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12 Great Things To Do In Chamonix in Summer

12 Great Things To Do In Chamonix in Summer

Chamonix Mont Blanc, the world-famous Olympic ski resort, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in southeast France and is the country’s adventure capital; however, it is much more than just a snowy winter ski destination.

I visited Chamonix in the summer during my 2-week European road trip and discovered a charming alpine town offering various outdoor activities, including hiking and parasailing. Its spectacular location at the base of snow-capped Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, makes it a destination with the ‘WOW’ factor.

In this post, I will share how to make the most of your Chamonix summer holiday and answer some frequently asked questions. Discover what to do in Chamonix, where to stay and dine and how to travel to this beautiful alpine town from major hubs like Geneva and Paris.

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Is Chamonix Worth Visiting in the Summer?

There are so many things to do in Chamonix in summer that it is definitely worth visiting. This alpine resort offers a wealth of outdoor pursuits for all ages and fitness levels. Activities include hiking through the most beautiful scenery in the French Alps, riding cable cars up snow-capped mountains, parasailing, helicopter rides, animal experiences, and mountain biking, to name but a few.

A stay at the world-famous Hotel Mont Blanc is a must for those wanting to switch off and completely relax. Enjoy its outdoor swimming pool and Clarins spa, and indulge in fine food at its restaurant. For shoppers, the main thoroughfare in Chamonix boasts boutiques, charming craft shops, and plenty of superb French restaurants.

Angie sitting in the jacuzzi at Hotel Mont Blanc with the Swiss Alps as a backdrop.
Outdoor Pool at Hotel Mont Blanc

How to Spend Summer in Chamonix

I visited Chamonix in June as part of my European Road Trip, which included Italy and Switzerland. We spent two days in Chamonix, and the weather was mild and perfect for outdoor sightseeing. If you want slightly warmer weather, travelling to Chamonix in August will give you average daily temperatures of 18 – 20 Degrees Celsius and a monthly August average of 240 hours of sunshine.

Of course, you can visit Chamonix, France, as a stand-alone destination by flying into Geneva Airport in Switzerland (the nearest to Chamonix and just over an hour’s drive away) and then taking one of these options to reach the town.

It is good to note that Geneva is only a 1-hour 45-minute flight from London, making Chamonix an accessible destination for a weekend break in Europe or as part of a more extended holiday in France.

When arriving at Geneva airport, you have several ways of transferring to Chamonix:

  • Take a taxi from the airport (get a price first as it’s a long journey)
  • Catch the airport transfer Easybus for the 1-hour 15-minute journey. Or try the other bus companies, Blablabus or  SwissTours, for routes between Geneva and Chamonix.
  • Hop on the train. The rail journey takes up to 4 hours to reach Chamonix as it is not a direct route; however, if you have time to spare and want to get off and explore other towns along the way, this is worth doing.
  • Rent a car and drive yourself from the airport – you then have transport at your disposal to explore some of the other pretty towns in the French and Italian Alps.

Travelling From Paris to Chamonix

Combining the hustle and bustle of France’s capital with the alpine setting of Chamonix is easy.

  • By Road: The distance from Paris to Chamonix by road is 613km, and it will take around 6 hours to drive. A good idea is to stop midway in Lyon for a break and some sightseeing.
  • By Train: A train service runs out of Paris Gare de Lyon to Annecy, followed by a bus from Annecy to Chamonix.
  • By Air: Flights from Paris serve Geneva, and transfers are as previously mentioned.

What to Do in Chamonix in Summer

#1 Ride the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car

One of the best things to do in Chamonix is to ride Aiguille du Midi, France’s highest cable car and one of France’s major tourist attractions.

Visitors can take the cable car up the mountains to see the famous peak of Mont Blanc, one of the most mesmerising landmarks in France. The journey takes around 20 minutes and gives spectacular views of the French Alps during the ride.

Once at the top, if you feel brave, step inside The Void, a glass box hanging 1000m over the mountain’s edge. Learn about the mountains in the Alpinism Museum, the highest museum ever built, and then experience this summer and winter wonderland in 4D at the interactive cinema. Don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop on the way down and pick up a memento of your journey.

Aiguille du Midi is an expensive attraction but a must-do in Chamonix; after all, who doesn’t want to stand at the top of a snowy mountain in summer?

Snow-capped mountain peaks of Mont Blanc.

#2 Glide Over to Italy on the Skyway Monte Bianco

If you want another scenic journey, take a trip to Italy from Chamonix via a mountain cable car.

Start the journey from Chamonix on the Aiguille du Midi cable car, get to the top and jump aboard the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car, which takes you to the Italian side of the mountains.

Descend into Courmayeur, in Northern Italy’s Aosta Valley, and explore this picturesque Italian town before returning to Chamonix by bus or taxi via the 7-mile-long Mont Blanc tunnel.

Three cable Cars moving across the Alps in Chamonix.

#3 Book a Chamonix Tandem Paragliding Tour

Look up to the skies in Chamonix, and you will see paragliders descending from Mount Brevant. It is one of the popular activities in Chamonix and a superb way to see Mont Blanc and the neighbouring peaks from this excellent vantage point.

On my trip to Chamonix, I watched the paragliders soaring above the Hotel Mont Blanc as I lazed by the pool, plucking up the courage to try it myself. Unfortunately, by the time I had decided it was something I must tick off my France bucket list, it was too late, and all the slots were booked!

Because of my disappointment, I strongly advise booking your paragliding tour before you arrive in Chamonix to ensure you get the time and date slot you require.

Two paragliders soaring over the trees and mountains in the French Alps.

#4 Ascend Mount Brevant

If you fancy reaching the dizzy heights of Mount Brevant but don’t want to hurl yourself off at the top, there is an alternative! Take the gondola lift from Chamonix to Plan Praz, then switch to the Brevant cable car. It will take you to the summit, where you can enjoy superb views across the Chamonix Valley. It is also the start of several hikes.

#5 Take to the Skies in a Helicopter

What better way to get a bird’s eye view of the majestic Alps than by helicopter? Soar above the Mont Blanc Massif and see why mountaineers revere this mountain range.

Helicoptor flying above snowy mountains.

#6 Hike the Trails in Chamonix

Chamonix has many scenic trails to hike in summer; after all, this is a destination known for its great outdoors.

Explore the alpine valley with easy walks, day hikes, and more strenuous mountain treks, such as the famous Tour du Mont Blanc hike, taking in the stunning mountainscapes.

And don’t forget that even though it is summer, there is still thick snow on the mountains for adventure hikes.

Mountaineers walking along the snow capped ridge of Mont Blanc.
Hiking on Aiguille du Midi

#7 Climb Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata is a system of ladders, ropes, and footholds that lead you around the mountain face. It is a way to experience rock climbing for the first time, although an experienced climber should accompany beginners.

Three mountaineers making their way up a mountain via a rope system on via-ferrata in Chamonix.

#8 Journey to a Glacier Aboard the Montenvers Railway

The famous red Montenvers cogwheel train takes you from the centre of Chamonix to the foot of the Mer de Glace, France’s longest glacier.

It is the third largest glacier in the Alps and extends an amazing 7km down the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc Massif. Visit the ice cave to see this impressive glacier for yourself.

Red Train on a mountain track.

#9 Ride the Chamonix Alpine Toboggan Coaster

The Luge Alpine Coaster is open all year round and is a fun attraction for the whole family. It is located in the Planards Ski Area in the heart of the mountains.

It consists of a 1300m long luge track with jumps, bends, and 540° spins to keep the adrenaline pumping!

#10 Meet the Alpine Animals at Parc De Merlet

If you wonder what animals live in these alpine conditions, visiting the Parc de Merlet will answer your question. As well as being in a stunning position with unbeatable views of Mont Blanc, this is where you can wander around and meet the animals who live in the mountains.

Look for llamas, chamois, ibex, deer, marmots and sheep as you follow the trail around the park.

Take the #1 bus from Chamonix Sud to Les Houches to reach the park.

A mountain ibex perched on the cliff edge in Chamonix.
An ibex in Parc de Merlet

#11 Wander Around Chamonix Town

You couldn’t wish to visit a more charming alpine town than Chamonix. It has a cosmopolitan vibe but retains its historical past with statues, wooden bridges and a beautiful church.

Statue de Saussure dominates the town centre, depicting two men pointing to the nearby summit of Mont Blanc. In 1760, a reward was offered to the first person who could climb to the summit of nearby Mont Blanc.

Twenty-six years later, the feat was accomplished by two Chamonix locals: Jacques Balmat and Michel Gabriel Paccard. The statue is a lasting tribute to their mountaineering achievement.

The town’s flower-covered wooden bridge crossing the Arve River is a popular place for photographers. It is a great spot to capture some great snow-capped mountain images.

Stand on the bridge and face the mountains; the freezing rush of air from the fast-flowing river beneath you is breathtaking!

If time permits, visit Chamonix church. The church’s inside doors have colourful stained glass featuring the outdoor winter sports for which Chamonix is famous.

#12 Eat and Drink Fondue, Raclette and Local Beer

It would be wrong not to sample the local cuisine in such a beautiful alpine setting. Tuck into a traditional melted cheese fondue or raclette, washed down with a local brew.

One of the best restaurants in Chamonix for fondue is La Calèche. The family restaurant was opened in the 1940s and retains its traditional alpine decor.

To taste some of the local beers, head to the Chamonix microbrewery. The local Mont Blanc Brewery beer is made with pure glacial water and bottled at altitude – not many beers can claim that unique technique!

Cheese Fondue in a red saucepan with people dipping bread into it.

Day trips to Chamonix from Geneva

You can join an organised Chamonix day trip from Geneva, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities.

Where to stay in Chamonix in summer

Chamonix is expensive because it is one of Europe’s premier ski resorts. Even so, it is worth the price because the French Alps in summer are beautiful.

Chamonix has many five-star hotels and chalets to book, attracting an international clientele. There are budget places to stay in Chamonix, but if you can afford the best, you’re in for a treat.

Budget: 2-star Hotel Le Chamonix. Scores 7.6 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £70.

Mid-Range: 3-star Plan B Hotel – Living Chamonix. Scores 8.9 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £143.

Comfort Luxe: 4-star Auberge du Bois Prin. Scores 9.0 /10 from guest reviews. An average nightly stay in June is £251.

The 5-star Hôtel Mont Blanc is a beautiful heritage hotel in the town centre with mountain views from all the bedrooms. A fine-dining restaurant, outdoor pool and Clarins spa offer everything you need for a luxurious stay in Chamonix.

Please check here for availability and pricing for the 5-star Hôtel Mont Blanc

The 5-star Grand Hôtel des Alpes is 700 yards from the Aiguille du Midi cable car at the heart of the Alpine mountains. It offers unique accommodations, a fine dining restaurant, and an indoor pool.

Please check here for availability and pricing for the 5-star Grand Hôtel des Alpes

The 5-star Le Hameau Albert 1er is just a 5-minute walk from Chamonix SNCF train station, making it perfect for guests arriving by train. It offers luxurious accommodations, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, a wellness centre, and a fine-dining restaurant.

Please check here for availability and pricing for the 5-star Le Hameau Albert 1er

Angie wearing a floral dress and  sitting in a gazebo in the garden of Hotel Mont Blanc.

What to wear in Chamonix in Summer

The summer weather in Chamonix will be pleasant, so you won’t need to worry about thick jackets and boots other than when you go to Mont Blanc’s peak, where temperatures can drop below freezing. Around town, most visitors wear casual clothes, as days are filled with outdoor activities, where leggings and T-shirts are the preferred attire. Maybe pack a dress or smart jeans and a top if you plan on visiting one of the high-end restaurants in Chamonix. Otherwise, dress for comfort; after all, you are on holiday.

I hope this Chamonix Travel Guide has inspired a summer visit to Chamonix. It highlights that alpine destinations in the French Alps are as beautiful in the summer as in the winter.

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Ashley

Monday 6th of March 2023

Great info! Very comprehensive. I have visited Chamonix in winter but after reading this I would definitely like to visit in the summertime.

WhereAngieWanders

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

I am glad you enjoyed discovering what Chamonix offers besides skiing. It is such a great place to visit all year round.