Are you looking for the best ski resorts to drive to from the UK? Heading to the Alps via car is a practical and budget-friendly solution that many skiers opt for each 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.
Peace of mind can also be enjoyed in the satisfaction of reducing your carbon footprint. If your car is full of passengers, then your carbon emissions will be reduced by up to 67% in comparison to flying – and even less if your car is electric. What’s more, you can travel in the comfort of your own space, spared from crowded airports. Your journey will start with a Eurotunnel or Ferry to Calais. We have approximated the distances and time frames expected for the onward trip including those ski resorts closest to Calais.
1. La Plagne – 9 hours 15 minutes / 972km from Calais
Comprised of 11 villages, a ski holiday in La Plagne can offer something for everyone. Families will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in Montchavin or Les Coches, whilst Plagne-Centre and Belle Plagne offer a livelier scene that is perfect for groups. The whole connected area has towering mountains to the east, south and west; creating a wonderfully preserved bubble of brilliant snow and glorious sunshine.
Skiers can choose to opt for a full Paradiski lift pass, which gives access to one of the world’s largest ski areas. Home to some 425km of terrain stretching up to a peak altitude of 3,250m there’s plenty of skiing for everyone. The huge glacier at Bellecôte serves up epic, snow-sure descents that can be enjoyed by adventurous skiers even late into the season. If it is your first time driving to the Alps then La Plagne is a brilliant option, as you will be greeted with plenty of variety across all 11 of the villages. The beauty is with a car, you can enjoy the freedom of being able to drive between them as you please.
2. Les Deux Alpes – 8 hours 45 minutes / 935km from Calais
Les Deux Alpes is a bustling village with access to the second largest glacier in France that enables snow-sure skiing almost all year round. The drive from Calais is straightforward. An easy motorway route all the way to Grenoble, before switching to a 65km road that connects to the resort. When you arrive you will find a vast 229km of pistes, with the option to ski over into connecting areas such as La Grave, where you will find some of the best lift-accessed off-piste ski terrain in the world.
Les Deux Alpes is home to a great choice of traditional French restaurants that serve up hearty Savoyard cuisine and classic local dishes such as tartiflette and cheese fondue. The resort is very accessible, with excellent public transport links to the lifts, restaurants and bars so it’s unlikely you will need to use your car.
3. Méribel – 8 hours 45 minutes / 957km from Calais
Méribel is one of the best ski resorts to drive to from the UK, with an easy motorway route available from Calais to Moûtiers, followed by a short 25km hill up into the town. The resort itself is world-renowned for its magical forest setting, après bars and bi-weekly street market. Have your fill in the epic winter playground of the Three Valleys ski area with 600km of terrain. It’s one of the largest ski areas in the world comprised of Val Thorens, Courchevel and Méribel. Down in the town you will find four fantastic villages. They range from the quieter, traditional atmosphere of Les Allues to the bustling Mottaret village.
4. Alpe d’Huez – 9 hours / 930km from Calais
One of the best self drive ski resorts, Alpe d’Huez offers self-drivers the same easy route from Calais to Grenoble, followed by a scenic climb up to resort via a route that has been made famous by the Tour de France in the summer months. The ski resort has been purpose-built to offer snow-sure conditions combined with wonderful sunshine. Nicknamed ‘island in the sun’, Alpe d’Huez’s prime position offers skiers an average of 300 sunny days per year. There’s access to the high-altitude Pic Blanc glacier guaranteeing snowy slopes even in the later, sunniest months of the season. With 250km of slopes spread out across its ski area, there’s plenty of skiing for everyone.
5. Val d’Isère – 9 hours 20 minutes / 998km from Calais
As one of the most famous ski resorts in the world, Val d’Isère is a great ski holiday choice. The drive may take a little longer from the UK. However, you will be rewarded by dramatic scenery as you climb the valley from Bourg St Maurice. Brimming with rustic chalets, luxurious hotels, bustling après bars and gourmet eateries; Val d’Isère has earned its place on the map as a must-visit destination. Up on the mountain, the Espace Killy ski area is hard to contend with. The ski area offers 300km of pistes that connect with the neighbouring Tignes ski resort. Try the infamous ‘La Face’ black run – an epic cliff face that was originally built for the winter Olympics.
6. Chamonix – 8 hours / 890km from Calais
Chamonix is considered the main ski resort closest to Calais. Having a car is beneficial in Chamonix too because you can easily access the six ski areas within Chamonix without getting the bus. The French ski resort has a total of 150km of pistes to enjoy and is also known for its incredible off-piste terrain. In addition, Chamonix is snow-sure due to its great snow record and high altitude of 1,035m-3,840m.
Set at the foot of the iconic Mont Blanc, you will get to admire stunning mountain views. The town itself has a beautiful traditional alpine look, that’s not always the case with French resorts. As for the nightlife, it’s very lively with a great mix of bars, restaurants, and clubs. On and off the slopes, Chamonix is definitely worth driving to.
7. La Clusaz – 8 hours / 860km from Calais
Located in the Aravis mountain range, La Clusaz is a hidden gem ski resort closest to Calais. It’s not a famous name but it’s popular with skiers near Geneva and Annecy. There is 220km of varied pistes suitable for mainly beginners and intermediates, with some advanced slopes too. In addition, there’s some great freeride terrain in La Balme, if you’re searching for off-piste opportunities.
The resort itself has a mountain village charm. It’s small in stature and is perfect for families or those who want to relax off the slopes. There are some brilliant restaurants to choose from which mostly serve traditional alpine food. La Ferme Restaurant in particular serves excellent dishes in a rustic chalet setting.
8. Flaine – 8 hours 30 minutes / 880km from Calais
Part of the Grand Massif ski area, Flaine is an easy option when it comes to driving to ski resorts from the UK. If you buy a full lift pass you can access 265km of slopes with brilliant links to Les Carroz. This ski resort is mainly suited to families because of its relaxed atmosphere and kids facilities in the area. Most of the accommodation is apartment or hotel based.
The village itself has great access to the slopes because of its location. Wherever you’re staying you will get to the slopes in minutes. There are brilliant options to eat out too. From a sushi bar to traditional alpine cuisine, there’s something for many tastes. The nightlife isn’t particularly lively but there are great bars to enjoy a drink.
9. Morzine – 8 hours 30 minutes / 870km from Calais
Situated in the Portes du Soleil ski area, Morzine is a great ski resort for driving from the UK. If you purchase a full lift pass you can explore 600km of amazing slopes. The links to neighbouring resorts Avoriaz, Chatel and Les Gets are top-class too. Whether you’re a first-time skier or an advanced skier looking for challenging terrain, this resort suits all levels of skier.
The village itself is a traditional farming town with a unique charm. It has a relaxed atmosphere with cute street markets, family-run restaurants and many luxury accommodation options. It’s a top destination for large groups and families because of the many facilities on offer. The ease of travel and the vast terrain makes Morzine a top ski resort to drive to.
10. Courchevel – 9 hours / 965km from Calais
Courchevel is a luxurious resort that’s part of the incredible Three Valleys ski area. You can explore 600km of pistes with a full lift pass. There are excellent links to neighbouring resorts Val Thorens and Meribel, all of which makes up the largest skiable area in the world. Courchevel’s terrain is mostly suited to intermediates but there’s so much choice in the area for all levels of skier.
Off the slopes, Courchevel has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the Alps. Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc is a popular choice for fine dining with many innovative dishes on the menu. There are also many classy bars to visit once you’ve finished on the slopes. In addition, there are top-class accommodation options with some of the best facilities in Europe.
To find out more about the best ski resorts to drive to from the UK call our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.
*Approximate distances and expected times without stops included.