Freelance journalist from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Published March 10th 2017
This historic and striking resort in France is world-famous for its skiing capacity within an area boasting the highest summit in the Alps, although there is much more than initially meets the eye to this spectacular, secluded area of Europe.
The skiing however is the main reason for visiting this amazing venue, with countless challenging pistes awaiting many of the world's best skiers and snowboarders. Mountain walking and cross-country skiing are also massively popular events in this bustling area near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy.
The Luge that trails down the slopes
The endless list of the region's stunning lakes is quite extraordinary, with each one providing something that little bit more special than the last. Whether it is a quiet, peaceful picnic by Lac Vert, or a more eventful trip to the waterfalls of Cascade de Bérard, each lake boasts their own outstanding views.
Through admiring the reflections of the spruce trees and mountains, the effort taking to reach the often 2000 metre high spots is quickly forgotten. The lakes are ideally situated for the avid hill-walkers of the world, although these destinations are available for those around the world aiming to see truly amazing sights.
The Chamonix Valley, once entered, immediately draws the eye to the mammoth mountain known as Mont Blanc. This 4,810 metre high summit is the third most visited natural site in Europe, attracting millions of visitors every year, however incredibly isn't the only monstrous summit in the area. Other notable points of interest include the Aiguille d'Argentière, Aiguille de Bionnassay, Aiguille des Drus and the Aiguille des Grands Montets. These immense summits seem formidable at first, but offer an extreme sense of serenity and comfort once up close and personal.
The Aiguille du Midi, however, stands isolated at 3,842 metres. This daunting summit of the high Alps has been one of the most visited attractions in the world. A 20 minute cable car ride from the centre of Chamonix takes courageous passengers to the clouds, impossibly offering a 360 degree view of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps.
One of infinite spectacular mountain views
More daring visitors can test their bravery with the glass cage that hangs over the edge, while there is an additional long steel gallery that offers a full view of the Aiguille du Midi central peak. A number of restaurants await those desperate for respite from the brisk winds that prevail outside.
The region offers unmissable events both inside and outside the world of sport. The Marathon du Mont Blanc and the Climbing World Cup stand out in this infinite list of intriguing spectacles, while the CosmoJazz Festival speaks to the music lovers in the area. The Guides Festival, world famous for its sound and light shows, is another fascinating event not to be missed.
The boundless capacity of the snow-covered slopes is defined at the Valley Blanche, reached via the Aiguille du Midi cable car. This glacial route is renowned for ski touring, specifically throughout spring where users can make use of the optimal conditions. Winter, however does allow ski touring in this remarkable area, although the presence of a mountain guide is strongly recommended at all times.
The Chamonix Valley / By Ximonic, Simo Räsänen - CC BY-SA 3.0
The famous little red train running through the mountains is an alternative route for visitors to view Chamonix and all it has to offer. This world famous railway system takes enthusiastic travellers to the Montenvers site at 1913 metres, while stopping at distinctive and incomparable spots along the way. These include an ice cave tour at the core of the Mer de Glace glacier, while the Temple of Nature awaits the historic journey of renowned figures of the past.
For the adventurists out there, along with those seeking beauty in its most natural state, look no further than Chamonix.