The Alps are central to many countries in Europe, and can be reached by car, train or aeroplane. With people now confident in researching online, it’s easy to check public transport timetables in France, Italy and Switzerland. Traditionally the start of the Mont Blanc circuit is at Les Houches which is only a few kilometres from the centre of Chamonix. So Chamonix is the starting point for most TMB walkers, though there is nothing to stop you from starting your trip at Courmayeur in Italy. The nearest international airport is Geneva,situated 100 kms (1 1/4hrs) away and there are plenty of companies offering direct transfer services from Geneva airport.
If you can’t get a flight to Geneva, the next best options are in France – Chambery (1.5hrs), Lyon (2.5hrs) and Grenoble (3hrs) all of which are serviced by a number of the major airlines.
Remember, before succumbing to a bargain flight into one of these airports, take a few minutes to investigate your onward transfer options from there; your cheap flight may have only cost you $100 but your transfer to Chamonix could set you back several hundred!
From Geneva, Switzerland:
Geneva International airport is the closest international port to Chamonix being approximately 1.5 hours drive away. If you are not transferring from Geneva by vehicle there are also train and bus services available.
The local bus service takes about 2.5 hours and the train takes about 3 hours. The train is the cheapest option but does require two service changes and takes the longest amount of time, however the train can be the more scenic route. There are also plenty of transfer companies which will take you straight to your accommodation in Chamonix but these do require pre booking.
There are a couple of ways to get to Chamonix from Paris.
– TGV (Highspeed train) from Paris to Geneva and then pick-up a transfer from Geneva to Chamonix, the train station is approximately ten minute shuttle bus ride from Geneva International Airport where the majority of Chamonix bus transfer companies depart from
– Overnight train from Paris, change at St Gervais Les Bains and then direct to Chamonix
The French railways website is: http://www.voyages-sncf.com/billet-train
– Fly Paris to Geneva and then transfer by vehicle, rental car or bus transfer, from Geneva airport to Chamonix
– Scenic route – Train from Milan to Domodossola (via a regional train), then Domodossola to Chamonix (changing at Brig & Martigny)
The Italian railways website is: http://www.italiarail.com/
By Train & Bus:
– Cheaper route – Milan to Aosta via train, bus from Aosta to Chamonix
– Cheapest route – Bus direct from Milan to Chamonix