The Best European Ski Resorts You Can Reach by Rail
While Europe may bustle with sun-seeking tourists in summer, the colder months bring an altogether different atmosphere. And in the higher climes, you can find some of the world’s most impressive ski resorts. Save yourself the hassle of fitting your warm clothing into your airline carry-on and head to European ski resorts in the most scenic and dramatic way possible – by rail!
Many remote resorts operate private trains and funiculars for the final few kilometers. Your Eurail Pass benefits may give you discounts on these routes.
7 European ski resorts by train
Wengen is one of the most popular resorts in Switzerland, and for good reason. This charming car-free village ticks all the boxes. It offers exhilarating skiing (it’s home to the longest downhill run on the World Cup Circuit), spectacular Swiss scenery, and classic winter dining (there are more than 30 restaurants dotted across the mountains). It also shares a number of lifts with nearby Grindelwald, which means even the most determined skiers will struggle to hit all the runs in a single visit.
How to get there by train: You can reach Wengen by train from several locations throughout Europe. The route is particularly scenic. If arriving from France, you’ll need to change at Basel, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen.
Les Arcs, France
Les Arcs offers some of the best intermediate skiing in France. It’s the perfect destination if you’re looking to get the basics right or kick things up to the next level. The car-free villages that dot the mountains are quaint and beautiful but carefully considered. At times you’ll feel as if you’re skiing through a winter movie set.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to the nearby Bourg St Maurice. From there, you will need to catch a short but scenic funicular ride up to Arcs.
Chamonix may offer one of the most dramatic rail approaches of all European ski resorts. The Mont Blanc Express whisks you past breathtaking scenery – including a dramatic glacier – in true style, and delivers you into the heart of ultimate skiing country. Chamonix has a wide selection of runs, but it’s the powder and off-piste options that keep the true enthusiasts coming back year after year.
How to get there by train: Take the train from Paris to Annecy, and then Annecy to St Gervais (5 hours total). From here it’s a 45 minute train ride to Chamonix.
Sansicario may fly below the radar as far as better-known European ski resorts go. But that simply adds to its appeal. This small Italian ski resort is in the heart of the country’s most celebrated skiing terrain of Via Lattea, which means there are runs suitable for most skill levels. The small village also offers good value and plenty of Alpine charm, along with a handful of vibrant bars and top-notch restaurants.
How to get there by train: There are several trains to the town of Olux, including a direct TGV train from Paris. Sansicario is a short taxi ride away from Olux.
The Austrian village of Söll offers a good mix of terrain, scenery, and nightlife – perfect for travelers who want a combination of winter experiences. The village offers easy access to several peaks, which means there are runs to suit all level of skiers. And when the sun sets on the picturesque Austrian Alps, the village transforms into the ultimate après ski destination.
How to get there by train: Take one of several trains to the nearby town of Wörgl. From there, Söll is a short taxi ride away.
Meribel may well be more popular for its nightlife, festivals, and après ski activities than its actual skiable terrain. But this classic French alpine resort is the ultimate destination for most winter-loving travelers. Late night parties and festivities abound, but the slopes are equally enjoyable. There’s enough skiable terrain to satisfy most ski levels and conditions in winter are generally superb.
How to get there by train: There are several trains to the nearby town of Moutiers, including the Eurostar Direct Ski Train. Meribel is a short taxi ride away from the station at Moutiers.
Crans-Montana offers variety that makes this one of Switzerland’s most popular resorts. There are dozens of incredible ski runs, a range of dining and après ski options across the mountains, as well as some of the most dramatic panoramic views over the Rhône Valley. It’s also home to the City Ski Championships, when a good party is never all that far away.
How to get there by train: There’s a direct TGV from Paris to Martigny. From there, you’ll need to change to the train to Sierre and then take a short funicular ride up the mountain.
It’s a common misconception that the only way to reach these European ski resorts is by car. But with a bit of planning there’s no reason why you can’t get there by train. And aside from the cost-saving and practical aspects, there’s no more exciting way to start your holiday on the slopes. Pick up a Eurail Global Pass and chase the snow on your next rail journey!
Looking for more winter rail travel inspiration?
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