municipality in the canton of Valais, Switzerland
Europe > Central Europe > Switzerland > Valais > Crans Montana

Crans Montana is a town in Canton Valais, Switzerland. Although everyone knows the name Crans Montana, the area is actually made up of three communes - Crans, Montana and Aminona. The British introduced skiing to the area and it is now famous for its winter sports, but Crans Montana is also a great place in summer, situated as it is on a sunny south-facing plateau. In September the resort is host to the European golf championships, with courses designed by Severiano Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus.

Get in edit

By public transport edit

The easiest way to Crans-Montana is to take the train to Sierre and from there take the funicular up (12 to 20 minutes). There is also a bus from either Sierre (35 minutes) or Sion (45 minutes).

The train from Geneva airport to Sierre takes around 2hrs 30. You can also connect from Zurich, although you'll need to change at Brig for the connecting change to Sierre.

It's then just a short walk to the funicular station (around 5 mins) and then catch the funicular up the mountain to Montana Gare. This takes approx 20 minutes.

By car edit

Crans Montana can easily reached by car. Exit A9 motorway in Sierre and take the road up to Crans-Montana (15 kilometres).

Get around edit

There is a free bus service to get you around the resort (which runs on time and frequently, until about 11pm), but a lot of people still use their own cars. If you park on the street make sure you use a designated space, otherwise you risk a heavy fine. Spaces marked with blue lines can be used if you have a "macaron", which is a cardboard disc you may have in your car (most hire cars have them). If you set your arrival time on the disc and display it on the dashboard you then get 60-90 minutes parking for free, but only in the spaces which have the "macaron" sign.

See edit

The view of the mountains on the other side of the valley is spectacular. On a clear day you can see the Matterhorn and other peaks in the southern Alps.

Do edit

Take a trip on the funicular. Sierre (at the bottom) has good shopping and a nice historic centre. In the resort you can be sporty (golf, hiking, swimming, crazy golf) or you can get a coffee, sit at a table in one the pavement cafés and watch the glitterati go by. There is some serious money here - who knows, you might see Roger Moore!

Skiing and snowboarding is perhaps the most popular activity in Crans Montana. The main funicular is at Crans, which is the base of the Cry d'Er lift. You can also access gondolas from Barzettes and Montana which take you up into the main ski area. Despite being a popular ski resort, the Swiss dynamic pricing for lift passes means you can often find a relatively cheap Crans Montana lift pass if you purchase in advance.

As well as skiing and snowboarding in Crans Montana, there are also opportunities for sledging, the best being at Aminona. The run goes from the top of the gondola to the bottom and costs around Fr. 35 if you have a ski pass.

Additionally, there is an outside ice rink in Montana and walking routes all around the towns, all of which are prepared and signposted in the winter months and offer some wonderful views.

It is also possible to hire snow shoes and follow some trails, the best being at Plain-Morte, the highest peak in the area. The ski map shows all of the pistes, as well as winter wanderwegs and snow shoe trails and is available at the tourist office and cable car stations.

Crans Montana is also a great place to enjoy golf, with an excellent golf course in Crans.

Buy edit

If you want to flash some cash, Crans Montana boasts that it has the best shopping in the area. There are plenty of designer shops, as well as specialist food emporia and watch shops.

The main shopping area at Crans is where you'll find many of the most popular designer brands and premium shopping experiences. Here you'll find shops like Louis Vuitton and Hermes, as well as plenty of luxury ski wear brands, watches and chocolate stores.

However you'll also find good shopping in central Montana too. Whilst it's a little less 'designer', you will still find a mixture of high end boutiques and more affordable stores too. For skiers and snowboarders needing some essentials at a lower price, you'll find popular French chain Decathlon have a branch in Montana - just in case you don't want to spend over CHF100 on a pair of goggles.

For premium hand made chocolate, check out DAVID in Montana.

Eat edit

There is a huge variety of restaurants in the area, ranging from Swiss and Italian to Chinese and Argentinian. If you're there at the end of the summer, try "la chasse", which is when local hunters bring in their game and you can try locally shot-venison, chamois and wild boar, served with traditional trimmings.

Drink edit

Crans Montana is more sedate than some Alpine resorts, but it still offers plenty of aprés ski events including an outside bar and stage at the Barzettes gondola station as well as many bars and restaurants in Crans and Montana.

The main apres ski bar is Zerodix, at the base of the Cry d'Er gondola. Or, on the mountain, the main bar is Cry d'Er Club d'Altitude. Both of these offer live music and DJs towards the end of the day and the party at the base station can continue until quite late.

In town, the main apres ski bars are Monki's Bar and Moon Bar, both in Crans.

Montana also has a number of smaller pubs and bars which are good for some apres ski drinks. Bar'ik is one of the popular options in Montana.

Crans Montana also hosts the Caprices Festival, which is a popular ski music festival. This is held over two weekends in late March and plays host to mainly electronic music with DJs playing at venues both on the mountain and around the town.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Guarda Golf Hotel Crans Montana, Route des Zirès 14, +41 27 486 2000. The Guarda Golf Hotel Crans Montana is a five star superior resort directly on the fairway of the 9-hole golf course and close to the Crans Montana centre. Open all year round. With just 25 rooms, it offers a warm, intimate ambiance. Three restaurants and an ultra-modern Wellness & SPA.
  • 2 LeCrans Hotel & Spa, Chemin du Mont-blanc 1, +41 27 486 60 60. From Fr.  550-9000.

Connect edit

Go next edit

From Crans Montana, take a trip to the other side of the valley, go up the Val d'Anniviers and you will see signs to Grimentz. This is a small village that seems fit everyone's Alpine ideal. There are old wooden chalets smothered in geraniums, a wooden waterwheel. Plus, cars are not allowed in the oldest part, and there's not a souvenir shop in sight.

The other side of the valley also offers access to another village and ski resort, Anzere, which is smaller but still great value.

This city travel guide to Crans Montana is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.