View from the Aiguille du Midi

Chamonix Travel Guide

Chamonix Mont Blanc, France

Looking to explore Chamonix in the French Alps? Our Chamonix Mont Blanc Travel Guide has everything you need to know for a successful trip, including tips on what to do, where to stay, and how to get around. Don't miss out on all that this stunning region has to offer - start planning your trip today!

Chamonix, the mountain playground of France, has been on the tourist trail for centuries. Today it is seen as an adventure destination, whereas the truth is that the town has been a place to go for poets, musicians, writers and painters for longer than for adrenaline junkies.

The first English tourists came through in the 17th century to view the mountains and glaciers, followed by painters, poets and writers, many of whom became climbers if only to visit these wonders. These renaissance men and women make up a great part of the populace today. Chamonix has developed a vibrant culture, different from the other valleys in the Haute-Savoie. Agriculture played only a small role in the town’s development, unlike in the surrounding valleys, due to the steepness and hostility of the environment. Tourism drives the town today as it did in the 18th century, but whether you come here to relax, or quite the opposite, Chamonix has you covered.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a French town situated below the largest mountains of the European Alps and below its namesake peak, Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Western Europe. Chamonix sits in a corner of eastern France bordering both Switzerland and Italy. Part of the Haute-Savoie department in France’s Rhône-Alpes region, it has a respected heritage as the premier site for mountain sports.

Chamonix Town centre
Chamonix Town centre

The history of Chamonix Mont Blanc

Chamonix was first noted in 1091 when monks settled on the banks of the river Arve, becoming known as the Priory of Chamonix. In the following years, more settlers arrived in the valley which came under the rule of the town of Sallanches in the valley below. Chamonix’s rural population of mountain farmers raised animals and grew a limited number of crops in the summertime. This continued for hundreds of years until travellers started to arrive in the valley to explore its mountains and glaciers.

It was in 1741 that two English travellers, William Windham and Richard Pococke, arrived in the ‘Chamouny’ valley and became the first to document it in a series of literary journals that brought Chamonix to the world's attention. Windham, an aristocrat and notable philanderer, was the first to name the glacier at Montenvers the ‘Sea of Ice’.

It was those mountains and glaciers that brought ever more people to the valley. After Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard made the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786, Chamonix came to prominence in the climbing world. In 1916 Chamonix changed its name to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to reflect the popularity of the mountain. Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 and started building ski lifts to take advantage of the new-found interest in downhill skiing. From the 1940s on, tourism grew exponentially in the valley with the winter season going from strength to strength and investment in ski lifts and tourist accommodation unrelenting.

Chamonix Attractions

Chamonix is a charming resort town nestled in the French Alps, renowned for its stunning natural beauty and year-round outdoor activities. This picturesque destination offers a plethora of top attractions that draw visitors from all over the world. From towering peaks and glaciers to scenic hiking trails and alpine villages, Chamonix has something for everyone. Whether you are an avid skier, hiker, or simply seeking a serene mountain escape, the top attractions in Chamonix are sure to leave you awe-inspired and eager for more.

Things to do in Chamonix

Chamonix may be best known for its mountaineering and skiing, but it is also a destination for proximity flying, paragliding, trail running, mountain biking, hiking and slacklining. The town also has rafting, golf and tennis. The Richard Bozon Sports Centre features an indoor swimming pool with a skylight view of the mountains and an attached outdoor pool. Tennis and squash courts, a gym, an indoor climbing wall and an ice rink can also be found on site. Next to the sports centre you can find a Spa.

Where to stay in Chamonix

Chamonix is a popular tourist destination that offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Whether you're looking for a luxurious mountain chalet, a cozy bed and breakfast, or a budget-friendly hostel, Chamonix has plenty of options for you to choose from. With its stunning natural beauty and world-class outdoor activities, Chamonix is a destination that attracts visitors throughout the year, and it's important to plan ahead to ensure you find the perfect place to stay.

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How to get to and around Chamonix


The closest international airport to Chamonix is Geneva in Switzerland, approximately 1 hour 10 minutes away using the autoroute (toll applicable).


The Chamonix bus serves the whole valley with a regular schedule from Servoz to Le Tour. It’s free for holders of the Carte d’hôte or a ski lift pass, excluding the Chamo’Nuit bus.


The SNCF train station in the centre of Chamonix is the hub for the Mont Blanc Express train which runs from St Gervais/Le Fayet through Chamonix and on to Switzerland.


Chamonix is easy to get to by car from any direction. The A40 autoroute leads directly to Chamonix from within France. From Switzerland, the drive over the Col de Forclaz and the Col des Montets is equally as impressive. From Italy, access is via the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

Ski lifts

The Chamonix valley has a variety of ski lifts all available on one lift pass. Many of which are open in the summer.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Travel guide book

Chamonix Travel Guide Book

In the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc travel guide, we share our 20 years of experience of the valley to help you make the most of your trip.

  • A5 (5 ⅞ x 8 ¼ inches)
  • Softcover
  • 180 pages
  • 350gsm soft touch laminated cover
  • 120gsm uncoated inside pages
  • 8 Maps and Illustrations
  • 75 Photographs
  • Printed and bound in the United Kingdom on sustainably sourced paper and vegetable-based inks
  • Buy the book and get the ebook version free
  • Free Worldwide Shipping
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