10 reasons why you should take a train to the Alps next winter Daniel Elkan Everything you need to know if you're trading the plane for the train this season - This content is subject to copyright. More Whizzing smoothly towards the Alps with scenery gliding by out the window… and no need for airport queues or tedious transfers. Rail travel to the Alps certainly holds advantages for skiers and snowboarders – and here’s why. 1. As fast as planes It might seem surprising, but comparing door-to-door travel, daytime journeys to the Alps are often as fast as flying. The difference is you avoid all the hassle that comes with airports and long transfers and spend more time kicking back and watching the world pass by. 2. Variety is the spice of life The direct Eurostar Ski Train is the simplest way to get to the slopes , from St Pancras to Moûtiers, Aime la Plagne and Bourg St Maurice. But a far wider array of resorts can be reached by taking a regular Eurostar to Paris then catching a timetabled fast TGV daytime train. For some French and Austrian resorts , sleeper trains from Paris or Brussels enable you to get extra days on the slopes. These nightly services run more often than the weekly Ski Train, and the overnight sleeper trains have couchette beds whereas the Ski Train has only reclining seats. There's just something about trains Credit: This content is subject to copyright./John Miller Photographer More 3. Seamless changes If changing in Paris (from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon for daytime journeys and Gare d'Austerlitz for nighttime), book a taxi in advance to make it as stress-free as possible. The driver waits at the end of the Eurostar platform with a board with your name on. A cheaper option is to take a taxi from the rank. The cheapest, though not least stressful, is to to use Paris's underground, the Metro. 4. One night in Paris An evening Eurostar to Paris and then a stopover in a hotel near Gare de Lyon for the night enables snowsports enthusiasts to catch a TGV from Paris to the Alps the following morning. This gives a night in Paris, a relaxed journey and yet often an arrival in resort sooner than those who fly. The Eurostar and TGV can still be booked as one through-ticket, or “connection fare”, saving money compared to booking two separate legs. Val d'Isere is one of the popular French resorts accessible by train Credit: Office du Tourisme Val d'Isère/Andyparant.com More 5. Early bird catches the worm Most journeys are bookable about 90 days in advance of the date of travel, with the lowest fares the first to sell out. The Ski Train, however, goes on sale on Wednesday 18th July 2018 at 08:00, for the entire season. 6. Pack all you want There are no weight restrictions on Eurostar or European trains, nor charges for ski or snowboard bags, so there’s no need to jettison any gear. Additionally, food and drink can be brought on board – to turn the journey into a moving feast at 300kph. Story Continues Ski holidays | The essential packing list More 7. Pick your perks If organising accommodation and travel independently, bear in mind some chalet companies or hotels will pick up from the resort train station free of charge – so check this before booking a taxi or bus. Tour operators offering rail-inclusive packages normally include transfers. 8. Sunday services Although the direct Ski Train runs Saturday – Saturday throughout the season, it also runs a Sunday – Sunday service during February half-term . Alternatively travelling indirectly via Paris, there are plenty of Eurostar + TGV options that work well. 10 of the best ski resorts you can reach by train More 9. Strength in numbers Discount rates are often available on rail tickets for groups, usually for 10 or more people. This is true of train operators, such as SNCF, Deutsche Bahn and Eurostar, but also tour operators, so always check these group discounts before booking. 10. Children save too Not only is train travel an enjoyable experience for children, they save money too. There are discounts of around 25 per cent for kids aged 11 or less, while those under four travel for free (but without a reserved seat).
Tuesday, July 17 2018
10 reasons why you should take a train to the Alps next winter
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