The small town of Chamonix lurks in a valley among the Alps, and the nearest airport is 80 km away. However, getting to the popular ski resort is not so difficult – trains and buses run here from many European cities. It’s faster and cheaper to go from Geneva. The railway and highways pass through a tunnel dug under the Mont Blanc mountain. Some tourists also take a route through Lyon, and those who want to combine an active holiday with a tour of the French capital – through Paris (read how to get to it here).
From airport to city
According to allcitycodes, the most convenient way to go to Chamonix is by bus from Geneva. Transport departs directly from Cointrin airport, where planes from Russia arrive, so you don’t have to spend time on the road to the bus station. Transportation is carried out by the SAT Mont-Blanc company (off. site in English), the ticket price is up to 60 EUR, the journey will take 1.5 hours.
There are also companies that organize a transfer from Geneva to Chamonix – Alpy Bus (off. site in English) and Chamexpress (off. site in English). During the season (December to April) shuttles run daily, every half an hour. The fare costs 27 EUR.
You can also travel from Geneva to Chamonix by train. First you need to get to the Central railway station – Kornavena. There are no direct routes, only with transfers – in Bellegarde-sur-Valserin and Saint-Gervais. You will have to spend more than 3 hours on the road, the whole way will cost 20-30 EUR. You can view the routes and buy tickets from the official distributor of French Railways. Tickets to Chamonix from other European cities are also sold there.
Getting from Lyon and Paris is even longer and more expensive – 4.5 hours (49-71 EUR) and 7 hours (117-130 EUR), respectively. High-speed TVG trains go from the French capital to the Alps, however, only to Lyon. There you need to transfer to another train, and then make another change in Saint-Gervais.
The Chamonix Valley has a well-developed public transport system. Buses of the Chamonix Bus company run throughout the resort (off. site in English), in the winter season there are night routes. They depart frequently, a ticket costs 3 EUR.
Those who want to save on travel should ask the hotel administration for a resort guest card – “Carte d’Haut”. Its owners, as well as those who have a ski pass, can use all public transport and SNCF trains for free. In hotels, you won’t have to pay for the card, but in the city municipality and the tourist office it costs 2 EUR.
One bus route in Chamonix is free even for those who do not have a guest card or ski pass. During the high season, the Mule minibus runs through the city center every.
From the Swiss town of Martigny to the French Saint-Gervais -les-Bains-les-Fayets runs the famous express train “Mont Blanc” (off. site in English). It passes through the center of the Chamonix valley and the main railway station of the resort and makes stops at several villages and at the ski lifts. With a Carte d’Haut card and a ski pass, you can travel on it for free, for the rest, the road from Chamonix to Saint-Gervais will cost 15-22 EUR. This is a convenient way to move between different tracks.
For those who are too late or in a hurry, there are several taxi companies operating in Chamonix. A trip around the resort will cost 30-80 EUR, to other cities – from 150 EUR. Some companies accept credit cards for payment.
Rent a Car
For those who come just to ski, renting a car does not make sense – it is convenient to travel around the resort by public transport. A car will help save time and money if you plan to travel around the area and to other cities in France and Switzerland.
There are no traffic jams in Chamonix, traffic jams happen on the French-Swiss border. You can leave your car overnight for free – most hotels have parking lots, the use of which is included in the price. During the day, there will be no problems either – there are many paid and free parking lots in the city (in the center, at railway stations and in ski areas). Price per day 15 EUR. At night, most parking lots are not limited in time and are free of charge; during the day, you can’t leave your car on some for more than 2 hours.
There are several rental offices in Chamonix – Europecar, Avis and others. Prices start from 133 EUR per day, the longer the rental period, the cheaper.