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How to Get to Les Arcs

Discover the top ways to get to Les Arcs


It's really easy to get to Les Arcs because the ski area is located just 218km from Geneva International airport. But flying isn't your only option, you can always drive here 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 Les Arcs.

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 Les Arcs

About Getting to Les Arcs

Les Arcs is located in southeast France, in the department of Savoie, part of the Rhône-Alpes region. It sits at the heart of Paradiski, one of the largest and highest mountain resorts in Europe with 450km of runs across the Vanoise massif, in the Tarentaise Valley.

What’s the best way to get to Les Arcs?
Whilst there's no denying the convenience of flying, we would encourage you to at least consider the alternatives. We're not going to give you just one route to resort, and below you'll find what we think are the main pros and cons:

How to get to Les Arcs
  Pros Cons
Flight & Transfer Fastest Environmental cost
Train Eco-friendly
Drive Convenience Time consuming
Coach / Bus Price Time consuming
Less comfort (if overnight)

Flying and Airport transfer
The fastest way to get to Les Arcs is to fly to Geneva and then get an airport transfer.

  • Pros: 
    Fast – You just can't beat flying for pure speed. Airport transfers are the fastest way to reach the ski area – you’ll be at your accommodation’s doorstep in 2h45.
  • 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.  

Ski trains from London and high-speed TGV trains from Paris stop at Bourg St Maurice, only seven minutes from Les Arcs.

  • Pros:
    Eco-friendly – Carbon footprint can be reduced by as much as 90% when travelling by train. 
    Comfortable – Trains also 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, however, the transfer time from Bourg St Maurice is almost non-existent so you'll catch up time, plus you won't have to wait at the airport.

The extensive network of European motorways makes it easy to come to Les Arcs 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 Les Arcs.

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Flying to Les Arcs

Plane over snow-capped mountains

Flying is undoubtedly the more convenient way to travel to Les Arcs – it’s faster, easier and sometimes cheaper than any other means of transport. However, there's not denying the environmental cost is huge.

Which airports are near Les Arcs?
Geneva is the most convenient airport to Les Arcs. It offers frequent flights to and from many European destinations, including cities all around the UK, as well as capital cities from across the world. Flight times to Geneva airport from most cities in Europe are under two hours, with London just 1h40 away and Paris even closer at 1h10. 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 Les Arcs. Times and distances are approximate and can be affected by snow, bad weather or peak holiday times:

Nearest Airports to Les Arcs | Times & Distances
Geneva Airport 218km 2h45
Chambery Airport 137km 1h50
Lyon Airport 214km 2h35
Grenoble Airport 217km 2h35

Airports for Les Arcs

Getting from the airport to Les Arcs

About Transfers to Val Thorens

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

How do you get to Les Arcs?

From Chambery airport
Chambery is the nearest airport to Les Arcs with a transfer time of 1h50. Private transfers run from Chambery airport throughout the season. There are also regular buses connecting Chambery airport and Bourg Saint Maurice on weekends during the winter season. The bus transfer time from Chambery to Bourg Saint Maurice is around 2h30. From Bourg Saint Maurice, the funicular will take you to Les Arcs.

From Geneva airport
Book an airport transfer. The transfer time is around 2h45, 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 Grenoble airport
There are private airport transfers running throughout the season. The transfer time from Grenoble to Bourg Saint Maurice is around 3h. From Bourg Saint Maurice, there is a funicular to Arc 1600, from where you can catch buses to the other Les Arcs villages (for more information on how to get from Bourg Saint Maurice to Les Arcs, see our guide on how to get to Les Arcs by train).

From Lyon airport
Private transfers run throughout the season. There are also regular buses connecting Lyon airport and Bourg Saint Maurice every weekend during the season, with extended frequencies on Saturdays. The transfer time from Lyon to Bourg Saint Maurice is around 3h15. From Bourg Saint Maurice, hop on the funicular to Les Arcs.

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Transfer Options for Les Arcs

Trains to Les Arcs

About Trains to La Plagne

It's really easy to get to Les Arcs by train in the winter, even if they may sometimes take longer than flying. They're proven to be considerably more eco-friendly than flying and allow you to carry more luggage without additional charges, avoids long waiting times in airports, and certainly for a trip from London it doesn't take much longer when you factor in transfer times. 

How do you get to Les Arcs by train?
Bourg St Maurice is the closest train station to Les Arcs, from there is a funicular that takes you to Arc 1600 in only seven minutes. Regular high-speed trains to and from London (Ski train) and Paris (TGV) stop here. The total train travel time from London to Les Arcs is around nine to 12 hours.

We've compiled a very comprehensive guide with everything you need to know to get to Les Arcs by train.

Trains in Les Arcs

Driving to Les Arcs

About Transfers to Val Thorens

Bringing your own vehicle with you to Les Arcs 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 Les Arcs by car?
It's not a short trip from the UK to Les Arcs but it can be done in a day, depending on where you leave from. Most people driving from Britain to France will need to cross the English Channel from Dover to Calais, the nearest French town. The Calais to Les Arcs driving time is around 9h40 for a distance of 930km. The most direct route is via the French motorways A26, A5, A39, A31, A6 and A43.

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 your 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 you can travel by ferry to Zeebrugge in Belgium and then make your way down to Les Arcs.

Another thing to take into consideration when bringing your car to Les Arcs is that the road on the way up to resort from Bourg Saint Maurice is around 17km long (a 35-minute drive more or less) and quite 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 Les Arcs Guide and find more information on our Parking in Les Arcs page once you’ve arrived.

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Driving to Les Arcs

Coaches & long-distance buses to Les Arcs

About Transfers to Val Thorens

Getting to Les Arcs 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 transfer will take you to Les Arcs. These include FlixBus, Eurolines, BlaBlaBus and RegioJet.

Are there any regular coach services from the UK to Les Arcs?
Yes. There are regular coach services from London Victoria Coach Station to Bourg Saint Maurice in the winter, stopping at Folkestone and operated by Snow Express. The London Victoria to Les Arcs coach travel time is around 19 hours. These coaches run every week, leaving on Friday evening and returning on Saturday evening, travelling through the night to allow you to spend more time on the slopes.

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Bus Services in Les Arcs

Bringing your skis, snowboard or bike to Les Arcs

About Getting to Val Thorens

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:

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.

On Eurostar trains you can take one pair of skis or one snowboard onboard for free with you, in addition to your standard two-bag luggage allowance. Skis are also allowed for free on 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.