It is difficult to effectively capture the feeling of sublime awe that overcomes you as you ride into Chamonix. Nestled in-between the peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and the Aiguille du Midi, the natural beauty of this world-renowned ski resort is the first of many reasons to fall in love with the alpine getaway. A trip to Chamonix is a gift that keeps on giving, and with this 5 day guide we hope that you’ll leave the valley with memories of unforgettable experiences!
Day 1 - Mer de Glace
In order to get the most out of your stay in Chamonix, it is highly recommended that you pick up an Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass as this will give you access to a number of attractions throughout the town and across the alps including many of the spots mentioned throughout this guide. With that being said, our first destination is the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice). A monolithic glacier running 7km long and 200m deep, the very same that enticed Windham and Pococke to share their adoration for the valley across Europe in 1741.
A picturesque journey aboard the Montenvers train, which departs from its own station next the main station in Chamonix’s town centre, will bring you to the Montenvers station. Situated atop a ridge looking over the Mer de Glace, upon arrival you will be greeted by breath-taking views of Les Drus (3,754m), Les Grands Jorasses (4,205m) and the Aiguille du Grepon (3,482m).
While taking in the atmosphere of this natural marvel, you have a variety of options to enjoy. You can take a cable car down to the ice grotto, a man-made cave carved out of the glacier fresh yearly, littered with stunning ice sculptures. In the summer, a visit to the Glaciorium provides some fascinating insight on Glaciology and climate change. Regardless of the season, the Restaurant Le Panoramique Mer de Glace gives a beautiful view of the glacier along with quality French cuisine to match.
Day 2 - Le Brévent & Le Flégère
After a day of drinking in scenic alpine views it’s time for some skiing! Le Brévent is the perfect spot to start your Chamonix skiing experience. Being the closest ski station to the centre of town, it offers a large variety of intermediate and difficult advanced ski slopes with gorgeous mountain-side views. While there isn’t much to offer for newcomers at this resort, Le Flégère is only a gondola ride away, providing an even wider range of runs, including the beginners area situated at the base of the resort and only a short walk away from Chamonix town center.
If you’re looking to take a break from skiing or find yourself visiting in the summer, Le Flégère also benefits from being a part of the Aiguilles Rouges Natural Reserve, A hike through which brings a tour of some of the magnificent botanical life growing across the alps which can lead to a chance encounter with a Chamois if you are lucky!
Day 3 - Aiguille du Midi
Our next mountaintop destination will be L’Aiguille du Midi. A peak famous for it’s arduous trek, La Vallée Blanche, lauded as one of the greatest off-piste ski runs in the world and an easy bucket list contendor for any ski veteran. Take the cable car up to the 3842m summit of L’Aiguille du Midi from Chamonix and enjoy the world record-holding highest vertical ascent as you climb through the sky. Alternatively, the mountain can be reached via a walk from the Montenvers station to the Plan de l'Aiguille (2,317m), halfway up the cable car route, during the summer.
With amazing panoramic views of the Mont Blanc massif, and a restaurant to soak up your surroundings with, the summit is a sight to behold. Aiguille du Midi also serves as a starting point for the Three Monts route for ascending Mont Blanc itself, as well as offering a journey aboard the Panoramic Mont Blanc, holding the record for highest running cable car, which crosses borders between Italy and France to give you a different perspective on the iconic mountain.
Day 4 - Courmayeur
After having a taste of the Italian Alps from the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car, you may be craving more of what the other side of the mountain has to offer, this is where Courmayuer comes into play. Situated at the foot of Mont Blanc and just a bus ride through the Mont Blanc tunnel away, Courmayeur serves as a refreshing palate cleanser to the dizzying mountain peaks from the past 2 days.
For those looking to be eased into more scenic slopes, Courmayeur's ski resort caters to all levels of skill with more stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif serving as a backdrop while shredding the snow. For those looking for a break from the mountains entirely, Courmayuer is littered with restaurants serving delectable Italian cuisine to satiate the soul. Should it be summer time then you have the option of taking a bus through the Aosta valley to Cogne and visiting Gran Paradiso National Park for an unforgettable taste of Italian wildlife.
Day 5 - A Day in Town
What better way to mellow out after an exciting handful of alpine adventures than to peruse the town of Chamonix itself! A walk around the charming town’s centre will show a wide variety of shops including a supermarket, a multitude of picturesque coffee shops, the Chanel store, and a casino for some nightlife entertainment.
If you’re looking to wash away all the aches and pains from an intense few days of skiing and hiking, Chamonix offers many different Spa facilities to choose from to help soothe your body and soul before sending you home.
For those that have developed a fascination with the alpine village, a visit to one of the many museums situated around town may prove to be a worthwhile excursion. The Alpine museum, L'Espace Alpinisme, and the House of Memory and Heritage all offer great insight on how Chamonix became the beloved getaway that it is today and serves as an enlightening book-end to an exciting few days that you are sure to remember.
Starting from Skratch? Here are a few tips to get you started: