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Swiss railpass to/from Chamonix

I'll be visiting Switzerland in September with a Swiss Pass, which is also said to cover rail travel to & from Chamonix, France. How does one actually accomplish that trip, since I understand that the French trains require seat reservations? When I travel from Switzerland to Chamonix, do I need to have a reservation for the French portion? How about when I return from Chamonix to Switzerland? Do I have to purchase a reservation or some sort of ticket in Chamonix in order to ride back to Switzerland with the Swiss Pass?

Thanks,
Kyle

Posted by
8978 posts

Only high-speed TGV trains require reservations. Trains that run from Switzerland to Chamonix are local trains. With a Swiss Pass all you gotta do hop on the train; no extra ticket or reservation needed.

Posted by
16883 posts

No reservation either way; just jump on. You'll see the route via Martigny reflected on the map you receive with your Swiss Pass and all the fastest train schedules departing Chamonix-Mont Blanc will also route you that way. The most objective source for seeing which trains require reservations is the DB train schedule.

Posted by
8889 posts

I checked the Swiss pass validity map (see http://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/infrastruktur/trafimage/karten/karte-sts-gueltigkeit-de.pdf), Chamonix is valid even though it is not in Switzerland.

As the previous posting said, reservations are only needed on high speed and some long distance trains. Local trains (90%+) of trains you just turn up at the station, buy a ticket and get on the next train. There are no reservations on Swiss internal trains.

Posted by
3425 posts

What Michael and Laura said . Just a little further information - You will arrive at Martigny , the rails on the other side of the platform are those of the Mont Blanc express operated by TMRSA - http://www.tmrsa.ch/ . This segment of the trip is strikingly beautiful as the train leaves Vernayaz and climbs up into the Trient Valley on its way to the border . The views of the gorge and the little villages perched above the valley floor are beautiful . When I took the ride this past fall , there was still a bus substitution on the leg between Vallorcine and Argentiere ongoing due to major improvements on the line , but that is over now and it's rail the whole way . You will also change to a TER ( local ) French train at Chatelard or Vallorcine ( can't remember which ) for the remainder of the ride to Chamonix . Two stops in Chamonix - Chamonix Gare and Chamonix Aiguille du Midi - The location of your hotel will inform which stop is best ( check the map ) . Be sure to have your camera ready and pop open the train window to rid your pictures of reflective glare . This is real eye candy !