Chamonix Transport FAQs


1.  Do I need a car to get around?

2.  Which is the nearest airport?

3.  How do I get from the airport to Chamonix?

4.  Should I hire a car from the French side of the airport?

5.  Will I need snow chains?

6.  Is it easy to park in Chamonix?

7.  Do I need to pay for parking at the ski lifts?

 

1.   Do I need a car to get around? 

A car can be very useful, though not vital, if your accommodation is not close to the main bus or train routes.  However, parking in the town centre can be difficult, particularly in peak summer when a lot of day-trippers visit Chamonix.  In winter the roads are very well maintained, but after heavy snowfall inexperienced drivers may find the conditions difficult.  You will need snow-tyres and/or chains in case of such conditions. 


Chamonix has a regular bus service which runs from around 7am until 7.30pm everyday, from les Houches to le Tour.  A single journey ticket costs 1.50 EUR but is free with the ski pass or Carte d'Hote (Tourist Card).  Various late evening bus services have been operated in the past, but due to lack of demand, this is unlikely to continue.


There is a regular SNCF train service along the Valley (actually from Le Fayet to Martigny in Switzerland), which runs from early morning until evening.  The trains are also free (between les Houches and Vallorcine) with the Carte d'Hote, or tickets can be bought on the train or from the stations.

There are various taxi services in the Valley, although they tend to be expensive and not around when you might want them.  There are other minibus operators that can be pre-booked, such as our partners Overall, the transport system does give easy access to each of the valley ski areas, although it can get crowded in peak times. 


2.  Which is the nearest airport?
Geneva is the nearest airport to Chamonix, a little under 100 km (60 miles) by road and an easy drive.  Many international airlines fly to Geneva, including EasyJet, British Airways and FlyBe.  There are several other airports that are a little further away, including Turin in Italy (106 miles, served by RyanAir), Chambery (90 miles, RyanAir) and Lyon (140 miles, many airlines). 

3.  How do I get from the airport to Chamonix?
Perhaps the easiest and most efficient way to get from the airport is a private / shared minibus transfer.  Typically, the minibuses take up to 8 people and can be booked person by person, or privately by minibus.  There is huge competition in this sector and it is worth checking the credentials of the operator you choose.  Frankly, you get what you pay for and the cheapest is not always the right choice - there's nothing worse than waiting in the airport, or missing your flight on the return journey.  For this reason, Mountain Base have chosen to work with Haute Transfer as our partners.  One way trips cost from €25 per person, or €200 for a private minibus.  Transfers from other airports are priced differently, but will be more expensive.

Car Hire is also a good option.  There are many car rental companies operating from Geneva airport, so the best idea is to use a site such as CarRentals.co.uk, which compares the best deals.  We recommend hiring from the Swiss side of the airport, as it is a long walk to the French hire cars and you are forced to drive through the centre of Geneva, rather than take the motorways all the way to Chamonix.

Coaches are run by SAT Buses who operate a regular bus service from the airport, which runs 6 times a day between 8am and 8pm (check the latest timetable), roughly every 2 hours.  The journey is "scenic", to say the least, and takes over 2 hours compared to 1 hour in a minibus.  A one way fare is €33, or €55 return.

Trains do run to Chamonix, but this is not a recommended method as it involves at least 2 changes.  The nearest main station is St Gervais/Le Fayet, from where you need to catch the local train to Chamonix itself.

Finally, you can get a private taxi, which will cost about €150 if booked in advance (or around €250 on demand from the airport) for up to 4 people.

4.   Should I hire a car from the French side of the airport?
We recommend to guests to hire from the Swiss side of the airport.  Although the French side can be cheaper, there's a long walk to get the car at the airport and you cannot use the Swiss motorways without paying for a "vignette" (€40).  This means you have to drive right through the centre of Geneva rather than an easy motorway all the way to Chamonix.

5.  Will I need snow chains?
Although it is rare that you actually need to use chains, they should be carried in the vehicle during the winter months.  Sometimes the police will close a road to all vehicles without chains or winter tyres, but more importantly, it is easy to get stuck in fresh snow or risk an accident.  Although the majority of our properties are central Chamonix, some are further from the centre and up mountain roads.

6.  Is it easy to park in Chamonix?
There are 3800 parking spaces in and around Chamonix, but the ease of parking varies considerably from low to high season. The free car parks are on the outskirts of town and 3 main pay parking areas in the centre, all of which are free for the first 30 to 60 minutes.  The car parks are Place du Mont Blanc (east of centre, 240 places), Parking St Michel (north of centre, 330 places) and Parking Entreves (west of centre, 150 places).  For south of the centre and for the Aiguille du Midi, there is the Grepon car park (700 spaces).  Much of the street parking is free, except for the town centre itself.

7. Do I need to pay for parking at the different ski areas?

All the lift stations have free parking areas, except Brevent which costs 1€ per hour. 

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Chamonix Accommodation Rentals

At Mountain Base, we have one of the largest ranges of Chamonix holiday apartments and Chamonix holiday chalets to rent in the Chamonix Valley, from les Houches, through Chamonix itself, to Argentiere and le Tour. All our rental properties are offered as self-catered accommodation, some flexibly and some by the week. The properties are all independently owned and looked after by Mountain Base and our Chamonix resort partners.