is not something that can be undertaken lightly with a lots more steep inclines you’ll find it rather different that cycling in the UK.
Chamonix and the surround valleys are often the setting for the Tour de France so you will need a decent level of fitness to tackle some of the routes available but when you do you’ll be greatly rewarded by stunning views, to test your fitness start of with something gentle such as the Col des Montets from Chamonix through Argentiere. Or something a little more challenging the Col de la Forclaz or Barrage d'Emosson, via Col des Montets. Both just over 60km and a good selection of climbs.
There are plenty of scenic spots if you fancy fishing in Chamonix. The alpine lakes offer an ideal setting.
The nearby Lac Gaillands, just before Les Bossons offers fly fishing to visitors, permits as well as drinks and snacks can be purchased from the hut on site. Just 20 minutes from Chamoinx is the stunning Lake Passy, perfect for all the family and a popular spot for picnics and with other surrounding lakes available nearby if you prefer the peace and quiet there is plenty to choose from.
The Lac de Chavants in Les Houches is also a good spot for trout fishing, here you can hire all the gear if you don’t have any with you, you’ll have to get a permit from the tourist office and you must pay for any fish you catch by the kilo.
Be sure you have the correct permission or permit in each area.
Rock climbing, ice climbing, ski touring, bouldering – Chamonix has it all and is well known all over the world for its versatility, making it a mecca for mountaineers ready to explore Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks.
There are huge number of routes available including world famous Chamonix Granite which is very popular with rock climbers. If you are just starting out or want to brush up on your skills before doing something more challenging there is a climbing wall in Les Houches or an outdoor wall in Les Gaillands. There are plenty of guides and courses that you can also take if you are new to the mountaineering world and what to get started or simply to explore the best routes safely.