A great resort area, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc – usually shortened to just Chamonix – is located on the junction between Switzerland, Italy, and France. It’s located high in the Alps, on an elevation of over 1 kilometer, Chamonix is a wonderful destination both during the winter and summer. It might seem an odd choice to visit Chamonix in the summer, but that’s when it’s bustling the most with visitors. It’s a perfect choice for families, or for small groups of friends, as it has plenty of things to do, and an excellent choice of lodgings. You can stay in hotels, winter lodges, and you can even book chalets in France, for a cozy and warm getaway.
Take a breathtaking ski lift
Much more than a regular ski lift, the Aiguille du Midi transports you from Chamonix up amidst the tallest peaks of the Alps. It goes upwards for over 2,800 vertical meters, and is in fact the largest vertical lift on the planet. You can use it to access the world’s largest lift-served ski-run, but you don’t have to ski, you can use it to bravely Step into the Void – an amazing, but scary, clear glass box that stick above more than a kilometer over the nearest ground.
The Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass is one of the tickets in the world for what it’s offering. Not only do you get the chance to use the world famous ski terrain of over 900km, but also allows access to some of the world’s most remote and remarkable locations all throughout Chamonix Valley and even the other side of Mont Blanc, like Italy’s Courmayeur. It doesn’t matter if you only ski or board, you can visit Aiguille du Midi, the Mer de Glace, and the new Funivie Monte Blanco. You’ll also have access to many panoramic views and resort facilities, such as ice rinks, swimming pools, and the like.
A fantastic town
Skiing and mountain sports aren’t the only reason for a visit. The town itself is bustling with tourists and locals alike, and the pedestrian center is a well-known spot for shopping or simply relaxing. There are plenty of boutiques, cafés, restaurants, where you can cool down from the intensive mountain sports. Its vibrant alpine atmosphere is second to none, and is guaranteed to create memories that will last for a lifetime.
Visit Mer de Glace
One of the world’s most popular glaciers, it’s the fourth biggest one in the Alps. It runs along the north face of Mont Blanc, and has a surface area of 35 kilometers and is nearly 200 meters thick. Its summit rivals the neighboring mountain peaks at an altitude of 2,000 meters. It’s easy to see this natural wonder from the site Montenvers which located right near the glacier. It offers a fantastic view, but not only that, but also a few other attractions as well – such as the transparent ice cave, igloo village, and the Glaciorium.
The Vallée Blance
Chamonix is definitely the place to ski in the Alps. It’s this popular for a reason. And one of the reasons is access to all of this incredible landscape. The neighboring region is the world-famous Vallée Blanche, the longest off-piste ski route in Europe. This glacial valley makes its way through the heart of the mountains, and all around it are beautiful peaks that change colors depending on the time of day. The ski route offers over 23 km off-piste skiing and about a 2,000 meter descent.
Chamonix doesn’t call itself the world-capital of Mountaineering for nothing. There are over 20,000 people each year visiting this place specifically for climbing and mountaineering to the top of Mont Blanc, and it’s still going strong to this day. There are other routes as well, each one more beautiful than the last, and all of them offering a challenge for the prospective mountaineer. It’s always recommended to have a guide if you’re not experienced in climbing the Alps, because they can be a challenge for those unprepared for its perils, but once you’re out of the learning curve, the experience is completely worth it.
Besides climbing and skiing, another extremely popular sport in the region is unsurprisingly biking. During the course of the summer, many of the ski shops switch over to mountain bike hire and sales, because there is a big interest in the trail riding scene. There are two dedicated downhill mountain bike centers in the valley with different courses, and also over 20 marked tracks through hamlets and villages near and around Chamonix. Because riding downhill is the most popular attraction, many of these courses’ tops can be reached by lift, so that the main challenge of riding downhill can be enjoyed to the max.
For those that prefer less extreme sports, there are plenty of options for hiking. There are over 350 kilometers of well-maintained hiking trails in the Chamonix valley, along with 160 different itineraries. Those can range from lower valley trails in the pine scented forests, to difficult mountain trails with fantastic views. Besides hiking to Mer de Glace, there is the option for hardy and experiences hikers of doing the 200 kilometers, 10 day tour of Mont Blanc. During the hike you’d be staying in mountain huts, and of course as is always the case with the Alps, be exposed to beautiful imagery that will remain with you for many years to come.