Getting to Chamonix

Getting to Chamonix

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    Mont Blanc Express train route map
  • Mont Blanc Express Train Line
    Chamonix town map
  • Chamonix Town map
    Argentiere town map
  • Argentiere Town map

The town of Chamonix and the Chamonix valley are in the Alps of south-eastern France. In the shadow of the ginormous Mont Blanc, Chamonix is close to the Italian and Swiss borders.

Where is Chamonix France?

Chamonix is located on the “Autoroute Blanche” (White Motorway), part of the European motorway network, approximately 16 km from Switzerland via the Montets Pass and 15 km from Italy via Mont-Blanc tunnel. Known to many visitors as 'Cham', the resort town is on 82 km by road (1hr) east of Geneva. Milan is only 240 km (2½hr) west of Chamonix via the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

Flights to Chamonix

The main gateway airports are Geneva (GVA) (88 km), Lyon Saint-Exupery (LYS) (220 km) and Paris (CDG) (5½hr train ride away). Other options include Haute Savoie Mont-Blanc Airport (Annecy 90 km) & Chambery, but both have only limited flights from Europe or UK origins. All airports are connectable to Chamonix by train & bus. The bus is the recommended method of travel from Geneva Airport to Chamonix.

Search & book a flight to Geneva, Lyon or other airport here.

Private Airport & Hotel Transfers

Private & group transfers are readily available from many providers to all points in the Chamonix valley. The Powderhounds usually recommend taking the train or bus from the airports to any ski resort in Europe, but for those that just cannot abide public transport (particularly post-covid19!) or are travelling in larger groups, a private transfer from Geneva or Lyon may be the most efficient (& cost-effective) mode of travel if one doesn’t have a car.

Search & book airport transfers to Chamonix here.

Bus & Train Transport to Chamonix

Whilst there are various options to get to Chamonix from Geneva airport, the cheapest & most efficient is far & away by bus. Regular bus services between Geneva airport and Chamonix are run by a multitude of transport providers offering private or shared shuttle services. The trip takes about 1½hr. Similarly, from Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, the bus is the cheapest & fastest option in winter.

Search & book bus tickets from Geneva airport to Chamonix here.

To reduce your ecological footprint & POW (Protect Our Winters), whilst not as fast or cheap as the bus, travelling by train to Chamonix is also recommended from Geneva Airport. There are train stations in Chamonix, Les Houches, Argentiere & Vallorcine. The stations are part of the beautiful Mont Blanc Express line running all the way through the Chamonix valley between St Gervais les Bains in France and Martigny in Switzerland.

From Geneva airport, the Swiss trains run direct to Martigny (direction Brig) in 1⅔hr. From Martigny the Mont Blanc Express takes 1⅓hr to travel to Chamonix, with a train changeover mid-way at Vallorcine. With 3 separate trains and the painful experience of buying a Mont Blanc Express rail ticket (I wont go into details!) the train via Martigny is good for sightseeing, less so if travelling from Geneva in a hurry. Better to take the bus.

Search & book train tickets from Geneva airport to Martigny here. Purchase tickets to Chamonix on the Mont Blanc Express upon arrival in Martigny.

There are trains available from Lyon-Saint Exupéry TGV station & Paris to Chamonix as well. From central Paris, the journey is approximately 5½hr on the TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon station with a change at St Gervais les Bains. There are five departures per day. On Friday evenings and weekends, you can also take the direct TGV Snow Special. From the train station there are various buses or taxis to take you to your accommodation. From Lyon-Saint Exupéry TGV station, the journey to Chamonix is complex enough to warrant just taking the bus direct from the airport terminal. Use the links above to search & book tickets.

Driving to Chamonix

Driving to Chamonix is possible via France, Italy or Switzerland. Autoroutes in France (A6 & A40) lead all the way into the Chamonix valley. The journey practically goes via Geneva! Road tolls in France can be expensive & travel time from Paris is in the realms of 6hr, so smaller groups may find the train & bus a more efficient option.

From Geneva the usual road journey is via the A40 motorway in France. The 100 km journey from the Geneva airport takes a little over 1hr in normal traffic. From other locations in Switzerland, Chamonix can be reached via Martigny, avoiding the French road tolls, but the road conditions are more difficult.

From Italy, the usual route is by motorway through the Vallee d'Aosta and then the expensive, but efficient, Mont Blanc tunnel which starts near Courmayeur.

For tips & warnings about driving in the French Alps see our Travel in France page.

Getting Around the Chamonix Valley

Once in Chamonix it is best to park the car & walk or take one of the many local buses or trains to access any valley destinations. The Chamonix Bus provides regular transport across the entire valley & is free to use in winter for holders of lift passes & local guest cards issued by accommodation providers. The Mont Blanc Express trains can be utilised for free by local guest card holders between for journeys between Servoz & Vallorcine. This route includes all the major stations in the Chamonix valley including Les Houches, Chamonix & Argentiere.

See the Mont Blanc Express train route & Chamonix Bus connections map here.

If your legs give up the will to move, or if the buses are absolutely jam packed, then salvation can come in the form the numerous taxis prowling the valley.

Car Rental

If Chamonix is your only travel destination, a car rental is not recommended. Other means of transport to Chamonix are readily available. Once there, local bus & train options within the valley to the various ski areas is more than adequate. However, should you require a car, there are rentals available from Chamonix with Europcar. Alternatively, a wider variety of cars can be rented from all major airports & cities. Ensure the car is set up for winter driving (snow tyres and/or chains as a minimum).

Search & book car rentals for Chamonix here.

Nearby Ski Resorts

Chamonix is well located to ski other fabulous Europe ski resorts in France, Italy or Switzerland. In France, lovely Megeve is a short train ride away. In Switzerland, the exceptional Verbier can be reached by train (takes time!) or car.

In Italy, wonderful Courmayeur, La Thuile and all the other Aosta valley ski resorts can be reached by bus or car via the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Note if driving oneself through the tunnel, be prepared for the extortionary toll!