Martigny, Switzerland: A Visitor’s Guide

City of Martigny. Valais
Last updated: June 1st, 2023

Traveling to Martigny in Switzerland? Then you are definitely in the right place because this visitor’s guide has all the information you need about the charming town!

How to get there, why you should visit, and what there is to do in the area are just the main topics covered in our detailed guide. Martigny is situated in popular winter sports regions near the Swiss-Franco border, so it mostly attracts people who are into skiing and snowboarding.

But that’s certainly not the only reason to visit this lovely Swiss town, and if you keep reading you’ll see exactly what it has to offer to its visitors!

How to Get to Martigny, Switzerland?

Switzerland Train
Switzerland Train

Martigny is serviced by a train station so you can easily get there by public transport. If you are flying to Switzerland, you will probably land at either Zurich or Geneva – they’re the two biggest airports in the country with the most international connections.

If you can still choose where you want to land, try to get tickets to Geneva Airport. It’s much closer to Martigny than Zurich Airport, and it has a direct train connection to the city. You can get to Martigny in about an hour and 40 minutes, after a very scenic train ride along the northern shore of Lake Geneva.

Martigny nature
Martigny nature

It takes around 3-4 hours to reach Martigny from Zurich airport, and there’s no direct connection. You can switch trains at either Visp or Lausanne – the former is the better option since it shortens the journey by about 30 minutes.

If you are traveling by car, you’ll be glad to know that Martigny is well-connected with the rest of the country by highways and motorways. The lovely town is actually a vital transport hub since it is located at the junction of roads from France, Switzerland, and Italy. One road links the town to Chamonix in France, and another to Aosta via the Great St. Bernard Pass.

Best Things to Do in Martigny, Switzerland

Barryland – Musée et Chiens du Saint-Bernard

Saint Bernard
Saint Bernard

Barryland, aka Musée et Chiens du Saint-Bernard is by far the best museum you can visit in Martigny if you’re an animal lover. It’s a museum about Saint Bernards, with a dedicated puppy viewing area. If you’re lucky, you might even get to pet the dogs.

The exhibits at the Bernard Museum are mostly about the history of the breed. There’s also an exhibit about the training of St. Bernard dogs, as well as a breeding center with exhibits about rescue dogs. The entire museum is like a small slice of heaven for dog lovers, and it can be a particularly fun experience for families with kids.

These large and loveable dogs have an interesting history as they were bred by monks in the 18th century as rescue dogs. The monks were on the St-Bernard pass which is a border crossing between Switzerland and Italy, which was often deep in snow, and bitterly cold. They used the dogs to rescue any and everyone who got stranded on the pass over winter.

This museum is situated very close to the Roman theater in Martigny, and you can actually see the ancient construction from the museum’s cafe. The entrance fee to the museum is a bit steep for what it is (about 12 CHF), but the proceeds go to a good cause so it’s totally worth it to pay for the tickets.

Fondation Pierre Gianadda

Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny
Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny (Image via Wikimedia)

Fondation Pierre Gianadda is easily the most popular tourist attraction in this French-speaking city. This is a cultural venue that houses two museums and hosts art exhibitions and opera/classical music concerts. It’s one of the most important cultural attractions in town and a top attraction for people who are genuinely interested in art.

The Pierre Gianadda Foundation is surrounded by Roman ruins, which makes the entire visiting experience even better. The building was actually constructed on the ground of a former Roman temple. The two museums housed inside the foundation are the Gallo Roman Museum and the Automobile Museum.

The former boasts exhibits on the Roman history of Martigny, with archaeological finds from Roman times on display. The latter features an extensive collection of (very) old cars, and it’s an absolute must for any car guys and gals in Martigny.

In addition to that, it’s worth noting that visitors can enjoy many beautiful sculptures and other works of art just outside the Fondation Pierre Gianadda building. Even the building alone is a work of art and an amazing example of modern architecture.

La Bâtiaz Castle

La Bâtiaz Castle
La Bâtiaz Castle

La Bâtiaz Castle is one of the most famous landmarks in Martigny today. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance and one of the attractions you should definitely make time for while you are in this small town.

The 13th-century castle is open seasonally for tours, events, and fine dining, and you should definitely check whether you are able to visit it during your stay in Martigny. The castle can be easily accessed by car or on foot, but you will have to walk uphill for about 10-15 minutes to get to the famous landmark.

The view from the castle grounds is amazing, and it’s even better if you manage to climb the tower. You can immediately notice some beautiful sculptures in the castle garden, and if you manage to go inside the castle you will be wowed.

Definitely try to book a table at the restaurant in the castle if it’s possible – the experience of dining in an ancient fortress is absolutely incredible and worth every single penny you end up spending on dinner.

Châtelard Funicular to Lac d’Emosson

Lac d’Emosson alpine lake
Lac d’Emosson alpine lake

Le Chatelard is a village near Martigny best known for its panoramic train ride. The village is just a short train ride away from Martigny, and you can even explore it during your journey on the Mont Blanc Express train.

The village is the starting station of the Châtelard funicular, which takes passengers on a vertical journey along one of the steepest inclined railways in the world. The incline at the start of the ride is 87%, and it’s truly impressive to feel that ascent in a train car.

The views during the ascent are absolutely incredible, and make the entire experience well worth it. The funicular transports passengers to the Les Montuires station, where you can choose to descend back into the village or continue on the mini funicular to the Lac d’Emosson reservoir, for more panoramic views.

Views of Mt Blanc above Lac d’Emosson
Views of Mt Blanc above Lac d’Emosson

There are even some amazing hikes you can do from the top, like one we did around Lac d’Emosson and then up to a high viewing point where you can see panoramic views of the valley below and the whole Mont Blanc massif. It is quite a long round-trip hike up to Col de la Terrasse and Lac Vert, but with epic views at the end, it is worth it.

Mont-Blanc Express

The Mont-Blanc Express
The Mont-Blanc Express (Image via Flicker)

The Mont-Blanc Express has connected the Swiss town of Martigny to Chamonix in France for more than a century, and it continues to do so even today. Martigny is the starting station of the journey from the Swiss side, so can get the full Mont Blanc Express experience if you board the train here.

The journey from Martigny to Chamonix takes some 90 minutes, and the train then continues to Saint-Gervais. The ride is incredibly scenic, offering spectacular views of the French and Swiss Alps. The train also passes near several notable landmarks and attractions, which you can explore at your own will.

If you want to get off the train and discover the villages and landmarks along the way, consider getting a full-day ticket for the train. It allows you to board the Mont Blanc Express as many times as you want in a single day, so you can travel from Martigny to Saint-Gervais and back while getting out at any station you want and discovering as many landmarks as you can manage in a day.

On top of that, Chamonix itself, right below Mt Blanc, is a stunning destination worth a week of your time.

Labyrinthe Aventure

Labyrinthe Aventure is an amusement park about 15 minutes away from Martigny by train. The park features a huge maze, bouncy houses, slides, and a variety of indoor games, so it’s the perfect place for families in Martigny. The kids will absolutely love it at Labyrinthe Aventure, and most adults will have a great time there as well.

There’s an on-site restaurant, for all the parents who want to take this time to relax and unwind, while their children roam around the maze. Also, it’s worth noting that the amusement park often hosts themed events, particularly during popular holidays.

Picnics are also allowed at the amusement center, so you can bring your own food if you want. Grills aren’t allowed, so make sure that any food you bring here is already cooked. It’s also worth noting that animals aren’t allowed at the park at all, so if you’re traveling with pets you won’t be able to bring them to Labyrinthe Aventure.

Gorges Du Trient

The Trient Gorge is a popular tourist attraction near Martigny. It was carved out from the Mont Blanc massif by the glacial waters of a wild river that bears the same name, and it is truly a spectacular sight. The gorge is around 200 meters deep, and it’s a spectacular attraction for both botanists and climbers.

It takes only about 20 minutes to walk through the Trient Gorge, so this is an activity you can easily do even if you’re traveling in Switzerland with children. The trail starts near the beginning of the gorge and it leads hikers over bridges onto a permanent boardwalk. Information about the fauna, geology, and history of the area is listed on signs along the boardwalk, so you can learn quite a bit about the region.

At the end of the trail, hikers are rewarded with a spectacular view of the Rhone valley and the Pissevache waterfall. The fall is 114 meters tall and it is truly an astonishing sight. It’s worth noting that this trail is open only between April and October, so you can only do the hike if you visit Martigny during the summer season.

Is Martigny worth visiting?

Martigny View
Martigny view

As one of the most important hubs in southwestern Switzerland, it absolutely is. Martigny is famous for its many ski resorts, excellent cuisine, and rich history. The lovely town has a lot to offer to its visitors, whether they’re interested in culture, sports, history, or gastronomy.

On the other hand, if you are traveling to Switzerland for the first time ever, it might be better to visit one of the bigger cities first. Consider staying in Geneva or even Lausanne – both are situated on the shore of Lake Geneva and offer more content to their visitors, plus both cities are just a short train ride away from Martigny, so you can still discover it on a day trip.

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