Crans Montana is a premier winter destination for skiing and the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Made up of two towns, Crans and Montana have their own distinct character that is so typical of a Swiss Mountain town. Most of the year, these towns are fairly peaceful and calm except for the Caprices festival of electronic music in the spring and the Golf OMEGA tournament in August. During the winter ski season, Crans and Montana are teeming with skiers from all across the globe and businesses are open later than usual.
Guest post by Alaine Handa
Blog: Travel With Alaine
What’s the best time to visit Crans Montana?
If you’re looking for a ski vacation that won’t break the bank, visit either early in the ski season or during spring, as the lift tickets are still at a discount then. The peak of the season for ski resorts in Switzerland tends to be around Christmas and New Year, so avoid those times. With that being said, if you like crowds for après ski parties, come during New Year’s Eve because there will be a beautiful fireworks display to ring in a new year and the parties will be in full swing.
What’s good to know about Crans Montana?
Crans Montana is located in the Valais region of Switzerland which is French-speaking. Local residents of the area speak a little bit of English, but its best to brush up on your French language skills. A little Bonjour! Ca va? Bien! Merci Beaucoup! goes a long way! There is a funicular train that leaves from Sierre at the bottom of the mountain up to Montana as well as a bus that takes you through winding roads passing by the local vineyards of the area and small villages. During the ski season, there are free shuttle buses that run the major roads between Montana and Crans as well as the ski stations.
One Day in Crans Montana Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Crans Montana.
Have breakfast at Taillens in Montana
After riding the funicular up to Montana from Sierre, walk to the Taillens café in Montana for a quick breakfast of a pastry and coffee (or tea if you prefer). For a heartier breakfast, they also have a full menu where you can order sandwiches, eggs, pasta, etc.
Rent your skis and head over to the ski station
You can rent your ski equipment (or snowboard equipment) from any of the retailers in Montana or Crans. Plan to leave your shoes at the rental location and take your equipment to either the Crans ski station or Montana ski station. It is probably the most convenient to rent your equipment at a place that is nearest to either of these ski stations. At the Crans ski station, there is a bar lounge called Zerodix that serves excellent snack foods and hosts a great après ski party until 9 pm every day.
Ski all morning and then go up to the peak of Plaine Morte
Ski the areas of Cry’d’er, Bella Lui, and across Violettes, then take the cable car up to the peak of Plaine Morte just before lunch time. It is highly recommended to go up before the lunch crowd settles in, as there is a cozy bistro restaurant with beautiful views but limited seating.
Ski from the top of Plaine Morte down to ski station
Ski from the top of Plaine Morte down to any of the ski stations at the bottom of the mountain with stops along the way to take pictures of the beautiful Swiss Alps. By the time you reach the bottom, you will have worked up quite an appetite.
Have a burger dinner at either Burger Lounge in Crans or Montana Diner
The perfect après ski dinner meal is a classic burger and fries washed down with beer. Burger Lounge in Crans is known for their gourmet burgers. They are a favorite among residents and open most of the year. If you plan on dining here, plan ahead and reserve a table because it is usually booked to full capacity. A good alternative is the new Montana Diner by the lake, and their burgers are solid with a beautiful atmosphere and large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake.
Apres ski party at Zerodix
After dinner, walk back up to Crans ski station for the après ski party at Zerodix. The DJs will already be turning up the volume and the party atmosphere is happy drunk. The party ends around 9 pm.
Join the crowd to the nearest pub before clubbing the night away
There are a number of bars in Crans that are popular among visitors and residents as well as students. Leo’s bar, Le Pub, Pacha, and Sky club are all popular and the party will keep going until 4 or 5 a.m. depending on the night of the week, so make sure to bring your dancing shoes.
Where to stay in Crans Montana?
Sport Palace is an original and comfortable place that attracts lovers of travel and sport. Perfect for families and friends, the hotel features indoor pool and a bar. Tennis courts, convention center, restaurants and shops are only a few meters away from the property.
Hotel Royal is a five star luxury hotel located in the heart of Crans Montana. The hotel features a hot tub, an indoor pool and a spa area with the sauna. Elegantly furnished rooms bring extra comfort and relaxation. From the bar, guests can enjoy the stunning views of the Swiss Alps.
Extra tips for visiting Crans Montana
– If you don’t plan on skiing, there are also other activities in Crans and Montana you can take up. Some of the sports activities include ice skating, bowling, cross country skiing, curling, dog sledding.
– Crans Montana also has a wonderful array of luxury retail shops and quirky boutiques.
– For a quieter night, try a Fondue or Raclette dinner at Petit Paradis. The tomato cheese fondue is addictive! After the fondue you will certainly be in a cheese coma so cozy up to a room at the quaint family owned hotel.
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Alaine Handa grew up as a global nomad/third culture kid and continued traveling and living in different countries. She has worked in performing arts, events, education, film/tv, and hospitality industries. A passion for cooking, wine, dance, performing, languages, and inspiring others to travel the world. For more info on Alaine please visit http://www.alainehanda.com