The ski resort of Samoëns in Haute-Savoie is part of the Grand Massif, a huge ski area. You can spend your winter and summer holidays in this traditional and authentic village.
The resort of Samoëns
This village, partly pedestrian, is known for its calm and the quality of its architecture, essentially made with cut stones. It differs from other villages in Haute-Savoie, which prefer wood for the construction of farms and chalets. This particularity comes from the history of Samoëns. The stone was worked by the Frahans, the stone masons of the village who notably contributed to the construction of the Town Hall in Annecy and the Senate of Savoy in Chambéry. Every two years in August, the commune organises a stone sculpture symposium to commemorate this age-old tradition. The village takes its name from the seven mountains that surround it, and so its inhabitants call themselves the Septimontais. As soon as you arrive, you will discover Le Criou, which rises to an altitude of 2,207 metres and overlooks the Giffre valley and the resort.
You can visit the Alpine Botanical Garden of Jaÿsinia, which has more than 2,400 species of flowers and plants. This area has been classified as a “Remarkable Garden of France”. It is composed of more than 2,500 varieties of mountain plants from all continents. The visit is made on a sloping path of more than 3 km. The garden was created in 1906 as a gift from Marie-Louise Jaÿ, who founded La Samaritaine in Paris. The garden is now part of the National Museum of Natural History.
The Gros Tilleul is a tree that was planted in the 15th century. You can admire it on the square of the same name. Classified since 2000 in the inventory of remarkable trees, the villagers used to meet around it to discuss and exchange ideas. The village of Samoëns was elected in 2021 as the most beautiful village in Haute-Savoie, ahead of Yvoire and Combloux.
We advise you to visit the Sixt Nature Reserve by snowshoe or by hiking. Close to Samoëns, it allows you to admire two huge glacial cirques, the Fer-à-Cheval and the Fonts.
From the village, you can access the Grand Massif ski area in only 8 minutes by using the cable car. At an altitude of 1,600 m, you can ski over 265 km, which is one of the largest and most beautiful areas dedicated to skiing. There are 139 slopes to suit your level of skiing and 5 snowparks:
- The black runs for experienced skiers on the highest part of the resort at 2,118 m altitude
- An area for most intermediate skiers with the blue and green runs of the Dahu and the Marmotte
- An area reserved for young people and beginners which is located at the entrance to the ski area. It is the ideal way to discover alpine skiing with your family in a safe and fun way
The Samoënssnowpark is located near the Soleil piste. It is suitable for intermediate freestylers.
Cross-countryskiing is possible on two different areas: the one at the bottom of the valley up to the Cirque de Fer-à-Cheval with 46 km of trails and the one at the Col de Joux Plane accessible by car or shuttle.
Top rated hotels
Various types of tourist accommodation are available for rent in Samoens. You will find that the prices are quite reasonable, especially if you are able to leave outside the school holidays.
Depending on your budget, we have selected five hotels in Samoens. They offer excellent value for money and have very good customer reviews:
Chalet-Hotel Neige et Roc, The Originals Relais
This well-located hotel offers a leisure area with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and games room. The landscaped garden has a large heated swimming pool. The owners are very welcoming, according to travellers’ reviews.
From €120 per night.
Logis Hôtel Gai Soleil
Ideally located in a large park in the centre of the resort, you can enjoy a whirlpool, a sauna and a hammam all year round. The ski slopes of the Grand Massif and the Haut-Giffre valley are only 5 minutes away by ski-bus.
From 110 € per night.
CGH Residences & Spas Les Chalets De Laÿssia
A good location 15 minutes walk from the Grand Massif Express ski lift. This residence has a good level of services. A ski room is available. A good address for a successful holiday in Samoëns.
From 130 € per night.
Lagrange Vacances Les Fermes de Samoëns
This beautiful residence consists of 130 flats in 3 buildings and some chalets built in the Savoyard style. The shops are 400 m away and a free shuttle bus takes you to the ski slopes, which are 1 km away.
Prices start at 115 € per night.
Hotel Les Glaciers
The building is made of white wood and Giffre stone, typical of the region. It is located in the centre of the village close to the shops. According to the tourists’ opinions, the staff is very pleasant and gives many advices to discover the region.
Prices start at 135 € per night.
The most beautiful chalets
For an unforgettable holiday in the mountains, we offer three chalets to rent in Samoens. They all have excellent customer reviews:
Chalet luxe L’Hibiscus
One of the most beautiful addresses in Samoëns for this typical wooden chalet of 150 m² with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a jacuzzi. The large terrace is well exposed and offers a beautiful view of the massifs. The Grand Massif Express cable car is only 1 km away and provides easy access to the slopes.
Chalet Luxe Les Mélèzes
This beautiful chalet is located 800 m from the ski school. It has a surface area of 15 m², a lounge area, a fully equipped kitchen, 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. There is a hot tub and a nice terrace. The Grand Massif Express cable car is less than 1 km away.
Chalet Clos Moccand
This accommodation is located just 500 metres from the resort’s ski school. The flats feature a balcony, a fully equipped kitchen, a fireplace, a lounge area, a sauna and a ski room. Skiing is easily accessible nearby.
There are many snowshoeing routes available to holidaymakers. We offer you a selection that combines pleasure and discovery of nature:
The Verchaix interpretation trail
This trail starts in Verchaix and leads down to the beautiful Valentine stream before climbing to the village church. Fifteen panels are installed on the trail to help you understand the fauna, flora and architecture. Two orientation tables allow you to discover the names of the surrounding peaks. Duration: 1 hour, difference in altitude: 95 metres. Easy tour.
This site is an introduction to snowshoeing, especially for children, in a large plain with a beautiful view of the Mont Blanc massif. The climbing of small hills allows you to discover the tracks of animals. Duration of two hours with 72 metres of difference in altitude, very easy circuit.
The Fer à Cheval cirque
Classified as a major national site, the site is in the form of a large amphitheatre of limestone cliffs with beautiful waterfalls frozen by the cold. On the way up, you will discover a small lake. Be careful not to walk on it if it is frozen. Duration of one hour, difference in altitude 45 metres, easy and signposted circuit.
This excursion allows you to discover the village of Allamands which was founded by a Germanic tribe in 1206. The village was frequented by smugglers as it was part of the Valais route. Departure is at the exit of Samoëns on the Crêt car park. Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes. Difference in altitude of 103 metres. Easy and signposted circuit.
The village of Chantemerle
This outing is an opportunity to discover a very beautiful and typical village that was once inhabited all year round. The farms have beautiful door lintels in cut stone carved by the Kegnes and the Frahans. These were the masons who made the village so charming. Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes. Elevation gain of 400 metres. Fairly high level of difficulty.
Ideas for activities in summer
Summer is the time to discover many water activities:
- Fishing in the river or lake: the various permits are issued by the resort’s tourist office.
- Canoraft: This very manoeuvrable inflatable boat allows you to go down the Giffre river using a paddle, with a maximum of two people on board. For beginners, the circuit does not pass through the Giffre gorges.
- Airboat : The Airboat is an inflatable kayak which only takes one person on board. The sensations are guaranteed, in complete autonomy.
- Rafting : in a canoe for a maximum of 8 people, starting from Sixt, you will descend through the Samoëns plain and the Tines gorges. A barbecue break is offered by some organisers.
- Hydrospeed : With flippers and a reinforced wetsuit, you will descend the Giffre on a foam float while learning to understand the currents.
- Caving: The valley’s karstic environment means that there are many caving routes to discover with experienced instructors. The Mirolda chasm is the deepest cave in France. In 2003, the diver Michel Phillips set a world record at a depth of 1,733 m.
The Samoëns American Festival (SAF)
This festival is dedicated to American culture with country music concerts , rodeos, equestrian and mechanical exhibitions. The atmosphere is worthy of westerns and transforms the resort. There are many paying stands where you can learn about traditional American life. The shows are free. Packages are available including accommodation, activities and the festival at a special price.Date: second week of July.Address: Samoëns Village, 74340 Samoëns.
Every year, in mid-June, the resort organises a meeting dedicated to the plant world. Around the splendid Alpine Garden La Jaÿsinia, guided tours are organised to discover the 4,800 mountain plants. Spectators can attend film screenings on insects, workshops to learn how to garden and walks to discover the heritage of Samoëns.
Date: second week of June. Free admission.Address: La Jaÿsinia, 74340 Samoëns
Access and public transport
To reach the resort of Samoëns, you can choose your means of transport:By car: Take the A40 motorway in the direction of Geneva-Chamonix, then exit n°18 Cluses in the direction of Samoëns.By train: Cluses TGV station or Geneva Cornavin TGV station, then take a bus, taxi or shuttle to Samoëns.By plane: There are two airports at your disposal: Génève Cointrin or Lyon-Saint-Exupéry.
As for public transport, you can use the Skibus network of the Grand Massif resorts to travel between Morillon, Samoëns and Sixt and reach the foot of the slopes. This service only operates in winter and is free to encourage its use.