Skyway Monte Bianco is much more than a cableway, it is indeed the experience of a lifetime. It links Courmayeur with Pointe Helbronner, a journey from 1,300 m to 3,466 m bringing people closer to the mountains and the sky. The final destination of the ascend is the southern side of Mont Blanc massif, the highest peak in Italy.
The cableway is located in Courmayeur, more precisely in Entrèves, a halmet 3 Km far from the town centre. It is near too from the Mont Blanc Tunnel between Italy and France.
In this article you find useful tips about this attraction based on my experience.
How to get to Skyway Monte Bianco
It is easily reachable from Italy and France as well.
For those travelling by car, the best route to follow is undoubtedly the highway A5 Turin-Aosta-Courmayeur and then the Strada Statale 26.
Flixbus and Autolinee SAVDA link Courmayeur with Aosta and many other cities of northern Italy.
The closest railway station is situated in Aosta. The nearest airports are Geneva (106 Km), Turin (150 Km), Milan Malpensa (212 Km) and Milan Linate (235 Km).
Having said that, if you are already based in Entrèves – in my case I had a wonderful stay at Locanda La Brenva – the Skyway is just within a walking distance.
History of the Skyway Monte Bianco
Construction work on the current cableway began in March 2011 and finally the Skyway opened to the public on 30 May 2015.
However, its story is much longer as it dates back to the 1930s. It was at that time that Count Dino Lora Totino explored Aosta Valley to take on high-altitude trails. During his adventures he got the visionary idea to connect Italy and France thanks to a cableway between Courmayeur and Chamonix.
Works began in 1941 but the construction of the first section from La Palud (Courmayeur, 1,370 m) to Mont Fréty (2,173 m) was interrupted due to the Second World. War. The activity was resumed in 1946 and finally the Monte Bianco cableways were opened to the public in 1947.
Ascent, stations and what to do in each one
Skyway Monte Bianco was inaugurated in 2015 and today it includes 3 stations:
- Courmayeur/The Valley – 1,300 m
- Pavillon/The Mountain – 2,173 m
- Punta Helbronner/The Sky – 3,466 m
The full journey to Punta Helbronner takes 20 minutes as each cableway ride lasts roughly 10 minutes. Cabins have a maximum capacity of 80 passengers in the first section and 75 passengers in the second one.
1. Courmayeur/The Valley station
It is the starting point of the ascent, situated at 1,300 m of altitude.
Inside the modern building there are a café, a checkroom and the ticket office. Around it there are outdoor and indoor parking areas both for cars and buses.
2. Pavillon/The Mountain station
A panoramic terrace awaits you and it offers you breathtaking views over Mont Blanc and Val Veny. A café, a restaurant, spaces for private events and a boutique for souvenirs and gifts are located inside the station.
Then there are two other places of interest. The first is the Cave Mont Blanc, a high-altitude experimental making cellar. The second one is Hangar 2173, a museum which is housed in the old station and tells you more about the history of the cableway. There it is also possible to board the old cabin to get a glimpse of this engineering masterpiece.
Once outside, a visit of the Botanical Garden during summertime is highly recommended. It houses 900 plant species from all over the world. In its surroundings there are a children play area and the starting point of the trails headed to Rifugio Torino and Belvedere della Brenva. Both paths are suitable for experienced hikers.
3. Punta Helbronner/The Sky station
This is the final destination of your journey. Here, at an altitude of 3,466 m, you can almost touch the mountains around you and the sky over you.
The name Punta Helbronner takes after the mountaineer and engineer Paul Helbronner, who in the early 1900s pioneered cartography on the French Alps including the Mont Blanc. The circular terrace offers a 360-degree view over the Mont Blanc (4,810 m) and other peaks such as the Aiguille du Midi, the Dente del Gigante, the Mont Maudit and the Aiguille Blanche.
In summer season and when weather conditions are good, you can get on the Panoramic Mont Blanc cableway which links Punta Helbronner with Aiguille du Midi and it crosses the natural border between Italy and France.
At Punta Helbronner/The Sky station there are the Crystal Hall showcasing all the beauty of the mountains around, the Panoramic Bistrot, the Mont Blanc Hall and the Sky Vertigo. Then, it is also possible to take the lift to Rifugio Torino, built in the early 1950s at an altitude of 3,375 metres.
Skyway Monte Bianco cableways: tips for the visit and online tickets
I had a wonderful day, clear skies gave me the chance to enjoy the Mont Blanc massif in all its beauty. Here you find some information based on my personal experience which I hope will make your visit as unforgettable as mine.
Check weather forecasts in advance
At high elevations weather conditions may change quickly.
In this case I followed the advice given to me by local inhabitants so I decided to ascend early in the morning, around 9-9:30 am. Clouds usually tend to appear from lunchtime onward and this is what happened that day as well, especially around Punta Helbronner.
Due to the altitude, even in summer temperatures may drop to zero or lower and do not forget the wind, specially at Punta Helbronner.
So appropriate and warm clothes as well as sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended.
At high quotes there is less oxygen in the air we breathe. Therefore, as soon as you get off from the cabin the suggestion is to take your time to let your body get used to the new conditions.
The glacier is accessible through waymarked trails departing from Punta Helbronner and Rifugio Turino. These high-mountain itineraries cross crevasses so they require adequate equipment and preparation.
Besides that, you may considered being accompanied by a mountain guide.
Buy your tickets online
This is a good option to avoid the queue at the entrance, especially during peak season. Indeed, in this way you can go directly to the turnstile and scan your smartphone ticket.
The day-ticket includes the full ascent to the top (Punta Helbronner) and back to Entrèves (Courmayeur). You can also get off and on at the intermediate station (Pavillon/The Mountain) but only once.
All information concerning opening times, prices and discounts as well as online tickets purchase are available on Skyway Monte Bianco website.