The alpine village of Samoëns is just an easy 1-hour drive from Geneva international airport but if feels as if it is 100’s of miles away from the real world. When you’re there you’ll feel like you’re living in a beautiful Alpine bubble where the daily stresses of life are easily forgotten.
Spring in the French Alps
Many people assume that the Alps are just for winter activities but spring in Samoëns is just as great as winter in Samoëns.
As the days get longer and sunnier, the valley begins to come alive. The snow disappears, the grass turns green and the spring meadows bloom. The Giffre Valley boasts an extensive national park overflowing with activities as well as a heritage dating back to medieval times.
Memorable Mountain biking
After the winter season ends, often the ski lifts don’t open until late June. However, it is still possible to head out and tackle a wide variety of cross country tracks suitable for all levels from beginners to experts. There are guided mountain bike and electric bike trips and you can hire all the equipment required. When the ski lifts aren’t operating, there’s a lift service to the top of the mountain. One of the most exciting routes is from Samoens to Sixt Fer a Cheval, it’s suitable for all levels. Follow the River Giffre out of Samoens towards the end of the valley. When you reach the bridge at Le Perret, cross the river and head through a field when you will arrive at the spectacular Gorge des Tines. After this, descend into the authentic village of Sixt Fer a Cheval. Stop and enjoy a drink and take in the stunning views. After that you can either head back or carry on and head up to the magnificent Cirque Fer a Cheval where even more spectacular views await.
Rafting – thrills and spills
As the snow melts, the water level in the river rises creating excellent conditions for rafting. It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours and see the valley from an alternative view whilst enjoying a few thrills and maybe even some spills. There are several operators in Samoëns who provide all the equipment and drive you to Sixt where the paddling starts. Before heading off you are briefed on how to stay safe and then off you go, full steam ahead.
You will find yourself alternating between laughing, screaming and shouting as you ride the waves and the raft bounces about. You can swim and splash each other during various calmer stretches. It really is a fun few hours.
Paragliding – a bird’s eye view of the mountains
Samoëns is ideal for paragliding and by booking a tandem flight you can discover the pure joy of flying like a bird. The views will take your breath away. Depending on the conditions, take-off is a few simple steps or sometimes it might be necessary to run a couple of metres! If you fancy an extra thrill your pilot will happily perform a few aerobatic tricks before landing back in Samoens.
Walking on sunshine
The Giffre valley and surroundings are a walkers’ paradise catering for all abilities from gentle walkers to serious hikers. All the trails are well signposted and with 900km of marked trails up to an altitude of 3100 M you really are spoiled for choice. It’s always worth checking the forecast before setting off as the mountains can be very changeable, expect all weathers!
If you fancy a longer adventure there are some great mountain refuges that provide lunches and overnight accommodation. The Tourist Office in Samoëns can provide all the information you need such as routes, maps, opening times and booking details. It’s also possible to hire a local guide who will inform you about the local wildlife and fauna as well as show you the route.
Some of the best walks are following the river from Samoëns to Morillon. You can also drive up the Col de Joux Plane and following the track around the mountain to the peak of the Bourgeoise, the views are stunning on a bright day. The Cirque du Fer a Cheval offers a multitude of walks with breath-taking scenery. Expect huge cliffs, rugged mountains, jagged peaks and waterfalls everywhere you look.
It truly is an authentic alpine playground with so much to do…