With its location set deep in the Tarrentaise Valley and almost bang on the border of Italy and the Vanoise National Park, travelling to Val d’Isere leaves you with a longer transfer than most other French ski resorts. It is well worth it though, as the climb up from the valley floor is dramatic and when you arrive you’ll find yourself in a world class ski resort.
Although the journey can be long, Val d’Isere has a number of airports to choose from, and also benefits from the Eurostar link to Bourg St Maurice. With this range of travel options, you’ll find that travelling to Val d’Isere can be a long journey, but is actually a fairly easy one.
Champery Airport - 145km / approx 2 hours
Private transfers are available from Ski Lifts or car hire is available
Alternatively Altibus operate a regular coach transfer to Val d’Isere
Geneva Airport - 225 km / approx 3 hours
Altibus has a regular schedule of coaches to Val d’Isere
Alternatively or you can drive in a hire car or take a private or shared transfers in smaller vehicles with Ski Lifts
Lyon Airport - 220 km / approx 3 hours
Other than hiring a car and driving to Val d’Isere you can take a private transfer with Ski Lifts (as above)
You can also take one of the regular Altibus coach transfers
Grenoble Airport 210 km / approx 3 hours
Ski Lifts (as above) have private transfers and of course, there hire car option.
Autocar Monet operate a regular coach for travel to Val d’Isere autocar-monet.fr, but you will need to call and book in advance on +33 4 76 93 40 00
If you require a hire car for your ski holiday, there are a number of fantastic car rental companies based in Europe.
Trains arrive daily at Bourg Saint Maurice Station, which is only 30km away, making train travel to Val d’Isere an attractive option. From Bourg St Maurice station, Cars Martin (www.cars-martin.fr) provide transfers to Val d’Isere that tie in with the train times. If you are on a self-catering ski holiday, Bourg St Maurice isn’t a bad place to be as you can stock up on your food provisions for the week in one of the supermarkets (there’s a large Super U there) which will save you a small fortune.
There is a direct ski train to Bourg St Maurice that leaves St Pancras every Saturday morning, arriving into Bourg St Maurice that evening, and another overnight ski train that leaves every Friday night and arrives at about 10am the following morning. For the mile-hunger skiers among us the overnight can be a good option as although you’re bound to lose some sleep, you’ll gain an extra half day on the slopes each side of the week. The ski train is operated by Eurostar (www.eurostar.com).
There are also daily services that require a change in Paris from Gare du Nord to Paris Austerlitz station. The domestic TGV will then takes you to Bourg St Maurice (ww.raileurope.com), again with an evening arrival time. This option makes it not only easy, but also flexible to use the train to travel to Val d’Isere.
A drive to Val d’Isere can easily be done in a day, but it is a long drive. The drive typically takes 9-10 hours, although it can be quicker (or longer for that matter!). The scenery as you climb up the valley from Bourg St Maurice is dramatic, but the drama of the scenery can at times be matched by the drama of slow moving and heavy traffic.
At weekends and during the peak holiday season, particularly when the weather is poor, it can be very slow going getting up to the resort, so make sure you leave yourself enough time and come adequately prepared with snow chains. When the weather closes in and the snow is heavy police are often out checking that cars have chains or snow tyres, and won’t allow you to proceed if you’re without either.
Arriving into Val d’Isere you’ll find two free, large outdoor car parks. One at La Daille just before the main village and another after passing through main village at Le Laisinant. If you don’t fancy the risk of digging your car out at the end of the week (well worth it for a few days of powder, mind), there are several indoor car parks that typically cost €20 day. These can be pre-booked at www.parkingvaldisere.com/
For directions on how to drive to Val d’Isere from the UK, we suggest you use the excellent service at www.viamichelin.com, which will even estimate your petrol costs.