Crans and Montana-Vermala, at 4,985 feet (1,494m), are twin ski resorts and another one of Switzerland's big, world-famous ski resorts. Crans-Montana is occupying what is claimed to be the sunniest plateau in the Valais, facing south over the Rhône valley with a spectacular panorama of many peaks of the Alps. Along with Verbier and St. Moritz, it is also fashionable and long associated with upscale International tourism.
Crans, whose hotel construction began in 1912, is composed for the most part of colonies of apartments and hotels, many in the half-timbered mountain style. Montana, clustered around the shores of Lac Grenon, is the older section, begun in 1892. Connected to them both, at a slightly lower altitude, is Aminona, still an infant resort but rising rapidly.
Crans Montana is well known as a Skier's Paradise with its perennially snow-bound mountains. Skiing takes second place to the round of wining and dining embarked upon by fashionable aficionados of Crans Montana's affluent social life – although the resort does have the advantage of access to year-round skiing on the Plaine Morte glacier, way up above 10,000 feet (3,000m).
Skiing aside, the place is best known for hosting the European Masters golf tournament every September, second only to the British Open for prestige and top names. Crans's scenic course – "by far the most spectacular tournament site in the world" according to Greg Norman – was redesigned in 1999 by Seve Ballesteros, and now boasts fiendishly complex upturned-saucer greens, which led one frustrated player to describe playing a round as "having eighteen teeth pulled one by one".
Attractions and Activities
Crans Montana is well known as a Skier's Paradise with its perennially snow-bound mountains and access to year-round skiing on the Plaine Morte glacier, way up above 10,000 feet. During summer, this fashionable Swiss Resort is best known for Crans's scenic golf courses and the many other sports and tour options that are available!
City Excursions in Crans-Montana
Montreux – on Lake Geneva
Full-day excursion by rail, via Sion and along the Rhone River to Lake Geneva. This trip can be combined with wine-tasting in Switzerland's largest wine-growing region and a visit of Chateau de Chillon.
Chateau de Chillon (Montreux)
In a unique setting on the shores of Lake Geneva, stands one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Switzerland. Erected in the 13th century and originally a fortress, the Castle of Chillon underwent numerous transformations and modifications were occasioned by amenities and embellishments suited to the pomp and ceremony of life in the castle. Many prominent figures in history stayed there: emperors, popes and princesses.
It takes approx. 2 hours by train to reach one of Switzerland's secret destinations, Lausanne. The city is renowned for its elegance, the historic Cathedral and the Olympic Committee headquarters.
Beautiful Geneva, home to about 200 international organizations, among them the United Nation's European Office, and the International Committee of the Read Cross, is approx. 3 hours away by train. Geneva is also considered being a "City of Peace".
Mountain Excursions in Crans-Montana
Zermatt – Gornergrat (1605 m/5266 ft)
Full-day excursion by rail.
Take a look at the majestic Matterhorn and explore the most famous Alpine Village. This popular excursion can also be combined with a trip by cogwheel railway up the 3089 meter Gornergrat.
Winter Sports in Crans-Montana
Crans-Montana is a popular venue for ski races with its more than 100 miles of slopes and 38 of the most modern cable railways, a real challenge for everyone. Ski and snowboard races are regularly hosted in Crans-Montana.
Why not become a wax expert during your vacation? Join a ski waxing seminar at the weekends, from 7pm to 8pm and learn how to get the fastest skis.
Lessons in every kind of snow sport are offered: skiing, snowboarding, carving, snow bike, telemark, ski-hiking, ski touring and Nordic-skiing.
Nobody has ever seen him. Put snowshoes on your feet and go for a hunt. Many surprises await you.
Excursions, trekking, day and evening introductions on request.
From Petit Mt. Bonvin (2400 m/7874 ft) down to Aminona (1500 m/4922 ft). 6 km (3.7 miles) of fun.
Hikes and snowshoe excursions
Have fun at snowshoeing (all levels) on 10 km (6.2 miles) marked trails and on 60 km (37.2 miles) of marked hiking trails.
Cross country skiing
Crans-Montana offers 40 km (24.8 miles) of classic-style runs and 30 km (18.6 miles) of skating-style runs. Other winter activities include torchlight descents, timed descents, permanent slalom slopes, curling, ice skating, air boarding, ice climbing, paintball, tandem flights, snowbike, snowskate, snowscoot, snowkite, snowtubing and heliskiing.
Summer Sports in Crans-Montana
Golf (scroll down to "All Year Activities")
The Crans-Montana region is one of the most-stunning bike areas in Switzerland: 54 km (33.5 miles) of downhill tracks; 16 km (10 miles) are exclusively reserved for bikers. And 208 km (129.2 miles) of cross country tracks. A bike park with 16 obstacles is ready to improve the skills of every mountain-biker. Keep fit also during your vacation. Other summer sports include boating, beach volley ball, minigolf, swimming (various hotels open their swimming pools to the public), fishing, sailing, initiation to Nordic walking and hiking on the Aletsch glacier.
All year round activities in Crans-Montana
In summer, Crans-Montana is the center of golf. Play on one of various golf courses. Severiano Ballesteros or Jack Nicklaus aren’t just names of famous golf players, but 18 and 9 hole courses are named after these great players. The well-known Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre, which hosts the Omega European Masters each year, celebrated its 100th birthday this year.
Play in the largest tennis center in the Swiss Alps on 5 indoor and 6 outdoor courts.
Other year-round activities include bowling, horse riding, squash and climbing.
Entertainment in Crans-Montana
Fun Parc Bibi
Have fun at the family fun park: snow tube run, children’s sledge run, toboggan, kiddie rides, swings, drawing competitions, activities with Bibi the marmot and sunny refreshments. This park is open from 10am to 5pm from beginning of December until end of March (depending on the snow conditions).
Get your bet down on the winning number at Roulette or watch the cards at the Blackjack table.
No need to bring your books along and make your suitcase heavier than necessary: visit the Haut-Plateau Library and borrow one of 32’00 books or choose between 4’000 CDs, educational CD-ROMs, audio-cassettes, newspapers or dictionaries.
Shopping in Crans-Montana
Browse through the many fashion shops and boutiques in Crans-Montana and get the latest fashion design from France or Italy.
Events in Crans-Montana
Omega European Masters – Golf
This tournament, the Swiss stop on professional men’s Golf European tour, is played in early September each year. The youngest winner was Seve Ballesteros, when he was 20 years old. This event attracts thousands of onlookers.
Crans-Montana Snow games
The snow games unite different fun sports in a party atmosphere: jump demonstrations, competitions, concerts and the famous water slide contest.
The music festival in the resort and on the ski slopes. Nine days and nights of partying – don’t miss it.
Museums in Crans-Montana
Colombire Alpine Museum
This museum tries to revive life of the Colombire alp during the 1930s. Every Tuesday, the Crans-Montana Tourist office organizes a night snowshoe walk to the Colombire Alpine Museum (including guided visit of the museum, a drink and sledging down to the car park and a light meal). Contact the Crans-Montana Tourist office for more information regarding this excursion.
Art Galleries in Crans-Montana
Galerie Caroline Dechamby
Caroline Dechamby shows her new paintings, serigraphs and design objects. The gallery is open all year round.
Galerie des Neiges
Find Antiques, Bric-a-brac of art. During the season, the gallery is open daily from 10am to 7pm.
Contemporary Masters from July to September, open Monday – Saturday 10.30am – 12.30pm, 3pm – 7pm and Sunday 10.30am – 12.30pm.
Art in Sport Gallery
See sporting works of art and artistic sportsmen and women in exhibitions related to sport.
Galerie d'Art Crans-Montana
If you like pieces by Kinsky, Janko, Afremov or Armand: visit this gallery.
Location and Map
Crans-Montana is located in the south west of Switzerland, 190 km (120 miles) from the closest airport Geneva and 250 km (155 miles) from Zurich. From Geneva, the travel time by train is 3 hours, from Zurich it takes 4 hours 20 minutes.
Crans-Montana can be reached by car either from Sierre (main road Chermignon to Crans-Montana or Mollens to Crans-Montana) or from Sion (main road Lens to Crans-Montana). The bus network serves the villages between Sierre, Montana and Crans via Chermignon or via Mollens. Another possibility is the funicular railway from Sierre to Montana (duration 12 minutes).
Crans-Montana Tourism: Area map and public transportation