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The French Alps ski specialist

Self-drive ski holidays with travel by Eurotunnel or ferry

As a self-drive ski specialist, we recommend driving to the French Alps if you're looking for flexibility, value for money and want to be in control of your journey. Take as much luggage as you need (sledges, skis, boots - the lot!), stop en-route to break up your journey or head straight down... Find out more below.

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Why drive to the French Alps?

Here are just some of the reasons to choose a self-drive ski holiday:

  • Flexibility - be in control of your own timetable.
  • Take as much luggage as you need (including sport and leisure equipment at no extra charge). This is also ideal for families that tend to come with a lot more stuff!
  • Stop en route as and when you choose. Make the journey a part of the holiday, maybe visit a little vineyard on the way through Burgundy?
  • Make use of the car while in the resort - explore a nearby resort.  
  • A self-drive ski holiday offers excellent value for money - here at Peak Retreats we have negotiated great prices with the ferry companies and Eurotunnel so you can rest assured that you are getting exceptional value.

For independent travellers, we can offer accommodation-only bookings. Most of our resorts are within reach of international airports - Geneva, Grenoble, Chambery, Lyon or Turin (see our airlines and car hire pages).

What about Brexit? Find out about what you need to drive in France after 1/1/21.

As a positive consequence of Brexit, from 1 January 2021 Duty-Free is back. Travelling by Eurotunnel or ferry will allow you to stock up at bargain prices. You could even buy on the way out for consumption during your ski holiday and then again on the way back. 

Current per person (over 17) allowances back to the UK are for instance, beer - 42 litres; wine (not sparkling) - 18 litres and also either: spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol - 4 litres, or fortified wine (for example port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol - 9 litres. Read full details

Tips for a self-drive ski holiday

How to get the most from your ski holiday when you're driving to the Alps: 

  • Choose a resort with a shorter driving distance - for the shortest journey possible, pick a ski area that is a shorter drive from Calais such as the Grand Massif (SamoensMorillon) or Le Grand Bornand.
  • Make sure you make yourself familiar with the laws for driving in France before you travel. There is some compulsory equipment such as warning triangle, GB sticker and headlight adjustments. Full details can be obtained from the AA Touring Tips.
  • Prepare for changeable mountain conditions - it's worth checking the weather forecast in advance but also be aware that the weather can be extremely changeable in the mountains so make sure you pack plenty of warm clothing with you. You will also require snow chains or snow tyres
  • Save money on your grocery shopping by heading to the hypermarket before getting to your resort. Great rates on fuel can also be had at supermarkets in France.
  • To save time and money, make use of the Liber-t automatic toll payment service. All you have to do is register online in advance to order your tag and then you won't be required to stop at every peage (toll booth) - plus you get access to better rates!
  • Read our guides: Top tips on driving to the Alps and How to entertain children on long journeys.

Eurotunnel Prices 2020/21: FOLKESTONE-CALAIS
Travel supplements and reductions - please note the below are EACH WAY

Ski drive has never been so easy! All our inclusive ski holidays include a return standard Eurotunnel crossing for a standard car with a FREE FlexiPlus upgrade on selected dates, giving you not only the complete flexibility to travel on the next available departure (whenever you turn-up) but also dedicated check-in lane, priority boarding and use of the lounge with complimentary facilities. Some supplements for peak dates apply (see pricing). Eurotunnel has recently changed its classification of some vehicles and VW Transporter, Mercedes Vito and other vans over 1.85m high are now classed as vans (rather than high cars) so a supplement may apply, please call us for a quote. Supplements also now apply for cars that need high space.

Begin your journey in style with a pit-stop in one of the FlexiPlus lounges, which are open on the UK and French sides. You can take advantage of complimentary refreshments, free newspaper and magazine downloads and WiFi. The FlexiPlus lounges accept high vehicles.

FlexiPlus fares cost significantly more when booked directly with Eurotunnel, so we are extremely pleased to have negotiated a great deal for our clients.

For a standard car plus 8 passengers, FlexiPlus upgrade supplement is nil except for dates below:

  • £15 supplement Easter: OUT 01-05/04/21 & IN 09-13/04/20
  • £109 supplement half-term: OUT 09-16/02/21 & IN 18-24/02/21

Supplement for high space vehicles classed as cars by Eurotunnel (over 1m85 including anything on the roof):

  • £8 supplement each way (all dates)

Supplements for an extra car on a booking (plus above supplements) 

  • Please enquire for cost based on your travel date and Eurotunnel ticket type.

Useful info

  • 35 mins crossing time.
  • Up to 4 departures/hour.
  • IMPORTANT: LPG vehicles not permitted.

The benefits of Eurotunnel FlexiPlus for your ski holiday

Flexibility - Relax and enjoy your journey without having to worry about arriving on time for your departure. Leave from home or from the ski resort when you are ready and avoid the stress of having to meet a particular departure. During peak travel times, you are kindly requested to respect your reserved departure time as close as possible. The Eurotunnel service is very popular during these peak travel times.

Priority Check-in - Enjoy use of exclusive Check-in booths/lane where you will be offered the next available departure (up to 4 per hour during most of the day).

Priority Boarding - Once you are in your designated FlexiPlus lane, you will be boarded on the next shuttle ahead of other passengers. Remember, first on, first off and onwards to your destination.

Designated parking place - If stopping off for a bite to eat or last-minute shopping then you are entitled to park in the designated spaces close to the Passenger Terminal Buildings.

The FlexiPlus lounge - FlexiPlus lounges are open on both the UK and French sides of the Eurotunnel. Begin your journey in style with a pit-stop in a dedicated FlexiPlus lounge. The lounge opens 06.00 to 22.00 daily (local time) offering you complimentary refreshments, free downloads of newspapers and magazines, and WiFi. FlexiPlus lounges will accept high vehicles. Outside opening hours the Passenger Terminal building, situated before border controls in the UK and after border controls in France, will be happy to welcome you. However complimentary refreshments and free newspaper and magazine downloads will not be available.

Drive into the carriages

Drive into the carriages

Within the train carriages

Within the train carriages

Entering the train carriages

Entering the train carriages

Ferry Travel Information

Peak Retreats can also book P&O ferries from Hull-Zeebrugge/Rotterdam if you live in the North of the country or ferries from the south coast across to France. Choose from Dover-Calais with P&O and Portsmouth-Caen, Poole/Portsmouth-Cherbourg, Portsmouth-St-Malo, Plymouth-Roscoff with Brittany Ferries.

Why P&O Hull-Zeebrugge/Rotterdam? Save miles in the UK and arrive first thing in the morning fresh and ready for your journey in either Zeebrugge or Rotterdam. Zeebrugge to the Alps is roughly the same distance as Calais whilst Rotterdam adds about 70 miles. The P&O ferry terminal is in Europoort which lies approximately 24 miles from the centre of Rotterdam.

Crossing times Hull routes - 10-13 hours with 1 overnight crossing per day
Dover route - 90 mins with crossings every 45 mins at peak times

More information about P&O Ferries, (including cabins, sailings, schedules)
More information about Brittany Ferries, (including cabins, sailings, schedules etc)

P&O prices 20/21 - please call us for a quote 
Travel supplements and reductions - please note the below are EACH WAY

Dover-Calais - Car+9 passengers: deduct £80 each way. For peak dates* only, deduct £55 (not in addition)
Hull-Zeebrugge/Rotterdam - Car+2 passengers: deduct £79 each wayFor peak dates* only, deduct £44 (not in addition)

Extra passenger - £8pp each way
Pets - £15-22 each way
Club lounge - £12pp each way
Priorité - £12 per car each way
Length - £28 per m above 6m each way
Height - £28 per m above 2.4m each way
Breakfast & dinner - £29/adult each way and £14.50/child each way

* Peak Dates for DOVER - CALAIS 18-20 December 2020, 26-28 March 2021 & 02-04 April 2021 and CALAIS - DOVER 04, 05, 10, 11 April 2021
Peak Dates for for HULL - ROTTERDAM / ZEEBRUGGE 26-27 March 2021; 01-05, 09-11 April 2021 and ROTTERDAM - HULL 01-05, 09-11, 22-25 April 2021 and ROTTERDAM - ZEEBRUGGE 01-05, 09-11 April 2021

Brittany Ferries prices 20/21 - please call us for a quote
Travel supplements and reductions - please note the below are EACH WAY

Car+5 passengers

Portsmouth-Caen: deduct £35 each way. Then for weekend* only, add £22 each way
Poole-Cherbourg (Economie): deduct £40 each way. Then for weekend* only, add £22 each way
Portsmouth-Le Havre (Economie): deduct £40 each way. Then for weekend* only, add £22 each way
Portsmouth-St Malodeduct £40 each way. Then for weekend* only, add £22 each way
Plymouth-Roscoffdeduct £40 each way. Then for weekend* only, add £22 each way

Extra passengers on all routes are £24 each way (per passenger).
Cars above 1.83 are £28 each way (per vehicle)

*(W/E overnight Fri out and Sat in)

Onboard accommodation has to be booked on overnight crossings with Brittany Ferries. Please enquire for cabin and Club Class seat prices.

Please note that the supplements shown are calculated on the basis of our tour operator allocated space. Occasionally, space may not be available at these fares, in which case we may have to charge the operator's full brochure price. If this occurs, it will, of course, be made clear to you at the time of booking. The same operator must be used for the outward and return journey.

Miss the queues at the toll plazas and arrive at the ski resort first... Book Emovis!

Emovis has extended its Liber-t automatic toll payment service to UK motorists. To use the service all you need to do is register online and they will send you a small electronic transponder (or tag) that you attach to your windscreen just behind the rear-view mirror. As you approach the barriers, a device by the barrier will read your transponder (or tag), securely extract your unique reference and then automatically open the barrier without you having to stop. So, if you want to skip the queues sign up for a liber-t tag with Emovis.


Ski Drive: Snowchains (to buy or hire)

The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and snow chains are a must when driving on mountain roads. We've arranged a special discount for Peak Retreats clients with Polar Snowchains. So if you're looking to buy or hire snow chains, ask us for details when you book your holiday.

Polar Snowchains | 01732 360 638 | | How to put on snow chains


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