Chamonix is just over an hour’s drive from Geneva airport, making it an easy place to visit for a short break or weekend away. So, with just two days to see the sights, how should you spend your 48 hours in Chamonix?
Start the day off right with fresh croissants and coffee at one of Chamonix’s many cafés. Aux Petits Gourmands on Rue Dr Paccard has a great selection of speciality teas and fancy pastries to choose from. Find more Cafes in Chamonix.
Assuming you’re in Chamonix over a weekend, your first stop should be the weekly market that takes place every Saturday morning in Place du Mont Blanc. Stock up on local cheeses, meats and fresh fruit, grab a baguette, and you’ve got everything you need for a picnic in the mountains.
Lac Blanc & Flegere-Brevent
One of the most beautiful hikes in Chamonix starts with a ride up the Flegere cable car from the pretty little village of Les Praz. From here you follow signposts up to Lac Blanc, where you’ll find a crystal clear alpine lake with the images of Mont Blanc and the surrounding snow-capped peaks reflected back on its mirror-like surface. Once you’ve dipped your toes in the icy waters you can hike the stunning Grand Balcon Sud trail across to Planpraz du Brevent. This beautiful high altitude trail runs along the sunniest side of the valley, passing through meadows where you will often spot wildlife such as marmots and bouquetin. Find more hiking routes in Chamonix, summer lift opening dates & ticket prices.
See Chamonix from the Sky
One of the most exciting ways to see the Chamonix valley is from the sky! Book a parapente flight beforehand and descend back down to Chamonix from Planpraz in the capable hands of a tandem paraglider. Look up on any sunny day in Chamonix and you’ll see that the sky is full of brightly coloured “wings”, swirling and floating back down to earth. No experience is necessary as you be flying with a qualified parapente pilot and this activity is available to all ages.
As it’s Saturday night, we’ll put our glad rags on and hit the town! Rue des Moulins is a tiny little backstreet packed full of bars and restaurants; Les Caves and Le Chamonix Social Club are great places to grab a fancy apero before dinner, or a few cocktails afterwards, whereas Bar’d Up is far more casual and often has live music. If you’re looking for inventive cuisine with an Asian twist then Le Munchie is the place to head for delicious and unusual flavours, or try Le Cap Horn directly opposite for a sophisticated take on regional French cuisine and excellent sushi. Afterwards, if you’ve got the energy to go dancing then Le Cabanon often have live DJs playing until late, or right at the end of Rue des Moulins is Bunker Club - Chamonix’s biggest nightclub, open until 6am... Find more nightlife in Chamonix.
Recovery Brunch in Chamonix
If you stayed up partying until late last night then you’re probably in need of a lazy morning and a hearty feed. Luckily Monkey in Chamonix Sud can take care of that with their tempting brunch menu, served from 11am to 3pm on weekends, featuring such delights as breakfast burritos, full English (including a veggie option), muffins and baps filled with eggs/sausage/bacon, or homemade granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt if you feel like something a little more virtuous.
Aiguille du Midi
One of France’s most popular tourist destinations is the world-famous Aiguille du Midi. No trip to Chamonix would be complete without going to the summit and stepping out amongst the towering peaks and jagged glaciers of the Mont Blanc Massif. At 3842m, the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is as close as you can get to the top of Mont Blanc without actually climbing it. Two cable cars whisk you up from Chamonix town, past sheer faces of rock and ice in just 20 minutes. Once at the top you can walk round the viewing platforms, watch mountaineers set out on expeditions and, if you dare you can also Step Into the Void.
Montenvers - Mer de Glace
Once you’ve "oohed and aahed" at the incredible views from the top of the Aiguille du Midi you can ride back down to the mid-station and alight at Plan de l’Aiguille to traverse the opposite side of the valley from yesterday. This trail is called, inventively, the Grand Balcon Nord and gives you just as spectacular views but from another perspective. This moderately easy 2-3 hour hike brings you to the Mer de Glace, France’s longest glacier and quite an impressive sight. You can ride a small gondola down to the moraine and enter into the glacier itself, where grottoes filled with ice sculptures have been carved into it. There is plenty to see up here, not least the forbidding sight of Le Drus, a jagged grey mountain that looks like it belongs in Mordor. The crystal gallery, glaciorium, and natural history museum will answer all your questions about this fascinating geological site. Your Mont Blanc Multipass is valid all day long, for all the lifts in the valley, including the Montenvers train that will take you from the Mer de Glace back down to Chamonix town centre.
All that fresh air will no doubt have cleared your head from the night before, so it’s probably about time to indulge in that great French tradition - “l’apéro” - in other words, a respectable-sounding phrase for afternoon drinking. A small glass of beer or a chilled rosé on a sunny terrace is a perfectly acceptable way to end the day’s activities here in Chamonix and we’re spoilt for choice of places to go. If you want to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle then go where the locals, the seasonaires, the tourists and everyone else seems to go and head towards the train station where you’ll find a vibrant little trio of bars - Elevation, Chambre Neuf and MOO. They’re always busy, fun and a bit chaotic. If you want something a bit more refined then try ChaChaCha, a chic but friendly wine shop that holds regular tasting sessions and serves its wares to take away or to enjoy on their pretty little terrace. Find more bars in Chamonix.
Chamonix Fine Dining
Dinner tonight should surely be something Savoyard and it doesn’t get much more local than Auberge du Bois Prin. Not only do they use local farms to source the majority of their ingredients but they also grow their own fresh herbs and vegetables in their kitchen garden. You won’t find many of the standard Alpine cheese-laden dishes such as tartiflette or fondue on their menu, but who wants to eat that in the summer anyway?! They’ve previously been awarded a Michelin star for their talent and creativity in bringing the best out of simple fresh ingredients. They have an excellent wine list and are in a beautiful setting just off the beaten track in a little hamlet near the Brevent lift station. Their flower-filled terrace looks out over the valley, so you can enjoy the perfect view as the sun sets over Mont Blanc. Find more gourmet Restaurants in Chamonix.
So, there you have it, 48 action-packed fun-filled hours in Chamonix. However, you still haven’t even scraped the surface of everything that you can do here so the only option is to come back soon!