Figuring out how to get to Chamonix depends on your budget and the time availability. The fastest and most costly method is by private plane directly to the resort, but the most common route is by road via the Autoroute Blanche from the direction of Geneva.
The three main entry routes to this elegant mountain resort are via:
To Chamonix From Italy
The Mont Blanc Tunnel is an amazing feat of engineering with a highway tunneled under the Alps from France into Italy. The entry being conveniently located just outside Chamonix Mont Blanc, means skiers in Chamonix can easily visit Courmayeur, the Italian Ski Resort on the Southern side of this range of the Alps and Mont Blanc.
The motorway from Geneva is the Autoroute Blanche and it takes about an hour and 15 minutes from Geneva Airport to the resort. When leaving the airport, take care to leave on the Swiss side as this takes you directly onto the Autoroute. The exit from the French side, means you'll have to take a circuitous route to wend your way to the motorway.
Best, to pre-arrange transfers to meet your flight.
To get to chamonix from the western side, from Switzerland, make your way to the town of Martigny. From here, it is a wonderful scenic drive as you wind your way up steep curving mountain roads till you get to the border at Vallocine, then head down the Chamonix Valley to the main town of Chamonix Mont Blanc.
The journey takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours depending on road conditions.
Car parking is limited at the resort and is dependent on availability. It is best to enquire with your hosts if they are able to provide on-site car parking. There are public car parking stations but these are costly and availability is not guaranteed.
The major airport closest to Cham is Geneva which is about an hour and 15 minutes by road from the main town in the resort, Chamonix Mont Blanc. Geneva airport is well serviced by cost efficient private shuttle buses for transfers to the resort.
Other French regional airports nearby are somewhat further away and you will be able to easily locate a flight to Cham arriving at:
It is simplest to get to Chamonix from these airports by road. Transport by train to get there is a little complex.
When you understand how the French train system works, it makes sense why it is so seemingly difficult to get to Chamonix by train.
The train that plys the valley is run by the local province and does not leave the region that stretches from Vallocine at the head of the Valley on the Swiss side to St Gervais les Bains/ La Fayet on the Geneva side of the region. What this means for tourists is train changes are unavoidable irrespective of travel from either Switzerland or from anywhere in France.
Trains from France
Be sure to locate trains that go to St Gervais/ La Fayet. It is from this regional rail hub that you catch the train to Chamonix Mont Blanc and the little villages and charming hamlets along the valley.
Even from Geneva, take care to find the right train line that services St Gervais Les Bains.
Trains from Switzerland
Get yourself to the interchange at Martigny for the special narrow gauge train that climbs up the Alps to Vallorcine, at the head of the Valley. Here, change trains onto the local train that plys the Valley.
The railway from Geneva airport does not directly go to the resort.
There is no rail service from Italy to Cham.