Here’s how to get from Geneva to Chamonix to start your adventure in the Alps.
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Nearest Airport to Chamonix
Whether you’re heading to Chamonix to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc, in which case I highly recommend our self-guided TMB tour, hit the slopes, or spend a few days in Chamonix as a destination in itself, if you’re flying, we recommend flying into Geneva airport.
The nearest airport to Chamonix isn’t actually in France. It’s in Geneva, Switzerland, located 99km (62 miles) away. It takes ~ 1:15 hrs) to reach Chamonix from the Geneva airport.
The closest major airports to Chamonix in France are in:
- Lyon: 221km (2:13 hrs)
- Paris: 649 km (just over 6 hrs)
Most people travelling to Chamonix fly into Geneva because it’s closer and more convenient. Plus, it’s worth spending a day or two in Geneva either at the start or end of your trip.
Related Reading: Accommodations in Chamonix: The Best Places to Stay
The Best Way to Get From Geneva – Chamonix
The best way to get from Geneva to Chamonix in my opinion is with a shared transfer if you’re travelling alone or with one other person, or by private transfer if you’re travelling in a group. More details below.
While it’s possible to get from Geneva to Chamonix by train, and I love and frequently recommend train journeys in Europe, I don’t recommend travelling by train in this case. The journey time is an average of 2:45 hours vs only 1:15 hours if you take a bus or shared or private transfer. Plus, it’s usually more expensive.
Related Reading: How to Choose the Perfect Accommodation for Your Next Trip
Go From Geneva to Chamonix by Shared or Private Transfer
A shared or private transfer from Geneva Airport is the best way to get from Chamonix to Geneva because it’s a direct route, the fastest way, and a shared transfer is economical.
Shared Transfer from Geneva to Chamonix
You can book a shared transfer here . The travel time is ~1:15 hours. It’s conveniently available directly from the airport. They also allow cancellations up to 24 hours in advance. I’ve taken them before and was very happy with them. Plus, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint.
Also, check out Omio, an aggregate search showing different private bus companies and transfer companies offering airport transfers to Chamonix. They’ll drop you off either in the center of town or directly at your hotel, depending on the company.
Private Transfer to Chamonix
There’s also an option to take a private transfer on Viator, which is even cheaper. I haven’t personally taken this shuttle, so can’t comment on it one way or another, but it is another option and also takes 1:15 hours. This is a good option if you want to get in your car and go once you arrive at the airport and not have to wait around for the scheduled departure of the shared transfer.
A private transfer is also a good option if you’re travelling in a small group and can work out to be even cheaper than a shared transfer. Plus, it’s a direct route requiring no drop-off at other hotels so you’ll reach your destination faster.
Regardless of whether you choose a private or shared transfer from Geneva to Chamonix, you’ll want to book travel in advance for seat reservations.
Related Reading: Summer in Chamonix: The 16 Best Things to Do
Check out our Mont Blanc Hiking Art:
The Cheapest Way to Get from Geneva to Chamonix
Usually, the cheapest way to get from Geneva to Chamonix if you’re traveling solo is with Flixbus. The cheapest tickets start from $12.99. However, the average bus ticket price sells for $19.75 each way.
The average bus journey takes 1:20 hours, so only 5 minutes longer than if you go with a shared or private transfer.
However, the bus leaves from the Geneva Central Bus Station and arrives at Chamonix Sud Bus Station,. So you’ll have to make your way from the airport to the bus station first and then from the Chamonix bus station to your accommodation. It’s not ideal if you’re carrying heavy ski equipment en route to one of the popular ski resorts in Chamonix.
The other disadvantage is that there’s only one direct bus per day. Sometimes that’s all. In high season there may be a few other connections, but they’ll have stops and the bus journey takes longer.
Geneva to Chamonix by Car
Driving is also an option, but we don’t recommend it if you’re doing our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc hiking tour or your own TMB tour since you’ll end up paying for a car that will be parked most of the time.
However, driving is an option if you’re going on vacation in Chamonix and want to drive to reach certain hikes. However, you can reach most of these by public transportation. It takes ~ 1:15 hours. This route requires a total driving distance of approximately 100 km (62 miles).
This trip is not only beautiful, but it’s also challenging. The road between Geneva and Chamonix is winding and narrow, and there are no guardrails along most sections so drive slow.
You should also be aware that there are two tolls. You’ll need around €6 for the two toll charges in France for a normal family car. All major credit cards are accepted and the toll booths are open 24/7.
Getting from Geneva to Les Houches
If you’re doing our 6 or 7-day Tour du Mont Blanc, your tour starts in Les Houches. If your accommodation is in Chamonix, you’ll get a free train ride to Les Houches with the Mont Blanc Express. Just ask your accommodation for a “Guest Card.” See this site for further info here. It includes free public transportation in the Chamonix valley.
From Chamonix, you can either take a train or bus service if you need to go to Les Houches. It’s only 7 km, so it’s fine to stay in either Les Houches or Chamonix the night before your TMB tour starts if you’re doing the 6 or 7-day tour.
If you’re staying in Les Houches, we recommend arriving in the late afternoon or early evening before the day your tour starts because it’s very small.
If you’re doing our 10-day Tour du Mont Blanc, your tour starts and ends in Chamonix.
Check out our early bird promo and more here.
Useful Travel Tips from Geneva to Chamonix and in Reverse
- Book transfers to/from the airport in advance (except for the one from Chamonix to Les Houches) as private or semi-private transfers fill up quickly during the high season and peak hours.
- Book your return transfer from Chamonix to Geneva in advance as well. Save time by booking it at the same time as you book your trip from Geneva to Chamonix.
- If you’re continuing on, i.e. going from Paris to Chamonix, book in advance to save money. Trainline.eu is a good site to compare different train and bus transfers. Note: train tickets are usually only for sale up to 3 months in advance.
Related Reading: Best Accommodations in Chamonix