Chamonix is a town in southeastern France known as the mountaineering capital of the world. It is located in the Chamonix Valley, surrounded by many peaks like Mount Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe. It is also where Mount Dolent is – the peak where French, Swiss, and Italian borders meet.
With Chamonix on the feet of the towering mountains, it is absolutely the best place in France to see spectacular ice-capped peaks and enjoy thrilling outdoor sports. But does it really make Chamonix worth visiting?
If you love skiing, hiking, or you just love seeing beautiful mountains like me, Chamonix is really for you! If not that much, you are in the right place! Because here, in this blog post, you will know if Chamonix will be worth a visit for you.
You can verify all the information written in this blog post on the official website of the Tourist Office of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. I hope this blog post can help you decide to visit Chamonix or not.
Is Chamonix Worth Visiting?
Chamonix is packed with fun experiences and awe-inspiring sceneries that you need to see at least once in your life. Mountains are a special place, and Chamonix being in between them is a paradise to visit. Going to Chamonix is absolutely a big check to your alpine bucket list!
Here are the 10 reasons why Chamonix is worth visiting:
1st Reason: See Scenic sights everywhere in Chamonix
First and foremost, Chamonix is just spectacular! There are so many spots within the valley that can leave you speechless. Everywhere you look, awe-inspiring views await you in Chamonix. For me, it is the main reason why Chamonix is worth visiting!
Visit Chamonix because of the charming town
In fact, when you arrive in the town center, you would not have to go far into the mountains to see beautiful sights. The Chamonix town itself is fantastic!
Many online publishers like Conde Nast Traveler have included Chamonix in their list of beautiful towns in France! See charming chalet houses, pedestrian walkways filled with colorful flowers, and more.
When you stroll and reach the outskirts of Chamonix, buildings will be fewer, but the sights get even better. You’ll see the heavenly green meadows with snow-capped mountains in the background.
In today’s times, where we mostly stay in a city of asphalt and pollution, Chamonix is an excellent place to renew your vision and breathe the freshest air of your life!
Chamonix is worth visiting because of the mountains
In Chamonix, you are not limited to viewing the mountains from the town. Most importantly, you do not have to hike far just to get a view of an even more spectacular mountainscape.
Public transportation in Chamonix is fantastic, and every tourist destination is connected. From the town, you can go straight to the viewing decks, where the best views of the French Alps are.
Actually, the public transportation in Chamonix gives you impressive sceneries already. You won’t have to wait until you get to the viewing decks to really enjoy!
You also have many choices for a scenic ride. Public transportation within the Chamonix includes trains, trams, glacier chairs, and cable cars.
Aiguille du Midi is the peak that you can reach closest to the summit of Mont-Blanc without hiking or climbing. It stands at a staggering 3842 meters, with a viewing deck at its peak.
There are several panoramic terraces, souvenir shops, restaurants, and a glass platform at the summit of Aiguille du Midi. The glass platform, or what they call “Step Into the Void,” is the most exciting of all. There you can see not only the horizon scraped by thousand-meter peaks but also the rocks and ice hundreds of meters below you.
The breathtaking views never end in Chamonix, especially when you hike. If you ever decide to climb to Mont Blanc either from Aiguille du Midi or the jumpstart location in Chamonix, here are the views that await you:
For me, hiking is a must, especially if you are visiting mountain towns like Chamonix. Not only will you see these breathtaking views above, but it just has many benefits that affect our whole well-being.
Go to Chamonix to see the lakes
Actually, the lakes in the mountains near Chamonix are also why you should visit Chamonix and do a hike! They are a natural wonder in the mountains that will fill you with awe.
I do not know, but there is just something extraordinary in mountain lakes that relieve you inside and outside. Maybe, it’s about pristine appearance or their magical image.
It is hard to explain. So I’ll just share these photos with you. Haha!
Lac Cornu is located at the summit of the Index chairlift and Planpraz. The lake is frozen 9 months a year, so you can only see the lake like this during summer.
Lacs Des Cheserys is a series of lakes in Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve that mirrors the Mont Blanc Massif. It is near the famous Lac Blanc, and less crowded.
Also in Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve is Lac Blanc, a lake that gives the best panorama of the Mont Blanc Massif. It is higher than Lacs Des Cheserys.
There are other lakes near Chamonix, but these three are the most notable and promising to see.
Travel to Chamonix and see Glaciers
Included in the package of scenic sights in Chamonix are the Glaciers embedded in the gorges of the mountains. They are a natural wonder that you must see before they disappear!
From Chamonix, you can visit and see 7 primary glaciers, with Mer de Glace being the most well-known. Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice in English) is the second-largest glacier in the Alps, with a 12-kilometer length and has a width varying from 700 meters to 1950 meters.
Estimates it contains 4000 million cubic meters of water. That’s very impressive.
Visit Chamonix to be above the clouds
Lastly, since you will be at a higher altitude, you may witness another spectacular event that only happens in the mountains. That phenomenon is called the “Sea of clouds,” and it is a truly captivating sight.
The sea of clouds is an overcast cloud formation that stays at an altitude lower than 3000 meters (mostly).
It is an absolute wonder which turns the peaks of the mountains into islands. The first time I witnessed this, I was blown away! Heavenly it is.
By the way, I wrote a post about the 10 most beautiful villages in the south of France. There, I give you a summary of things to expect, to see, or to experience from each place. The article provides you an idea of which village to go to and what fits your personality as a traveler. Just click the link above to proceed. 🙂 Have safe travels!
2nd Reason: Fun activities in Chamonix regardless of the season
The second reason why Chamonix is worth visiting is that there are plenty of things to do here, no matter the season.
In warm or cold, you can enjoy Chamonix. It’s a winter wonderland and summer paradise – even more enjoyable, especially if you are a mountain lover. Fun and adrenaline-pumping activities await.
Why visit Chamonix in winter?
During winter, you’d play with snow and ice in one of the most beautiful mountain settings in the world! Here are some of the activities that you can do in Chamonix when it’s cold and snowy:
- Dog Sledding
- Ice climbing
- Ice skating
- Vallée Blanche
- Cross country skiing
- Panoramic flights
Why visit Chamonix in Summer?
In summer, the list of things to do in Chamonix explodes! Activities are on every corner, and outdoor fun does not run out. Here are the options you have to enjoy a summer vacation in Chamonix:
- Excursions and sightseeing (many sites become open)
- Trail running
- Rock climbing
- Panoramic flights
- Mountain bike
- Adventure Tree Park
- Wildlife parks
- Horse riding
… and many more!
3rd Reason: You can enjoy Chamonix even in bad weather
Sure, there are many things to do in Chamonix, yet they are all outdoor activities. What about during the unfortunate rainy, foggy day?
Worry not! Chamonix has indoor activities you can enjoy while waiting for the bad weather to pass. Hopefully, bad weather won’t last more than a day if it happens during your visit.
Here are some of the “interesting” activities that you can make use of to kill time if bad weather strikes Chamonix:
- Engraving workshop – learn to create your own engraved artwork in a day!
- Alpine Museum – peek at the rich historical and artistic heritage of the Mont Blanc area exhibit. Spark your mountain wanderlust.
- Crystal Museum – discover the treasures acquired beneath the surface of the mountains of the French Alps. See the stones with different colors and learn how they are extracted from the ground.
- Mountain Museum – it is one of the oldest houses in Chamonix. Here, you can explore the past and see many ethnographic objects used in agro-pastoral activities discovered in the valley.
- Ice Rinks
- Hockey Matches
4th Reason: The whole family will love Chamonix
If you have a family, Chamonix is an excellent place for your vacation too! There are many activities that your kids and you can enjoy, at the same time a bonding moment for all of you.
Easy hikes with family in Chamonix
Firstly, you can bring them on a hike. In Chamonix, there are several easy hiking trails that you and your kids can explore. Most of these hiking trails don’t have an elevation gain of more than 500 meters.
Here are a few of the hiking trails that you might want to try with your kids in Chamonix:
- Le Cerro Trail. This is the trail that leads to the viewpoint over a beautiful glacier called Glacier des Bossons. It will be a pleasant 1.4-kilometer walk with 95 meters elevation gain through the woods and few mountain streams.
- Petit Balcon Sud: Argentiere-Les Tines Trail. This hiking trail for the whole family lets you see scenic views over the valley and the mountain ranges. You will also see the picturesque village of La Joux while hiking. It is a 3.8-kilometer hiking trail with an elevation gain of 217 meters.
- Petit Balcon Sud: Les Tines-Les Bossons Trail. Similar to the Argentiere-Les Tines trail, this track will let you see impressive sights of the Mont Blanc Massif throughout your hike. The path goes around Chamonix valley, leading you to Servoz from Argentiere. It is a 10-kilometer hike, giving you ample time to talk with your family members while enjoying the views of the mountains.
Fun in Chamonix adventure parks
Do your kids need a thrill? Perhaps they need to go to the “greatest tree adventure park” in Chamonix valley. It is called Accro’park des Gaillands, and it offers 3 hours of unstoppable cracking up experiences for you and your family.
Accro’park des Gaillands has more than 80 treetop obstacles and different adventurous courses, including ziplines, Tarzan swings, wobbly bridges, and many more.
Mont-Blanc Paintball is another activity for your family. It’s the activity to let you actualize your counter-strike PC game back in the day. But, instead of real guns, you and your family will use color paintball firing guns.
Your kids would also want to try Lasergame Chamonix. Like Mont-Blanc Paintball, it is a shooting game, but instead of paintballs, it uses an infrared sight gun and a receiver helmet to play the game.
5th Reason: Soothing experiences in Chamonix Spas
Chamonix has lots of outdoor activities, and they are enjoyable… but also tiring, absolutely. Worry not because Chamonix got your wellness as well!
Enhance Physical health in Chamonix
There are several spas and resorts in town that you can go to after all the tiring activities. One of them is the QC Terme Chamonix. It offers not only massages and body treatments but also heated pools with views of Mont Blanc!
They also offer whirlpools, wood sauna, indoor steam room, hydro jet water bed, and several other services. They also do facial treatments to revitalize your tired face for all the perfect Instagrammable selfie photos you will take on the following days!
Sooth your mental health in Chamonix
If you want overall wellness that involves the mind, there is the Intuition Montage to try. It is a local mountain union that guides visitors meditate and have yoga with nature, promoting strengthened immunity, reduced stress, and self-confidence.
What I like the most about Intuition Montage’s service is they help visitors to reconnect with themselves. As much as I know, and based on my experience, it is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.
Meditation and spending time with nature give you the presence of mind to help you overcome life challenges.
If you are also interested in Intuition Montage, you can check their website and know about what they do more.
With these two, especially Intuition Montage, I think Chamonix is really worth a visit.
6th Reason: Encounter mountain animals in Chamonix
If there is a place in the world where you can find mystical animals, that would be in the mountains. Since Chamonix is within the Alps, sure thing that there are gracious creations here!
According to Chamonix.net, here are the animals that you can see during your visit and hike in the Chamonix’s surrounding mountains:
- mountain hares
- Fallow deer
- Sika deer
- Roe deer
- Alpine ibex
However, as human settlements sprawl across the mountains, these animals were seen less and less in the wilds. But, don’t lose hope of seeing them during your stay in Chamonix. In Merlet Wildlife park, you have a 100% chance to see them no matter when you come.
But do always check the availability of the park or make an early reservation to be sure. Here is the website of Merlet Wildlife park to learn more.
Merlet Wildlife park is a large area in the French alps dedicated to preserving (some) mountain creatures mentioned above. There you can spend a leisurely hike in the heavenly meadows, discovering not only animals but also ancient traditional chalets along the way.
For me, one that everyone must not miss seeing is the deers and the ibex. They are absolutely magical! They’re like some kinda elvish animals we only see in movies before (Lord of the Rings!).
Overall, 70 animals live in their natural habitat within the 20-hectare mountain pasture in Merlet Wildlife park. The park is situated at 1500 meters above sea level altitude against the scenic mountain ranges.
With the mystic animals and scenic mountains behind, you can expect to feel pure awe when you visit. This is another reason why Chamonix is worth visiting.
7th Reason: The wonders of Glaciers in Chamonix
With the rising global temperature, seeing a glacier seems to get “urgent” as they may disappear anytime soon. If you are one of the people who want to see the Glaciers before they disappear, it is your chance to see many of them in Chamonix.
Visit Mer de Glace from Chamonix
A while ago, I stated that one of the glaciers that you can see in Chamonix is the Mer de Glace, the second largest glacier in Europe.
If you decide to visit Mer de Glace, you can start your journey to the glacier by hopping on a train ride from Montenvers railway in Chamonix town.
Going to Mer de Glace is fascinating even from the beginning because you will ride an old-fashioned red train that runs along scenic tracks.
On the site where Mer de Glace is, you can find a cave called Grotte de Glace. It is a place which you can enter and view the glacier from inside.
The cave is 100-meter-long, and it has a small museum inside that gives you lots of ideas and learnings about glaciers. For example, how do glaciers form, etc…
View the Argentière Glacier in Chamonix
Argentière Glacier is another Glacier that you can find in the mountains near Chamonix. You can spot the glacier from the Les Grands Montets area, where you can also see different natural landscapes in the French Alps.
Have a look at Glacier des Bossons in Chamonix
At the southern portion of Chamonix, you can find another glacier called Glacier des Bossons. You can view the glacier from the Chalet du Glacier des Bossons situated at an elevation of 1425 meters above sea level. The chalet is really a scenic spot, where you can also see views of the Plateau des Pyramides.
8th Reason: The highest cable car is in Chamonix
Aiguille du Midi is a simple but “cool” reason why Chamonix is worth a visit. A ride on Aiguille du Midi is a check to your travel bucket list as it is the world’s highest vertical ascent cable car in the world.
It was constructed in 1955, and it held the title “world’s highest cable car” for two decades until the Klein Matterhorn Aerial Tramway in Zermatt, Switzerland, was built.
9th Reason: Fun festival in Chamonix
If there is one thing that I realized after visiting a city celebrating a festival is that it is just pure fun! It’s not only about the music or the aesthetics, but it’s actually the people that will amaze you.
When you see people enjoying the event, somehow you catch the energy they are radiating… and it shall feel exhilarating!
Regarding this matter, I found an event that I think will make visiting Chamonix really worth it!
CosmoJazz Festival in Chamonix
This festival I discovered is called CosmoJazz Festival. It occurs during the last week of July, from 24th to 31st, every day – free to join!
CosmoJazz festival occurs in the town center and in the mountains! Yes, in the mountains – that is so fantastic, isn’t it?
The venue is selected by the organizers wherever they feel inspired to play music and sing. Usually, artists perform where everyone can view panoramic views of the Alps.
Imagine good music plus people having fun plus a scenic view of Mont Blanc… That’s blissful!
10th Reason: Chamonix is near other beautiful attractions
Finally, what’s great about visiting Chamonix is that it is located near other tourist attractions. Like, you won’t spend more than half a day in commute or drive just to go arrive in another beautiful town or city.
Technically you can drive from Chamonix to Geneva in Switzerland in an hour (two hours in transit) – same as Annecy. Or, if you want to see even more spectacular views of the alps, you can cross the border to Switzerland.
Is Chamonix France expensive to visit?
As a budget traveler, I found Chamonix a bit expensive to visit. Based on different booking hotels, the average budget hotels in Chamonix cost 60-100 USD per night. Then, after checking the cafeterias and diners, I found out that I would consume approximately 40 USD per day for the meals. It is already 100 USD a day without the transportation and passes.
Photos to inspire you to visit Chamonix France
In case you are discouraged by the cost, here are some of the photos of Chamonix to remind you it’s worth a visit!
Save it on Pinterest.
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