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How to Get to Chamonix

Discover the top ways to get to Chamonix

Updated

It's really easy to get to Chamonix from all around the world and that's because the ski area is located just 103km from Geneva international airport, the second-largest airport in Switzerland (about 1 hour and 15 minutes on a good day). Flying isn't your only option, though, you can always drive here and there are also trains and coaches available.

Feeling spoiled for choice? That's because you are! However, this also means that there's more than one option to consider when deciding how to come here, and that's what we're here for. We've written the complete guide of the best options to travel to Chamonix. Let us help you figure out what's the perfect choice for you!

Top 4 ways to get to Chamonix

Chamonix is located in southeast France, in the department of Haute-Savoie, part of the Rhône-Alpes region. Nestled deep in an Alpine valley, Chamonix sits at the foot of Western Europe's highest mountain, Mont-Blanc (4810m), boasting some of the most spectacular views in the world from its pistes.

What’s the best way to get to Chamonix?
We're not just going to give you one way to come to Chamonix but four. Here they are in order of preference with what we think are their main pros and cons:

1. Flying to Geneva + Airport transfer
In our experience, the best way to get to Chamonix is to fly to Geneva and then get an airport transfer.

  • Pros: Fast – you just can't beat flying for pure speed! Geneva airport also offers the greatest selection of airlines, most frequent flight times and lowest prices, while airport transfers are the fastest way to reach the ski area – you’ll be at your accommodation’s doorstep in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Cons: Carbon footprint – to be honest, we feel a bit bad about flying these days. You can make up for some of this by not hiring a car and opting for an airport transfer instead. More and more transfer companies are trying to offset their emissions and electric transfer vehicles are becoming a common sight on Alpine roads.

2. Driving
The extensive network of European motorways makes it easy to come to Chamonix by car.

  • Pros: Convenience – you'll have a car to move around resort and even visit neighbouring ski areas.
  • Cons: Time-consuming & air pollution – it can take quite long to reach the Alps and you may have to split your journey into more than one day. You'll also need to consider the impact of your car's emissions on the valley's environment, as this area suffers from high levels of air pollution. Plus, you'll have to be ready and equipped to drive on the snow or in inclement weather conditions while parking in resort or at the foot of the slopes may be difficult during peak seasons.

3. Train to Chamonix
Chamonix has a train station where local trains stop. From here, you can make connections to Paris, Geneva and London among other European cities.

  • Pros: Eco-friendly & comfortable – carbon footprint can be reduced by as much as 90% when travelling by train. Trains also have more legroom, so you'll be able to relax while you enjoy the everchanging scenery and even take a stroll along the aisles or visit the onboard café.
  • Cons: Speed – travelling by train takes longer than flying for more or less the same amount of money. However, you'll catch up some of the time as you won't have to wait at the airport.

4. Coach or long-distance bus
It's possible to get to Chamonix on a coach or long-distance bus, although it's probably our least favourite option.

  • Pros: Price – coming to Chamonix by coach is usually the cheapest alternative (although this isn't always the case). Plus, coaches are more environmentally friendly than flying, releasing 7 times less CO2 per person. Buses are also quite sociable so you may get the chance to make new friends before you set foot on the slopes.
  • Cons: Less comfortable & more time-consuming – it can take up to 20 hours to reach Chamonix and buses aren't the most comfortable places to sleep on... you'll be quite exhausted when you reach the pistes!

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Flying to Chamonix

Our experience has taught us that flying is the most convenient way to travel to Chamonix – it’s faster, easier and sometimes cheaper than any other means of transport.

Which airports are near Chamonix?
At a glance, these are the main travel hubs for Chamonix. Times and distances are approximate and can be affected by snow, bad weather or peak holiday times:

Nearest Airports to Chamonix | Times & Distances
Geneva Airport 103km 1hr15
Chambery Airport 145km 1hr30
Turin Airport 175km 2hrs
Lyon Airport 220km 2hrs10
Grenoble Airport 224km 2hrs15
Milan Airport 235km 2hrs45

Where do you fly to for Chamonix?
Geneva is the nearest airport to Chamonix. It offers frequent flights to and from many European destinations, including cities all around the UK, as well as capitals in America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Flight times to Geneva airport from most cities in Europe are under 2 hours, with London just 1 hour 40 minutes away and Paris even closer, at 1 hour 10 minutes.

Below is a list of European flight destinations to and from Geneva airport. Bear in mind that some international flights may only be available during the high season, while their frequency may increase during the winter months, from December to March/April.

Geneva Airport | Direct Flight Destinations & Airlines
UK & Ireland Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham & Southampton Aer Lingus, British Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Jet2.com, Swiss
Northern & Central Europe Austria (Vienna), Belgium (Brussels), Denmark (Copenhagen), Finland (Helsinki), France (Ajaccio, Bastia, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Calvi, Figari, La Rochelle, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Rennes & Toulouse), Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg & Munich), Latvia (Riga), Luxembourg, Netherlands (Amsterdam), Norway (Oslo), Sweden (Stockholm & Goteborg), Switzerland (Zurich) AirBaltic, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Easyjet, Eurowings, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Luxair,Norwegian, SAS, Swiss, Transavia
Southern Europe Greece (Athens, Heraklion & Kalamata), Italy (Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Milan, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Rome & Venice), Portugal (Faro, Lisbon & Porto), Spain (Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Tenerife & Valencia) Aegean, Alitalia, Easyjet, Iberia, Swiss, TAP, Vueling
Eastern Europe Albania (Tirana), Belarus (Minsk), Bulgaria (Sofia), Czech Republic (Prague), Hungary (Budapest), Poland (Krakow & Warsaw), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (Moscow & St Petersburg), Serbia (Belgrade & Pristina), Ukraine (Kyiv) Aeroflot, Belavia, Easyjet, LOT, Swiss, UIA, WizzAir

Geneva airport also offers direct flights to and from America (US and Canada), Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco and Tunisia), Asia (China) and the Middle East (Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar and UAE).

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Airports for Chamonix

Getting from the airport to Chamonix

Geneva is only 100km away from Chamonix. There are several ways to make the trip, including airport transfers, regular buses and even trains.

How do you get from Geneva airport to Chamonix?
The easiest and fastest way to get to Chamonix is to book an airport transfer. The Geneva to Chamonix transfer time is around 1 hour 15 minutes but will be longer on snowy days and in peak weeks, such as Christmas, New Year, school holidays and Easter. Learn more on our Transfers Guide page.

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Transfer Options for Chamonix

Trains to Chamonix

Travelling to Chamonix by train isn't necessarily the easiest or fastest option as you will have to change trains a few times along the way. However, it's a great option when considering the impact of our journey on the environment, as it's been proved to be more eco-friendly than flying. Trains also allow you to carry more luggage without additional charges.

How do you get to Chamonix by train?
There is a train station right in the centre of Chamonix. Only one train line stops here, the Mont Blanc Express, a local narrow-gauge railway train service that runs the whole length of the Chamonix Valley and connects it with the rest of France and Switzerland. We've compiled a very comprehensive guide with all you need to know to get to Chamonix by train.

Trains in Chamonix

Driving to Chamonix

Bringing your own vehicle with you to Chamonix is a good choice if you want to have more flexibility once you’re here, even if you don't really need a car in winter to get around resort thanks to the free shuttle buses.

How do you get from the UK to Chamonix by car?
It's not a short trip from the UK to Chamonix but it can be done in one or two days, depending on where you leave from. Most people driving from Britain to France will need to cross the English Channel from Dover to Calais, which is the nearest French town. The Calais to Chamonix driving time is around 8 hours for a distance of just under 840km. The most direct route is via the French motorways A26, A5, A31, A39 and A40 – tolls cost around €80 each way.

You can cross the Channel by the Eurotunnel, with fares starting at £85 per car each way, or a cross-Channel ferry which takes cars from Dover to Calais in around 90 minutes with one-way tickets starting at £50 per car. We recommend you book them in advance. There are also ferries from Portsmouth and Poole to Caen, Cherbourg and St. Malo, in the north of France, while from Hull you can travel by ferry to Zeebrugge in Belgium and then make your way down to Chamonix.

The motorway takes you all the way into Chamonix. Even though snow clearers operate every day in winter, conditions can be hard to drive in and you may need snow chains. Another thing to take into consideration when bringing your car to Chamonix is that the road on the way up to Argentière and Le Tour is quite winding in places and can be covered in snow while the Col de Montets, on the way to Vallorcine and Martigny, is sometimes closed due to heavy snowfall. Read our Driving to Chamonix Guide and find more information on our Parking in Chamonix page once you’ve arrived.

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Driving to Chamonix

Coaches & long-distance buses to Chamonix

Getting to Chamonix by coach takes considerably longer than flying. However, it’s also usually cheaper, making it a good option when travelling on a low budget. There are a number of international coach companies that travel between the largest cities in Europe and Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva, from where a bus or transfer will take you to Chamonix. These include FlixBus, Eurolines, BlaBlaBus and RegioJet.

Are there any regular coach services from the UK to Chamonix?
Yes! There are regular coach services from London Victoria Coach Station to Chamonix in the winter, stopping at Folkestone and operated by Snow Express. The London Victoria to Chamonix coach travel time is around 18 hours and one-way tickets start at £65 per person. These coaches run every week, leaving on Friday evening and returning on Saturday evening, travelling through the night to allow you to spend more time on the slopes.

Coaches to Chamonix

Bringing your skis, snowboard or bike to Chamonix

Airlines, trains and transfer companies are well versed in catering for customers who travel with their own sports equipment. Each company will have its own individual policy terms and conditions depending on the type of gear you are transporting so it’s well worth checking the details in advance. Here's a snapshot of the different transport options and a guide to their restrictions:

How to bring your sports gear to Chamonix by plane
Most airlines charge a fee for taking skis, snowboards, bikes, golf clubs, parachutes and mountaineering equipment on board, so check before you book. However, a few airlines, such as Swiss, will fly the first set of skis or snowboard for free. Also, make sure you pack your gear well and ensure it falls within the packaging guidelines specified by the carrier.

How to bring your sports equipment to Chamonix by train
On Eurostar ski trains, you can take one pair of skis or one snowboard onboard for free with you, in addition to your standard two-bag luggage allowance. Skis are also allowed for free in TGV trains. Bikes can be transported in special luggage carriages or on board when disassembled and stored in a carrying case in French trains, although fees may apply so check before you book.

Can you bring skis, snowboards or bikes with you in airport transfers?
Shuttle buses are usually well equipped to transport sports equipment but it’s always important to let them know exactly what you’re bringing so that they can ensure they have sufficient capacity. Sports equipment may be subject to a surcharge, please ask when booking.