Summer Activities in Chamonix Things to Do in Summer
Aiguille du Midi
Breath-taking views of Mont Blanc & the start of various mountain routes
The Aiguille du Midi is the highest point that can be accessed by cable car in the Chamonix valley. The station stands at 3842m and is situated directly across from Mont Blanc. For over 50 years, people from all over the world have been taking in the stunning panoramic views of the French, Italian and Suisse Alpes from station's terraces.
First constructed in 1955, the two stage cable car takes passengers from the valley floor to its dizzy heights in 20 minutes. Once at the top there are a number of things for visitors to do. During the summer months you can access the Mont Blanc Panoramic cable car and travel to Helbronner in Italy. This amazing 5 km gondola journey passes over the Geant glacier, giving you spectacular views over ice-falls, crevasses and the Mont Blanc massif. A one-way trip takes 30 minutes in a 4-person gondola. Its operation is very weather dependant – if the wind is too strong, or if there is poor visibility, the gondola will close. Also in summer mountaineers can choose to access various trails (including paths to the Mont Blanc summit) and refuges from the roped ridge.
During the winter, the narrow ridge down from the lift station is the starting of the famous 18km off-piste run, the Vallee Blanche.
Throughout the year the magnificent views can be enjoyed from one of the terraces. If you are hungry, there is a restaurant and a cafe where you can marvel at Mont Blanc from indoors.
Another attraction is the ‘Musee de L’Alpnisme Pointe’ which was established in June 2013. It is based on the theme of mountaineering and pays tribute to many famous climbers.
It is worth noting that the average visiting time to the station is between 2-3 hours. Be warned, even in the summer months temperatures can be as low as -10 C, so make sure you wrap up warm but don’t forget your sun cream, it is easy to burn at altitude!
Walk amongst nature & enjoy beautiful scenery in the summer
The Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve is bio-diverse area of around 16,000 hectares with spectacular views of the Col des Montets. There is an information centre where you can find out about the animals and plants of the area and buy a drink or snack.
The nature trail is very easy to follow and the route is marked by numbered granite blocks. The whole circuit takes no more than 45 minutes at a leisurely stroll; to find out more please read our article on Short Family Hikes in Hiking in the Chamonix Valley.
This is a summer only activity, should you wish to discover the area in winter you can book a snowshoe tour with a number of local mountain guide companies.
It has been a nature reserve since 1974 and was the first of its kind in the Haute Savoie region.
Use a bow & arrow and try your hand at hitting a bullseye!
Practice your Robin of Sherwood skills in a tranquil alpine setting.
Beginners can learn from scratch and those with more experience can put their skills to the test with a variety of courses. The Coupeau area of Les Houches has a trail running through it equipped with archery courses of varying difficulty. Access is free to anyone registered with the FFTA.
Bowling & Games Rooms in Chamonix
Things to do indoors with a group or as a family
If you want to take a break from the mountain activities, do something with the family or in a group, then bowling is a great option.
On a bad weather day or if you just fancy doing something in the evening after a day on the mountain, you'll find one or two places in resort where you can bowl, watch live sport on the big screens and maybe find some arcade games and pool tables to keep you entertained.
A fun adventure for everyone, slip & slide your way around the canyons!
A not-so-gentle but extremely refreshing summer activity is one way to describe canyoning! Plunge yourself into the mountain streams via a series of abseil descents, jumps and natural water slides – just make sure you choose a warm day!
You will make your way along rivers and rapids, using the river bed as a natural obstacle course. Not suitable for very young children, but anyone over the age of about 8 can take the (very cold) plunge and try canyoning. With the safety of a guide everyone can abseil down cascades, splash into pools and ride the river rapids. You can choose from short beginners’ routes or longer ones for the more adventurous.
Different companies will have their own policies on age limits but usually, unless they are booked onto a children's activity course, anyone under the age of about 14 years old will have to be accompanied by an adult. A basic level of swimming ability is required for safety reasons. There are a number of adventure companies that offer guided descents down the local waterways.
Enjoy a spot of fishing in one of the nearby mountain lakes
If you fancy a spot of fishing whilst in Chamonix then there are a few local and nearby lakes where you can catch some fish and enjoy the alpine scenery.
Within a 20 minute drive from Chamonix you can reach 2 groups of lakes, both of which you can fish in certain areas. Lac Passy is a popular picnic and sunbathing spot with a children’s play area, so you may not find the tranquillity you are looking for by the main lake. If you carry on though there are smaller, less frequented lakes where fishing is also permitted. Enquire at the main lake for details on where best to go for a quiet spot of fishing.
To reach Lac Passy you drive towards Geneva, turning off at Le Fayet. Turn left at the traffic lights towards Sallanches. Look out for the Intermarche, 2km later there is a signposted right hand turn for Lac Passy. Lac des Ilettes is a quieter group of 3 lakes, where fishing is permitted. You can find it by beginning the same journey as above, but continuing on to Sallanches. Once you reach the traffic lights in the town centre, turn right and continiue until you cross the River Arve. You then turn left and follow signs for ‘St Martin’ and ‘Lacs des Ilettes’.
Closer to Chamonix is Lac des Chavants in Les Houches; apparently a good spot for catching some tasty trout, which you pay for by the kilo. You can also hire rods and purchase bait. Permits are available from the Saint Antoine tabac or from the Les Houches Tourist Office.
Closer still is Lac Gaillands, by the large climbing wall on the road out of Chamonix just before you reach Les Bossons. Fly fishing only is permitted and permits can be bought from the small chalet serving snacks and drinks.
Remember that before fishing any area you must ensure that you have the correct permits and are aware of the local regulations.
Forest Adventure Parks in Chamonix
Perfect for those who want to explore the mountain forests
Swing through the trees high above the mountains on a circuit of zip lines, monkey bridges, ladders and ropes.
You can travel through the forest without touching the floor, safely strapped into a harness and attached to a secure safety line.
These eco-friendly adventure parks are created around the trees without damaging them in any way and can be dismantled if necessary, leaving the forest as though untouched.
There are adventure parks at Les Houches, Les Tines, and Lac de Gaillands all are open throughout the summer and have different circuits for adults and children. Check out the Adventure Companies for more details on the adventure parks.
Play some frisbee in the wonderful mountain setting in Chamonix
Play frisbee with friends and make some new ones along the way.
Join in with locals and holidaymakers alike with the local frisbee club who organise ultimate frisbee every wednesday. Check out our events calender for more information.
Glacier Walking in Chamonix
Take your first steps on a glacier with a guided walk
For a truly unique experience, clamp on your crampons and go hiking up the stunning Mer de Glace, Argentiere or Le Tour glaciers.
The Mer de Glace is one of the longest and deepest glaciers in the Alps, moving at a comparatively rapid 120 metres a year. To get onto the glacier you'll have to clamber down long steel ladders which are scary enough in themselves but you'll quickly forget about that once you start admiring the breathtaking views and spectacular crevasses below. (If you're quiet you can even hear the ice shifting.)
The breathtaking views and spectacular crevasses make this an incredible adventure. There are a number of glacial hikes, of varying difficulty, in this region of the Alps. Most Mountain Guiding Companies and Adventure Companies will run organised excursions to the most accessible. To read more about glaciers and the environment please read our Glacier Meltdown article.
Golf In Chamonix
Play some golf & enjoy the views in Chamonix
Excellent course and beautiful scenery, you can play golf in the summer in Chamonix surrounded by the fantastic mountain views. Explore the golf courses in Chamonix.
Discover the beautiful waterfalls and scenery of the Gorges in Servoz
The Gorges de la Diosaz are a series of natural waterfalls that gush down through a deep gorge in Servoz. By following a man-made footpath you can walk along the side of the gorge, learning about the geology and the remarkable history of the gorges as you go.
To walk all the way along and back takes around an hour and a half at a gentle pace. This walk is suitable for children of all ages, but the path is not suitable for pushchairs and although there are safety barriers you are advised to keep hold of small children by the hand.
The gorges are open from June through until September, the most impressive time to visit is after heavy rainfall when they are at full flow. Although outdoors the walkway is sheltered by trees and overhanging rock, so this a great activity for wet weather days.
Children under 5 go free and there are reduced rates for children under 16, seniors and groups of ten or more people. Servoz can be accessed by train from Chamonix, the Gorges are just a 5 minute walk from Servoz train station.
In 1997, the villages of Chamonix, Les Houches, Servoz and Vallorcine established a Guest Card system, whereby every visitor to the area is given a card on arrival. The normal method is to ask at your hotel reception, or request one from your chalet/apartment provider.
The card is valid in summer and winter (for the duration of your stay) and entitles you to free travel on the buses and trains between these resorts (with the exception of the Chamo’nuit night bus). If you wish to take the train all the way through to Martigny in Switzerland (which is well worth it) or down to Le Fayet and St Gervais, you just need to pay the difference from Vallorcine or Servoz.
The Guest Card also entitles you to various discounts throughout the valley, such as discounted entry to the swimming pool, Alpine Museum, cross country skiing and more. So, ask for one at the Tourist Offices of Chamonix, Les Houches, Servoz and Vallorcine if you do not receive one when you check into your accommodation.
Hiking & Walking Trails in the Chamonix Valley
Discover the various hikes & walks that Chamonix has to offer
As the snow disappears after winter, the valley gradually reveals its 600kms (400 miles) of well-maintained, signposted hiking trails. Whether you prefer gentle walking along the valley floor or making a day of it, scaling some of the high altitude routes; Chamonix has something for you to enjoy.
There's so much to choose from that the only difficulty comes in picking a route to do! Fortunately, the Chamonix Valley possess one of the most complete, well sign-posted and well maintained network of mountain footpaths in the Haute Savoie region. With over 600kms (400 miles) of marked trails in the valley, walking here can be as easy or as technical as you want it to be. Below are some of our tried and tested suggestions for walks and hikes in the area.
Explore the beautiful mountain scenery on horse back in Chamonix
The Chamonix Valley has a multitude of trails that can be explored on horseback; you can cover more ground than on foot, get an elevated view of the scenery and hopefully get a closer peek at the wildlife!
There are a number of adventure companies who can take you out for your horse riding experience. Alternatively the Paradis des Praz play area has a 'mini-ranch' where children can go on short accompanied treks through the woods on small ponies.
Hot air ballooning is a truly unique and fun experience. You can experience views and scenery like never before. There are a few hot air balloon companies in Chamonix who will offer you this enjoyable experience.
The views are stunning, and as you glide over the forests you may see deer and other animals normally hidden from view. The pilot controls the height but the wind determines which direction you take, so the flight can take anything from one to two hours, depending on when a suitable landing site comes into view.
Hot air ballooning looks serene, but there are moments of excitement; once the creaking wicker basket rises and you are suspended in the air metres above the ground, with nothing but the wind and the pilot taking you through the blue sky, it can be quite thrilling.
There are a number of local companies that can arrange your ballooning trip.
Whoop your way down rapids on a body float in this fun water sport!
Hydrospeeding is one of the newer 'extreme' water sports to hit the market, it's a fun and exhilarating way to get yourselves down a river!. Using a large float, which bears resemblance to a bodyboard, be ready to cling on for dear life as you send yourself hurtling down the rapids!
This activity is a little more demanding physically than rafting or canoe rafting, but allows you to discover the unique sensation of surfing down white water rivers. This activity is accessible to all, no need to be a professionnel diver or swimmer, you has to just to be smart at using the water movements, obstacles and waves.
There's plenty of protection from the icy water elements as you'll be given a wetsuit, safety helmet and flippers; You will need to bring a towel, swim wear and if you wear glasses, a cord to keep them on.
Guides will brief you with a safety demonstration at the beginning and there’s a vehicle to meet you at the end of the rapids that will shuttle you back to your starting destination.
There are a number of adventure companies who will take you out for your hydrospeeding experience.
Where to find the indoor climbing walls in Chamonix
The Chamonix valley is home to one of the largest indoor climbing walls in France. The Mont Blanc Escalade is located in Les Houches and is open all year, with 1250m sq. of climbing surfaces, and more than 100 routes to the roof, ranging from 16 to 21metres in height.
In Chamonix town, there is a good sized bouldering wall in the Sports Centre (Centre Sportif Richard Bozon). There is another climbing wall at the ENSA, but you need to be a member of the local Club des Sports to gain access.
Take the train to visit this impressive glacier & the ice caves
Ever since two English explorers, William Windham and Richard Pocock, first discovered the Mer de Glace (“Sea of Ice”) in 1741, it has become one of the world’s most visited natural sites and is a huge draw of visitors to the Chamonix Valley. The area became accessible by mule from 1802, but it was the opening of the Montenvers Train in 1908 that really opened the site up to the masses.
As well as enjoying the unique experience of the Montenvers train itself, the main draw for visitors to this site is the Mer de Glace. At 7km long and with a surface area of 40km2, it is also France’s largest glacier, extending from an altitude of 3900m, at the point where the Leschaux, Le Tacul and the Talèfre glaciers converge, down to 1400m, just below the Hotel Montenvers. The width of the glacier varies between 700m to 1950m and the depth of the ice averages around 200m but is as much as 400m thick in places!
Up until 1820, it was still possible to see the Mer de Glace from Chamonix, but since then it has steadily retreated out of sight as the vast rocky moraines along its edge will testify. However, like all glaciers, the Mer de Glace is constantly being renewed by snowfall and is permanently “flowing” under the effect of its own weight. Although this movement isn’t perceptible to the naked eye, it advances around 120m per year on the upper, steeper part and 90m per year lower down by the Montenvers viewpoint.
The most obvious evidence of this movement can be seen at the entrance to the ice grotto – an impressive cave that is carved out of the ice, enabling you to pass right into the heart of the glacier. For more than 50 years the grotto has been meticulously sculpted each year, shaping the ice into scenes depicting mountain life from the early 19th century. Inside, the light reflects off the beautiful blue ice to create a wonderfully eerie, sub-glacial atmosphere.
You can access the caves from the Montenvers train station by a small gondola lift (or via a footpath for the more energetic) and then a flight of approximately 300 steps. Entrance to the cave costs a few euros for holders of a Mont Blanc Multipass or Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass or it is also possible to buy a combined ticket for the return train and gondola trip, plus entrance to the caves for €21. Wear sturdy footwear and take warm clothes with you (even in summer) as inside the caves the temperature remains at a cool 8 degrees.
During winter, one of the highlights for many visitors to the Mer de Glace is to watch skiers returning from the Vallee Blanche which ends just above the entrance to the ice caves. Thousands of people each year ski this legendary high mountain itinerary usually in the company of a mountain guide due to the glaciated nature of the terrain. It is also a great spot to watch mountaineers coming and going from their high mountain adventures on some of the classic peaks in the area – Les Drus (3754m), Les Grandes Jorasses (4208m) and the Aiguille du Grepon (3482m). In the summer, you will often see groups of people out on the ice practicing crevasse rescue techniques, ice climbing, glacier walking and a whole host of other skills that come in useful in Chamonix all year round. If you fancy learning any of these activities yourself, then contact some of the mountain guides and guiding schools via the above link.
The train to the Mer de Glace runs regularly throughout the year and the time table can be found here.
Get the tram from Le Fayet up to the Nid d'Aigle viewpoint
The Mont-Blanc Tramway runs from the bottom of the valley in Le Fayet all the way up to the Nid d'Aigle at 2380 metres.
The rack and pinion train stops at St-Gervais-Les-Bains, the Col de Voza and Bellevue before stopping at the Nid d'Aigle (eagle's nest) viewpoint, from where you get a fabulous view of the Bionnassay glacier.
There are a number of lovely hikes in the area and mountain bikes are permitted on the tram subject to space. During the winter, the train stops at Bellevue and provides access to the Les Houches ski area.
Chamonix is a perfect spot for all levels of mountain biker
Chamonix offers some of the best terrain for mountain biking in Europe. There are hundreds of kilometres of fast, smooth and rocky trails available all under the backdrop of Mont Blanc. If you’re not a fan of the uphill, then you can always take the stress out of it all by taking any of the main lifts up and enjoying the descent.
Mountain biking in Chamonix has something for all riders, from beginners right up to the more technically advanced. Find out more about the extensive and enjoyable mountain biking terrain in Chamonix in our mountain biking guide or discover some of the wonderful trails on our mountain biking trails guide.
NB: In French, mountain biking is called VTT (Vélo tout-terrain!)
Chamonix is quite simply the Mecca of Alpine Climbing. Whether you are a rock climber, ice climber, ski tourer, or just enjoy being in the mountains, Chamonix really is the place to be.
The glaciers and icy slopes of the Mont Blanc Massif offer a massive number of climbing routes for alpinists, while the world famous Chamonix Granite is extremely popular with rock climbers. For beginners, or those in need of a practise, there are the indoor climbing walls in Les Houches or the sunny rock face of the Les Gaillands outdoor wall. Argentiere is the place to head for a spot of bouldering.#
Challenge your friends to a game of paintball, a great team sport!
Challenge your friends and family to a game of paintball! This exciting activity offers fun for groups of all ages.
In most cases youa re split into teams and a variety of scenarios and courses are offered at the beginning of all games, with each game lasting approximately 2 hours; the ultimate aim is to shoot your oppenents with paint pellets and capture their flag before they get hold of yours.
Fly tandem or learn to fly yourself for a different view of the mountains
If you’ve never tried paragliding before (or maybe you’re not entirely sure what it is!) then Chamonix is a great place to learn how to fly.
Known as “parapenting” in France, today there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is to get you flying. So, if it is something that you have always fancied trying, or if you would just like to know a bit more about what it involves and who can do it...
From the heights of the mountain tops one can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Taking off is the only scary moment; once you have been equipped with a helmet, and strapped to the instructor behind you in a rather intimate way, both of you simply point your skis (or board) downhill, and carry on getting faster and faster until the parachute lifts you into the air.
An early intermediate skier can manage the take-off, but for boarders a good technical level is needed. In summer one simply runs down a slope until you take off; no particular level of fitness is required, just the ability to sit back and enjoy the view! One then peacefully glides above the pistes for ten to twenty minutes, aiming to catch thermals to keep you up for longer. Landing is very gentle and no more of an impact than jumping off a step. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.
A hive of activitiy with rides, games & more, perfect for families
Just across from the Montenvers train station you will find the Chamonix Leisure Park at Les Planards – an action packed fun area that is a magnet for children and families in the summer and winter months.
During the winter Les Planards transforms into a small ski area for beginner/early intermediate skiers with easy green, blue and red runs accessed from a 4-man chair and 2 drag lifts. During the summer it turns into a fun park with games, rides and a restaurant.
Parc de Merlet in Les Houches
Nature Park where you can spot some mountain animals & explore
Parc de Merlet is a great place to spot some local animals in their natural environment. A nature reserve, rather than a zoo, the park is perched on a large plateau high above Les Houches.
You can expect to see marmots, bouquetin, chamois and various varieties of mountain goats and deer. Sightings are not guaranteed as the animals all have freedom to roam the park and may decide not to make a public appearance, but there is so much to see that even on a bad day you are bound to spot at least a couple of varieties of mountain wildlife.
The best times for spotting some of the more elusive creatures are when the park opens in the morning (10am in May, June and September, 9.30 in July and August) and the feed has been put out for the animals or after 4pm when the marmots like to come out to play before being fed at 6pm.
Access is via a steep mountain road that is signposted from Les Houches, or you can hike up from Les Gaillands in about 45 minutes. There is a small restaurant at the park with a terrace and a gift shop. Parc de Merlet is open every day in summer from May to September and on Tuesday afternoons during the Christmas and Easter school holidays (weather dependent, check website for details).
Discover & capture Chamonix on a guided photographic walk
Discover the unusual and secret itineraries behind the scenes. Taste and photograph the unique neighborhoods and hamlets of the Chamonix valley. Meet with chefs, artists, craftsmen, and guides… Admire and taste their creations. An activity for people with a passion for photography.
Prices start at 20€ depending on the walk. Guaranteed departure with a minimum of 5 persons. Private engagement upon request (half-day).
Duration : Approximately 3 hours. Accompanied and pleasant walking on small roads and country paths. Walking shoes and appropriate attire in case of poor weather, and if the weather's really bad there may always be an option to be indoors photographing unique interiors over a cup of hot-chocolate, taking the time to better comprehend one’s camera, working on new post-production solutions.
Walks take place in Chamonix, Servoz, Les Houches, Le Coupeau, Vallorcine, Montroc... and many other places that you may have yet to discover! Visit the website for details of upcoming walks, or use the email box below to send an enquiry.
Chamonix has numerous spots along the Valley for cragging. In France it is common to findbolted routes or single pitch or top rope, which makes climbing relatively accesible as less gear is required.
The most popular spot is at Les Gaillandswhich is within walking distance from the town centre and has an open park which is ideal for barbecues. It is a great location for a day out as it is set next to a lake and has many walking trails nearby, as well as a buvette (snack bar).
Les Gaillands is one of the oldest climbing sites in France with the first of its 130 bolted routes being put up in the 1930's by Alfred Couttet. The routes are now maintained by the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix and offers a variety of slabs, cracks, and overhangs at all levels of difficulty.
Rock Climbing in Vallorcine
At the high end of the Chamonix Valley, twenty minutes by car, sits the pretty village of Vallorcine. Vallorcine is the perfect place to head if you want to escape the busy world of Chamonix, and enjoy some great rock climbing. The options available range from children’s routes to highly technical routes with official climbing grades up to 8a+
La Dalle de Vallorcine
This wide and large climbing wall is a great place to discover the sport and is used by schools and groups for lessons. The face is very easy to get to. Driving from Chamonix turn right just as you enter ‘Le Buet’ and take the signs to the ‘Montets’ campsite. Before the campsite, park and then take the tunnel under the railway and it’s then just a short walk. There are over thirty mid-range climbs available here, ranging from grade 4 to grade 7a. They are typically north-west facing.
Les Perrons de Vallorcine
More challenging climbing with crags up to 370m high is available at Les Perrons de Vallorcine. There are over 20 climbs here on south-east faces that will demand the best from climbers. The way to access these is via the Emosson Dam, accessed from just across the Swiss border at Chatelard. This includes the Bada Boom route – the hardest and longest (at 400m) on Les Perrons.
Bouldering in Grands Montets
Just up from Vallorcine, there are two bouldering areas located on either side of the Col des Montets, with more than 50 problems from 3a to 7c grades. The first is located about 200m from the Col on the Vallorcine side, while the other is on the Col itself, looking back towards the Grands Montets. Parking is roadside or just opposite the Col.
The Bellevue Alpine Lodge is a friendly, family-run gite in Vallorcine, a short 15min walk from La Dalle de Vallorcine, 3mins drive from the bouldering and 20mins from the access points to Les Perrons de Vallorcine. Five rooms are available as half board or B&B.
Where to shop for all the latest gear, clothes & accessories
Many people would not automatically think of Chamonix as a place to shop.
However the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports Mecca, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountin goods.
There are a number of swimming facilities in the Chamonix valley, from hotel pools, to the sports centre, to the outdoor lakes there are plenty of places you can take a dip.
The indoor pool at the Richard Bozon Sports Centre is 25m long and also features a seperate children's pool with bubble jets and a water slide. The outdoor pool is 50m long and surrounded by sunbathing terraces and a children's splash pool. There is also a large grassy area by the lake within the sport centre grounds, which has a snack bar and is perfect for sun-bathing or letting the children run around (swimming not allowed in the lake).
Normal opening hours are Monday to Friday 12pm - 7.30pm and 2pm - 7.30pm at the weekend, but this may vary according to the time of year and the outdoor pool is open during summer only. Chaps of all ages have to wear Speedo style trunks which, rather disturbingly, can be rented at the ticket desk!
There are also a few hotels in town that allow non-residents to use their swimming pools for a small fee the Hotel Excelsior, in Tines, has a nice outdoor pool with sunbathing area and grassy play area. All you have to do to use the pool all day is book a table on the terrace for lunch (the lunches are very nice too!). You can use the swimming pool & the whole spa area the the Hotel Aiglons by booking the lunch & spa package.
Another popular swimming spot is Lac du Passy, just 15-20 minutes drive from Chamonix. Popular with locals and tourists alike the natural lake has a children's play area, snack bar and toilet/changing facilities. Access to the lake is free but there is a charge for using the car park.
Play a game of tennis or squash with the wonderful mountain backdrop
Tennis is a great way to enjoy the summer time weather and get your legs moving. A fun activity to do with family and friends you can hop on the court and have a friendly game or enjoy a tennis lesson to improve your technique.
The tennis and squash club in Chamonix is situated just beyond the sports centre and has both indoor and outdoor courts, you can reach it by walking along the path that runs from beside the hotel Alpina alongside the river. You can book group or private lessons and hire rackets if necessary, or just pay for an hour on a court, check out our Fitness page for more details.
Argentière has a number of indoor courts situated on the left hand side of the road just after the avalanche bridge as you are driving in from Chamonix. These are both open all day every day, but if you are playing indoors you need a 'light-token' which can be purchased during office hours (9am -12.15 and 2pm -7.30pm in Chamonix; 3pm - 9.30pm in Argentiere). Prices are around €15 for 1hr/1 court for tennis, and €9 for 45min/1 court (including lights) for squash.
Learn more about Chamonix & the valley on this little tourist train
One way to find your way around town in the summer is to hop aboard the miniature tourist train that trundles daily through Chamonix from early May to mid-October.
From 10am to 7pm it makes its way past the sights of Chamonix with a multi-lingual commentary telling you about the history and culture of the area.
It leaves every 30 minutes from outside the Post Office, the Montenvers Train Station and the Aiguille du Midi lift station. It costs 5€ for adults and 3€ for children and operates throughout the summer months only.
Via Ferrata in Chamonix
Safely scale mountains and climb steep cliffs
If climbing up sheer rock on the end of a piece of rope sounds a bit scary then Via Ferrata climbing offers an element of security that still allows beginners to enjoy the achievement of having scaled a mountain!
This form of climbing was invented by Italian soldiers in the Dolomites who used it to enable them to scale vertiginous faces easily and quickly. These days it is a popular sport that makes the thrill of mountain climbing more accessible to children, beginners and those who want a bit more security when they climb.
Following marked routes through the mountains you are helped along by steps, bridges and ladders whilst being roped up for extra safety. Suitable for adults and children over the age of 8; guides can be arranged on request.
The Mer de Glace is easily accessible from Chamonix town centre. Take the Montenvers train and, from the station, descend the ladders down on to the Mer de Glace, following the signs marked ‘Le Refuge’. Cross the glacier heading for the white square painted on the opposite rock face, from here you will find a well-marked Via Ferrata route that consists of around 30 ladders and, if climbed to the end, finishes at the Refuge de Couvercle. One way should take around 4-5 hours, there is a shorter return route through les Egralets that takes a further 3 hours.
Further afield, there is also a Via Ferrata route above Passy. The route sits under the Aiguille de Varan on a cliff face and climbs up 180 metres over a length of 400 emtres. Access to the spot from car park takes 20 minutes and then the average time to complete the Via Ferrata takes 1 hour 30.
White water rafting down mountain rivers with beautiful views
If you haven't experienced white water rafting before then this is a definite 'must try' on your list of activities to do! There are a number of trained guides in resort who will let you experience some of the best white water rafting available in the Alps.
From the middle of May until September, the mountain rivers flow furiously as it is fed from the melt waters running off the glaciers high above the town. There are various options available from a three hour adrenaline rush to a full days excursion - this activity is guaranteed not to disappoint.