As all the pistes in Chamonix aren't linked - and you may also want to visit the nearby countries of Italy and Switzerland, its handy to know your options for tranport.
In an attempt to curb pollution in the valley and make access to everything the valley has to offer easy, if you have a lift pass, carte d'hote, gens du pays card or residence secondaire card travel by bus or train between Servoz and Vallorcine is FREE!
There is a lovely little electric bus which simply tours around central Chamonix in a loop allowing you to hop-on and hop-off pretty much wherever you need. Its called Le Mulet - or little mule and you don't even need to be in possession of a card to get on this.
Chamonix buses run all year round, 7 days per week, with a reduced timetable operating during the quiet interseason periods of spring and autumn. They run from approximately 07:00 to 19:30 with the main lines operating every half hour.
The main bus terminal is in Chamonix Sud, in front of the bowling alley on Avenue de Courmayeur. Most buses also stop behind the tourist office on Allée Recteur Payot and opposite the Galerie Alpina on Avenue du Mont Blanc. All of the towns and villages between Les Houches and Vallorcine have at least one bus stop where you can connect to the rest of the valley.
Night buses run from 20:30 to midnight, from Argentiere to Les Houches at around 2€ per journey. There are four per night and they can be pre-booked if you are planning a night out.
The Chamonix train service is free, with a card or ski- pass for all stops from Servoz to Vallorcine. The route the train takes is actually breathtaking and could even be a family day out in itself! Additionally, it is often a more comfortable way to travel than the bus and can be less crowded during the ski season.
Ski-ing - Trains run once an hour in each direction, but the train stations are not always as conveniently located for the ski areas as the bus stops are. We recommend taking the train if you are going to Vallorcine, as the station and the ski lift are right next to each other, however, for all other ski areas we recommend taking the bus.
Bikes - During the summer you can take your bikes on the train; there is a maximum limit of 5 bikes per train (which is often down to the conductor's discretion) and you must use the carriages marked with the bike symbol on the door.
For a nice day trip, you can take the train beyond the Chamonix valley to Martigny in Switzerland or to Saint-Gervais but be warned you will have to pay the entirety of the fare as the free transport is only valid between Servoz and Vallorcine. To connect to the rest of France, its one stop down from Servoz - Le Fayet. This station includes fast trains to Lyon and Paris
Taxis can sometimes be found outside the main train station in Chamonix but booking in advance is advisable as they are not plentiful and often not there after last train has gone at about 20:00. It is also worth requesting a price in advance, as they can be expensive. If you are planning a night out in the valley and want to organise transport, some of the airport transfer companies offer a minibus service. Or call us - we are here to help
Chamonix town is compact with a number of pedestrianised streets, so walking around is easy. It is worth buying some ice-grippers for your boots if you're here in winter – these can be bought online or from most of the ski hire shops in town. Walking between the different villages of the valley is really only an option in summer and during daylight hours when you can take the scenic route and walk along one of the many hiking trails, as many of the connecting roads do not have pavements and are poorly lit. In winter this can be extra hazardous due to the snowdrifts at the sides of the roads that leave even less space for pedestrians and cars to pass each other safely.
Chamonix has one of the highest cable cars in the world, which links the town to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842 m. It is based on an older system built in 1920, rebuilt in the first half of the 1950s over five summer seasons, fully modernized in 1979, and upgraded again in 2008. On the other side of the valley, another cable car links Chamonix to the viewpoint of Planpraz. A second line links Planpraz to the summit of Le Brévent at 2525 m. Many other cable cars exist in the valley, and are heavily used by skiers and residents. The Plan Joran chairlift at the base of Les Grands Montets hasbeen replaced by a 10-person gondola.
Rack and Pininon Trains - See here
Departing from Chamonix, this famous rack and pinion railway brings you to the Montenvers site at 1913 m. An imposing panorama of the Mer de Glace glacier, the Drus and the Grands Jorasses.
The tour of the “Grotte de glace” (Ice Cave) takes visitors into the very heart of the glacier. Re-sculpted every year, it describes the life of mountain people in the early 19th century. It can be entered either by a walk of around 20 minutes on a footpath, or by gondola lift. NB: There are more than 400 steps from the arrival of the gondola lift to the entrance to the cave.
A world of discovery awaits you at the new exhibition centre at the Montenvers Mer de Glace. Here the creation and evolution of the glaciers over the centuries is explained in detail.
Evasion Mont Blanc resorts
The Evasion Mont Blanc ski area includes not only Chamonix but also Saint-Gervais, Megeve and Les Contamines - all of which are included on the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass. Howevr, you really need a car to enjoy this area - that being said, it IS possible with public transport.
Saint-Gervais/Le Fayet is the last stop on the Mont Blanc Express train line that runs the length of the valley and from the train station you can hop on the bus up to the Bettex gondola. From Saint-Gervais-Le-Fayet train station you can also catch a connecting bus to Les Contamines.
There are also buses running 4 times a day from Chamonix to Saint-Gervais during the winter season, passing through Les Bossons and Les Houches along the way. The journey takes about an hour and takes you all the way to the Bettex gondola; you can also connect to the 84 bus to Les Contamines, which will take an extra 10-25 minutes depending on connections.
There is no direct public transport to Megeve but the ski area is linked to Saint-Gervais, so once you've got that far you can just ski across.
Courmayeur / Verbier
The Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass also includes the ski resorts of Courmayeur in Italy and Verbier in Switzerland. Courmayeur is approximately a 30 minute drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel.
SAT Bus run a daily service with the first bus leaving Chamonix at approximately 08:30 and the last bus returning from Courmayeur around 17:30.
Verbier is a little further, taking between an hour and 90 minutes to reach by car; a bus service runs every Thursday, leaving Chamonix at 08:10 and returning from Le Chable lift station at 17:00.