The Swiss Alps may receive a lot of the winter limelight, but don’t overlook a ski holiday by rail to the Italian Alps.
High-speed and direct trains serve various rail hubs close to the slopes, and there are seemingly endless options for onward travel on regional trains or buses. Skip baggage fees and airport crowds, and relax on a gorgeous journey into Italy’s stunning mountains.
Taking the train to Oulx-Cesana-Claviere-Sestriere
Most travellers who disembark here are bound for the slopes. It’s any easy journey to Oulx, in the Susa Valley, as it’s the second stop in Italy on the Paris - Turin/Milan TGV.
Three TGV trains speed every day from Paris to Oulx in just under 5 hours, stopping at Lyon St Exupéry (for Lyon Airport) and Chambéry along the way. There are local trains, normally hourly, from Turin to Bardonecchia, which also stop at Oulx. The journey by train from London to Oulx, via Paris, only takes about 9 hours.
Often wonderfully uncrowded, the Via Lattea (“Milky Way”) ski area extends into nearby France. The close proximity of the station makes for a short bus journey to a range of slopes: Cesana-Sansicario Claviere Montgenevra, Pragelato, Sauze D’Oulx, Serre Chevalier Vallee and Sestriere.
Bardonecchia by rail
Bardonecchia is traditionally one of Italy’s quieter skiing spots, often overshadowed by the nearby Milky Way slopes. But its quiet demeanor makes great place to spend a ski holiday.
The resort has 100km of mainly intermediate pistes that are particularly quiet in the mornings. The nearby Milky Way slopes are easily accessible in under an hour of travel meaning it would be easy to spend a week here exploring other nearby resorts.
Bardonecchia is easy to reach by train. The fastest train travelling from Paris to the resort takes less than 5 hours and has no changes. Combine the high speed TGV train with a Eurostar, and it’s possible to travel there from London in one day.
Trains to the slopes of Livigno
The lively ski resort Livigno is well situated for a train journey, as transfers from Italy’s airports are difficult. Livigno boasts an excellent range of modern ski lifts, stunning views and reliable snow, and is widely regarded as offering good value for those who make the journey.
Livigno is served by the station of Tirano (2 hours away by bus). The best train route is to travel to Milan on high speed trains, and catch a regional train to Tirano. Trains between Milan and Tirano take around two and a half hours.
Tirano itself is also an excellent destination in its own right, with a rail link to Switzerland via the famous Bernina Railway. Tucked away in the Adda Valley close to the Swiss border, Tirano is unremarkable except for one thing: trains! They even run through Tirano’s busy streets.
Take the train to Cortina d'Ampezzo
Calalzo di Cadore is the closest train station for Cortina d'Ampezzo, one of Italy’s most famous and glamorous ski resorts. Calalzo di Cadore is a 2 hours and 30 mins journey from Venice by train and from there a 35km bus transfer for Cortina d’Ampezzo.
The resort combines wonderful scenery in its Dolomite setting with glitz and glamour, and many visitors choose to combine skiing with some high-end shopping.
Cortina d’Ampezzo may be flashy, but the skiing also happens to be excellent. There’s a great range of slopes to suit all skill levels and with so much to do in the town, you often won’t be troubled by crowds and queues.
Looking for inspiration?
5 day trips from Paris by train
There's no lack of inspiring locations just a short train ride away from Paris, so if you fancy a break from the city why not plan a day trip (or two).