About Getting to Val Thorens
If you're not taking a package holiday, where travel to your resort is already catered for, then you might want to consider how you're going to get to France and Val Thorens.
What are the options to consider if you’re coming to Val Thorens in either winter or summer? Should you fly or self-drive? What about bringing skis or bikes with you? What’s the quickest way to get here? Or the cheapest?
Best way to get here
If you are travelling from outside of France, then flying into Chambery is likely to be the quickest way to get to Val Thorens. Val Thorens is then a transfer (taxi or minibus) or a bus ride away from the airport, unless you're driving yourself.
Chambery is the closest airport to Val Thorens (1h 40 mins) and has a good choice of airlines operating in winter only. The next closest airports are Lyon or Grenoble with a transfer time to Val Thorens of around 2 hours 20 minutes. Lyon is open year round with good international connections and Grenoble is only used in winter. If you're looking for summer flights, Lyon or Geneva are your best options.
You can also get the fast TGV trains to Paris or Lyon and then onto Moutiers or you can take one of the dedicated 'snow trains' which run throughout the ski season (read more about trains below).
In winter, there are four main airports you could fly into (see below) whilst in summer, flights only operate to Geneva and Lyon.
|Chambery Airport||Lyon Airport||Grenoble Airport||Geneva Airport|
|Time||1h 40||2h 20||2h 20||2h 30|
|Distance & Maps||122 km||199 km||195 km||201 km|
These times are only approximate and can be affected by snow, adverse weather or lots of traffic during peak holiday times.
Chambery Airport is where most Tour Operators fly into in winter but you can get independent flights here too. Once you’ve arrived, we recommend you take a private transfer to resort as this is easier and faster than taking lots of connections on public transport.
Grenoble airport is also used by a number of winter tour operators and again we'd recommend a private transfer to resort from here.
Lyon and Geneva Airports are extremely well connected from most UK and European cities. Flights to either of these airports are much more competitively priced because of higher passenger volumes and you can fly into either one year round.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport you’ll need a transfer to Val Thorens, which you can do via private taxi or minibus, hire car, coach, train or public buses. Travel times vary for each airport, as do the respective transfer costs. Read more in our Transfers Guide.
There are an increased number of international flights to the above airports during the winter months, operating from December to March/April. In summer, the same airlines fly out here but your choice of departure and arrival airports is reduced. Use our Flight Finder via the link below to search for the best flights for your trip.
If you’re bringing sports equipment with you, don’t forget to check how much extra the airline might charge you for carriage and give yourself extra time to get this additional equipment checked in. Often the excess baggage areas are separate from the main check in desks, so make sure you get there with plenty of time to potentially do two check-ins. You should be able to find out more information about prices and check in desks either on the airline website, on your tickets or email confirmation.
Transfers to Resort
Once you reach the airport, bus or train station, the most popular option for onward travel to Val Thorens is to take a transfer minibus. Most minibus transfers for Val Thorens are offered on a private basis although some shared transfers are also available.
Alternatively you can catch on of the public buses from any of the airports or the train station at Moutiers up into Val Thorens. (See more on buses & trains below).
Also see: Transfer Options for Val Thorens
Using public transport can help keep the costs down on your trip to Val Thorens, however it can take considerably longer and may involve a few changes along the way. The closest bus station to Val Thorens is at Moutiers, the town at the bottom of the mountain (which is also where you'll arrive if you're coming by train).
Buses from Chambery airport to Les Menuires and Val Thorens operate 4 times per day on Saturdays and once on Sundays during the ski season. It takes around 2.5 hours to get to Les Menuires and 3 hours to get to Val Thorens, changing at Moutiers on the way.
Buses from Lyon airport run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the ski season and take around 3 hours 15 mins to get here, also changing at Moutiers on the way. They operate twice a day on Fridays, 4 times on Saturdays and twice on Sundays.
Buses from Grenoble operate on Saturdays and Sundays in winter and are scheduled to meet arriving flights. It takes around 2-2.5 hours to get to Moutiers from this airport where you can pick up a connecting bus into Val Thorens (see above). You can also get a seat on a coach from Lyon to Moutiers or Grenoble to Moutiers and then pick up another bus into Val Thorens from there.
Buses from Geneva airport operate every day of the week in winter with 6 buses on Saturdays, 4 on Sundays and 3 on all the other days of the week. This route also takes around 3.5 hours.
Find timetables and prices via the link below.
Also see: Bus Services in Val Thorens
The nearest train station for Val Thorens is at Moutiers (full name Moutiers Salins Brides Les Bains) and it takes around 35 minutes by road to reach Les Menuires, or 50 minutes to get to Val Thorens centre from there.
If you’re travelling from the UK, the Eurostar leaves from London or Kent and takes you either direct to Moutiers or into Paris, where you pick up a connecting TGV train to Moutiers. These trains only operate in winter (from mid December to the 1st week of April) on Saturday during the day and overnight on Fridays (without sleeping compartments).
International trains connect Moutiers to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport or from Paris-Gare-de-Lyon on the TGV service, which takes around 4.5 hours. If you're coming from Lyon Part Dieu you can reach Moutiers on the regional trains which takes around 3 hours. Once you've arrived in Moutiers you can pick up a shuttle bus, taxi or transfer minibus up into Val Thorens.
Travelling by train can take longer than flying from certain places but is more eco-friendly and you can carry more luggage like skis and bike bags, without incurring additional charges. Read more detail in our National Trains section.
Also see: National Trains to Val Thorens
There are a couple of International coach companies that can take you directly into Val Thorens and others which stop at the main Gare Routiere in Moutiers from where you can pick up a local bus into either Les Menuires or Val Thorens.
International coaches are usually more comfortable than your average coach and many travel through the night, allowing you to spend more time on your actual holiday. Although the journey time is obviously longer (London to Val Thorens takes around 18.5 hours), you don't have the usual airport hassle of checking in luggage and hanging around in the departures lounge waiting for your flight to board. It is also more eco-friendly and often a bit kinder on the pocket.
If you’re travelling from the UK, or perhaps from other European destinations to France by car, one of only a few options is to take the cross-channel ferry; another is the Eurotunnel train. You should book ferry tickets well in advance, especially if you’re thinking about travelling during peak holiday season.
Bringing your own vehicle with you to Val Thorens is a good idea if you want to have a little more flexibility getting around once you’re here, although in Val Thorens you' don't really need a car in winter to get around - the free shuttle buses do a very good job.
Bear in mind though, if you do decide to drive here, that in winter the road on the way up to Val Thorens from Moutiers is around 40km long and quite winding in places. Although snow clearers operate every day in winter, conditions can be hard to drive in and you may need snow chains. Read our Driving to Val Thorens Guide and find more information on Parking in Val Thorens once you’ve arrived.
Hiring a car from the airport or train/bus station is a good option, allowing you more flexibility especially with really early or late flight times.
Also see: Driving to Val Thorens
Travelling with equipment
Airlines, trains and transfer companies are all well-versed in catering for customers who travel with their own sports equipment (eg skis/snowboards or bikes/golf clubs in the summer), but it’s well worth checking the details in advance. Each company will have their own individual policy terms and conditions depending on the type of sporting equipment you are transporting. Here's a snapshot of the different transport options and a guide to their restrictions:
By Plane: Some airlines charge for taking skis/snowboards, and some don’t, and this can also apply to bikes, golf clubs, parachutes, mountaineering equipment - so check before you book. Make sure you pack your gear well, as it’s not unusual for there to be a few bumps and bruises along the way, if you don’t! The same applies for your bike, whether that be a mountain bike, road bike or touring bike...pack it well and ensure it falls within the packaging guidelines specified by the carrier. For more information see our Cycling & Mountain Biking Guides.
Airport Transfer companies - again, these guys know that you’re going skiing, so they are able to cater for skis and snowboards coming too. However, it’s always important to let them know exactly what you’re bringing, so that they can ensure having sufficient capacity for skis/snowboards/bikes/clubs etc. An 8-seater minibus is much more cramped if all 8 of you turn up with skis without having forewarned the driver!
By Train - depending on where you start from, remember that train travel might include a couple of changes and almost certainly lugging your gear up and down a few sets of stairs or escalators. Eurostar allows skis/snowboards as 1 of your 2 permitted pieces of larger luggage, however golf clubs, bikes and other sporting equipment incur an additional charge of around £30 for their registered luggage service.