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Chamonix Mt Blanc
74400
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Peak Transfer | Chamonix Summer Guide
2nd July 2016

Chamonix Summer Guide

Chamonix is a unique cosmopolitan resort located in the French Rhone Alps bordering both Switzerland and Italy. It’s diverse international flavour and over 10,000 permanent residents makes for a delightfully upbeat bustling town all year round. Chamonix is renowned for its spectacular scenery, sporting prestige and of course being host to Europe’s tallest mountain the gargantuan Mont Blanc. This reputation attracts crowds of tourist and elite athletes from around the world to experience high altitude via the Aiguille du Midi and to take advantage of the Chamonix mountains, a wonderful natural playground of unique mountainous terrain.

Chamonix is a popular destination in summer as well as winter with it’s mountains being one of the most visited natural sites in Europe attracting millions of visitors and thousands of mountaineers every year. The resort becomes an idyllic adventure playground with plenty of activities and events taking place to keep you occupied such as; hiking, water sports, climbing, golf and mountain biking. If you haven’t been to Chamonix in summer, you certainly should!

Refuge Bel Lachat view in Chamonix

Discover nature including wild animals and flora in their natural surroundings in the Aiguille Rouges, set your eyes one of the 14 glistening glaciers of Mont Blanc, or soak up some of the world’s most stunning alpine views for yourself from the Aiguille du Midi and Tramway du Mont Blanc.

Chamonix has a lot to offer in terms of accommodation, dining and evening entertainment catering for all lifestyles and budgets. That’s why Peak Transfer have developed this Summer Guide to give you a helping hand when visiting Chamonix this summer.

Hitting the Trails: Hike, Bike, Run!

Hiking

In Chamonix your are spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking itineraries with more than 500 km of maintained hiking trails, not including the many more unmaintained high alpine trails and aided sections on offer. As to be expected in the beautiful French Alps the high altitude trails are breathtaking, and we are not just talking about the unparalleled views either. Chamonix caters for the masses with a number of extremely technical trails and multi-day treks such as the Tour du Mont Blanc to challenge even the most experienced hikers. However, more easy going family friendly strolls that meander through the valley floor following the glacial waters of the L’Arve are also available. We recommend incorporating a delicious lunch stop at one of many fantastic mountain restaurants or refuges scattered across the valley and beyond.

For those looking to complete a multi day tour the aforementioned Tour du Mont Blanc is the most famous trail in Europe covering over 100 miles and 10,000m of ascent, taking you through no less than 3 countries. Another popular hut-to-hut trek is the Haute Route where participants depart from Chamonix on route via high alpine passes to the Swiss resort of Zermatt absorbing views of famous peaks such as Mont Blanc and Matterhorn.
Peak Transfer provides Chamonix to Geneva Airport transfers and Hiking Essentials in the Mountains
For a challenging but thoroughly rewarding day hike our favorite would have to be the walk up to the famous La Jonction (2,589m). Part of the initial route that Balmat and Paccard took on their first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. Once you are at the top of the highest rocky spur you can marvel at the glistening glacier and compute just how tremendously huge they really are. Hear the creaking and cracking as the glacier moves and melts, feeling its enormous force first hand. Called the junction as it is where the Les Bossons and Taconnaz glaciers meet before parting ways.

For recommended walking itineraries visit the Chamonix Tourist Office Website or for some Chamonix hiking tips check out our Safe Mountain Hiking Guide and Hiking Essentials pages.

Mountain Biking

Chamonix may not be well known for its downhill courses but when it comes to cross country and variable terrain then it should not be overlooked. There are hundreds of kilometres to explore with a real mixture of trails to suit all abilities. From mild scenic trails traversing the valley floor, copious amounts open singletrack to the dedicated North Shore downhill areas in Les Houches. Many of these are facilitated with use of the lifts if you do not fancy the uphill slog. For beginners or those experienced riders wanting to make the most out of their Chamonix stay can find a local guide or rent equipment easily in the Chamonix Valley. To find out more about the Chamonix MTB trails, equipment hire and local instructors and guides visit the Chamonix Tourist Information Page here.

Trail Running

It’s no surprise that Chamonix is a trail running ‘mecca’ for many. Hosting the holy grail of trail races in the form of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc among many others such as the Mont Blanc Marathon, Vertical Km and Trail du Aiguille Rouges each year. Chamonix has embraced its trail running heritage so much so that in addition to the vast hiking trails on offer it has a number of dedicated running trails in the valley. For those inclined there are a number of companies offering trail running holidays and mountain running training camps in the Chamonix Valley. Whatsmore, to help keen runners there is a trail running information desk manned by a team of experienced local runners can advise you on routes and equipment. For more information on this and for a list of dedicated routes with detailed descriptions visit the Vallée du Trail website.

Peak Transfer Chamonix Trail Running

Grab a Bite

You will not be disappointed of the Chamonix offerings when it comes to delicious food. It’s international flavors and Michelin starred heavyweights make for a gastronomic treat when dining in Chamonix. Of course regional Savoyard fare and not so distant Italian influences play a big part on the local menu’s based on the readily sourced local produce. However, unlike neighbouring resorts you will find a rather more diverse menu offering foreign inspired cuisine including Scandinavian, Asian, Japanese, Indian and Mexican. That being said those on slightly tighter purse strings should not worry too much as it’s not all extortionate fine dining establishments in Chamonix with most budgets catered for. Take a look at our Chamonix Restaurants Guide and list of Best Mountain Restaurants for a more comprehensive insight into the best eateries in the Chamonix Valley.

La Bergerie de Plan Praz Fantastic Chamonix Resturant at Altitude

Fancy a drink?

There are more bars, clubs and cafe’s than you can shake a stick at in Chamonix offering a variety of entertainment and diverse atmosphere to cater for all. You can jump on the tables to live music in the lively bars of Avenue Michel Croz before heading to the discrete Chamonix Nightclubs for a bit of late night dancing. Or perhaps a more sophisticated drink relaxing with friends is more your thing in the chic wine and cocktail bars of Rue des Moulins. Family friendly establishments such as Le Robinson and MOO bar are a great choice for those with children and beer lovers should not miss Chamonix’s very own microbrewery MBC. For a more detailed guide to keep you entertained well into the early hours find out more about the best bars and clubs in our Chamonix Nightlife Guide.

Explore the Caves in Chamonix Mont Blanc Apres

Catching some Zzzzz

Chamonix has everything from 5 star luxury chalets to basic hostel type accommodation where high end designer luxury stands alongside modest bed and breakfast facilities. Whether you prefer to stay in a hotel, have your own space in a central apartment or exclusive privacy in an opulent chalet slightly outside of Chamonix centre itself you will be able to find what you are looking for. Check out the usual suspects Airbnb for apartments, Booking.com for hotels and Chamonix Chalets for chalets in the Valley.

Things to do

Summer alpine holidays make fantastic vacations and can often be overlooked. There is just so much to do in Chamonix in summer that you could not possibly do everything in a whole summer season let alone a week or two vacation. From beautiful hikes, relaxing spa retreats, a bit of retail therapy and thrilling treetop adventure parks there is something to suit all ages, abilities and interests in the Chamonix Valley. Here are just some of the many things to do in Chamonix on your summer Chamonix visit

Climbing, Via Ferrata & Adventure Parks

Chamonix attracts recreational and elite climbers from around the world to sample its unique rock formations and pit themselves against the challenging terrain on offer. You don’t have to be an expert climber to get in on the climbing action. In fact it has some excellent entry level climbing crags (designated and equipped climbing areas) and activities on offer. Hire a climbing instructor to learn the ropes and visit one of the local beginner friendly climbing crags in the valley. For more information about rock climbing in the valley take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Rock Climbing in Chamonix page.

Climbing and Hiking the Passy Via Ferrata

Another fun way to introduce yourself to the climbing world is through the art of Via Ferrata. Take on vertical walls and traverse steep rock formations with the aid ladders, bridges, hand and foot holds attached to a steel cable for protection. There are two fantastically exposed and fun Via Ferrata routes that are well worth a try for the brave and adventurous whilst in the Chamonix Valley. For more information about Via Ferrata and the local routes available check out our Via Ferrata page.

For the younger adventurers in your family there are a handful of high rope adventure parks, normally called Acro Parks in France, featuring enormous cargo nets, tricky traverses and speedy ziplines to keep the little ones entertained. Acro parks can be found in Gaillands, Les Houches, and Praz du Paradis.

Paragliding & Skydiving

It wouldn’t be a French Alpine resort without a bit of paragliding. Just look at the sky when in Chamonix and you are bound to see a number of canopies swooping around (even somersaulting). Chamonix is an extreme sports hub with experienced paragliders, skydivers and wingsuit flyers flocking to its mountains each and every year. To get a taste of what it’s like to become airborne, experience the thrill of an acrobatic flight or simply get a birdseye view of the mountains take a look at the Chamonix’s Paragliding opportunities here.

Let Peak Transfer take you Paragliding in Brevent and Aiguille du Midi in the beautiful Chamonix Valley

Health & Beauty Spa Retreats

Chamonix has a good reputation for its extreme sporting community but don’t judge a book by its cover as it also has some of the best spa facilities around for those wanting a more relaxed and pampering experience. There are several fantastic spa facilities to choose from in and around Chamonix offering a wealth of health and beauty treatments to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. For those looking for a rather novel experience just 15 minutes drive away you can find the natural thermal springs of St Gervais just over the Italian border or the Les Bains de Lavey spa in Switzerland. Check out our guide to the Best Mont Blanc Spa Breaks here.

Hotel l'Heliopic Spa in Chamonix only an hour from Geneva Airport with Peak Transfer

Watersports

When booking an alpine summer holiday watersports do not always initially come to mind. However, spending a day in Chamonix centre you can’t help but notice the screams of excitement and commotion coming from the L’Arve river when rafts of thrillseekers and brave hydrospeeders take to the glacial waters of Chamonix.

Local adventure companies also offer canyoning day trips to nearby Switzerland and Italy where you can use natural resources to slide, jump and climb your way through mountain gorges and caves. To find out about Rafting, Hydrospeeding and Canyoning in more detail visit our Watersports Page.

Peak Transfer recommends Water Sports in Chamonix with Yellow Rafting

Golf

If you would like to get a cheeky round or two in whilst on holiday then you are in luck. Not only does Chamonix have a brilliant 18-hole golf course in Les Praz created in 1934 for you to play but you have Mont Blanc, the Drus and Aiguille Rouges as a backdrop.

Family Fun

If you’re planning to bring your little people with you to Chamonix then you can rest assured there is plenty to keep them occupied. For the very young travelers please find our Chamonix activities for young children here. But here are a few of our family favorites to inspire you;

Parc Merlet

If your children love nature and animals then Merlet Animal Park is the place to be. Not only do you get a magnificent view of the Mont Blanc massif and the Chamonix Valley from 1,563m above sea level but the opportunity to spot more than 80 mountain animals, including indigenous species like the ibex, deer and marmots. The park is 21 hectares of protected pasture, rock and alpine forest where animals can freely roam in their natural habitat. For more information about the park, opening times and directions visit their Website.

Peak Transfer recommends Parc Merlet in Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley

Swimming

Cool off on a hot summer day or perhaps seek refuge on a rainy one we all know children love to be in the pool or by the lake in the summer. Chamonix’s Sports Centre (Richard Bozon) has four heated pools; a 50m outdoor pool, 25m indoor pool, a kids playing pool and a paddling pool. There are a handful of fun slides and plenty of big floats to play with keeping the children occupied all afternoon. If you take your Carte d’Hôtes (provided by your accommodation) adults get a discount, under 6’s are free. If you fancy a bit of open water swimming the beautiful Lac Passy is a short 20 minute drive away and has a lifeguarded beach, acro park and plenty of green grassy areas to set up shop.

Le Paradis des Praz

A Chamonix parent staple has to be the Paradis de Praz park situated in forests of Le Praz. A wonderfully natural playground with swings, slack lines and climbing frame plus the shallow glacial streams and ponds to paddle in. With a local cafe, acro park and pony rides added to the mix you can easily spend a whole day here and still not get bored. Best of all its free (well except perhaps the odd ice-cream and pony ride).

Splashing around Le Paradis des Praz in the Chamonix Valley Peak Transfer can take you there

Places to see

Chamonix’s main attractions have people flocking from around the world to visit them. The most famous being Mont Blanc’s very own Aiguille du Midi cable car, the highest mountain peak served by an aerial lift system. At the dizzying height of 3,842m it is the closest you will come to the Mont Blanc summit without hiking or climbing.

Aiguille du Midi

The station of the Aiguille du Midi has a network of tunnels and several viewing platforms where visitors get spectacular views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. In addition to the cafe and museum to occupy you the brave can take the fearless ‘Step into the Void’. A glass cage hanging in thin air over a 1,000m drop to the mountainous rock spires below.

The Aiguille du Midi is an Absolute must to any visitor to Chamonix

Montenvers Mer de Glace

The Chamonix Valley has not just one but two famous mountain railways in its repertoire each with their very own unique views, experience and atmosphere.

Firstly you have the iconic red and white mountain train based from Chamonix’s very own Mer de Glace station in the centre of town. Everyone loves to take a ride of the magical red mountain train that climbs and winds up to Montenvers (1,913m) to get a panoramic view the Mer de Glace glacier, ominous Drus and magnificent Grands Jorasses mountains.

Memories of a Life time are created on the Montenvers Mer de Glace Train in Chamonix

The famous rack and pinion railway is a great experience for adults and children alike making it a definite sightseeing must when in Chamonix. Once at Montenvers you can visit the  “Grotte de glace” Ice Caves carved into the glacier itself via the gondola but be aware this involves the challenge of taking on more than 400 steps (up & down) to get there.

The Glaciorium is a lot closer situated at Montenvers itself and exhibits some of the many crystals and gemstones created in the Mont Blanc mountains. There is also a café, shop, restaurant and plenty of space to roam around and take in the view. For more information including prices and timetables visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website.

Tramway du Mont Blanc

The second of the valleys mountain railways is not only its oldest but boasts the highest railway in France (4th in Europe) ready to take you on an adventure to the heart of the Mont Blanc Massif. Discover a variety of beautiful alpine landscapes and observe the diverse change in terrain through the difference in altitude from 590m in Le Fayet to the Nid d’Aigle (a.k.a. The Eagles Nest) at a whopping 2,380 m over 12km.

Peak Transfer recommend a trip on the Highest French Railway Tramway du Mont Blanc

There are  a number of lovely stops to be explored on route including delightful family friendly walks and cafes at both Col de Voza and Bellevue plateau. Once at the top you are close enough to really appreciate the almighty Bionnassay glacier and the brave mountaineers setting off into the high mountains in hope to summit one of the many challenging peaks including Mont Blanc itself. For more information including prices and timetables visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website.

What’s on?

Chamonix’s vibrant atmosphere lends itself to successfully host a number of exciting events in the summer months attracting people from across the globe.

Cosmo Jazz Festival, July

Appreciate Jazz music at altitude in the cool as you like Cosmo Jazz Festival. Oozing class and talent across the valley a variety of the best artists from all over the world are invited to perform on every stage from the bars of the valley floor to the open air high alpine summits of Brevent.

Cosmo Jazz Festival in Chamonix

Ultra Trail dt Mont Blanc (UTMB), August

The UTMB is probably the most famous trail running race in the world. Witness some of the fittest runners in the world pip themselves against the 100 mile Mont Blanc trail taking on over 10,000m of ascent on their way passing through 3 separate counties.

Get to the UTMB Finish Line with Peak Transfer

Getting to Chamonix

What makes Chamonix a fantastic destination for many is the convienient lightening quick transfer time to resort. With a short flight to Geneva from the UK it’s then only an hour by road to Chamonix centre itself. On route you will be met with Mont Blanc’s 14 imposing glaciers glistening in the sun and towering rock spires shooting up to the sky.

Peak Transfer provide private airport transfers to Chamonix

Peak Transfer are a reputable and reliable transfer company based locally providing a fully insured and licensed transfer service across the French, Italian and Swiss Alps (view our licence here). The cost of a private transfer to Chamonix is €185 each way for up to 8 passengers in a modern well equipped vehicle. Your personal driver will pick you up up from the arrivals hall at the airport and drive you directly to your accommodation door without having to wait around for other passengers. Why not check out some of our independent reviews online here.

To book your private transfer simply complete our quick quote now

For last minute bookings call our transfer hotline: +33 (0) 679 851 810