Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Alps you’ll find a journey like no other – the Mont Blanc Express from Martigny through Chamonix to Saint Gervais. This iconic railway route traverses some of Europe’s most fantastic mountains, offering passengers a front-row seat to some of the most stunning natural beauty the continent has to offer. Join us as we embark on a virtual tour of the Mont Blanc Express, uncovering its stops and delving into its rich history.

The story of the Mont Blanc Express begins in the late 19th century with the development of two separate ideas – a rail connection from Martigny in the Swiss Valais to Le Châtelard on the border with France, and another line in France to connect Chamonix to the rest of the country. In 1908 the stretch of line between Argentière and Le Châtelard was completed, and it became possible to travel directly between the Rhône valley and the Arve.  Originally built to facilitate transportation and trade, the route soon gained popularity among travellers seeking to explore the alpine wonders of the region. Over the years, the Mont Blanc Express has evolved into one of Europe’s most renowned scenic train journeys, attracting tourists from around the globe.

Stops Along the Way:

Martigny, Switzerland

Our journey commences in the Swiss town of Martigny, nestled in the Rhône Valley. Martigny boasts a rich cultural heritage, with attractions such as the Fondation Pierre Gianadda, home to an impressive collection of art and artefacts. Visitors can also explore the nearby Roman amphitheatre and enjoy the town’s vibrant culinary scene. Martigny is really worth a day trip from Chamonix, you can find all the details in our blog Guide to Martigny day trip from Chamonix.

Finhaut, Switzerland

Our next stop is the idyllic Swiss village of Finhaut. Situated high in the Alps, Finhaut offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Take a leisurely stroll through the village, visit the historic church of Sainte-Madeleine, or simply relax and enjoy the pristine beauty of this alpine retreat.

Le Châtelard Frontière, Switzerland

Just before the Mont Blanc Express crosses the border, it arrives at Le Châtelard Frontière. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundance of hiking trails that wind through lush forests and alpine meadows, offering opportunities to spot local wildlife and soak in the tranquility of the Swiss countryside. Additionally, you can visit nearby attractions such as the Emosson Dam and Museum, which showcases the area’s hydroelectric heritage through interactive exhibits and guided tours. See below for details of VerticAlp Emosson, the panoramic funicular railway that takes you 700 metres above the village!

Vallorcine, France

Continuing on our journey, we arrive at Vallorcine, a quaint French village nestled in the Mont Blanc massif. Surrounded by lush forests and towering peaks, Vallorcine is the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the nearby hiking trails or soak up the tranquil ambiance. Make time for a hot chocolate in our favourite – Café Comptoir, close to the bottom of the Vallorcine gondola lift.

Chamonix, France

As the train winds its way through the alpine landscape, it arrives at the world-famous resort town of Chamonix.

Home to western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, Chamonix captivates visitors with its breathtaking vistas and renowned skiing terrain. With extensive pistes catering to all levels, from beginners to experts, skiers and snowboarders alike flock to iconic areas like Grands Montets and Brévent-Flégère for exhilarating descents. Beyond the slopes, Chamonix offers a rich tapestry of cultural attractions, including traditional alpine architecture, quaint shops, and the fascinating exhibits of the Chamonix Alpine Museum, showcasing the region’s mountaineering heritage.

For adrenaline enthusiasts, Chamonix provides year-round adventure opportunities, from hiking the challenging Haute Route to paragliding over the valley or climbing some of the world’s most famous routes. After a day of exploration, unwind in Chamonix’s vibrant après-ski scene, where cozy chalets and lively bars serve up hearty alpine cuisine and fine wines, creating the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure against the stunning backdrop of Mont Blanc.

Chamonix has been a major tourist destination since the 19th century, and offers a wealth of accommodation choices from hotels to self-catered apartments and ski chalets.

Les Houches, France

Another must-visit destination along the Mont Blanc Express route. Known for its alpine charm and stunning natural beauty, Les Houches is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In the winter months, the village transforms into a bustling ski resort, with pristine slopes catering to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. During the summer, the mountains come alive with hikers, mountain bikers, and climbers eager to explore the rugged terrain. Be sure to visit the Bellevue cable car for panoramic views of the Mont Blanc range and the nearby Glacier de Bionnassay.

Servoz, France

Surrounded by verdant forests and towering peaks, Servoz offers a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of larger towns. Visitors can explore the village’s quaint streets, lined with traditional chalets and picturesque churches, or venture into the surrounding countryside for scenic hikes and nature walks. Be sure to visit the Gorges de la Diosaz, a natural wonderland of cascading waterfalls and rocky gorges accessible via a picturesque walking trail.

Saint Gervais, France

Last stop on the Mont Blanc Express route is the charming town of Saint Gervais Le Fayet. In fact, this last stop on the line serves two towns: Le Fayet which is renowned for its thermal springs and spa set in a magnificent gorge, and Saint Gervais which offers visitors a chance to relax and rejuvenate amidst the stunning alpine scenery. Explore the town’s historic streets, adorned with traditional Savoyard architecture, and discover its rich cultural heritage at the Saint Gervais church and local museums. Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the plethora of recreational activities available, from hiking and mountain biking in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a dip in the soothing thermal waters or embark on a scenic excursion aboard the historic Mont Blanc Tramway, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the start point of the normal route up Mont Blanc. With its blend of natural beauty, cultural charm, and therapeutic relaxation, Saint Gervais Le Fayet provides a delightful stop along the Mont Blanc Express journey.

As our journey on the Mont Blanc Express comes to an end, we’re left with memories of breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and a sense of awe at the beauty of the Alps. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first adventure, the Mont Blanc Express promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning for more. So hop aboard, and let the magic of this iconic railway route transport you to a world of wonder and discovery.

Ticket information

If you’ve paid for tourist tax with your Chamonix accommodation (which all Chamonix All Year guests do), then you’ll receive a guest card which gives free train travel between Vallorcine and Servoz. If you’re travelling beyond those stops, you’ll need to buy a ticket for the full length of your journey before you board.

Connecting lines:

The Léman Express

The Léman Express is a new rail route connecting Geneva to the Alps. Previously, the only option was to get a public or private bus or hire a car but you can now enjoy the whole route to Chamonix in the comfort of rail travel. It will bring you from Geneva to Saint Gervais Le Fayet, which is the last station on the Mont Blanc Express. Curious to hear more, have a look at our blog The Léman Express – train travel to Chamonix.

VerticAlp Emosson

VerticAlp Emosson located in Le Châtelard Frontière in Switzerland, offers a unique experience for visitors exploring the area. Three unique rail systems transport you to the breathtaking natural site of Emosson dam, situated at an elevation of 1,965 meters, offering captivating views of the legendary Mont-Blanc panorama.

London to Chamonix by train

One of our guests Iain – presenter of The Ski Podcast and founder of Ski Flight Free – wrote about his experience of travelling to Chamonix by train on his website Ski Flight Free – a great eco-friendly option if you’re trying to travel less by plane. His blog is packed with useful information including detailed schedules, timings and prices.