Never thought of driving yourself to the Alps? This year might be the perfect time to try a self-drive ski holiday where you can enjoy your personal space on the way to the alps, as well as a whole host of other benefits:
- Avoid crowded airports and luggage restrictions - take as much stuff as you can fit in the car (ensuring passenger comfort first and foremost).
- Stopover in a supermarket at the base of the mountain and save yourself a lot of money if you’ve booked a self-catered chalet or apartment.
- Help the environment by not flying and reducing your carbon footprint.
- Extend your trip with a stopover in France such as a trip to Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy and get even more from your holiday.
- Take a day trip to a nearby resort if it’s included in your lift pass.
- Don’t forget to take full advantage of your duty-free allowance when returning via Calais, you could pick up some bargain wine.
Just because you’ve opted to drive doesn't mean you have to miss out on a catered chalet or hotel experience if that's what you’re after, however, if you are looking for even more privacy you can also book a self-catered apartment/chalet.
Some of the best resorts in France are less than 9 hours away from Calais but please keep in mind the 45-minute Eurotunnel crossing or two-hour ferry plus your drive to Folkstone when planning your trip. Once you’re in France, most of the journey is on an excellent network of well-serviced motorways.
We’ve picked out our top 5 resorts for a self-drive ski holiday to give you some inspiration:
Alpe d’Huez - 8 hours 30 minutes drive from Calais
With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, Alpe D'Huez is a firm favourite among the fair-weather skiers at Iglu. The slopes offer something for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, including the longest black run (16 km) in Europe - La Sarenne.
If the 249km of piste isn’t quite enough for you, Les Deux Alpes is a short 45-minute drive away so days skiing in a new resort would be very manageable.
Parking is also no headache in Alpe d’Huez with free car parking spaces available as well as pre-bookable car parks that are excellent value for money, we’d certainly recommend pre-booking just to give yourself that extra peace of mind.
Chamonix - 7 hours 45 minutes drive from Calais
A bustling resort with 9,000 residents, it is also France's oldest ski resort. The slopes are more suited to more experienced skiers as the ski area is more challenging than most French resorts. The snow coverage is constantly good, helped by the fact that over 85% of the pistes are above 2,000 meters.
The Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass covers the whole of Chamonix valley ski area and also a day in Verbier, Courmayeur and Megève, so if it’s day trips you’re after a ski holiday to Chamonix could be the perfect place for you.
There is no free parking in Chamonix, but there is plenty of indoor and outdoor parking that you can pre-book should your accommodation not have parking onsite.
Avoriaz - 8 hours 10 minutes drive from Calais
Perched on the top of a dramatic clifftop gives Avoriaz the feeling of being a Bond villains lair. But the high altitude resort and north-facing slopes result in consistently excellent snow conditions.
Connected to Morzine, Les Gets and more as part of the Portes du Soleil ski area, there is over 650km of pistes for you to explore. Don't miss out on the famous 'Swiss Wall' a thrilling mogul-filled run for the experts.
Avoriaz is a car-free resort but there is a pre-bookable car park just outside the village, snow taxis are available but it is also a short walk to most accommodation.
La Plagne - 8 hours 45 minutes drive from Calais
La Plagne consists of several villages each with their own distinct feel and types of accommodation. The village of La Plagne Soleil is perfect if you’re looking for a ski-in / ski-out option whereas La Plagne 1800 has more traditional chalets.
All of the villages are part of the Paradiski area which has over 450kms of slopes for you to explore, including the Bellecote glacier so early and late season skiing is still an option.
Sadly there is no free car parking but there is plenty of parking that can be pre-booked, just make sure you book a spot that is conveniently close to your accommodation otherwise you could be in for a long walk. The La Plagne webpage has loads of information to help with booking your parking.
Morzine - 8 hours 30 minutes drive from Calais
This cute village truly is a family-friendly resort with the added benefit of access to over 600km of pistes to explore. The huge expanse of slopes available makes it perfect for skiers or snowboarders across all ages and skill levels.
If you are driving for a peak date holiday (Christmas, New Year, half terms or Easter) we’d recommend booking a spot in the centre of the resort. If you are travelling during a quieter time there is a free car park which also has a free shuttle service into the resort.
If you have any further questions about a self-drive holiday our Ski Experts are on hand to help you.