About six months ago we published a blog that covered the different ways to get to Meribel for your ski holiday with Ski Cuisine. In this blog we are looking at how to get there in more detail when you are already inside mainland Europe. (All costs correct at the time of writing).
Driving to Meribel
Are you planning a trip to the Winter Mecca that is Meribel but wondering how to get there? If you’re travelling with your family from inside Europe then the most efficient way of travelling with your ski equipment will be driving, unless you are driving from Siberia!
The beauty of getting yourself to the Meribel slopes by car instead of flying is that it is most likely cheaper, especially at school holiday time. You also don’t have to pay the sports equipment excess charges that are imposed by most airlines, which can really mount up. You can also make an adventure of it, treating the drive as part of the holiday and seeing other parts of Europe as you go. Plus you'll avoid the security queues at the airport!
And this isn’t just an option for you and your family, but with a group of friends willing to share costs, this could be an excellent road trip.
Things to consider
Paying tolls on your journey as well as the cost of fuel to get you to your destination may be similar to that of a flight or train ticket. However, once your party size starts growing this could be the best option for you. Our advice is to spend some time working out and comparing costs as well as planning your route. There are really useful tools online such as www.viamichelin.co.uk where you can plan your route and find different route options with the costs of both fuel consumption and tolls detailed. You can even print off driving instructions to help you prevent getting lost! You can also use the site for planning hotel stays if you are taking a few days to get to resort.
According to Via Michelin, the cost of driving from Calais to Meribel is broken down to fuel of €75 (petrol hatchback) and tolls of €83. This is one way only, so if you double it up it’s a cost of €316 - this is where it gets uncompetitive with the price of a flight. Once you add in a hotel each way for an overnight stop, the sums only really make sense if there are a few of you in the car.
Talking of tolls, if you always look at the local cars driving straight through the Peage gates on the motorway whilst you fumble for your change to put in the machine at the barrier (from the wrong side of the car!) then you should consider getting a Liber-t tag for your windscreen. This will allow you to drive through the gates at up to 30 km/h and automatically take the fee from your bank account. When the roads are busy, this can save you hours on a long journey. The tags used to be reserved for those with French bank accounts, but now you can purchase from www.saneftolling.co.uk
Weather warnings and road safety
Safety is key. Ensure that you are prepared for all eventualities when it comes to weather especially when you get closer to the resort. You will need to ensure your car is snow and ice ready; that means chains and emergency equipment. For more information on what you may need to take, have a look at the AA’s country guide to driving in Europe. It’s also worth remembering that it’s a long drive to get to the Alps, so having someone to share the driving with is a great idea and can also mean that you could drive through the night and get extra time on the slopes!
Flying to Meribel from inside Europe
In the first part of this blog, we discovered that getting to Meribel from the UK can be simpler than you think. There are a number of regional as well as International airports serving the most accessible airports around the Meribel valley. In this part, we will be looking at some of the options available when travelling to Meribel from different countries in Europe and the different options available.
Getting to Meribel from around Europe couldn’t be simpler these days; there is a wide variety of airlines flying to the airports closest to the Meribel resort, including many low cost airlines.
Many Ski Cuisine guests fly into Geneva for the pure simplicity and ease of the journey - we don’t blame them. To make things really easy for you, here is a table of where to start with some of the airports and which airline websites to look at. All Flights below are based on flying into Geneva Airport (GVA).
|Paris||CDG||Easyjet / Swiss Air / Lufthansa|
|Berlin||TXL||Brussels Airlines / Easyjet|
|Amsterdam||AMS||Easyjet / Swiss Air / KLM|
|Copenhagen||CPH||Iberia / SAS / Swiss Air / Easyjet|
|Rome||FCO||Alitalia / Veuling / Swiss Air|
|Moscow||DME||Aeroflot / Swiss Air / Lufthansa|
Travelling by train
Trains throughout Europe are a wonderful means of travel. Once upon time travelling by train was reserved for the wealthy, but these days it is a much loved and cost effective mode of transport. Comparing journey times door-to-door, daytime train journeys to the Alps are often as quick as flying. But you avoid all the pain that comes with airports and transfers and spend more time relaxing and watching the world pass by. You also get discounts for the kids (which seem to have disappeared from airline prices) and they love the freedom the train gives them to wander around.
One issue that you should consider though is that trains can often not be booked until 90 days before departure (Eurostar is six months mostly) so planning your trip can be a little nerve-racking if you like everything organised well in advance!
www.raileurope.com is a good place to start when looking at the train options.
It’s not something that is often talked about, but if the flights to your preferred airport are crazy expensive (like Geneva is at February half term) you could fly somewhere else and hire a car and drive up to the Alps. So it’s a fly-drive mix!
For example, a family of four flying Heathrow to Geneva for February half term in 2018, will be paying around £3,200 for the flight alone with British Airways. Transfers on top of that at approximately £300, make their travel costs £3,500.
However, if they fly to Nice, it’s only £740 for the family. It’s a five-hour drive to Meribel (so two hours longer than your transfer from Geneva), but a hire car for the week will not cost much. A BMW 3 Series Touring from Sixt will cost £377 for the week. Add in some fuel and tolls at around £100 each way and your cost has plummeted to around £1,300 for the whole family. Plus you have a car in the resort to get about in. It may even be quicker than driving all the way to Meribel!
Something different - Bla Bla Car
If you’re a solo traveller, thinking of travelling to Meribel and want to keep your travel costs low, then you may want to look at an alternate way of travel. Wwe recently came across Bla Bla Car.
The concept is simple and it’s really taking off in many countries in Europe. You search for your starting point and your end point and see who is going and how much they will charge for the journey. Users get reviewed by previous passengers and you can get a pretty good idea of whom you will be travelling with. Best of all, you can travel large distances for a fraction of the normal price.
However, you decide to get to Meribel, the options keep getting more varied and if you have arrived by a means that we haven’t mentioned then please get in touch and let us know. We love to hear our visitors’ travel stories.
If you want to visit Meribel but don't fancy skiing or cold weather then check out some great reasons to visit in Summer!
If at any point during your trip planning process you need help, then please do not hesitate to contact Anne at email@example.com. Bon Voyage!