Driving can be a flexible way of travelling to many French ski resorts in the Alps. Throughout France, ski resorts can easily be reached by car in less than 10 hours from Calais. Here are our top 10 best ski resorts in the Alps for self-drive ski holidays.
Driving to the Alps may not be the fastest way of reaching your destination but it is a practical and budget-friendly solution that many skiers opt for the season after season. Gone are the days of weighing your luggage at the airport and hoping that your ski boots don’t push the scales over the dreaded 20kg – when driving, you can pack your car as full as you like and then set off with ease. Make sure you take the appropriate measures when you travel through France. All distances mentioned below are from Calais.
Châtel is one of the few alpine ski resorts that have remained completely unspoilt. It is a charming traditional village of authentic mountain chalets. Whatever you choose to do here, in Châtel you’ll find everything the perfect village resort has to offer. A lively village centre, perfectly preserved mountain architecture, skiing in the vast unspoiled spaces of the Portes du Soleil, with little side routes here and there that you can follow on foot, on snowshoes or on skis. Here, the atmosphere is a tempting mixture of a tranquil way of life, friendliness and fun!
821km / 8 hours 30mins
Morzine is the most northerly of the French alpine winter ski holiday resorts. Thanks to a unique microclimate, the ski area benefits from much higher average snowfall levels than other winter destinations in the French Alps. Consequently, Morzine boasts fantastic snow conditions to rival those of any ski resort in the Alps. Simply put Morzine offers on-piste and/or centrally-located winter accommodation at the heart of Europe’s largest ski & snowboard area. Properties include high-quality catered chalets, self-catered chalets & apartments and a French hotel.
881km / 9 hours
Avoriaz, located in the heart of the Les Portes du Soleil ski area, offers plenty of skiing in a unique and exotic surrounding. Avoriaz is famous for its wood-clad buildings in award-winning architectural style and high altitude ski-in ski-out accommodation. Perfect for a choice for all levels of skier, you can easily explore the vast area with well-connected lifts and bus network. A huge benefit is that it is completely pedestrianised and is the only car-free resort in Europe. Don’t worry there is still fantastic parking with free shuttles to your on-piste accommodation.
885km / 9 hours
The largest of five French resorts in the Grand Massif ski area, Flaine offers family-friendly convenience, with pretty tree-lined runs and traditional villages just a few minutes away. Flaine’s a purpose-built resort with some of the best snow in Europe. Having been purpose-built is a big advantage as many accommodations boats ski-in/ski-out convenience. The 265km ski area suits all abilities from beginner to expert and with different levels of slope lead back to the same hubs, so it’s a great choice for mixed-ability groups.
882km / 8 hours 30-min
The superb ski area of La Plagne is a well connected and a part of the larger Paradiski extensive ski area with a glacier, plenty of tree-lined runs and a good choice of mountain restaurants for lunch. The well-designed resort comprises some ten villages, each with its own character and infrastructure. Plagne 1800 has all the individual wooden chalets and along with the aptly named Belle Plagne is the most scenic, whilst Plagne Soleil is ideally situated in a sunny bowl and offers easy ski-in/ski-out accommodation. Plagne Centre provides quick and easy access to the slopes and is the focal point for shops and apres ski.
924km / 9 hours 30-min
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe. It also belongs to the largest lift-linked ski area in the world: the 3 Vallées. The ski area is 99% located above 2,000 metres and good snow conditions are almost guaranteed November to May. The Val Thorens local ski area offers 150 kilometres of slopes – 78 pistes, you will find something for every ability. The resort is walkable and car-free: you put your car in the car park when you get there and forget it until you leave, but there’s a free shuttle bus circulating in the resort every 30 minutes.
927km / 9 hours 40-min
Les Deux Alpes
Les Deux Alpes is a vibrant resort on the doorstep of the Ecrins National park and not far from the town of Grenoble. The twin villages of Les Deux Alpes are linked by a 2km long strip of bars and clubs which give the resort its nickname, ‘Las Vegas of the Alps’. The villages are certainly not as tacky as their nickname suggests and still retain much of their charm. The nightlife does, however, fulfil its reputation vying for the title of best parties in the Alps. The Les2Alpes ski area is also superb and with a maximum altitude of 3600m and the largest skiable glacier in Europe, it is also an excellent snow-sure destination.
933km / 9 hours
Also known as l’Isle au Soleil thanks to an average of 300 days’ sunshine per year, Alpe d’Huez perches on a south-facing plateau high above the clouds with incredible far-reaching views. Skiers of all levels are catered for, from the good selection of gentle runs for beginners all the way up to La Sarenne, the legendary 16km black run. The high altitude resort is blessed with large amounts of natural snow and with the help of snowmaking facilities on most of its pistes snow coverage can be guaranteed throughout the season.
930km / 9 hours
Tignes – 948km
Tignes is a high altitude resort in the heart of the ski country of France (part of the Espace Killy ski area alongside Val d’Isere) and is one of the best all-year-round resorts in the Alps. Every style and ability of skier are catered for at Tignes with 300km of pistes runs and an unrivalled amount of off-piste easily accessible from the resorts modern lift network. Off the slopes, Tignes may appear somewhat drab and ugly. However, it offers everything a skier needs with restaurants and bars aplenty. Be warned though, prices in Tignes are more central London than rural France!
986km / 10 hours
Les Arcs may be a bit further to drive but it’s worth it! Set in the trees overlooking the Vanoise national park, Les Arcs is a wonderful resort if you are looking for a calmer skiing experience. The skiing is excellent with a wide variety of terrain to suit all tastes and abilities. Les Arc has a reputation for being a friendly resort and there is a very relaxed atmosphere throughout. The centres have largely been designed with skier convenience in mind and all are ski in ski out, getting between resorts is easy by bus, ski or foot. None of the villages has a particularly lively nightlife although there are, of course, some great bars dotted around.
990km / 10 hours