Crans Montana 2

Crans Montana 2

Crans-Montana is a sunny region in Switzerland with stunning views stretching from the Breithorn to Mont Blanc via the Weisshorn and the Matterhorn.

The region reaches from the Rhone valley at 500m to the Plaine Morte Glacier at 3,000m, and can be reached in a few hours from Geneva or Milan airport, and in roughly half an hour from the nearby airport of Sion.

Why Go?

Crans Montana 1

Crans Montana 1

Crans-Montana is a fairly large town as far as ski towns go, but it's also incredibly tranquil.

Known as more of a luxury resort than a party town, you're unlikely to be woken by your neighbours at 4am - unless you schedule your arrival during techno festival 'Caprices', which is held in the town - and a stroll through Crans will offer views to die for.

When you get up to the slopes the views over the Rhöne valley to the peaks bordering Italy are sublime, particularly in the morning where layered mist, above, rises over the valley.

As one of the sunniest regions in Switzerland, your chances of bluebird conditions are well above average, and the slopes themselves are extensive, with over 140km of runs. The sun does mean that the best of the snow will have turned to slush by 2pm though.

Crans Montana 3

Crans Montana 3

The panoramic views from 3000m at the top of the mountain are unbeatable, and the pistes are good fun. They offer plenty for beginners but enough to keep experts happy, and if you get the snow for it, there's an infinite number of off-piste forest lines waiting to be discovered. There's also a snow park with an Olympic-size half-pipe.

In the summer you can still find your adventure - they offer some fantastic hiking, are developing further mountain biking routes and it's also possible to wakeboard on the lake.

An awesome aside is that Crans is a hot spot for street art. Having teamed up with Vision Art Festival a while back, you'll find all kinds of cool designs both in the town and on mountain refuges and lift stations.

Where To Stay

A balcony view from L'Art de Vivre

If you're looking to sleep in luxury check out the four-star L’Art de Vivre. The rooms have a beautiful view of the surrounding scenery and the spa includes an outdoor jacuzzi looking onto the mountains as well.

The three star Hotel Olympic is a cheaper option and also a favourite of many visiting skiers. Though it doesn't have a lounge, the style of the modern alpine rooms with rustic Swiss designs provide a great base.

Where To Eat

The rösti at La Cabane des Violettes

Crans Montana food

Check out La Cabane des Violettes when it's time for lunch. It's a mountain hut 2,208m above sea level with a brilliant outdoor terrace and some stunning cliff-edge views. The place is run by mountain guide Pierre-Olivier Bagnoud and the rösti, a traditional potato-dish with cheese, onion and bacon is fantastic.

The Croute menu at Le Pépinet is also essential tasting. Their local cheeses are an absolute treat, and L’Arnouva offers a great raclette and local grilled meats from the region.

Where To Drink

Photo: Cry d’Er

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For après, head to Cry d’Er. 2,220 metres above sea level, you'll find a 360 degree panoramic view of the Pennine Alps. It's the Swiss answer to 'La Folie Douce' and ties culinary delights with a strong music program. It's a relatively new addition to Crans-Montana.

Monk'is Ba and Amadeus Bar are good go-to's for a drink back in resort. The former is a bar which runs themed-nights on Tuesdays, and the latter, in the basement of Hotel Olympic, is a staple of the nightlife in the region.

What The Locals Say

"To get the best snow get up early and first ski the pistes on the east, where you'll find the piste for the downhill World Championship, and then during the day go to the top of the mountain, to the south. It's possible to do off-piste there, and finish the day on the west of the mountain."

François Moser, mountain guide in Crans Montana for 12 years.

More Information

For further information on the Crans-Montana region, check out the website.