UK Departure Airports
For British ski holidaymakers, a major factor in the magnetic appeal of the Alps isn’t just their snow-reliability, world-class on- and off-piste terrain, fab family facilities and amazing apres-ski; it’s also their conveniently close proximity to home. When you’re carving up the slopes in the shadow of Europe’s biggest mountains, it’s easy to feel you’re a world away from workaday worries, yet you can reach most locations in just a few hours. .
While do not sell flights as part of our ski holiday packages, we do recognise that flying and transferring is the fastest and often most convenient way to reach your resort of choice; especially if you’ve got kids or older relatives in tow, flying can certainly feel more manageable than other alternatives. Furthermore, if you’re only heading off for 2-3 days it probably doesn’t justify a long drive at each end.
There are several French and Swiss ski airports with good connectivity to UK hubs and reasonably short transfer times to ski resorts, such as Lyon, Geneva, Chambery and Lyon, with several airlines to choose from too. Flying allows you to maximise time on the slopes. While self-drive ski holidays are suitable for some travellers, they inevitably mean more travelling time bookending your break, whereas flying is faster. If you’re heading to the Alps, the Pyrenees or elsewhere for a long weekend or even a week and have limited annual leave from work, you might prefer not to sacrifice a day at each end solely for travel.
Whether you live in Aberdeen, Southampton or anywhere in between, you’re never too far from a UK airport that provides flights to airports in striking distance of the French Alps like Lyon, Grenoble, Geneva and Chambery.
Apart from the aforementioned two terrific city airports, you’ve got a fast track to the slopes with flights from Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and London City, Edinburgh, Glasgow Manchester, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Belfast and Newcastle.
Especially if you’ve venturing forth on your first ski holiday, knowing you can jet off from your local airport is reassuring ̶ you can reach the slopes in a stunning ski resort just as easily as you can reach Europe’s sizzling summer beaches and with Erna Low taking care of all your arrangements, there’s no excuse not to opt for a skiing holiday next time you’re planning your annual break.
Popular French ski resorts close to airports
Already certain which French ski area you’re looking for for your holiday but wondering which airport is the closest?
Here’s a quick rundown of some well-known French ski resorts close to the airports.
Courchevel is also closest to Chambery, at 109km away. This is a chic resort where you’ll be in your element if you love a choice of Michelin-starred resorts, exclusive hotels and high-end boutiques. However, you will find accommodation and après ski venues here that won’t break the bank if you’re working with a tighter budget, so there’s more diversity and inclusivity than first meets the eye.
Avoriaz is closest to Geneva Airport, at 100km away and this is a high-altitude, snow-sure haven full of charming accommodation and plenty of family-focused facilities as well as a lively apres-ski scene for adults. Part of the Portes du Soleil ski area, there’s plenty of on- and off-piste action available here for skiers and snowboarders of all stripes.
La Rosière is closest to Chambery, at a distance of 130km away. This traditional ski village is set in the middle of the Haute Tarentaise at a heady altitude of 1850m and is part of the Espace San Bernardo Ski Area, its sister resort being La Thuile on the Italian side of the border. This is a serene spot for young children and novices, while there are plenty of quality blue and red runs for intermediate skiers.
Best airports for French ski resorts
Geneva Airport (GVA) is Europe’s most popular airport for snowsports enthusiasts and serves countless independent and ski package holiday travellers arriving each year from all around the world. If your final destination is Flaine or Chamonix, your transfer time is around an hour, so if you want to hit the slopes straight off, you should stretch your legs as much as possible in the vehicle to warm up! Transfer times to Tignes-Val d'Isère and the Three Valleys are longer but the services are more frequent, therefore it’s possible to reach there from Geneva faster than some airports which are geographically closer if you factor in waiting times. Fab facilities at Geneva Airport include a wide range of excellent eateries serving Thai, Italian and traditional Swiss cuisine, eight convenient snack bars serving hot and cold snacks and a number of bars and coffee shops where you can enjoy a refreshing beer, wine, coffee or hot chocolate. You’ll also find several duty-free and gift shops as well as a number of chic designer boutiques like Mont Blanc, Cartier and Boss. There’s free Wi-Fi available throughout the airport, three different shower facilities to freshen up and several currency exchange outlets.
Grenoble Airport (GNB) is also known as Alpes-Isère and is perfectly located south of Geneva in the midst of the Chartreuse, Vercors and Belledone mountains. There are regular connections to Grenoble from nine UK airports at present and it’s the nearest airport for transfers to the family-friendly resort of Alpe d’Huez, which you can reach in two and a half hours, while Val Thorens, La Plagne and Les Menuires are within a two hour transfer time. Grenoble is a reasonably small airport, but facilities include a decent restaurant, drinks vending machines, ATM machines, a duty-free emporium, newsagents and souvenir shop. If you’re combining business with pleasure, there’s a business centre where you can hire private meeting rooms and lounges, while if you’re yearning for a little luxury, you’ll also find plush VIP arrivals and departures lounge.
Chambery Airport (CHF) ̶ or Chambery Savoie Mont Blanc to give it its official name ̶ has a prime strategic location as its almost bang in the middle of many major French Alps ski areas and often offers the shortest transfer times possible. Naturally, this sometimes means it can get very busy during peak ski holiday times and especially so during UK school holidays. Chambery provides you with the shortest transfer times for Val d’Isère (a favourite for British snowsports enthusiasts) and Meribel, but it’s also within an hour and a half of Les Gets and two hours of Morzine.
Best airports for Italian ski resorts
Italy has several superb ski resorts in the Italian Alps and the Dolomites and many airports offering decent flight transfer times.
Torino Airport (TRN) provides convenient transfers to Bardonecchia, Champoluc, and Cortina d’Ampezzo. It is also a great alternative option for reaching the resorts on the Italian side of the Via Lattea (Milky Way) and is well under 2 hours from the airport. There are some skiers and holidaymakers heading to the Alps who occasionally overlook Torino airport almost by default despite its ideal location and proximity to the Dolomites in Italy’s North East region as well as other resorts including Valle di Susa, which is just over an hour away.
Milano Malpensa (MXP) airport is ideally located for skiers. Located further north of Milan, it almost sits at the base of the Alps which can be seen from Milan on a clear day. The good news is, if you plan to hire a car and drive yourself, you are not more than 3 hours from the majority of the best resorts in France, Switzerland and of course Italy. Milano Malpensa Airport transfers to a number of ski resorts in the vicinity, including Livigno, Bormio, Madonna di Campiglio and popular ski resorts in the Dolomiti Ski area such as Selva Val Gardena. It is also a very convenient option for reaching destinations such as La Thuile and Sestrière.
Bergamo Airport (BGY) is a good bet if you need airport transfers to Italian ski resorts like Aosta, Cervinia, Courmayeur, and Sauze d’Oulx.
Best airports for Austrian ski resorts
As the birthplace of our esteemed founder Erna Low and the location where she introduced the world to the first catered ski chalet holidays, Austria will forever be close to our hearts as a company.
Innsbruck Airport (INN) is a good choice for many Austrian ski hubs, with the cable car for the Innsbruck resort just four miles from its arrivals hall, Kitzbühel only 44 miles away, Mayrhofen just a little further at 46 miles, and Sölden just 52 miles westwards.
Salzburg Airport (SZG) is 49 miles from the ski resort of Zell am See and only 51 miles from Saalbach with much of the journey on the smooth regional autobahn.
Best airports for Andorran ski resorts
Andorra isn’t yet as famous for ski holidays as France, Italy or Austria, but this tax-free principality high in the Pyrenees offers some superb snow-sure skiing in majestic areas like Grandvalira and well-rounded resorts like El Tarter and Pas de la Casa.
Barcelona is usually the best airport for transfers to Andorran ski resorts because of the frequent services and routes rarely being affected by inclement weather conditions and both shared and private transfers are available. Toulouse, Lleida and Girona also offer transfers to resorts in Andorra.