London to the French Alps by ski train

London to the French Alps by ski train

If you fancy sloping off to the Alps, the ski train is the smart alternative to flying. Reaching France's ski resorts by rail can be less stressful, more fun and not too heavy on your pocket.

Thanks to seasonal services, seamless transfers and no excess baggage fees, taking the train to go skiing can now work out faster, and even cheaper, than flying. Choose a ski train direct from London to the Rhône-Alpes, or build your own itinerary with a mix of high-speed or overnight trains.

If you've already got a destination in mind but don't know which station to head for, you can use our tool to find the nearest train station to the most popular ski resorts:


Or for inspiration, take a look at our pick of the best ways to travel from London to the French Alps by train.

Eurostar ski train: London to the Alps by direct day train

Eurostar direct ski route

Eurostar ski train route map, all rights reserved.

The direct ski service operated by Eurostar is by far the simplest way of getting to resorts in the Tarentaise region of the Alps, putting the delights of La Plagne, Courchevel, Tignes, Les Arcs and Meribel within easy reach. 

The once-weekly train travels from London and Ashford to Moûtiers, Aime la Plagne and Bourg Saint Maurice on Saturday mornings from December to April. Booking for the direct ski train from London to the Alps is now open for the entire 2017/18 season (see our blog post for dates).

The daytime service is excellent. It's a relaxing, comfortable and scenic journey which is often quicker than taking a flight when you factor in time spent travelling to and from airports plus security and check-in. However, this makes it very popular, particularly over Christmas and half-term. Tickets sell out fast so it pays to be quick off the mark.

At a glance

Route: London - Ashford - Moûtiers - Aime la Plagne (outbound only) and Bourg Saint Maurice
Price: From £149 return Standard Class, or £229 return Standard Premier
Duration: Around 8 hours plus transfers

Frequency: Outbound -  Saturday mornings from mid-December - April. Inbound - Saturday mornings from Bourg Saint Maurice or from Moûtiers. 


Eurostar ski train: London to the Alps by direct night train

Eurostar’s overnight ski train is a great way to maximise time on the slopes and make the most of expensive ski passes. Like its daytime equivalent, the night train calls at Aime la Plagne, Moûtiers and Bourg St Maurice. However, the overnight schedule allows for an extra day of skiing on both Saturdays, at either end of a week away, which are typically much quieter due to the change-over.

As above, booking for the direct ski train from London to the Alps is now open for the entire 2017/18 season (see our blog post for dates).

The overnight train represents great value, but isn’t for everyone. Although it’s ceased to be “party train” (alcohol is no longer permitted on board), there are no couchettes or sleeping berths on board, just normal seats so you may sacrifice comfort for the sake of more time on the slopes.

At a glance

Route: London - Ashford - Moûtiers - Aime la Plagne (outbound only) and Bourg Saint Maurice
Price: From £149 return Standard Class, or £229 return Standard Premier/First Class
Frequency: Outbound - Friday evenings from mid-December to March 2018. Inbound - Saturday evenings from Bourg Saint Maurice or Moûtiers.
Duration: 9 hours plus transfers

Note: Eurostar direct ski trains don’t stop at Aime-la-Plagne on the way back. However, tickets cost the same to all three destinations, so we recommend buying a return ticket to either Bourg-Saint-Maurice or Moûtiers and hopping off at Aime on the outbound. You’ll need to board from one of the other stations on the way back - both stations are in the Tarentaise Valley close to Aime la Plagne and can be easily accessed by road.


London to the Alps via the new London to Lyon direct Eurostar

TGV on a bridge, Lyon

SNCF train by Enzo Jiang reproduced with thanks under a Creative Commons 2.0 NC ND licence.

The direct Eurostar from London to Lyon opens up new opportunities to reach the Alps by rail. The train bypasses Paris, allowing you to travel straight from London or Ashford to Lyon, and then change platforms for an onward train to your favourite ski resort.

The direct London-Lyon train takes just 4 hrs 45 mins and runs all year round, typically three times per week. During winter it only operates on Saturdays.  

From Lyon there’s a choice of onward connections depending on your ultimate destination, including: Annecy for Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz; Grenoble for Alpe d’Huez; Sallanches for Megeve; St Gervais les Bains for St Gervais and Les Contamines; and Modane for Val Cenis. The shortest of these is 7 hours 30 minutes, from London to Grenoble, via Lyon plus transfer to Alpe d'Huez.

Use our tool to find the best European ski resorts by train to work out the best route for you.

At a glance

Route: London-Ashford-Lyon then connecting train, usually a regional express train (TER)
Price: From £89 return Standard Class, or £179 Standard Premier/First Class to Lyon plus variable fare for connecting train
Frequency: Outbound - every Saturday from 4 November 2017 until 31 March 2017. Inbound - every Saturday evening.
Duration: 4 hrs, 45 mins from London - Lyon, then an hour or more to your chosen destination.

*On the return journey passengers are required to alight from the Eurostar at Lille, for border controls.


London to the Alps via Paris, daytime trains

For a fast and frequent journey, taking a Eurostar from London to Paris and hopping on a TGV to the Alps offers the greatest choice. Trains don’t generally run all the way to ski destinations like Bourg St Maurice, Moûtiers etc. during the day, but will take you as far as Annecy, Chambery or Lyon. From there it’s easy to change trains onto a regional train or local bus to your destination.

Since these trains run several times a day, everyday, it’s often possible to find cheaper tickets on these services than the popular overnight trains. If you can be flexible, choosing an early morning departure or avoiding Thursday - Sunday travel are good ways to save money on booking.     

At a glance

Route: London-Paris-Bourg St Maurice
Price: From £63 one-way in Standard Class, or £154 one-way in Standard Premier/First Class.
Duration: Approx. 9 hours, plus transfers.


London to the Alps via Paris, overnight trains

Many overnight sleeper trains in France were withdrawn by the French rail operator (SNCF) on 1 October 2016. This includes the Intercités de Nuit to Sallanches and Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the Alps. High-speed TGV services will run overnight to these destinations. 


Main image and thumbnail: Winter railroad © backmiya / iStock

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