11 November 2010

Skiing holidays in Europe by car and train

Self-drive Winter sports holidays and trains to the Alps

The summer is but a distant memory, school half-term holidays are over, so cheer yourselves up by thinking about a winter sports holiday. We don't do flights, so just how easy is it to drive to the ski resorts of Europe and are they accessible by train? Here is a summary of the options, all available through the Drive-Alive website.

DRIVING TO THE SKI RESORTS
From the Channel Ports many major ski resorts are within a day's drive. Even better, if you have a couple of days to get there, catching a ferry in the morning allows for an easy two days' drive, arriving on the afternoon of the second day. Break your journey in one of our en-route hotels.

As a guide here are driving times to some of the resorts, assuming departure from Calais and not allowing for stops:
The Dover to Calais ferry crossing is always a good option if you are in the South-East, and you can use P&O Ferries, SeaFrance or the Eurotunnel shuttle (M20 near Folkestone to Calais Coquelles). Dover Dunkirk with DFDS Seaways (formerly Norfolk Line) is often cheaper, if a little longer.

Longer crossings are offered by LD Lines from Newhaven to Dieppe and Portsmouth to Le Havre, whilst Brittany Ferries sails from Portsmouth to Caen.

These last two crossings offer overnight sailings, so it's perfectly possible to get a good night's sleep on board and arrive at your resort in time for an evening meal. Driving times from Le Havre, Caen and Dieppe are not much longer than from Calais if you are going to the Western Alps, but to get a more accurate idea visit our route planner, where you will also see en-route hotels displayed in case you prefer an overnight stop.

If you live in Scotland or the North of England you can take overnight ferries from Newcastle to Amsterdam with DFDS Seaways, or from Hull to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge with P&O Ferries. Driving times are a little longer from these ports, so check out the route planner.

BY TRAIN TO THE ALPS
The very popular Eurostar Snow Train running from 19 December 2010 to 16 April 2011 whisks you from St Pancras International or Ashford International direct to the valley towns of Moƻtiers, Aime or Bourg-St-Maurice. This is a great way to get to the French Alps, so make sure you book soon. From early January until April there is an overnight train leaving St Pancras at 20.31 on Friday evenings and delivering you to the mountains in time for breakfast and a full day's skiing.
Click for the Snow Train timetables and booking.

From Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice there are various ways to get to your resort - taxis, shuttle buses - or you can hire a car. Check out car hire in Bourg St Maurice and car hire in Moutiers.

Many other ski resorts in Europe are accessible by train, especially now that the various European train companies are getting their act together in terms of integrated booking. To see what is possible visit the Eurostar website and try some different destinations. Rail Europe is another good website for pan-European train bookings.

IN THE RESORT
On our ski information website you'll find statistics, information and piste maps for around 80 of the most popular ski resorts in Europe. You can book self-catering apartments and chalets at extremely competitive prices as well as many hotels in ski resorts throughout Europe. Each resort page has a direct booking link to all the properties in the resort.

Brittany Ferries skiing holidays offer some great packages which include ferry crossings and accommodation.

You can also pre-book ski equipment at anything up to 40% off, not only saving money but saving time by having your equipment ready and waiting when you arrive.

So forget the horrors of budget airline travel and make the journey part of your holiday. Take as much luggage and ski equipment as you can fit in. And by the time you've allowed for getting to the airport, for the often lengthy transfer to your destination, and the time spent actually in the airports (not to mention potential delays), you might find it's almost as quick to drive or take the
train!

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