A hot spot for mountaineers in winter and summer alike, Chamonix remains an incredibly popular destination year on year. In this article, we’ll explain how to get to Chamonix ski resort from the UK, whether it’s by plane, train or car, so that you can make an informed decision before packing your bags…
Where is Chamonix?
Chamonix is located at the foot of the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, just over an hour’s drive from Geneva airport. The resort sits at an altitude of 1040m.
How to get to Chamonix ski resort…
Getting to Chamonix by plane is an efficient and pretty straight forward option, with a few airports to choose from as your arrival destination:
Geneva airport > Chamonix route:
The journey from Geneva airport to Chamonix is pretty direct and fairly quick. Taking the A40 will get you there in around an hour and twenty minutes.
What do I need for the journey?
Travelling from Geneva airport to La Clusaz requires crossing the border from Switzerland to France. Usually, you will be able to cross without showing passports or documentation, but it’s a good idea to have these at the ready just in case.
Chambery airport > Chamonix route:
Getting to Chamonix from Chambery airport takes a little longer than if you fly to Geneva, but it’s still a pretty quick option and you don’t need to cross the border from Switzerland to France.
Lyon airport > Chamonix route:
Lyon airport to Chamonix ski resort is a third option, but the journey takes a little longer, so if you’re keen to get to Chamonix quickly and avoid longer transfers, Geneva may be a better option for you.
Grenoble airport > Chamonix route:
The journey from Grenoble airport to Chamonix takes around two and a half hours.
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If you’re travelling with younger children, then taking a private transfer from the airport to Chamonix may be more preferable. As the vehicle is exclusively yours, it means you don’t have to wait at the airport for as long and you won’t have to travel to different stop off journeys.
If you’re a group of friends, or travelling alone, then a shared transfer may be a better option. The benefit of sharing the transfer is that you can keep costs down, but you may be limited to more restrictive timings and longer waits, as well as having more stops on the way.
Here are some transfer companies who can get you from your arrival airport to Chamonix:
- Chamxpress (Geneva transfers)
- Chamonix Valley Transfers (Geneva and Lyon transfers)
- Chamonix First (Geneva transfers)
- Alps 2 Alps
- Shuttle Direct
Pros of getting to Chamonix from the UK by plane:
- it’s quick
- there are frequent flights to nearby airports
Cons of getting to Chamonix from the UK by plane:
- it’s more expensive, especially if you’re a family taking ski equipment
- you won’t have your own car in resort
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Hiring a car is an alternative to a transfer, especially if you’d like to have the option to drive whilst in resort. If you’re flying into Geneva Airport, then it’s worth checking with your car hire provider whether there are any different requirements or pick up points for your vehicle if you’re travelling to France.
However, if you’re visiting in winter and are not confident driving in snow and using snow chains, we probably wouldn’t recommend hiring a vehicle. Chamonix has plenty to do in the town, which is very pedestrian friendly.
Families often prefer driving to their chosen ski destination, to save money and have a little more flexibility with packing, particularly those of experienced skiers who want to take their own equipment with them on holiday. Also, many of us are now opting to take our pets with us on holiday, so being able to take your dog to Chamonix with you is a huge plus!
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Driving from the UK to France will involve you either boarding a ferry crossing or taking the Eurotunnel.
Getting a ferry from the UK to France will take you from Dover to Calais. The DFDS service runs up to around 15 times per day and takes around an hour and a half.
The Eurotunnel is a great option if you’re travelling with children and pets. None of you have to leave the comfort of your car and the journey to France conveniently takes just under 40 minutes.
Calais > Chamonix route
Both the Eurotunnel and the ferry will arrive in Calais. From there, you will have an onward journey of around eight and a half hours (break times not included). Therefore, it may be an idea to plan in an overnight rest stop along the way, especially if you’re the only driver, or you’re travelling with young kids.
Although driving saves costs when it comes to expensive plane tickets and luggage, do bear in mind that French tolls are frequent and add up quickly. We’d recommend budgeting just under 200 euros for the tolls for your round trip.
What will you need?
There are a few things to consider when driving from the UK to France. For example, you will need headlight converters, as well as other documentation. To get all the details, take a look at the advice on this website.
Please note that the old-style GB stickers are no longer permitted for use outside of the UK. Take a look at this article by the BBC to find out what you need to do.
As mentioned above in the article, driving conditions can be challenging in the mountains. When you’re in the French Alps, you will legally have to carry snow chains in your vehicle and know how to use them safely. Check out this article to learn more about using snow chains.
Pros of getting to Chamonix from the UK by car:
- it can be cheaper than flying
- less luggage restrictions
- you aren’t restricted as much with timings
- you get to have your car with you in resort
Cons of getting to Chamonix from the UK by car:
- it takes a long time compared with flying
- the conditions in Chamonix can be difficult to drive in
- traffic can slow you down, especially in peak times
Although Chamonix is fairly well connected for an Alpine train station, it wouldn’t be our top method of transport. However, if you have a fear of flying or you don’t have the ability to drive, you could consider this option.
How to get to chamonix by train:
- London St. Pancras > Paris Gare du Nord Station (Eurostar)
- Paris Gare du Nord Station > Paris Gare de Lyon Station (Metro)
- Paris Gare de Lyon Station > Bellegarde-sur-valserine (Train)
- Bellegarde-sur-valserine > St Gervais Les Bains Le Fayet (Train)
- St Gervais Les Bains Le Fayet > Chamonix (Train)
Getting from the UK to Chamonix will take, in total, approximately twelve hours, so you would probably want to consider a stop off on the way.
Pros of getting to Chamonix from the UK by train:
- it’s more environmentally friendly
- there’s a good choice of places for a stop off
Cons of getting to Chamonix from the UK by train:
- it’s a very long journey
- there’s lots of changes to make, so it’s not very practical with ski equipment or young kids
Now you know how to get there, it’s time to book a place to stay! Check out our range of partner properties in Chamonix: