A day trip to Chamonix in France
A Chamonix day trip from Geneva is definitely a must-do! Nestled at the foot of the famous Mont Blanc mountain, Chamonix is close by, and one of the most known French towns for mountain activities. We have been in summer and in winter and it’s beautiful in both seasons.
Things to do in Chamonix:
You should take a walk around in the town center of Chamonix as the village is charming, with nicely decorated buildings that breathe a mountain atmosphere, plenty of restaurants and cute shops with local products.
There are plenty of possibilities for activities in Chamonix in all seasons. Chamonix has different cable cars or trains to go up. And if you are seeking for a particular adventure, there are plenty of guides and activities you could book.
Mont Blanc’s ‘Aiguille du Midi’ is a beautiful place to go to by cable car with a panoramic terrace with a 360 view, but it is a bit expensive for a family. If you do go up, there is a part where you can step on a glass floor which is called ‘les pas dans le vide’.
The cute cogwheel train going up towards the glacier ‘Mer de Glace’, is really worth it and suitable for children as well. The scenic train ride takes about 20 minutes before you arrive at the Montenvers mountain train station at 1913m. From there, you can soak up the views of the glacier and surrounding mountain tops!
At Montenvers you will have a bar for drinks and snacks, as well as a little shop. There is also a nice Restaurant ‘Refuge de Montenvers’ on top if you would like to have a good lunch: https://montenvers.terminal-neige.com/en/#!chamonix-hotel/our-restaurants
From Montenvers you can take the gondola down towards the glacier (same ticket price as the train), and then there is a big stairway going to the ‘Grotte de Glace’, the ice cave. The stairs are quite steep and some 400 steps, but it is worth your while since the ice cave is impressive and beautiful. There are chairs made of ice, benches, animal statues, and signs and posters showing a bit of the history of the glacier.
Of course, like with other glaciers, along the way going down the stairs you will see signs indicating the glacier level in previous years. It is impressive and a good opportunity to talk to children about climate change and the shrinking of the glaciers.
Other family activities in Chamonix:
Chamonix in winter: skiing in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc’s different areas like Les Houches, Servoz, Argentière or Vallorcine. We have tried Les Houches and liked that area. Ice skating (year round), several sledging runs.
Chamonix in summer: numerous hikes, of which plenty are suitable for families, an adventure rope park, alpine sledging run open all year, more glaciers to discover like the Bossons Glacier which is reachable by a chair lift, or Merlet animal park (open from May to September).
How to get there:
- By car from Geneva: 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Geneva to Chamonix bus: if you don’t have a car, Chamonix can also be reached by bus. The transfer from Geneva to Chamonix can be done amongst others with this company, from the bus station in Geneva, or from the airport: http://www.sat-montblanc.com/horaire-timetables/ligne-internationale-geneve-chamonix.aspx
Like for all cable cars or mountain trains, make sure you check opening hours and time tables before you set off.
Check out some of our other day trip from Geneva suggestions: