The Must-Do Summer Activities & Attractions - Samoens & the Grand Massif
Our top 10 favourite activities in Samoens!
Here in the Haute Giffre valley you'll find a veritable mountain of activities and events to keep you busy in summer! From the most relaxing to action packed, and everything in between! If you're wondering if there will be enough to entertain your energetic children, thrill seeking teenagers, adventurous adults, or relaxation-seeking grandparents for one or two weeks, then trust us, there is! We've been here for over 15 years, and we're still trying to complete our ever expanding summer to-do list!
To help you navigate this mountain of fun and excitement, we've complied our list of the must-do activities and events in Samoens, Morillon, Sixt and the Grand Massif. These are our top 10 favourite activities in Samoens - don't even think about leaving until you've done them!
The valley features a vast network of marked mountain bike trails which are suited to all disciplines and levels of experience. From gentle trails along the Giffre river linking Sixt to Morillon ideal for families, XC routes linking beautiful hamlets and great descents, to the lift served trails of the Grand Massif. The recent introduction of E-bikes has been a game-changer in the mountain biking world, and the valley features four e-bike specific trails.
This breath-taking cirque of cliffs, peaks, glaciers and over 30 waterfalls are an absolute must-see corner of the valley. In the main cirque, and just a few hundred metres walk from the car park, you will find a great restaurant whose terrace provides wonderful views in every direction. There are numerous excellent hikes in this area from around 1hr to a full day, or longer! Our favourites include the circular loop to the 'Bout du Monde' (described on our hiking page), which can be extended to the Chalet du Boret offering even more spectacular views, as well as refreshments. The more adventurous may like to climb further still to the Refuge de la Vogealle and the Lac de la Vogealle, a stunning lake at over 2000m altitude. Don't forget your camera!
Possibly the 'best value' hike in the valley in terms of effort vs reward! Overlooking Samoens village, the Bourgeoise offers wonderful views over the entire Grand Massif to the dramatic Mont Blanc massif, including Mont Blanc itself. A relatively flat hike taking around 1hr 30mins in total, it's a perfect option for families, picnics, and even sunsets!
A trip down the Giffre river is an unmissable adventure! The descents can be tailored to offer more or less 'excitement' depending on your preferred taste and you can even choose your mode of transport including raft, hydrospeed and canoraft. Descending through the Gorges de Tines is not to be missed, including a stop to jump into the river from the rocks! A great activity if you happen to have a rainy day.
If you're looking for a great hike offering wonderful views, waterfalls, lunch in a mountain refuge and the best chance of seeing local wildlife, then this is our favourite! The hike to the Refuge de Sales is never boring! Huge waterfalls, towering cliffs and a good chance of seeing chamois, ibex, marmottes, and maybe even some eagles! The refuge provides a great place for refreshments, a delicious lunch, or even a place to sleep if you fancy spending a night in the mountains.
Lac Bleu in Morillon and the Lac aux Dames in Samoens provide the ultimate fun-filled family day out! These beautiful blue lakes feature life-guarded swimming areas and are surrounded by open grassy areas perfect for sunbathing, picnics and games. If that's not enough, the lakes are also surrounded by so many activities including tree top adventure parks, golf, volleyball and a pump track (Lac Bleu). You'll find excellent restaurants at both lakes providing drinks, meals, and all important ice creams!
No visit to the Haute Savoie would be complete without trying a fondue, raclette, tartiflette - a cheese lover's dream! In addition to the local cuisine, there is so much local produce to sample which you can buy directly from the farm or producer - fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, wine, beer, chocolate, and coffee to name just a few!
If you've skied the Grand Massif in winter, you may have spotted the Refuge du Lac de Gers which is accessible from the Cascade piste. Located on the edge of a lake in a stunning and secluded valley, it is just as beautiful in summer! Starting from the car park between Samoens and Samoens 1600, it's a great, relatively straightforward hike on a 4x4 track for a rewarding lunch on the sunny terrace. It's also easily accessible by mountain bike or e-bike.
There is possibly no better sensation than floating above stunning Alpine mountains on a beautiful sunny day in summertime. Tandem flights with an instructor mean no experience is necessary, and anyone can enjoy a flight subject to height and age restrictions. Incredible views are guaranteed!
Consisting of several concerts throughout July and August, the festival features an eclectic mix of excellent up and coming artists. The concerts take place in various locations throughout Samoens village providing the perfect opportunity to explore the stunning village, its bars, restaurants, and charming local shops. Remember to pack your dancing shoes!
You're in a ski resort in summer... the lifts are open... you've got to go up them, right? Of course! In Samoens, you can take the Grand Massif Express Telecabine to Samoens 1600 which itself offers great hiking and picnic opportunities. However, we would recommend taking the chairlift all the way to La Tête des Saix, the top of the mountain! From there, enjoy fantastic views over the surrounding mountains, including Mont Blanc. The chairlifts from Morillon 1100 are also open in summer, providing access to L'Igoloo restaurant, a great option for lunch, with fantastic family walk in the surrounding area. To enjoy the best views, remember to check the forecast, and go earlier in the day.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do and see in Samoens and the valley. Visit the summer section of our website for more ideas, including a calendar of events happening during Summer and Autumn.