About Getting to Alpe d'Huez
If you're not taking a package holiday, where travel to your resort is already catered for, then you might want to consider how you're going to get to France and Alpe d'Huez.
What are the options to consider if you’re coming to Alpe d'Huez in either winter or summer? Should you fly or self-drive? How do I get from the airport to resort? What about bringing skis or bikes with you? What’s the quickest way to get here? Or the cheapest?
Best way to get here
If you are travelling from outside of France, then flying into Grenoble, Lyon or Geneva is likely to be the quickest way to get to Alpe d'Huez. Alpe d'Huez is then a bus ride or private transfer (taxi or minibus) from these main hubs, unless you’re driving yourself.
Grenoble is the closest airport (1.5 hours) but flight options are limited and can be more expensive, whereas Geneva has a greater choice of airlines offering better value flights but is a longer commute to resort (3 hours).
You can also get the fast TGV trains to Grenoble or Lyon but there are no dedicated “snow-train” services for Alpe d'Huez. (Read more about trains below).
Our insider’s tip for Alpe d'Huez is to use Geneva Airport; it’s closer than you may realise (for example, you’d use Geneva for Val d’Isere and it’s roughly the same distance and transfer time). The cost of a transfer will be pricier from Geneva so make sure you compare the total cost of flights and transfers for your party to see which airport is best for you.
In winter, there are five main airports you could fly into (see below) whilst in summer, flights only operate to Geneva, Lyon and Turin.
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Grenoble is the closest airport, so seemingly the natural choice. Nevertheless, demand and therefore flights are highly seasonal, and even in high-season supply is limited. Ski tour operators use Grenoble as they can charter seats or whole flights. Flights to Grenoble can be a more expensive choice (but compensated for by cheaper transfers and shorter transfer times).
Geneva Airport is extremely well connected from most UK and European cities, year round. Did you know that it takes the same amount of time to get from Geneva to Val d’Isere or Tignes as it does to Alpe d'Huez? Flights to Geneva are much more competitively priced because of higher passenger volumes and you can pick up Swiss chocolate and fancy Swiss watches on your way through! For these reasons we don’t think you should overlook it.
Lyon Airport is also a viable option, sitting somewhere between Grenoble and Geneva in all respects - geographically, for passenger and flights volumes, flight pricing, and transfer times.
Chambery Airport is where most Tour Operators fly into in winter although you can get independent flights here too. Once you’ve arrived, we recommend you take a private transfer to resort as this is easier and faster than taking lots of connections on public transport.
Turin Airport, despite looking close to Alpedhueznet.com on the map, is much trickier to get transfers from in winter. The roads over the mountain passes can get really snowy, so our current advice is to avoid Turin Airport for Alpedhueznet.com if you can.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport you’ll need a transfer to Alpe d'Huez, which you can do via private taxi or minibus, hire car, coach, train or public buses. Travel times vary for each airport, as do the respective transfer costs. Read more in our Transfers Guide.
There are an increased number of international flights to the above airports during the winter months, operating from December to March/April. In summer, the same airlines fly out here but your choice of departure and arrival airports is reduced. Use our Flight Finder via the link below to search for the best flights for your trip.
If you’re bringing sports equipment with you, don’t forget to check how much extra the airline might charge you for carriage and give yourself extra time to get this additional equipment checked in. Often the excess baggage areas are separate from the main check in desks, so make sure you get there with plenty of time to potentially do two check-ins. You should be able to find out more information about prices and check in desks either on the airline website, on your tickets or email confirmation.
Transfers to Resort
Once you reach the airport, bus or train station, the most popular option for onward travel to Alpe d'Huez is to take a transfer. Most transfers for Alpe d'Huez are offered on a private basis, and should be booked in advance. The advantage of taking a transfer is that you will get door to door service at the times that you want, and you won't need to lug all your luggage and sports equipment around to catch connections. Shared transfer options do exist but are limited to seats on a coach service from Grenoble Airport to Alpe d'Huez, as opposed to small minibus shuttles that you may have experienced in other resorts.
Alternatively you can choose to take one of the public buses from Grenoble via Bourg d’Oisans and on to Alpe d’Huez (see more on buses below).
Also see: Transfer Options for Alpe d'Huez
The closest hub bus station is in the centre of Grenoble and there are regular public buses that run from here to Alpe d'Huez. Using public buses can help keep the costs down on your trip to Alpe d'Huez, however it can take considerably longer and you may need to make several connections to get to resort.
The quickest bus from Grenoble bus station is operated by Transiere Transaltitude. This is a non-stop service which takes you straight to Alpe d'Huez in 1 hour 20 minutes and runs two or three times every day during the winter season. On Saturdays, a local service (line 3020) runs from Grenoble bus station to Alpe d'Huez three times during the day and takes 1 hour 45 minutes. If your travel times don’t tally with this bus schedule, your next best option is to take one of the daily (line 3000) buses from Grenoble bus station to Bourg d’Oisans and then change onto another bus (line 3020) for Alpe d'Huez. This route takes 1 hour 30 minutes to get to Bourg d’Oisans and a further 20-40 minutes depending on where you want to get off in Alpe d'Huez.
You can take skis, snowboards or bikes on these buses but only when there is space available so it’s best to get there early. There is no extra charge for taking equipment with you, just the normal bus ticket price. All bus tickets can be bought at Grenoble bus station or on the bus.
Another insider’s tip: book an early flight to ensure you don’t miss the last bus from Bourg d’Oisans up into resort. Timetables can be found via the link below.
Grenoble Airport is around 45 minutes drive to the bus station (Gare Routiere) in the centre of Grenoble. You can also catch buses to Grenoble Gare Routiere from Lyon and Geneva Airports. If you’ve flown into Chambery you would need to head into the town centre via taxi and from there catch a train to Grenoble to then connect with the buses.
Remember there is a direct bus service from Grenoble Airport to Alpe d'Huez which is privately operated and should be booked in advance (see transfers section).
If you’re arriving by train it’s a short walk across the concourse to the bus station, the Gare (train station) and the Gare Routiere (bus station) are in the same building.
Also see: Bus Services in Alpe d'Huez
The nearest train station for Alpe d'Huez is Grenoble Gare. International trains will generally connect via Paris or Lyon to get here. If you’re travelling from the UK, the Eurostar leaves from London or Kent and takes you into Paris, where you pick up connecting TGV trains to Grenoble or Lyon. The train takes around 3 hours to get from Paris to Grenoble or 2 hours from Paris to Lyon St Exupery (as opposed to Lyon Part Dieu which is in the city-centre and therefore further from Alpe d'Huez). From Grenoble, Alpe d'Huez is another 1 hour 15 minutes transfer or from Lyon St Exupery TGV it’s 2 hours.
Travelling by train can take longer than flying from certain places but is more eco-friendly and you can carry more luggage like skis and bike bags, without incurring additional charges.
Also see: National Trains to Alpe d'Huez
There are a number of International coach companies that get you to Lyon and Grenoble. From here take one of the local buses (see above) up into resort.
International coaches are usually more comfortable than your average coach and many travel through the night, allowing you to spend more time on your actual holiday. Although the journey time is obviously longer, you don't have the usual airport hassle of checking in luggage and hanging around in the departures lounge waiting for your flight to board. It is also more eco-friendly and often a bit kinder on the pocket.
If you’re travelling from the UK, or perhaps from Scandinavia to France by car, one of only a few options is to take the cross-channel ferry; another is the Eurotunnel train. You should book ferry tickets well in advance, especially if you’re thinking about travelling during peak holiday season.
Bringing your own vehicle with you to Alpe d'Huez is a good idea if you want to have a little more flexibility getting around once you’re here. Although Alpe d'Huez has a good public transport system, sometimes during busy weeks these can become crowded and not all lines may run as regularly as you would like. Being able to drive yourself around the area is far more comfortable and convenient, allowing you to take day trips or visit other nearby resorts such as Les Deux Alpes and La Grave.
Bear in mind that in winter the 21 bends on the road up to Alpe d’Huez are tricky and although snow clearers operate every day in winter, conditions can be hard to drive in. Read our Driving to Alpe d'Huez Guide and find more information on Parking in Alpe d'Huez once you’ve arrived.
You could also consider hiring a car from the airport or train/bus station.
Also see: Driving to Alpe d'Huez
Travelling with equipment
Airlines, trains and transfer companies are all well-versed in catering for customers who travel with their own sports equipment (eg skis/snowboards or bikes/golf clubs in the summer), but it’s well worth checking the details in advance. Each company will have their own individual policy terms and conditions depending on the type of sporting equipment you are transporting. Here's a snapshot of the different transport options and a guide to their restrictions:
By Plane: Some airlines charge for taking skis/snowboards, and some don’t, and this can also apply to bikes, golf clubs, parachutes, mountaineering equipment - so check before you book. Make sure you pack your gear well, as it’s not unusual for there to be a few bumps and bruises along the way, if you don’t! The same applies for your bike, whether that be a mountain bike, road bike or touring bike...pack it well and ensure it falls within the packaging guidelines specified by the carrier. For more information see our Cycling & Mountain Biking Guides.
Airport Transfer companies - again, these guys know that you’re going skiing, so they are able to cater for skis and snowboards coming too. However, it’s always important to let them know exactly what you’re bringing, so that they can ensure having sufficient capacity for skis/snowboards/bikes/clubs etc. An 8-seater minibus is much more cramped if all 8 of you turn up with skis without having forewarned the driver!
By Train - depending on where you start from, remember that train travel might include a couple of changes and almost certainly lugging your gear up and down a few sets of stairs or escalators. Eurostar allows skis/snowboards as 1 of your 2 permitted pieces of larger luggage, however golf clubs, bikes and other sporting equipment incur an additional charge of around £30 for their registered luggage service.