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How to Get to Alpe d'Huez

Discover the top ways to get to Alpe d'Huez

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It's really easy to get to Alpe d'Huez because it's located just 105km from Grenoble Alpes-Isère International airport, and 210km from Geneva International airport. But flying isn't your only option, you can always drive and there are trains and coaches that come here too.

Whilst there's more than one route option to consider, there's no ignoring the environmental cost of a ski holiday. The means by which you travel to your holiday contributes around 50-70% of its carbon footprint, and with global warming and melting glaciers making the headlines daily, when figuring out what's 'best' for you, you may wish to also consider what's best for the environment.

Let us help you figure it out with our complete guide for getting to Alpe d'Huez.

Plane: Flying to the Alps generates nearly seven times as much carbon than travelling by train
Train: France's electrified rail network has one of the world's lowest carbon footprints
Driving: Travelling by car with four to five people can make a significant difference in CO2 output in comparison to flying

Best ways to get to Alpe d'Huez


Alpe d'Huez is located in southeast France, in the department of Isère, part of the Rhône-Alpes region and is famous for both its challenging cycling routes and top-class skiing.

What’s the best way to get to Alpe d'Huez?
We're not just going to give you one route to Alpe d'Huez, and below you'll find what we think are the main pros and cons:

How to get to Alpe d'Huez
  Pros Cons
Flight & Transfer Fastest Environmental cost
Train Eco-friendly
Comfort
Slow-ish
Connections
Drive Convenience Time consuming
Polluting
Coach / Bus Price Time consuming
Less comfort (if overnight)

Flying and Airport transfer
In our experience, the best way to get to Alpe d'Huez is to fly to Grenoble or Geneva and then get an airport transfer.

  • Pros: 
    Fast – You can't beat flying for pure speed. Grenoble is the closest airport to Alpe d'Huez while Geneva offers the greatest selection of airlines, most frequent flight times and lowest prices. Airport transfers are the also fastest way to reach the ski area – you’ll be at your accommodation in about 1h40 from Grenoble and three hours from Geneva.
  • Cons: 
    Carbon footprint – To be honest, we should all feel bad about flying these days. There are numerous ways to off-set your carbon, and increasingly transfer companies are putting on larger vehicles and hybrid/electric transfer vehicles are becoming a common sight on Alpine roads.

Train
High-speed TGV trains from Paris stop at Grenoble train station, around 1h15 from Alpe d'Huez.

  • Pros:
    Eco-friendly – Carbon footprint can be reduced by as much as 90% when travelling by train. 
    Comfortable – Trains have generous legroom, allowing you to relax and enjoy the ever-changing scenery, and even take a stroll along the aisles or visit the onboard café. 
  • Cons: 
    Speed – Takes longer than flying.

Driving
The extensive network of European motorways makes it easy to come to Alpe d'Huez by car.

  • Pros: 
    Convenience – No luggage restrictions, you can bring what you want from home, ideal when self-catering, plus you'll have a car in resort and can easily visit neighbouring ski areas.
  • Cons: 
    Time-consuming – It can take quite a long time to reach the Alps and depending on where you're coming from you may wish to split your journey into more than one day. 
    Pollution – As an area that suffers from high levels of air pollution, you should consider the impact of your car's emissions on the environment.
    Challenging conditions – Your vehicle will need to be equipped to drive on snow and/or in inclement weather. From 1st November until 31st March, it is mandatory to have snow chains in the boot of your car or winter tyres fitted.
    Parking – Getting a parking space in resort or at the foot of the slopes can be difficult during peak seasons. 

Coach / Long-distance bus
Probably the least popular option, it is possible to get to [resort] on a coach or long-distance bus.

  • Pros: 
    Price – Usually the cheapest alternative.
    Environment – Coaches are more environmentally friendly than flying, releasing seven times less CO2 per person.
    Sociable – Buses can be quite sociable, so you may make new friends before you set foot on the slopes.
  • Cons: 
    Less comfortable – Buses aren't the most comfortable places to sleep, so you'll likely be quite tired when you reach the pistes.
    Time-consuming – Depending on which city you are travelling from, it can take up to 20 hours to reach resort.

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About Getting to Alpe d'Huez

Flying to Alpe d'Huez


Flying is undoubtedly the more convenient way to travel to Alpe d'Huez – it’s faster, easier and sometimes cheaper than other means of transport. However, there's no denying the environmental cost is huge.

Which airports are near Alpe d'Huez?
Grenoble is the nearest airport to Alpe d'Huez. This small international airport operates only during the winter and summer seasons and is used mainly for tour operators and charter flights. There are also regular flights to and from the main cities in the UK, as well as some European capitals.

For a larger selection of airlines and direct flight destinations, frequent year-round flights and more competitive prices, Geneva airport (3h to Alpe d'Huez) is another great option, even if transfer times are longer.

Bear in mind that some flight options will only be available during the high season with frequency increasing during the peak holiday periods.

At a glance, these are the main travel hubs for Alpe d'Huez. Times and distances are approximate and can be affected by snow, bad weather or peak holiday times:

Nearest Airports to Alpe d'Huez | Times & Distances
Grenoble Airport 105km 1h40
Chambery Airport 130km 2h
Lyon Airport 152km 2h
Geneva Airport 210km 3h

Airports for Alpe d'Huez

About Getting to Tignes

Getting from the airport to Alpe d'Huez


There are several ways to make the trip, including airport transfers, regular buses and even trains.

How do you get to Alpe d'Huez?

From Grenoble airport 
The fastest route to Alpe d'Huez is to book an airport transfer. The transfer time is around 1h40, but will be longer on snowy days and in peak weeks, such as Christmas, New Year, school holidays and Easter. Learn more on our Transfers Guide page.

From Geneva airport 
In winter there are ski shuttle buses from and to Geneva airport every Saturday. The bus transfer time is around four hours. Private transfers run from Geneva airport to Alpe d'Huez throughout the season. 

From Lyon airport 
Private transfers run throughout the season. In winter, some transfer companies also run a transfer to Alpe d'Huez. The bus transfer time is around 2h30.

From Chambery airport
Passengers flying into Chambery airport can take a train to Grenoble and then hop on a connecting bus to Alpe d'Huez – our guide on how to get to Alpe d'Huez by train has all the information.

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Transfer Options for Alpe d'Huez

About Transfers to Les 2 Alpes

Trains to Alpe d'Huez


Travelling to Alpe d'Huez by train isn't necessarily the simplest or fastest option, but it is proven to be considerably more eco-friendly than flying. Whilst your train journey will inevitably include changing trains, it will allow you to carry more luggage without additional charges, avoids long waiting times in airports and certainly for a trip from London to Alpe d'Huez it doesn't take much longer when you take into consideration transfer times. 

How do you get to Alpe d'Huez by train?
Grenoble is the closest train station to Alpe d'Huez, around 65km or 1h15 from the centre of resort. Trains to and from Paris stop here. It's also possible to travel from London to Alpe d'Huez by train – the train travel time is around nine hours.

We've compiled a very comprehensive guide with all you need to know to get to Alpe d'Huez by train.

Trains in Alpe d'Huez

About Trains to Morzine

Driving to Alpe d'Huez


Bringing your own vehicle with you to Alpe d'Huez is a good choice if you want to have more flexibility once you’re here, even if you don't really need a car in winter to get around resort thanks to the free shuttle buses.

How do you get from the UK to Alpe d'Huez by car?
It's not a short trip from the UK to Alpe d'Huez by car but it can be done a day, depending on where you leave from. Most people driving from the UK to France will need to cross the English Channel from Dover to Calais, the nearest French town. The Calais to Alpe d'Huez driving time is around nine hours for a distance of 930km. The most direct route is via the French motorways A26, A5, A31, A6 and A48.

You can cross to France from Folkestone to Calais by Eurotunnel in 35 minutes, or take a Channel ferry from Dover to Calais in around 90 minutes. We recommend you book tickets in advance. There are also ferries from Portsmouth and Poole to Caen, Cherbourg and St. Malo, in the north of France while, from Hull near Leeds, you can travel by ferry to Zeebrugge in Belgium and then make your way down to Alpe d'Huez.

Another thing to take into consideration when bringing your car to Alpe d'Huez is that the road on the way up to resort from Bourg d'Oisans is around 15km long (a 25-minute drive more or less) and very winding in places. Even though snow clearers operate every day in winter, driving conditions can be challenging. For the winter season (from 1st November until 31st March), it is mandatory to have snow chains in the boot of your car or winter tyres fitted, and local police carry out regular spot checks. 

Read our Driving to Alpe d'Huez Guide and find more information on our Parking in Alpe d'Huez page once you’ve arrived.

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Driving to Alpe d'Huez

About Transfers to Val Thorens

Coaches & long-distance buses to Alpe d'Huez


Getting to Alpe d'Huez by coach takes considerably longer than flying. However, it’s also usually cheaper, making it a good option when travelling on a low budget. There are a number of international coach companies that travel between the largest cities in Europe and Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva, from where a bus or a transfer will take you to Alpe d'Huez. These include FlixBusEurolinesBlaBlaBus and RegioJet.

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Bus Services in Alpe d'Huez

About Transfers to Val Thorens

Bringing your skis, snowboard or bike to Alpe d'Huez


Airlines, trains and transfer companies are well versed in catering for customers who travel with their own sports equipment. Each company will have its own individual policy terms and conditions depending on the type of gear you are transporting so it’s well worth checking the details in advance. Here's a snapshot of the different transport options and a guide to their restrictions:

Plane
Most airlines charge a fee for taking skis, snowboards, bikes, golf clubs, parachutes and mountaineering equipment on board, so check before you book. However, a few airlines, such as Swiss, will fly the first set of skis or snowboard for free. Also, make sure you pack your gear well and ensure it falls within the packaging guidelines specified by the carrier.

Train
On Eurostar trains you can take one pair of skis or one snowboard onboard for free with you as part of your standard two-bag luggage allowance. Skis are also allowed for free in TGV trains.  Bikes can be transported on French trains, either in special luggage carriages or in passenger carriages when stored in a bike-specific carrying case, although fees may apply so check before you book.

Airport transfers
Transfer buses are usually well equipped to transport sports equipment but it’s always important to let them know exactly what you’re bringing so that they can ensure they have sufficient capacity. Sports equipment may be subject to a surcharge, please ask when booking.

About Getting to Val Thorens