Val Thorens is very well connected to two of Europe's largest cities by train: London thanks to the ski train and Paris thanks to the high-speed TGV trains. More than ever encouraged as the sustainable and eco-friendly travel option, getting to Val Thorens by train is most definitely the right way to go and more viable than you might imagine. Follow our recommendations to hit the slopes full steam ahead.
Relaxing on a train with friends or family, scenery gliding by as Val Thorens gets ever closer is a great way to travel – a way to make the journey feel like it’s part of the holiday. There’s more legroom than flying or driving and you can get up and walk down to the café bar. As well as buying a meal and drinks on board, you can also bring your own food and drink and create your own picnic. You can chat with friends, play games, read, watch films, work, snooze – the train journey is time to do stuff you enjoy on your way to Val Thorens.
Whilst we know the video in our Watch this... is about getting to "Courchevel", we have included it here as it is applicable in almost all other aspects to a train journey from London to Val Thorens.
- Nearest train station to Val Thorens
- Journey time to Val Thorens by train
- Train prices to Val Thorens
- Travelling by train in France
- London to Val Thorens by train
- Getting from the train station to Val Thorens
- Booking train tickets to Val Thorens
- Luggage & sports equipment on trains to Val Thorens
- Snowcarbon Journey Planner to Val Thorens
- More inspiration...
Nearest train station to Val Thorens
There is no train station in Val Thorens but this doesn't mean that you can't come here by train. Moûtiers, just down the valley, boasts an international train station (officially called the 'Gare de Moûtiers-Salins-Brides-les-Bains') with connections to London and Paris.
What's the closest train station to Val Thorens?
Located on the valley floor, Moûtiers is the nearest train station to Val Thorens, around 38km from the resort centre. Eurostar ski trains from London and high-speed TGV trains from Paris stop here. To get from Moûtiers to the ski area, there are local buses running a few times per day taking around 1h15 to arrive in Val Thorens.
See Getting from the train station to Val Thorens for information on how to reach the ski area.
Journey time to Val Thorens by train
You may think that coming to Val Thorens by train takes much longer than by plane but that's not always true. When adding up your transfers to and from the airport, plus all the waiting time, travelling by train can be as fast as flying. Train travel is also more sustainable and environmentally-friendly – studies have shown that carbon footprint can be reduced by as much as 90% when travelling by train as compared to flying. Plus, coming by train has its very own charms. As well as more legroom, on a train you can enjoy the ever changing scenery – from urban London to the French countryside and the majestic Alps, it never gets boring.
How long does it take to get to Val Thorens by train?
It depends on where you're travelling from. The London to Val Thorens train travel time is around 10 hours, while the Paris to Val Thorens train travel time is about six hours, taking into account connections and transfers.
Train prices to Val Thorens
Train ticket prices depend on multiple factors: the time of year (peak weeks like Christmas, New Year, February half-term and Easter can be considerably more expensive), your age (there are discounts for children), the size of your group, your destination and even how far in advance you've booked.
Our top tip is that you try and book as early as possible. Ski train tickets usually go out for sale in mid-July and that's when they're at their cheapest. TGV train tickets from Paris to other French cities are normally available to buy 120 to 90 days before your travel time and, again, the earlier you book the lower the price will be.
Travelling by train in France
SNCF (Societé Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français) is France's national railway company, owned by the French state, operating throughout continental France and Monaco. There are over 32,000 kilometres of railway laid all across the country, a good chunk of them sustaining high-speed services, the world-renowned TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) which reaches average speeds of around 320km/h. Trains connect cities and towns all around France and even cross the border into Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. Many routes will begin in Paris, stopping at convenient stations throughout the country before arriving near Val Thorens.
How do you get from Paris to Val Thorens by train?
Direct high-speed TGV trains connect Paris Gare de Lyon and Moûtiers every weekend during the winter season (from Friday to Monday). They take around 4h30 to reach their destination.
When travelling during the week or the rest of the year, the shortest route from Paris to Moûtiers is to get a TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon to Chambery and then change to a regional TER train to Moûtiers. Travel time is around five hours.
From Moûtiers, there are buses, transfers and taxis going to Val Thorens (see 'Getting from the train station to Val Thorens' below).
London to Val Thorens by train
It couldn't be easier to get from London to Val Thorens by train. There are two main options available, you can either take the Eurostar to Paris before changing to TGV, or book onto the Travelski Express ski trains running direct from the UK's capital to Moûtiers during the winter.
How do you get from London to Val Thorens by ski train?
Taking around eight hours, the fastest and easiest route to get to Val Thorens from London by train is on a direct Travelski Express train from London St Pancras (and Ashford in Kent) to Moûtiers from December to April. Since winter 2021-22 these ski trains, previously run by Eurostar, have been exclusively chartered by Travelski, a French tour operator. Outbound trains travel to the Alps by day and returns are overnight. However, these tickets are only available as part of an all-inclusive package of train ticket, resort transfer, accommodation and ski pass. The train leaves London St Pancras early on a Saturday morning, from mid-December to early April, reaching Moûtiers late afternoon the same day.
The return ski train leaves Moûtiers for London on Saturday evenings, arriving back in London St Pancras early the next day. Bear in mind that for the overnight journey there are no beds on the Eurostar trains, only reclining seats.
NB: There are exceptions to the train times at Christmas and New Year, so you should check with Travelski if you plan to travel at this time of year.
How do you get from London to Val Thorens by train?
If you don't wish to take the Travelski Express, aren't travelling at the weekend or in the winter, you can always travel by train via Paris. Here's what you need to do:
- Hop on a Eurostar train from London St Pancras or Ashford (Kent) to Paris Gare du Nord. This journey takes around 2h15-2h30.
- You'll need to change train stations in Paris, from Gare du Nord to Gare du Lyon. There are several ways to do it and you should allow at least one hour for this connection. The options are to book a taxi (it takes 20-50 minutes, depending on traffic); get on Line D of the RER (‘Réseau Express Régional’) suburban commuter trains towards Melun/Malesherbes (it takes under 10 minutes); or hop on Metro Line 4 towards Montrouge and change in Chatelet to Metro Line 14 towards Olympiades (it takes 15 minutes).
- Then take a train direct to Moûtiers, there are 14 trains per day with an average journey time of 5h40.
For transfers from Moûtiers up to Val Thorens see the section below.
Getting from the train station to Val Thorens
There are a few different options when trying to make your way from Moûtiers train station to Val Thorens. In our experience, the cheapest and easiest option is to hop on one of the local buses that drive up to the Three Valleys.
How do you get from Moûtiers train station to Val Thorens?
Local buses run from the bus stop right next to Moûtiers train station to Val Thorens several times per day throughout the year. They take 1h15 to reach the resort. Find the current bus timetables on our Bus Services page.
Taxi transfers also operate between Moûtiers train station and Val Thorens. The trip takes around an hour.
Booking train tickets to Val Thorens
For more information and timetables, or to purchase train tickets online, visit the Eurostar website (train travel from London to Moûtiers and Paris) and the SNCF (National French Railway Services) website (train travel within France). If you have questions, you can also book by phone but bear in mind that there may be a booking fee involved.
Luggage & sports equipment on trains to Val Thorens
Being able to carry more luggage with you is one of the main advantages of travelling to Val Thorens by train, especially if you want to bring your fat powder skis, heavy split board or your bulky downhill mountain bike with you.
How much luggage can you carry on Eurostar trains?
Eurostar's standard luggage allowance includes two large bags (85cm max) and one small piece of hand luggage. Children tickets allow one large bag and one piece of hand luggage. On Eurostar trains to Lyon, you can carry one pair of skis or one snowboard with you in addition to your two bags. However, on trains to Paris, skis and snowboards are included as one of your two large pieces of luggage. They must be kept in a protective case that covers them.
Bikes can only be taken on Eurostar trains between London, Paris and Brussels. All non-folding bikes or those over 85cm long need to travel with EuroDespatch, Eurostar's luggage service. Boxed bicycles and fully assembled bikes will be transported for an additional fee. Limited spaces available. If you're travelling with any dangerous sports equipment, such as mountaineering gear: ice axes or crampons, you'll need to contact EuroDespatch in advance.
How much luggage can you carry on French trains?
French TGV and TER trains let you carry luggage and bikes (boxed or in a bag measuring max. 120 x 90cm). There is no maximum number of pieces or weight limit but you must be able to carry all your luggage by yourself. Skis are also allowed on TGV trains (max. 2m).
Snowcarbon Journey Planner to Val Thorens
Snowcarbon was launched in 2009 as the one-stop source for train travel to the Alps after its founder, Daniel, realised how hard it was to figure out which ski resorts could be reached by train and how. They offer a very helpful tool, the Snowcarbon Journey Planner which you can use to design your train trip, from viewing the recommended journey times for any date during the season to journey and transfer information to and from the train station.
If after you've read all this you can make travelling by train work for you, be safe in the knowledge that you're making great decisions for the planet, and if you'd like to learn more about the environment and skiing visit our environmental page.