Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps in the French-speaking part of the canton of Valais, the resort of Crans-Montana is one of the region’s leading tourist destinations. At an altitude of 1,500 metres, overlooking the Rhona Valley and with views stretching from the Matterhorn to Mont-Blanc, Crans-Montana has a wide range of year-round activities with a strong focus on family.
Formed in 1893, the sun-drenched destination has earned a reputation for sunshine, fresh air, and an abundance of attractions, from superb skiing to great championship golf. No wonder Crans-Montana has attracted residents including Roger Moore and Sophia Loren, is the home town of celebrated chef Michel Roux, and also home to leading golfers Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and the Molinari brothers.
The ski area boasts 140 kilometres of marked ski pistes, 24 modern ski lifts and 15 sunny terraces. From the Plaine Morte Glaceir at 3,000 metres, all levels of skiers will find suitable runs to take them back to the resort below – taking in fabulous views and fine food and drink along the way.
Crans-Montana is truly perfect for any level – from absolute beginner to seasoned professional. Every year, the best female skiers descend on Crans-Montana for the Ski World Cup on the Mont-Lachaux piste for a dazzling downhill race and skillful slalom. This year, those races take place on 22 and 23 February, alongside the famous World Cup Party event held in the Congress Centre.
If downhill isn’t your thing, Crans-Montana also has one of the finest snowparks in Switzerland, with over 100,000 square metres of kickers and rails to show off your skills, as well as a permanent Olympic halfpipe.
Beginners and children can try skiing for the first time at Arnouva, where there is a ski kindergarten with magic carpets and lots of fun modules. Ski schools offer private and group classes and cable car access is free from the centre of Montana.
Ski touring is also a popular pastime, with 15 routes adapted to all levels spread over more than 40km of signposted pistes. Be accompanied by a high mountain guide or explore the Rando Park – a unique area designed by ski mountaineering champion Séverine Pont-Combe, multiple winner of the Patrouille des Glaciers race.
For something more relaxing, the Grandeur Nature area welcomes visitors who want to unwind in pristine natural surroundings. A programme of free weekly activities includes snowshoe and ski touring excursions, yoga hikes, or walks accompanied by huskies.
For something completely different, and great for kids, is Snow Island – full of leisure activities designed for families to make the most of winter fun. Enjoy some sledging or snowtubing, then relax in the café either indoors or outside on the terrace.
Even when the winter ski season ends, the fun never stops in Crans-Montana. Thanks to its prestigious golf club and its wonderful courses with exceptional views, Crans-Montana has become a popular destination for golf lovers in the Swiss Alps. Two of its courses are located right in the heart of the resort, offering breathtaking scenery. There are four courses to choose from, an historic clubhouse, a high-tech indoor centre and numerous practice areas.
Since 1939, one of the most prestigious tournaments on the PGA European Tour, the Omega European Masters, has taken place in Crans-Montana every year. Players such as Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Seve Ballesteros have previously won this internationally renowned tournament.
Last year, the tournament went to a five-way playoff for the first time in its history, with Rory McIlroy, Lorenzo Gagli, Sebastian Söderberg, Kalle Samooja and Andres Romero battling for the trophy, with Swede Söderberg eventually crowned champion. More than 64,000 visitors watched the drama unfold in Crans-Montana. The 2020 edition of the Omega European Masters takes place 27-30 August.
The rise in popularity of cycling in recent years has seen more and more people choosing a holiday destination that fits their two-wheeled passion, and Crans-Montana is built for a wide range of brilliant biking experiences.
Mountain bikers can choose from 11 routes covering 177 kilometres of challenging tracks for endure and cross-country riders of all levels. These routes will take you through vineyards and forests but – best of all – up into the mountains for incredible views over the Alps.
Thrill seekers can catch a cable car and enjoy three exciting downhill runs: a dizzying black run, a technical red run, and a blue run for those who want to explore the world of downhill. The routes offer panoramic views before a technical forest section.
As well as downhill runs, Crans-Montana has a Bike Park with which awaits the brave near the cable car departure station.
With over 200 kilometres of road routes which have been carefully designed by a Tour de France regular, Crans-Montana is emerging as a destination for Alpine cycling in Switzerland – including the route across the Crans-Montana pass.
Once the snow recedes, walking the glorious valleys and mountains in Crans-Montana is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the superb, serene surroundings.
There is a wide network of meandering paths, taking in vineyards and mountain pastures, lakes, waterfalls and forests – the perfect way to reconnect with nature.
One unique feature of the local landscape to explore by foot are the five ‘bisses’ – historic irrigation canals. This is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a wonderful walk, perhaps culminating in a memorable picnic overlooking Mont Blanc.
The crystal clear air is also perfect for those looking to continue their fitness regime with a gentle jog or more strenuous trail run, with 15 routes taking in the best scenery in Valais.
Opened in 2009 and a member of the Leading Small Hotels Of The World, LeCrans Hotel & Spa is literally at the pinnacle of the Crans-Montana resort. This beautiful boutique property is nestled in the heart of the Plans Mayens ski area, just 100 metres from the slopes, and offers the very best in hospitality and exclusivity, with just seven standard rooms, six large suites, and four extensive apartments.
Belgian interior designer Christophe Decarpentrie has created a truly stately residence in the resort, with interiors just as striking as the awe-inspiring views. Each room is decorated in a unique, individual style, and all feature fireplaces and fountains fed by mountain glaciers.
The 7,000-square-metre chalet-style hotel’s incredible apartments each have an area of more than 200 square metres, with three double ensuite bedrooms for up to six guests, living room, American-style kitchen, beautiful fireplaces and exceptional panoramic views from their large terraces.
Take a break from the slopes and savour some much-deserved pampering and relaxation in the LeSPA Cinq Mondes Soins Du Spa provides top of the line services and a place to indulge at altitude. There are four treatment rooms, a sauna, hammam, a Jacuzzi that looks out over the mountains, an indoor pool, and the icing on the cake is the stunning heated outdoor pool with incredible views of the Alps. There is no better way to relax.
Le Crans Hotel & Spa has superb facilities for a boutique hotel of its size, including the renowned LeMontBlanc restaurant, led by chef Pierre Crepaud and marrying local flavours with global invention. Little wonder the 75-covers restaurant holds a coveted Michelin star. The stunning cuisine is matched by an extensive wine cellar which sees 48 top quality wines available by the glass.
Spacious patios are the perfect place to relax between skiing sessions, after a fabulous meal, or to soak up the summer sun.
As well as enjoying quality local cuisine, a visit to Valais demands sampling some fine Swiss wine. Rarely exported, Swiss wine is something you simply must discover on a trip to Crans-Montana, with some 22 wineries to visit, with many offering tours and tastings.
Crans-Montana is a first-class wine growing region, which offers a vast range of wine tourism experiences. The Open Cellars, Temps du Cornalin, Wine and Local Produce Fair and the Château de Vaas provide opportunities to discover and taste the finest wines.
As well as LeMontBlanc, foodies will find many fine restaurants in Crans-Montana, with many featured in the esteemed Gault&Millau guide – including the Michelin starred L’Ours at L’Hostellerie du Pas de l’Ours from chef Franck Reynaud. Chef also manages the kitchens at the Bistrot des Ours and the stunning La Cabane des Violettes, situated at 2,200 metres and with 360-degree views of the mountains. Valais specialities include rosti, veal hamburger, veal sausage with mountain spices, red cabbage and signature fondue.
Crans-Montana is the ideal departure point for a gourmet world tour that will enable you to be transported as you enjoy your meal, whether it’s Japanese, Thai, Argentinian or Italian.
A trip to Crans-Montana would not be the same without a visit to the master chocolatier David Pasquiet. In his shop you will find original chocolates combining flavours like strawberry and cactus flower, apricot and saffron or matcha and yuzu. You will also find chocolate bars, chocolate covered nuts and chocolate spreads – the perfect treat or gifts to take home.
Wine, cheese, a variety of dried meats, rye bread, cordials and liqueurs are all quality local produce. Lots of tasting events and passionate artisans illustrate the riches of local gastronomy in Crans-Montana.
Crans-Montana is a destination full of history and Valais folk traditions. There are many museums, festivals, exhibitions and galleries showcasing the cultural diversity that the region offers. Music, from folk to classical, via electro, is also a highlight, with lots of concerts, events and festivals all year long.
There is the Fondation Opale, that aims to promote dialogue between Aboriginal and Contemporary Art through exhibitions and workshops, meetings and publications. Crans-Montana Classics, with a wealth of annual programming, promises a whole range of concerts, via a wide variety of cultural events proposed by Swiss Made Culture. Then there are enriching conferences from Montagn’Arts, and many more.
Also well worth a visit is the Musée du Grand-Lens, the Château de Vaas, or the Colombire Ecomuseum.
Whatever your personal tastes, and whatever time of year you visit, you are sure to enjoy the perfect getaway in Crans-Montana – where nature, relaxation and a wide range of activities combine to offer a fabulous all-round experience.