Travel To & Around Europe

The drive to Courmayeur Italy ends in absolute splendour.
European train stations like Milano Centrale are the best in the world.
European trains can be an efficient method of travel to ski resorts.
Buses are the lifeblood of mountain villages in Europe.
Swiss rail is the best in the world and spectacular to boot!
It might look ugly, but St Anton station makes it easy to get there.
Beautiful travel destinations abound in Europe like Brunico near Kronplatz.
Innsbruck HBf is a major bus, train & tram hub for loads of ski resorts.
Austrian rail would rate as the next best after Switzerland.
Integrated base areas like at 3 Peaks Dolomites cater to rail and car.
Everyone skiing in Europe will use a bus at some point.
Rail in the northern Dolomites is wonderful.
Bus, car park, train and gondola in St Anton, Austria.
Travel to beautiful mountain villages like Saalbach in Europe.
Light rail and cable car at Aletsch Arena ski resort in Switzerland.
Clean user friendly interiors on European ski trains.
Taking your skis on trains and buses is normal in Europe.
Cold car park and cable car in Andermatt Switzerland.
Ski bus in italy.
Travel by train, bus or car to Mayrhofen Austria.

Travel To & Around Europe

Chamonix Ultimate Ski Tour Le Grand

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Travel to Europe Ski Resorts

Whether you are just skiing in one European resort or doing a 'ski safari' at multiple ski resorts, travelling there needs to be as simple and seamless as possible. Luckily, travel in Europe has multiple options to any one ski resort. Private cars, rental cars, trains, trams, public buses, private buses & shuttles, taxis, limousine services, helicopters, funicular, cable cars and gondolas are all available to efficiently transport ski holiday makers to their preferred destination.

The obvious question of where the best places are to ski in Europe is answered here. As to how to get there, some answers are below.

Flying to Europe for a Ski Holiday - The 6 Best Airports

Europe has several key gateway airports that link perfectly with most of the continent's ski resorts in the key nations of Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland. The 6 best airports to start your ski trip in Europe are:

Geneva GVA (Switzerland) - access to the French Alps (including Chamonix), Portes du Soleil, Valle d'Aosta in Italy (including Courmayeur) and all ski resorts in the Valais of western Switzerland (including Verbier & Zermatt).

Innsbruck INN (Austria) - a major central hub (but only for European & UK flight origins) that provides access to all ski resorts in Austria (including all Austrian glacier ski resorts like Stubai, Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn, Moelltal, Kaunertal, Pitztal, Soelden and Hintertux), plus all the Dolomites, South Tyrol (Alto Adige) & Trentino ski resorts in Italy.

Milan Malpensa MXP (Italy) - a Powderhounds favourite, Milan Malpensa's location lets one conveniently connect to all the northern Italy ski resorts (Dolomites, Via Lattea, Aosta Valley including our powder favourite Monterosa Ski), all of the Swiss ski resorts (via Andermatt, Brig, Chur or St Moritz), and all of the Tyrol resorts in Austria via Innsbruck. French ski resorts can also be accessed via the Aosta valley or into the Maurienne via Bardonecchia.

Munich MUC (Germany) - massive number of international and 'local' flights plus excellent train and transport connections make it perfect for all Austria, Dolomites, Germany and eastern Switzerland ski resorts (including Grisons canton i.e. Arosa, Lenzerheide, Laax, Davos-Klosters) ski resorts.

Zurich ZRH (Switzerland) - well placed for all Swiss ski resorts plus Austrian resorts in the Vorarlberg & Tyrol. Excellent train connections.

Lyon St Exupéry LYS (France) - perfectly located within an hour or two of many French ski resorts in the Alps. With ts own TGV train station, Lyon St Exupery can provide quick access to the slopes for skiers from most European, UK, Ireland & Asia /Oceania (via the Middle East).

Honourable mentions go to the airports at Basel, Salzburg, Turin & Venice. Only Venice has a wide range of international (i.e. non-European or UK) origin flights.

To search for a great deal on a flight to any European airport, use our recommended flight search engine.

Airport & Hotel Transfers

The Powderhounds usually recommend taking the train or bus from the airports to any European ski resort. However, for those that just cannot abide public transport or are travelling in larger groups, a private transfer from the airport direct to the ski resort may be the most efficient mode of travel if one doesn’t possess a car.

Search & book private airport transfers to all Europe ski resorts here.

Rail Travel to Ski Resorts in Europe

The European train network is the best in the world by a country mile! Railway lines are interconnected across the continent and allow for swift, comfortable travel to a huge number of ski destinations. Rail connections to ski resorts are possible directly from the airports at Geneva, Lyon, Milan Malpensa, Munich & Zurich. You can also contribute to POW (Protect Our Winters)& by taking the train & bus to ski resorts in Europe.

There are several important European cities that serve as rail hubs and give the best access to ski resorts. A great ski city like Innsbruck is an obvious one and the best place in Austria from which to explore many of the better ski resorts by rail.

Lesser known towns such as Brig, Chur, Montreux, Interlaken, Martigny in Switzerland; Bourg St Maurice & Chambery in France; Salzburg, Spittal an der Drau, Wörgl, and Zell am See in Austria; Bolzano & Tirano in Italy are all important rail hubs from where one can journey to an amazing number of ski resorts.

Train tickets are generally not available for purchase any more than 3 months before the date of travel. Local train tickets are easy to get once in the country of travel. For longer journeys involving busy lines or fast trains (TGV etc) it is best to pre-purchase online & reserve a seat.

Search & book train tickets in Europe here.

Best Europe Ski Resorts with Train Stations

Numerous superb European ski resorts are within easy walking distance of a train or tram station (in your ski boots!) and include the following:

Austria - GasteinKitzbuhel-Kirchberg, Mayrhofen, SkiWeltSt Anton, Zell am See & heaps more!

FranceChamonix, Grands MontetsLes Arcs, Les HouchesMegeve

Germany - Garmisch, Zugspitze

Italy - 3 Peaks Dolomites, Bardonecchia, Folgarida MarillevaKronplatz, Madonna di Campiglio

Sweden - Riksgransen

Switzerland - Aletsch Arena, Andermatt Sedrun, Arosa, Crans MontanaDavos-Klosters, Engelberg, GstaadJungfrau, Portes du SoleilSt Moritz, Verbier, Zermatt + many more!

If spending an extended time skiing in Switzerland and plan on travelling by train, consider getting a Eurail Pass here.

Bus travel in Europe

It is safe to say that just about every village in Europe is serviced by a public bus of some description, meaning that one can travel by public transport ANYWHERE in Europe to ski. It may take a longer, but it is incredibly cheap & if one can work out the exact bus stop, super convenient.

The bus networks are intricate & where possible we have detailed information on the relevant ski resort "How to Get There" pages about useful routes & maps. Google maps has very useful detail on bus stops & route numbers by hovering the cursor over the small blue bus symbol on any road.

Only two companies dominate bus services in Switzerland (PostAuto) & Austria (OBB Postbus) making research easy. Other countries vary depending on the locality.

Private bus companies fill any public transport voids & run direct bus shuttles between airports & major ski resorts.

Our transport search engine aggregates many of them, search & book bus tickets here.

Driving to Ski Resorts in Europe

Driving is a convenient way to get to ski resorts in Europe, particularly if in a group of 2 or more planning to visit numerous resorts. The major considerations tend to be cost (rental, fuel, road tolls) & safety (road conditions). In poor weather the safest option is often the train, bus or a private shuttle.

Road tolls are the worst in France, followed by Italy. Switzerland has a relatively low one-off annual fee for its motorways and Austria has practically no tolls. Major international road tunnels (Frejus, Mont Blanc, Grand St Bernard etc) have seriously expensive tolls, so plan your trip accordingly - i.e. minimise movement through these tunnels.

Having said all that, the European system of motorways (autoroute, autostrade, autobahn et al) is excellent and provides for extremely efficient travel. A few of the best ski resorts only an exit away from the motorway are St Anton, Chamonix, Bardonecchia, Pila & Courmayeur.

Away from the main roads, having one's own car to drive to ski resorts allows access to the huge number of European secret powder stash ski resorts like Champorcher, Crevacol and Sainte Foy.

Car Rental in Europe

For those travellers wishing to drive to Europe ski resorts or, car hire & rentals are readily available. Prices are generally highly competitive and if travelling with two or more persons, car rental can be more cost effective (as well as convenient) when compared to train or bus travel.

Note that European Alps roads can be very tight when compared to many other places in the world. Driving can be quite challenging through small villages and in icy, blizzard conditions when negotiating tight bends with oncoming buses! When in doubt, slow down and give way to the larger oncoming vehicle. If truly in doubt……… take the bus!

Travellers arriving from overseas are inevitably better off collecting their rental car directly from the airport. Whilst prices can be cheaper away for the major airports, pick-ups can be problematic. We do not recommend picking up a car in many of the larger cities such as Turin, Milan, Munich, Venice etc, as the traffic and navigation challenges are not worth the effort.

Ensure the hire car comes with snow tyres and/or snow chains (bare minimum). All-wheel drive or 4WD vehicles offer the safest driving experience on the windy mountain roads of Alps.

If renting vehicles in Switzerland (not recommended - use the train!), make sure to check the fine print as some rentals have reasonable daily rental charges but exorbitant security deposits of up to CHF6000.

Search all rental locations & cars by availability and rate here.