How to Spend 48 Hours in Crans-Montanaairport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar

How to Spend 48 Hours in Crans-Montana

Crans Montana, Switzerland
Crans Montana, Switzerland | © George Hughes/Culture Trip
Formerly home to late Bond star Sir Roger Moore and less than two hours away from Geneva, Crans-Montana is a distinctively luxurious Alpine retreat – but despite the affluence, sunny slopes and breathtaking views make this fancy, accessible resort in Switzerland’s Valais region an ideal ski destination from the UK, if only for a weekend. Here’s how to explore Crans-Montana on a short break and discover all it has to offer.
Heading to the slopes in Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Day one

Choose your slopes

Crans-Montana is actually made up of two communities to the west and east of Lac Grenon, situated 1,500m (4,921ft) above the Rhone Valley. Crans is more upmarket compared to its neighbour Montana, and the slopes you pick will depend on where you plan to stay.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

You’ll find the main skiing bases in Crans, Montana and Barzettes-Violettes, served by lift stations which open from 8.30am (Montana to Arnouva) to 4.45pm (Violettes Express and Crans to Cry d’Er).

Skiing in Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

For expert skiers keen to cruise down altitudes of up to 3,000m (9,842ft), take the the Funitel Violettes-Plaine Morte lift to the Plaine Morte glacier where you’ll come across the legendary black Kandahar black run (named after a British soldier who initiated the first Crans-Montana Alpine ski descent back in 1911).

Retro attire on the slopes in Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Otherwise, confident gliders can enjoy a variety of blue and red pistes throughout Arnouva, Merbé, Marolires, Mont Lachaux, Petit Mont Bonvin and Bellalui. Just be aware that because most of the mountain faces south, pistes can get soft by the afternoon on warm days, which gives you until just after noon before it’s time to clock off for lunch.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Grab a fondue lunch (with a view) at Merbé

If you skied down Cry d’Er, swing by this popular lunch spot in the mountains which serves up a solid menu and great views of the alps.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

A deluge of tasty carbs such as pasta specials, raclette and fondue will fuel your afternoon run on the ice – or for a quick pint, try the local Calanda Bräu, brewed 260 miles away in the small town of Chur.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Hit Crans-Montana’s après-ski scene

Once you’ve wrapped up an afternoon of skiing, go for a well-deserved aperitif at one of the prominent bars, clubs or lounges around Crans-Montana. From 3pm to 4.30pm, the Cry D’Er Club D’Altitude – which is a worthy pitstop for the views if nothing else – brings in a regular DJ to get the party started, but from 5pm, the Le 66 offers tunes, tapas and cocktails aplenty in a fun atmosphere. Elsewhere, the Bar 7 near the Violettes lift station is a party destination that’s popular with young locals.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Follow up a fun-filled evening with a swanky, Michelin-level dinner at Le Mont Blanc (based in the stunning five-star LeCrans Hotel & Spa) or exceptional burgers at the Burger Lounge, a restaurant in central Crans.

Party the night away at Le Pacha

If you’re in the party mood, the Le Pacha club on rue du Prado in Crans is one of four popular haunts for clubbers on the hunt for big tunes, sweaty dancefloors and a late curfew. The music policy covers house, EDM, hip-hop and dance, while weekends are devoted to special events.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Day Two

Go on a hike

Skiing isn’t the only way to explore Crans-Montana, as the region offers a good deal of walking routes where you’ll discover why the area is known for its beauty as much as its sun-drenched snow.

View over the Valais region from Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

A popular 10km (6.2mi) walk takes your around five eye-catching bodies of water including the Etang-Long, Grenon, and the Chermignon, Moubra and Icogne lakes. Or, you can hire a pair of raquettes à neige, and with the help of a tour guide, embark on a snowy, tranquil trek through Aminona to reconnect with nature and pass local landmarks like the Ecomuseum of Colombire.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Break for lunch (or shopping) in Crans

Crans is the area’s epicentre for shopping, dining and culture, boasting designer fashion outlets, sleek art galleries and boutique shops. Stroll around to pick up everything from vintage pieces and jewellery to Swiss-made chocolate, cheese or local souvenirs. For lunch, head to the Crans branch of Boulangerie Taillens, where you can tuck into first-class pastries, breads and cakes, as well as great coffee and hot chocolate.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

For lunch, head to the Crans branch of Boulangerie Taillens, where you can tuck into first-class pastries, breads and cakes, as well as great coffee and hot chocolate.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Put your best skate forward at the Ycoor Centre

The Ycoor centre is a state-of-the-art hub for winter activities in Crans-Montana, as the space caters for ice skaters, curlers, and ice hockey players – or spectators who just want to catch all the action.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Open daily until 5pm, the open-air 2,640m² ice rink is a big hit with families and hosts entertaining events throughout the year.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

Try your luck at the casino

Open daily until the early hours of the morning, the area’s casino provides a lounge bar, restaurant and games area for punters looking to splash their cash on slot machines – or watch others risk it all in a game of roulette, blackjack or joker. From 7pm to 11pm (or midnight), the restaurant serves a varied menu, making it an ideal spot to trade skiing stories over dinner, and bid farewell to a brilliant weekend in Switzerland.

Crans Montana, Switzerland © George Hughes/Culture Trip

SWISS offers direct flights from London to Geneva and Sion in Valais (seasonal only) and free carriage for your skiing or snowboarding equipment. Find out more.