Crans-Montana is a popular ski resort in the Rhone Valley in southern Switzerland with pistes that are often featured in world cup events. Whether you want to visit the resort specifically for those world-cup-worthy runs, or you’re just in the area and want to go on a day trip to Crans-Montana, you’ll have plenty of things to do in the village.
This is a classic Swiss ski resort in the sense that it’s mostly hotels, apartments, and restaurants. Crans-Montana’s hotel construction began in the late 19th century in the village, so the resort has a 100-year-old tradition of welcoming tourists. Although it’s a ski resort, the area offers a variety of fun summer activities as well, and here are all the top things to do in Crans-Montana!
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Winter Activities in Crans-Montana
Skiing & Snowboarding
Crans and Montana are twin ski resorts in Switzerland, famous for hosting world cup events. Women’s speed runs often take place here, and if you want to ski on pistes worthy of awards, this Swiss resort is perfect. Or if you want to spend some time cross-country skiing on the Plaine Morte glacier, you’ll love it in Crans-Montana.
There are 140 kilometers of ski slopes in Crans-Montana, with 19 lifts to help the guests get around. The pistes are on elevations between 1,510 and 2,927 meters above sea level, and the vast majority are intermediate red runs. Crans-Montana also features 55 kilometers of easy blue runs and 15 kilometers of thrilling and challenging black runs.
Crans-Montana offers dog sledding to all guests, and it’s one of the more popular activities in the winter. It’s suitable for anyone over the age of 3, and it’s worth noting that the fluffy huskies that drag the sleds absolutely adore kids.
The dogs will let you pet them and take photos with them, plus they’re pretty thrilled that they get to run all over the Plaine Morte glacier. Dog sledding is operated by the Swiss Mushing company and it lasts for approximately 30 minutes.
An outdoor ice skating rink is set up in Ycoor Park every winter. It’s suitable for ice skaters of all ages, and it’s heaps of fun for people who truly enjoy gliding on ice. The ice skating rink is also suitable for hockey and curling, plus it features a cafe where you can take a quick break from skating.
It’s important to note that the operating times of the outdoor rink depend on the weather conditions. Also, an indoor rink is set up in the curling hall during the summer, so ice skating is possible in Crans-Montana throughout the year.
Dining & Shopping
Would this be a true Swiss ski resort if it didn’t offer plenty of shopping and fine dining opportunities? It wouldn’t, and while it might not be as packed with luxury shops and Michelin-starred restaurants as Zermatt, Crans-Montana still offers some excellent dining and shopping.
The resort boasts two Michelin-starred restaurants (L’Ours and Le Mont Blanc), which are absolutely perfect for foodies who enjoy fine dining. There are plenty of smaller and more affordable restaurants in Crans Montana as well, where you can eat anything from classic French food to Argentinian specialties.
As for the shopping opportunities in the village, you’ll find that most stores sell winter clothes and gear. But the village does have quite a few luxury shops like Montblanc and Moncler and a variety of smaller local shops where you can find some unique items.
Wellness & Spa
The ideal ski trip includes staying at a hotel with a fabulous spa center so that you can properly relax after long days on the slopes. The Six Senses Resort & Spa is Crans-Montana’s best resort, with a spa center that will make you want to permanently move in.
The luxury hotel opened in February 2023, and it’s the first Six Senses hotel that opened in Switzerland. The resort boasts a state-of-the-art gym and fitness center, a rooftop pool, a yoga studio, indoor and outdoor pools, multiple saunas, ice baths, and much more. It’s the absolute best place in the region for travelers who want to be pampered every minute of their stay.
The Crans-Montana resort boasts some excellent cross-country skiing trails, several of which are across the Plaine Morte glacier. The area features both classic and skating trails and all the best routes are marked and perfectly safe.
It’s even possible to ski across the golf courses, which accounts for one of the three cross-country trails that are accessible directly from the village. But by far the best trails are on the glacier, and if you really enjoy cross-country skiing, the multiple gondola rides are absolutely worth it.
Summer Activities in Crans-Montana
Crans-Montana has quite a few golf courses for a ski resort. There are three high-quality courses in the area, one of which hosts the annual Omega European Masters tournament. So, if you enjoy golfing, there’s no way you’ll be bored at this resort.
Crans-sur-Sierre is the largest and best golf club in the village, with a reputation that’s a century in the making. Severiano Ballesteros is the club’s famous 18-hole course, while the 9-hole Jack Nicklaus course is perfect for shorter golfing sessions.
Hiking & Mountain Biking
Hiking and mountain biking trails are popular everywhere in Switzerland, whether you’re in the center of Zurich or in a remote village surrounded by mountain peaks. Crans-Montana is no exception, and many of the region’s (cross-country) ski pistes turn into exciting hiking and MTB trails once the snow melts.
There are more than 60 trails you can explore from this village, from short and easy hikes to exhausting multi-day adventures. The most popular trails in the region take you to either one of the lakes or to the tops of mountain summits. It’s worth noting that there are plenty of SAC mountain huts in the Crans-Montana region, where you can stop for breaks and even spend the night if you choose to do one of the long-distance hikes.
Explore Some Museums
While the region’s museums might not be the most exciting thing about trips to Crans-Montana, they’re certainly worth visiting if you’re got plenty of time in the area. Fondation Suisse des Trains Miniatures is an absolute must for any train aficionado in Switzerland because it features an exhibit with numerous miniature trains and train tracks.
Hameau De Colombire is situated in the infant resort of Aminona and is easily accessible by hiking and cross-country ski routes. It’s a large visitor’s center with an Ecomuseum, interactive exhibits, and various workshops, so it’s a great place for travelers who enjoy discovering and trying new things.
Paragliding & Hang Gliding
The more adventurous travelers will be thrilled to know that Flyin High operates tandem paragliding flights every day of the year in good weather. If you’ve come to Crans-Montana and you want to have some adrenaline-fueled fun, this is by far the best thing to do in the area.
With five designated lift-off sites and five different landing sites, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in some of the best paragliding and hang gliding in Switzerland. The altitude of flights ranges from 800 meters to 2000 meters depending on the flight location, plus the operators of the flight are willing to take any suggestions into account and include additional locations in their offer.
Visit Nearby Lakes
The resort village is situated in the Rhône Valley, so naturally it boasts quite a few gorgeous lakes that are worth visiting. Some of the best hiking trails in the Crans-Montana region take travelers to lakes, plus there are more than a dozen smaller lakes in the central area of the resort.
Lac de Tseuzier is definitely worth visiting on hiking and mountain biking trips from the village. It boasts a surreal turquoise color that mostly owes to the glacial water that’s flowing into the lake. Other gorgeous lakes worth checking out in the region include Lake Miriouges, Favergesee, Lake Audannes, and many others.
How to Get to Crans-Montana
Cars are welcome in Crans-Montana and driving is the easiest way of traveling to the ski resort. Traveling by car will not necessarily be faster than riding a train, but it will certainly be more convenient and, depending on how many other people you’re traveling with, it could be cheaper.
The driving times to Crans-Montana are three and a half hours from Zurich and Basel, two hours from Bern, Interlaken, and Geneva, and around three hours from Lucerne. Parking is possible at most hotels in the village, and there are also multiple parking lots and multi-story garages throughout the resort.
The average rate for the Signal Garage (the largest and most popular for parking) is 2 CHF per hour and 200 CHF for an entire week.
It’s also possible to travel by train from anywhere in Switzerland, but it will take a while and cost you quite a bit of money. Train travel is worth it if you have the Swiss Travel Pass or the Half-Fare Card, otherwise, it’s significantly cheaper to just rent a car.
It’s less than three and a half hours from Zurich airport, which is faster than driving but includes train changes in Visp and Sierre. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to ride the funicular from Sierre to Crans-Montana regardless of where you’re coming from because that’s the only way to access the village.
From Geneva to Crans-Montana, it’s just two and a half hours traveling on a direct train to Sierre. It’s under two hours from Bern, with just one train change in Visp, and approximately three hours from Lucerne with train changes in Bern and then Visp.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Crans-Montana known for?
Crans-Montana is known for world-cup-worthy ski pistes, half-timbered mountain-style chalets, and gorgeous natural surroundings. The ski resort also boasts a famous golf club with a tradition of more than 100 years, which hosts an annual masters tournament.
Is Crans-Montana expensive?
Crans-Montana is somewhat expensive, but no more than other ski resorts in Switzerland. Accommodation options range from somewhat affordable (80 CHF per night) to luxury options (900+ CHF per night). Ski passes are as expensive as in any other Swiss ski resort.
When is the best time to visit Crans-Montana?
Crans-Montana is a ski resort, so the best time to visit the region is during the winter season. Anytime between December and March should work, because that’s when most of the ski pistes in the area are open. There’s merit to visiting the resort in the summer as well, especially if you prefer hiking and golfing to skiing and snowboarding.