Trip from Geneva to Champéry, Switzerland
Champéry, in the Chablais region of the Canton of Valais, Switzerland, (not to be confused with Chambéry, France) is a picturesque Swiss mountain village situated at 1050 metres above sea level, in the foothills of the spectacular Dents du Midi range. In winter it is one of the starting points for a day of skiing in the famous Portes du Soleil ski domain, and in summer it's a favourite destination for mountain-bikers and hikers.
Authentic wooden chalets of all sizes line the streets of this charming place, many of which house restaurants, hotels and shops. Everywhere you go there are stupendous views of the surrounding peaks, while indoors the rustic alpine theme is continued in cosy chalet-style architecture and furnishings.
Champéry and the Portes du Soleil ski domain are most famous for their winter sports. Straddling the border with France, this domain covers 650 km (405 miles) of ski trails linking 12 towns and resorts, of which the best known are Champéry, Les Crosets and (on the French side) Avoriaz. Reputedly the toughest black ski run in Switzerland, "le mur suisse" (the Swiss Wall) is to be found between Champéry and Les Crosets.
In summer, mountain-biking takes over, with the Portes du Soleil "BikePark" area offering marked trails for everyone from families with children to hardcore "free-riders". The area is rich in rock-climbing sites, with one of them, Barme, near Champéry, offering initiation climbs for beginners (adults and children.) Some of the best known hiking trails are to be found in this domain too, for everything from short hikes to four- or five-day tours, stopping at night in mountain refuges. In Champéry itself, the Palladium Sports Centre has indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, tennis courts and an ice rink.
In addition to typical Swiss dishes like fondue and raclette, a number of venues in the village now offer more refined and adventurous dining, including traditional gastronomic French-style haute cuisine. One of them, the C21, even has a well-deserved Michelin star. It does traditional and nouvelle cuisine, and is known for the excellence of its wines and whiskies as well.
There are also numerous on-piste cafeterias and restaurants, but these tend to be pricey and the food is mostly unremarkable.
Befitting its status as a prime tourist destination, Champéry offers a huge choice of good hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and holiday rental apartments or chalets. Most, if not all, chalet-style rooms have their own balconies with fabulous mountain views. The traditional exteriors are combined with high-quality modern comforts like good plumbing and spotless interiors.
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Train Geneva to Champéry
The train trip from Geneva to Champéry takes around two and a half hours, with one change of trains in Aigle. This makes it a bit lengthy if you simply want a day out – specially if you want to hit the ski slopes as early as possible in the morning. On the other hand, if your plans include a visit to the pub at day's end, it's an ideal solution. On Sundays in winter it's also the only way to avoid the traffic jams, as everyone else heads home in the evening after a day's skiing.
Travel Geneva to Champéry by car
The road distance from Geneva is about 130km with a driving time of just over 1hr 30, depending on traffic conditions. (In the winter on Sundays your return to the city can take a lot longer.) Most of the trip is on the A1 and A9 highways, but the last 20 kilometres of your outward journey are on a winding road up the mountainside, affording you impressive views of the valley below and the surrounding mountains.
Champery Tourist Office
Route de la Fin 44
1874 Champéry, Switzerland
Tel : +41(0)24 479 20 20