About the surrounding area
Situated just 10 minutes before you reach Chamonix on your way from Geneva airport, Les Houches is the second largest town in the valley. It has a good selection of sports shops, grocery stores, bars and restaurants without being too commercial. A pretty little town with a great ski area, Les Houches is best suited to families or groups that prefer outdoor activities to nightlife.
Les Houches has plenty of traditional charm whilst also offering the facilities of a modern resort. Old stone farmhouses and wooden chalets sit side-by-side with smart apartment buildings, while a small but lively selection of bars and restaurants provide a bit of buzz in the early evenings.
Les Houches has a small but reliable choice of restaurants, both on and off the ski area. It is actually one of the best places in the valley to eat at mountain restaurants as they are all individually run and have mostly been in the same family for years. Most are only open for lunch but Les Vieilles Luges opens in the evening (booking essential) and is an exceptional experience; good food and lovely hosts in a 250 year old alpine farmhouse. Down in the village, the Kitsch Inn and Le Delice both offer good contemporary cuisine and Le Ghandi is one of only two Indian restaurants in the whole valley. Other than that, there is the usual mix of local cuisine and pizza restaurants to take your pick from.
Also see: Book My Restaurant
Les Houches has no particular "tourist attractions" to speak of, it is just a delightful place to visit. Whether in winter or summer, you should take the time to go up both Bellevue and Prarion lifts if only to have a look around and admire the incredible panoramic view. If you want to see alpine wildlife such as marmots and chamois then the Merlet animal park is well worth a visit. Chamonix is only 15 minutes away by bus or train, where you can't miss out taking the cable car up the Aiguille du Midi, or taking the Montenvers train up to the Mer de Glace glacier.
Also see: Book My Sightseeing
The nearest golf course to Les Houches is the Golf Club de Chamonix, an 18 hole course in Chamonix Les Praz, near to the Flegere lift station. It has a driving range, club house and pro-shop where you can stock up on all the essentials. They hold regular competitions throughout the summer, the course is closed in winter.
Also see: Book My Round
Les Houches has two ski lifts, the Bellevue cable car just past the village centre and the Prarion gondola at the far end of the resort. They both run regularly throughout the day and you rarely have to queue; although be aware that for some reason their ticket queues are always deathly slow, so beat the crowds and buy your lift pass online beforehand. The Les Houches ski area is a large network of mostly blue and red slopes that link the two lifts and you can get a bus from one to the other, meaning that it doesn't much matter which one you come up or go down. Both lifts have carparks but they are often full, so take the 01 or 25 bus that stops right outside each lift instead.
Les Houches has a small but lively apres-ski scene, spread across a selection of bars and restaurants between the Bellevue cable car area and the village centre by the tourist office. Right at the foot of the cable car is the Kitsch Inn, a retro-styled bar and restaurant that often has live music and themed parties. Just opposite is Le Spot, a small friendly place that also has the odd band or DJ playing throughout the winter and a little further along the road is Hotel Slalom with its cosy lounge bar. About 10-15 minutes walk down the road to the town centre (or hop on a bus) and you'll come first to La Chavanne, a small bar with a large pavement terrace, and then to Le Delice, a cosy restaurant with a friendly atmosphere where you can enjoy a drink without ordering food. There are also occasional concerts and entertainments at the Espace Olca, some of which are free entry.
Also see: Find My Bar