What is the top 10 of things to do in Samoëns?
Samoëns is an authentic alpine village located in la Vallée du Giffre also known as Dream Valley. And this valley is a proper outdoor paradise. There are so many things to do; a week is just not enough! So what is the top 10 of things to do in and around Samoëns, in a random order:
Go for a mountain hike
Samoëns is located a the base of the Natural Reserve of Sixt-Passy. A huge (9445ha) protected nature area, located between Sixt, the Swiss border and the south-facing side of the Chamonix Valley. In this mountain wilderness you will find trails instead of roads, wildlife instead of cars and mountain huts instead of houses. Because the GR5 is winding along Samoëns, there are 10 mountain refuges to choose from to spend your night at altitude. The trails are well marked, but you always can get surprised in the mountains. To enjoy a safe and stress free mountain hike you can contact Arno, to be your private walking guide. As a French qualified mountain leader he knows the nicest trails, the best huts to stay and he can learn you everything about the things you will witness on your mountain journey. Beside the huts around Samoëns there is also a truly hidden gem in the Vallée Verte. This place is magical, thanks to it's stunning location and iconic guardian who delivers you an amazing home cooked meal followed by his home grown digestifs. Is this still not adventurous enough for you and your family? Don't worry! Ask Arno for a 24h in the mountains bivi-adventure for a proper rewilding experience ...
Follow the stream of a river; jump in pools, shoot down slides and abseil from cliffs. Canyoning is your proper adrenaline rush and an awesome activity to escape those heat wave days!
White water rafting
White water rafting is a must-do during a family holiday in Samoëns and suitable for all ages as long as you can swim. We recommend you to keep this activity for a rainy day, as there is not many other mountain activities to undertake. Don't worry about the rain; you will get wet anyway and the rapids are even more challenging!
Run down the mountain, get lifted by the wind and fly away like an eagle! Paragliding has been born in the Giffre valley, in the village of Mieussy to be precise. Nowadays Samoëns 1600 is the place to go, as it is well accessible by car or by telecabine.
Mountain bike ride
All along the Giffre river, between Taninges and Sixt, there is a nice bike trail to be ridden. Only the section after Sixt is a bit steeper, but else is very gentle. An E-bike is a great choice if you want to have more speed on the flats and on the climbs or if you just like to cover more distance in a short period of time. Another good reason to choose an E-bike is that it can replace your car to travel around during your holiday. While the valley floor is almost flat, the trails on both sides of the valley are steep and technical. Experience with riding alpine singletracks is a must if you would like to ride an enduro bike down from Samoens 1600. Because of this and the fact that the trails are not to well marked, you might be interested to book Arno as your private a qualified MTB guide. He knows his way around, he is able to judge your level and will take you on suitable (and hidden) trails. If you would like to spend multiple days on a mountain bike, than Arno can take you on an amazing hut to hut bike adventure, shredding the best trails and spending the night in remote mountain huts.
During the ice age a huge pack of moving ice carved it's way through the mountains and left us rock faces and canyons when the glaciers melted. Between Sixt and Samoëns you will find a great example of ancient glaciation at les Gorges de Tines. In a raft you will follow the stream through the canyon, while above it, you will find huge cliff faces crafted in the limestone. The North facing part is great for rock climbing and at the other side you will find le Via Ferrata du Mont. We suggest you booking a guide if you don´t have any experience with Via Ferrata.
Opposite the Via Ferrata, at the other side of the bridge crossing the Giffre canyon, you will find the very accessible and family friendly climbing wall of les Tines. There are routes from 4a up to 6a on the (single pitch) wall and 7's and 8's on the challenging (multi pitch) face, which you will find 100m to the East. During peak hours the main wall can get very crowded. Click here for more info about the climbing options at les Tines. There is a beautiful and quiete climbingwall to be found at le Tuet as well, accessible by a 30mnt and pretty exposed hike.
The mountains around Samoëns are formed of limestone, a relatively soft and sedimentary rock with a grey color. Over millions of years, acidic groundwater or underground rivers dissolved away the limestone, leaving cavities which grew over time. Did you know that Samoëns has two of the deepest caves in the world? Most of the caves have been mapped by professional speleologists and some of them you can explore with a guide. Armed with a helmet, head torch and a harness you will spend a few hours underground, walking, abseiling, climbing and crawling through narrow holes. We recommend you choosing another activity if you are you suffering form claustrophobia!
Visit le Cirque du Fer a Cheval
Spending a week in the Giffre Valley without seeing le Cirque du Fer-a-Cheval is like visiting Paris and missing the Eifel tower. The Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval gets its name from the U-shape of the cliffs which resemble a horseshoe (= fer à cheval in French). Due to the impressive height of these cliffs there are about 30 waterfalls, the number of which varies depending on the season. Le Cirque du Fer-a-Cheval is home to two (quickly melting) glaciers, which form the source of the Giffre river. Le Cirque is located at the far eastern end of the Giffre Valley; a huge amphitheatre of steep limestone cliffs, stretching for 4 to 5 km and reaching heights up to 700 m. It is the biggest mountain ‘Cirque’ of the Alps. During your walk you might be able to spot Ibex on the rock face and an eagle or a bearded vulture circling above the peaks. The down side of the easy access, is that this touristic magnet can get overcrowded in peak weeks.
If you are a active family who likes to be well looked after and your are interested in different mountain activities, than the Family Adventures is the holiday for you! You will stay in your own comfortable apartment and in the evenings you enjoy a delicious and freshly home cooked dinner. During 5 days you can participate in some awesome outdoor activities; like mountain biking, whitewater-rafting and rock climbing. And what do you think about a two-days mountain adventure with a night in a remote mountain hut?!