In the Alps... Easy to reach without flying!

If you fancy a skiing holiday without the pain of the plane, no problem.  It's easy to reach French ski resorts such as Les Arcs, Courchevel, Méribel or Val d'Isère by the special Eurostar ski train which runs from London St Pancras station every Saturday during the ski season.  In fact, you'd be crazy to fly, the direct train journey is so much less hassle and so much more fun than 7 hours of check-ins, airports, flights & the 3-hour nightmare bus transfer from the airport.  The train journey becomes part of your holiday, with a great atmosphere on board.  This page explains how to plan and book a ski holiday by train not plane, either independently or as a package with ski holiday companies who offer travel by train.

Choose your ski holiday destination...

  Skiing in the French Alps by train   

The easiest option, with direct ski trains & package ski holidays with train travel included.

  Skiing in Switzerland by train

If you go independently, the Swiss ski resorts can be reached from the UK using scheduled trains.

  Skiing in Austria by train

Travel to Austrian ski resorts using scheduled trains.

  Skiing in Andorra by train

Travel to Andorra's ski resorts by scheduled trains + bus.

Sponsored links...


Skiing in the French Alps by train

 

French Alps ski train connections...

Map of bus transfers to ski resorts from train stations served by Eurostar ski train

Dark blue line = route served by Eurostar Ski Train

Light blue lines = bus or taxi transfers from rail stations.

 
   A beginner's ski slope at Les Arcs 1800 in the French Alps.  Easy to reach on Rail Europe's Snow Train or the Eurostar Ski Train

A beginner's ski slope, the Chantel at Arc 1800 (Les Arcs), with white snow under blue skies.  No flights required...

 

Start here...

Here is a step-by-step guide to skiing by train in the French Alps, either independently or with a package ski holiday that includes train travel:

Step 1: Choose your ski resort

Step 2: Choose how to get there

 ▶ Eurostar Ski Train times, fares, information from £149 return

 ▶ Scheduled daily trains

Step 3:  Book your travel & accommodation

Step 4:  Arrange transfers from the station to & from the resort

Step 5: Arrange boot, ski & pole or snowboard hire, & ski lift pass

Step 6: Don't forget  winter sports travel insurance

Step 1:  Choose your ski resort...

If you want the simplest way to ski by train from the UK, start with any ski resort in the French Alps shown on the map opposite, including Les Arcs, La Plagne, Val d'Isère, Méribel, Courchevel & Les Menuires (Trois Vallées).  These French ski resorts are the easiest to reach from the UK by train as the special Eurostar Ski Train runs from London to this area every week in the skiing season and many ski holiday packages incorporate train travel rather than flights to these resorts.

Les Arcs is the easiest to reach of all, as it's linked by a 10-minute funicular (mountain railway) ride up the mountain from Bourg St Maurice railway station at the foot of the mountain.  It's a modern resort, good for beginners, and billed as 'home of the snowboard'.  Courchevel is the traditional haunt of the Parisian jet set, up-market but not for those on a tight budget!  Val d'Isère is a well-known resort higher up the valley, better for intermediate and advanced skiers than beginners.  Méribel is a big ski city with many British visitors.  La Plagne is a series of picturesque villages and tree-lined pistes.  There's a helpful summary of the pros & cons of each French ski resort on the Eurostar website.

The ever-popular Chamonix can also be reached by train, indeed it has its own station on a scenic narrow-gauge line between St Gervais & Martigny, but it's not served by the Eurostar Ski Train so you'll either need to use scheduled trains or the new Eurostar & Lyria Ski Train from London to Switzerland every winter Saturday which has a connection at Martigny for Chamonix-Mont Blanc.

Official resort websites, with piste maps...

Chamonix  www.chamonix.com   Les Arcs  www.lesarcs.com   Val Thorens  www.valthorens.com
Courchevel  www.courchevel.com   Les Menuires  www.lesmenuires.com   Val d'Isère  www.valdisere.com
La Plagne  www.la-plagne.com   Méribel  www.meribel.net      
La Tania  www.latania.com   Tignes  www.tignes.net      

Step 2:  Choose how to get there...

There are four key ways to reach the French Alps by train:

Step 3:  Book your train travel & accommodation.

Either (a)  Go independently, buying train tickets & accommodation separately...

...or (b)  Book a ski holiday package which includes travel by Eurostar Ski Train...

This can be a cheaper option.  Most 7-day or 14-day holidays start on a Saturday, leaving on a Saturday one or two weeks later.  To avoid wasting valuable time with supposedly 'expert' ski holiday companies who don't offer sensible train travel to the French Alps, just flights, flights & more flights, here are the main holiday operators who do offer travel by Eurostar Ski Train as part of their ski holiday packages:

...Jump to step 4, arranging transfers


The Eurostar direct Ski Trains:  www.eurostar.com/ski, from £149 return

 London ► French Alps  (Eurostar Ski Trains)       French Alps ► London (Eurostar Ski Trains) 

Day train:  Runs every Saturday 20 December 2014 to 4 April 2015

Night train:  Runs every Friday 19 December 2014 to 3 April 2015

 Day train: Runs every Saturday 27 December 2014 to 11 April 2015.

 Night train: Runs every Saturday 27 December 2014 to 11 April 2015

 

Day train

Night train

 

Day train

Night train

 London St Pancras depart

09:39

19:39

 Bourg St Maurice depart

09:34

22:15

 Ashford depart

10:25

20:25

 Aime la Plagne depart

*

*

 Moutiers arrive

18:14

05:46

 Moutiers depart

10:11

22:54

 Aime la Plagne arrive

18:34

06:04

 Ashford arrive

15:37

06:34

 Bourg St Maurice arrive

18:52

06:23

 London St Pancras arrive

16:13

07:16

Both 'day' and 'night' trains are normal Eurostar trains, with seats and bar car but no sleeping berths.

The Eurostar Ski Train at Bourg St Maurice...

The Eurostar at Bourg St Maurice.

 

Eurostar first class

Eurostar 1st class...

 

Eurostar second class

Eurostar 2nd class...

Scebery seen from the Eurostar Ski Train     The funicular up to Les arcs from Bourg St Maurice

Scenery...  The Eurostar passes lovely snowy scenery in the French Alps as it approaches Bourg St Maurice.  This is Landry.

 

Transfer to Les Arcs:  There is a funicular (mountain railway) from Bourg St Maurice up to Les Arcs, a 10 minute ride up the mountain.  The funicular station is right next to the mainline rail station at Bourg St Maurice.  Fare around €6.  There's a ski pass bureau & cash point at the funicular station.

Watch the video - overnight Eurostar to the Alps...

The overnight Eurostar gains you an extra day, although you don't get much sleep in non-reclining seats.  But it still gets a thumbs up from these skiers!  This video uses flash, so won't work on iPads or iPhones.


Step 4:  Transfers from station to ski resort...

If you book a package ski holiday this will probably include transfers from rail station to ski resort.  But if you're travelling independently, tickets for the Eurostar Ski Train don't include transfers.  For most resorts you can either take a bus (cheapest) or book a taxi (quicker, but expensive unless there's a group of you to share the cost). 

Resort: Station: Transfer options:

Courchevel

Moutiers

Buses link Moutiers with Courchevel (45 minutes, €10.60) every hour or two, www.transavoie.com.

Taxis are quicker, and cost around €60-€72 for 1-4 persons, reserve at www.taxijeanloup.com, www.meribeltaxis.com or www.alpes-savoie-taxis.com.

La Plagne

Aime

Buses run by www.autocars-berard.com link Aime with La Plagne, 30-45 minutes, €10.10.

For transfer by taxi, around €40, contact www.bouzon.eu.

La Tania

Moutiers

Buses run by www.transavoie.com link Moutiers with La Tania, 40 minutes, €10.60.

Taxis are quicker, costing around €50, reserve through www.taxijeanloup.com or www.alpes-savoie-taxis.com.

Les Menuires

Moutiers

Buses run by www.transavoie.com link Moutiers with Les Menuires in 45-50 minutes, fare €12.50.

Taxis are quicker, costing around €68-€75, reserve through www.taxijeanloup.com or www.alpes-savoie-taxis.com.

Les Arcs

Bourg St Maurice

Alight at Bourg St Maurice and walk back towards the rear of the train and over the footbridge to the funicular (mountain railway) station which is right next to the mainline station platforms.  Bourg St Maurice is at the bottom of the mountain on which Les Arcs ski resorts sit, and the funicular links Bourg St Maurice station with Arc 1600 every 20 minutes or so,  journey time about 10 minutes, fare around €6 one way or €11.50 return (but no need to pay if you have pre-purchased a Les Arcs ski pass as this covers the funicular).  Free shuttle buses ("navettes gratuites" in French) link the funicular station at Arc 1600 with Arc 1800 & Arc 2000.  If you're skiing at Les Arcs, 10 minutes up the hill by funicular from the railway station is so much easier than a cramped 4 hours transfer by bus from the airport!  There's an ATM if you need euros and a ski pass bureau at the funicular station.

Méribel

Moutiers

Buses link Moutiers with Méribel (40 minutes, €12.50) every hour or two, www.transavoie.com.

Taxis are quicker, costing around 48-52 euro, reserve through www.taxijeanloup.com, www.meribeltaxis.com or www.alpes-savoie-taxis.com.

Tignes

Bourg St Maurice

Walk towards the front of the train through the station building to the forecourt for bus or taxi transfers.

www.autocars-martin.com run to Tignes in around 60-70 minutes, fare €13.10.

Val d'Isère

Bourg St Maurice

Walk towards the front of the train through the station building to the forecourt for bus or taxi transfers.

www.autocars-martin.com run to Val d'Isère every hour or two, 1 hour journey time, €13.10.

A taxi takes 45 minutes and costs around €75-€80, try www.valdiseretaxi.com, www.taxis-bozzetto.com or www.altitude-espace-taxi.com.

Val Thorens

Moutiers

Buses run by www.transavoie.com link Moutiers with Val Thorens, 60-75 mins, €16.

Taxis are quicker, costing around €99, reserve through www.taxijeanloup.com or www.alpes-savoie-taxis.com.

Resorts linked to Albertville:

Albertville

Buses run by www.altibus.com link the station with surrounding resorts.

Resorts linked to Chambéry:

Chambéry

Buses run by www.transavoie.com link Chambéry with surrounding resorts.

Step 5:  Skis, ski poles, ski boot hire, lift passes...

Step 6:  Arrange Winter sports travel insurance...



Skiing in Switzerland by train...

There are many beautiful ski resorts in Switzerland, including favourites Gstaad, Zermatt, Grindelwald, St Moritz, Davos.  All of these have rail stations at the resort.  Package operators generally don't offer skiing holidays to Switzerland with train travel, only flights, so you'll need to buy train tickets and arrange accommodation separately.

Swiss ski resorts & how to get to them by train...

Direct Eurostar + Lyria TGV service to Swiss Alps from £179 return!   Watch the video

TGV-Lyria, the consortium of French and Swiss railways running Paris to Switzerland TGVs, introduced a weekly direct train from Lille with Eurostar connections from London every Saturday in 2012/13 and it ran on selected dates in winter 2013/14.  Now you can reach Zermatt without crossing Paris, on one easy train service.  In winter 2014/15 it will run on Monday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday every week starting in December, with a timetable probably similar to the 2013/14 one shown below.  Eurostar will make details available by the end of September.

 London ► Geneva, Brig, Zermatt 

   

 Zermatt, Brig ► London 

This is timetable which ran on selected dates in 2013/14

 This is the timetable that ran on selected dates in 2013/14

 (30 minute check-in)

Eurostar

 

Local train

 London St Pancras depart

06:57

 Zermatt depart

11:13

 Ashford depart

07:28

 Visp arrive

12:23

 Lille Europe arrive

09:26

 (coming from Zermatt, change at Visp)

TGV-Lyria

 (easy change of train at Lille)

TGV-Lyria

 Brig depart

12:45

 Lille Europe depart

10:02

 Visp depart

13:00

 Aigle arrive

14:58

 Martigny depart

13:42

 Martigny arrive

15:22

 Aigle depart

14:03

 Visp arrive

16:03

 Lille Europe arrive

19:04

 Brig arrive

16:14

  (change trains in Lille, 30 min check-in)

Eurostar

 (change at Visp for Zermatt)

Local train

 Lille Europe depart

20:30

 Visp depart

17:10

 Ashford arrive

20:35

 Zermatt arrive

18:13

 London St Pancras arrive

21:06

 

Connection to Chamonix-Mont Blanc:  Change at Martigny, check connecting times to Chamonix online at www.mont-blanc-express.com.

Fares & how to buy tickets:  Book at either www.eurostar.com/ski or www.loco2.com.  Fares from £179 return 2nd class, or £309 return 1st class including at-seat food and drink.  Eurostar.com allows you to book direct from 130 UK towns & cities.  At Loco2.com you can book through from any UK rail station.

Skis & snowboards go free:  Eurostar & Lyria won't charge for an extra item of luggage, for example a pair of skis or a snowboard.  And no baggage weight limits!

Accommodation & ski hire...

Tailor-made ski holidays by train to Switzerland

Watch the video...


Skiing in Austria by train...

There are many popular ski resorts in the Austrian Tyrol.  Package operators generally don't offer skiing holidays to Austria with train travel, only flights, so you'll need to buy train tickets and arrange accommodation separately.

Tailor-made ski holidays by train to Austria


Skiing in Andorra by train...

Andorra has plenty of good ski resorts, and it's easy to get to by Eurostar to Paris, overnight couchette train from Paris to l'Hospitalet près l'Andorre then a scenic bus ride over the mountains.  No package operators offer skiing holidays to Andorra with train travel, so you'll need to go independently, booking train tickets and ski resort accommodation separately.


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