You’re thinking melted cheese and potatoes already right? Well, why not, because the Swiss are very proud of their cheese and you won’t go short in Crans-Montana. But maybe you didn’t know about the 80+ restaurants in the resort that serve everything from Indian, Thai, Italian, burgers, French… Oh, and Swiss. It has one of the largest choices of places to eat in the Alps, from simple cafés and friendly bistros to gourmet-pleasing Michelin-starred establishments.
Did you know that Crans-Montana has been awarded the prestigious ‘Family Destination’ label from the Swiss Tourism Federation? It’s one of only two resorts in the French-speaking part of Switzerland that have it. Crans-Montana is simply a great place for families, especially this season with the launch of their new family festival, ‘Etoile Bella Lui’ in December. There will be loads for the kids to look forward to from visits with Father Christmas to figure skating and light shows.
Ski touring has boomed during the past few years, but we still tend to think of it as an off-piste, backcountry type of adventure – where you really need to go with a guide. Not so in Crans-Montana where last winter 15 marked trails of varying standards, blue, red and black, were built that guide skiers (or splitboarders) up the mountain in a controlled environment. When you’ve got your breath back, feel free to come down on the slopes of your choice.
Crans-Montana has become a genuine mecca for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. It has the second largest snowpark in Switzerland and one of the largest in the Alps, as well as one of only five Super-Half-Pipes in the world. This attracts young people from all over. And in January 2019, Alaïa Chalet opened – an all-year, indoor and outdoor vast action sports centre for skiers, snowboarders and skateboarders. It also has its own music recording studio and media centre.
Well all those freestyle skiers and snowboarders need to do something once the snowpark shuts. The increasingly popular early on après-ski sessions at bars such as Zero Dix, just off the slopes, have a relaxed vibe and then later on places like Monk’is Bar fill up until 2am. But if you really want to party then go during April when the Caprices festival is happening – the electronic music meet up is a full-on, action-packed party that lasts for four days.
… and relax
With views across the Alps that stretch from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and a town that sits on a high plateau above the Rhone Valley, facing south, you might want to just sit and stare. But with a huge network of marked winter walking trails, it’s easy to get some gentle exercise. And why not try a bit of ice skating on the natural rink in the town centre? Or maybe just go to one of the resort’s several spas or ride the cable car for lunch (your ticket price goes towards a meal) and take in those views.
Our picks for the best places to stay in Crans-Montana
Best for luxury - Le Crans Hotel & Spa
Le Crans Hotel & Spa is a beautiful hotel with only 15 rooms and 3 suites, indoor and outdoor pool, spa facilities and a Michelin starred restaurant. Like a bird's nest overlooking the whole resort and facing the peaks of Valais, Le Crans is an exclusive place, and perfect for skiers who want to add a little luxury to their ski getaway in Crans-Montana
Best for relaxing for less - 3* Hotel Elite
Hotel Elite is a recently refurbished hotel with rooms offering beautiful southern views and a modern feel. It has a contemporary look with some vintage touches which give the hotel a unique charm. Its location adjacent to the Jack Nicklaus golf course gives it a peaceful atmosphere, and the lobby bar and fire place are perfect for lively evenings.
Best for budget getaways - Bellalui Youth Hostel
The Bellalui Youth hostel, established in a clinic built in 1930 it has been turned into a modern youth hostel, while still respecting the history, structure and original architecture of the building. They have even copied the original furniture to give a unique atmosphere. It works like any youth hostel with shared rooms (4 and 6 beds) but they also have family rooms and double bedrooms. A great experience to try even if you can afford to pay more!
To find out even more about this must-visit resort, go to crans-montana.ch/en