Travel Tips for a Summer Trip to Chamonix
I’m sorry to shatter the hearts of those who have found this post by carefully tapping ‘Chamonix on a shoestring’ into Google, but I feel a need to clear something up: Chamonix and budgets go together about as well as the pimiento olives and pickled beetroot I ate for lunch. If this perplexes you at all, or you happen to think that olives and beetroot make for a delicious meal, look up Chamonix’s ski pass prices and you’ll understand what I mean when you find out that a 1-day ski pass will run you about €50 ($69 USD)!
Don’t slam your head into your fist just yet…
No one ever said you had to ski in Chamonix. Okay, so my Dad once came back from a pre-Christmas trip and said ‘Son, you have to ski in Chamonix’, but there’s plenty to do without poles and planks, especially if you go there in the summer.
‘Outrageous!’ you cry. ‘Go to a ski resort in the summer?’ That’s correct. Many people do it, though not nearly as many as in the winter, and this is the crucial point.
If you want to stand a chance of seeing Chamonix’s true face without jostling for supremacy with the hordes of tourists, visit during the summer.
Although you’ll see very little snow, accommodation in Chamonix is cheaper at this time, and lift pass prices are vastly reduced.
Things to Do in Chamonix
There is so many things to do an see in Chamonix but, frankly, the only activity I can imagine you’ll want to do is hike, leaving behind you a trail of drool as you gawp at the magnificence of the summer Alps.
If hiking isn’t your thing, don’t worry! Here’s a short list of heck out the following activities:
- Mountain Biking
- Horseback Riding
- Brevent Cable Car - A round trip cable car ride for an adult pedestrian (non-skier) ticket is around €18 ($25 USD)
Type ‘Chamonix summer’ into Google images and you’ll get a fraction of an idea of what I saw last year. Make no mistake, reader, I am not a walker, and invariably find myself cursing any decision to set off on a hike for which I am invariably ill prepared. I am a skier, however, which means I have a gormless fascination with naked mountains, seeing the bare skeleton stripped of its fluffy winter coat.
There is a solemn hollowness that all dusty gravel tracks clinging to the edge of a mountain seem to have, evoking within me an intense feeling of solitude.
There is also something oddly intimate about the surrounding peaks, and I often forget where I am, losing myself in that private awe you feel when you set eyes upon a painting that is startlingly realistic, resisting the temptation to take a paint brush and add a couple of strokes to God’s creation.
I spent my week happily breathless, clambering up the inclines of the Chamonix Valley about as graciously as a demented giraffe on stilts. But I was in my own blessed universe, alone, wandering aimlessly through the most glorious piece of art on earth. It is true that Chamonix cannot be done on a tight budget, but there is a way to evade the crowds, and to see the landscape through the eyes of a traveller, rather than a tourist.