Difference between revisions of "Crans Montana"
Latest revision as of 22:16, 28 July 2010
Crans Montana is a town in Canton Valais, Switzerland. Although everyone knows the name Crans Montana, the area is actually made up of three communes - Crans, Montana and Aminona. The British introduced skiing to the area and it is now famous for its winter sports, but Crans Montana is also a great place in summer, situated as it is on a sunny south-facing plateau. In September the resort is host to the European golf champioships, with courses designed by Severiano Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus.
Crans Montana can easily reached by car and by train. The A9 motorway down the Rhône valley has exits in Sion and in Sierre that take you up the mountain. If you come by train there is a funicular railway that will take you from Sierre - it's a bit quicker than the 4 hours the journey used to take by donkey before the line was built!
There is a free bus service to get you around the resort, but a lot of people still use their own cars. If you park on the street make sure you use a designated space, otherwise you risk a heavy fine. Spaces marked with blue lines can be used if you have a "macaron", which is a cardboard disc you may have in your car (most hire cars have them). If you set your arrival time on the disc and display it on the dashboard you then get 60-90 minutes parking for free, but only in the spaces which have the "macaron" sign.
The view of the mountains on the other side of the valley is spectacular. On a clear day you can see the Matterhorn and other peaks in the southern Alps.
Take a trip on the funicular. Sierre (at the bottom) has good shopping and a nice historic centre. In the resort you can be sporty (golf, hiking, swimming, crazy golf) or you can get a coffee, sit at a table in one the pavement cafés and watch the glitterati go by. There is some serious money here - who knows, you might see Roger Moore!
If you want to flash some cash, Crans Montana boasts that it has the best shopping in the area. There are plenty of designer shops, as well as specialist food emporia and watch shops. However, you don't have to be a millionaire - you can get reasonably priced souvenirs as well.
There is a huge variety of restaurants in the area, ranging from Swiss and Italian to Chinese and Argentinian. If you're there at the end of the summer, try "la chasse", which is when local hunters bring in their game and you can try locally shot-venison, chamois and wild boar, served with traditional trimmings.
Crans Montana is more sedate than some Alpine resorts and doesn't offer a lot in the way of nightlife.
Fron Crans Montana, take a trip to the other side of the valley, go up the Val d'Anniviers and you will see signs to Grimentz. This is a small village that seems fit eveyone's Alpine ideal. There are old wooden chalets smothered in geraniums, a wooden waterwheel. Plus, cars are not allowed in the oldest part, and there's not a souvenir shop in sight.