How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (2024)

Posted 27-04-2023

If you're planning a trip to Gap, a charming town nestled in the French Alps and the pick up point and centre of many of our activity holidays, you might be wondering about the best way to get there. In the interest of reducing the carbon footprint of your trip, taking the train is highly recommended. At Undiscovered Mountains we offer a 3% discount to anyone travelling to one of our holidays by train instead of plane. Please ask us about this when you book.

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (1)

Taking the train from London to Gap also offers a comfortable and scenic journey through some of Europe's most beautiful landscapes. In this blog, we'll guide you through the different options to help you choose the best journey for you from London to Gap by train.

Plan your journey

Gap hosts an SNCF train station but not a TGV station. The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) are the high speed trains France is famous for. The first decision to make is whether you need to go all the way to Gap or whether stopping off at the nearest TGV station and then hiring a car for your holiday is most suitable.

If local transport for your trip is taken care of in your holiday package, then taking a train all the way to Gap (see options below) is the way to go. Examples of holidays with transport included, include our via ferrata short break, rock climbing weekend, our e-bike tour from Alps to Provence or our ski touring trips or snowshoeing holidays.

If you are on a self-drive holiday like oursummer multi activity holiday, then getting the Eurostar and then a TGV to either Grenoble or Aix-en-Provence where you can hire a car for your holiday is an option to consider as the last section of the train journey on the TER (slow train) is a lot quicker by car.

You'll need to decide on the date and time of your departure, and book your train tickets in advance. The earlier you book the cheaper your tickets are but some juggling and flexibility may be required here as not all the train you might be using on your journey release their tickets at the same time. The exact date of release may vary depending on various factors such as seasonal demand, promotions, and other factors.

Eurostar tickets are usually released for sale up to six months in advance. TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) tickets are generally released for sale between 3 and 4 months in advance, although the exact date of release may vary depending on the specific route and time of year. In some cases, TGV tickets may be released up to 6 months in advance, particularly during peak travel seasons. The night train (InterCités de Nuit)tickets are usually the latest to be released, between 3 months and 1 month before travel.

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (2)

A word of advice. If the Eurostar tickets are out but not the rest of your journey, then check the times at a closer date to get an idea of timings and book your Eurostar whilst the prices are low as this is probably going to be the most expensive element of your journey. Just make sure you leave enough time for potential tweaks and changes to timetables of your TGV or night train and ensure you have the flexibility to choose between these two options. It is much better to have half a day to spend in Paris than getting there to late and missing the last TGV or night train departure!

You can book your train tickets online through the Eurostar and SNCF websites or through a travel agency like Trainline. Make sure to choose a departure time that gives you enough time to transfer to your connecting train in Paris and for the night train, don't forget you are leaving the day before your arrival day!.

The Eurostar to Paris

Your journey from London to Gap will start with a trip on the Eurostar, the high-speed train that runs between London and Paris. The Eurostar departs from St. Pancras International Station in London and arrives at Gare du Nord in Paris.

As you are crossing the border between the UK and France your travel documents will need to be checked and you will need to pass security and customs so you need to leave enough time for this - usually about an hour before your train departure time. The journey from London to Paris itself takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (3)

Once you arrive in Paris, you'll need to transfer to another train station to continue your journey to Gap. Have a look at the Paris metro and RER map.

  1. Metro: The metro is an urban rapid transit system that serves the city of Paris and its immediate suburbs. It consists of 16 lines that run underground, with trains arriving every few minutes. The metro is primarily designed for short trips within the city, and is a convenient way to travel between tourist attractions, neighborhoods, and business districts.

  2. RER: The RER (Réseau Express Régional) is a suburban commuter rail network that connects Paris with its suburbs and surrounding regions. The RER consists of 5 lines (A, B, C, D, and E) that run both above and below ground. The RER provides faster and more extensive service than the metro, and is ideal for longer trips outside of Paris. It also provides connections to major airports, train stations, and tourist destinations like Versailles and Disneyland Paris.

Paris to Gap on the night train

The overnight train from Paris to Gap departs from the Austerlitz station in Paris and takes around 10 hours to reach Gap. This train typically departs in the evening and arrives in the morning.

To get from Gare de Nord where the Eurostar arrives to the Gare d'Austerlitz, there are a few options. You should leave about an hour minimum to get across Paris to the Gare d'Austerlitz to take into account walking and waiting times, buying a ticket and navigating your way around an unfamiliar place.

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (4)
  1. Metro: Take Metro line 5 (direction Place d'Italie) from Gare du Nord and get off at Austerlitz station. The journey takes around 20-25 minutes.

  2. RER: Take RER line B (direction Robinson or St. Rémy-lès-Chevreuse) from Gare du Nord and transfer to RER line C (direction Juvisy or Massy-Palaiseau) at the station "Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand". The journey takes around 30 minutes.

  3. Taxi or ride-hailing service: A taxi or ride-hailing service can take you directly from Gare du Nord to Gare d'Austerlitz. The journey takes around 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic.

  4. Walking: If you prefer to walk, it's about a 30-40 minute walk between the two train stations. However, this option is only recommended if you have plenty of time and don't have much luggage to carry.

The trains were refurbished in 2022 and are basic but comfortable with modern air conditioning, lighting options and USB plugs. There are toilets and wash basins at the end of each carriage. You can choose between a reclining set in a large open carriage. This is the cheapest option. Or, you can choose a bed in a standard or first class cabin of which there are several per carriage.On your journey you will get a bottle of water, ear plugs, eye mask, and a light sleeping bag.

In a standard cabin, the beds are usually about 70-80 cm wide and 190 cm long. These cabins typically have six berths (three on each side), and the beds are arranged in three tiers. The first class cabins have 4 beds arranged in two tiers. There is not a lot of space for baggage storage. Some will fit under the beds, otherwise they can go in the aisle between the beds.

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (5)

The space between the beds in the standard cabin is not high enough to sit up for an average person but it is possible to fold down the middle berth to make a sofa for part of the journey if the rest of your cabin mates agree. The top berth has a little extra space above the door for putting personal effects like small bags.

For female travellers it is possible to book a ladies only cabin and it is also possible to pay a supplement to have the cabin to yourselves. If you are a family of 4 or 5 for example, this is a good option to avoid having strangers sharing your cabin or to have a spare bed for putting baggage on to or two beds for converting into a sofa!

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (6)

Paris to Gap via TGV and TER / hire car

The closest TGV stations to Gap are Aix-en-Provence, Grenoble or Valence. You can use the SNCF website to plan your journey and find the best options, but here is some insight to help you choose!

Most of the TGVs south go from the Gare de Lyon in Paris.

There is a direct RER train that goes from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon on line D and takes about 15 minutes

  1. At Gare du Nord, follow the signs to the RER D train line.

  2. Take the RER D train in the direction of Melun or Corbeil-Essonnes.

  3. Get off at Gare de Lyon station.

How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (7)

In terms of overall journeys from Paris to Gap and connections to the local TER ("Transport Express Régional" which translates to "Regional Express Transportation" or slow train) for the last section to get to Gap, Valence offers the best solution with quick change over times and easy platform change. It is possible to do the full journey with changes for around 5h30.

The TGV train from Paris, Gare de Lyon to Valence TGV station, takes around 2h40 minutes. From there, you can transfer to a TER train to Gap, which takes approximately 2h30 minutes. This route requires a change at Valence station to reach the TER train to Gap and is usually an easy platform change.

If you are planning to drive the last section to Gap from a TGV station, Valence is not the best option, however, as you need to go via Grenoble and the journey time is the same as the train at 2h30 mins.

The TGV to Grenoble takes about 3h and the TER from Grenoble to Gap takes about 2h35. However driving from Grenoble to Gap is just 1h50. So for TGV and then hiring a car Grenoble is a good option.

The TGV to Aix-en-Provence is another option to look at. The big advantage of this route is that the no frills TGV OUIGO operate this line so you can get very cheap tickets. However, there is no train directly from Aix-en-Provence TGV to Gap. There is, however, a bus service. The bus takes approximately 3h15 from Aix-en-Provence TGV to Gap. Your can search for a bus journey on theZOU website. Make sure you type TGV Aix-en-Provence as it is situated outside the town of Aix-en-Provence. Driving from Aix-en-Provence to Gap takes 1h45.


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How to travel to Gap in the Alps by train from the UK (2024)


How do I get to Alps from UK? ›

The best way to get from England to French Alps is to train via Lagny-sur-Marne which takes 9h 47m and costs £250 - £600. Alternatively, you can bus, which costs £70 - £110 and takes 21h 37m.

Can you take a train to the French Alps? ›

For those who prefer to leave the car at home and enjoy some of France's prettiest landscapes, the train is a great alternative. Peak Retreats can arrange train travel to the French Alps for you, offering Eurostar and French high-speed TGV (with a change at Paris or Lyon).

Can you sleep on Eurostar? ›

Eurostar + NightJet to Austria

You can choose from sleeping in a 2-berth, 4-berth or 6-berth couchette compartment, and these can be shared or booked off as private.

Does the snow train still exist? ›

The Eurostar Ski Train is now the Travelski Express

The following season (2021-22), a French tour operator called Travelski, exclusively chartered the Eurostar Ski Train.

Is there a direct train from London to the Alps? ›

The Compagnie des Alpes which owns much of the ski lift infrastructure in the northern French Alps has charted a direct Eurostar train which will operate out and back (London to the Alps) for 16 weeks of the winter 2023-24.

What is the best train to see the Alps? ›

The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express - known as the 'Slowest Express Train in the World' (and arguably the most scenic) - connects the mountain resort towns of Matterhorn adjacent to Zermatt and St Moritz in the Swiss Alps.

How much is the train in the Alps? ›

Seat reservations for the Glacier Express are currently, irrespective of first or second class, CHF39 in the low season and CHF49 in the high season for the full route. Short journeys are CHF10 cheaper. For the luxury excellence class, a first-class ticket is required plus a surcharge of CHF420.

Do you need a Covid test to enter France by train? ›

Travellers no longer need to present a sworn declaration that they are not infected with COVID-19 and pledge to take an antigen test or biological exam upon arrival in France. This also applies to travel between mainland France and each of the overseas territories.

Which Alps are easiest to get to? ›

Beginning your adventure in the French Alps

The French Alps are some of the most accessible. Boasting a number of airports within easy reaching distance, tourists are able to fly to the area from all over the world.

Do they have toilets on Eurostar? ›

Yes. There are toilets at the end of each coach, as well as disabled toilets and baby changing facilities on board. If you'd like to make sure you're sitting nearby, go to Manage a booking to choose your seat.

What is prohibited on Eurostar? ›

All explosives: military shells (including war souvenirs and relics), detonators, smoke cartridges, grenades, mines, explosive military stores, imitation devices, fireworks, flares, pyrotechnics.

Is it safe to sleep on the train in Europe? ›

Sleeping on overnights trains in Europe is a relatively safe endeavor, but take a few sensible precautions to avoid pickpockets and thieves and sleep more soundly. Anyone can wander the aisles of European trains.

Where is the closest Alps to London? ›

Geneva is a great hub for those travelling to the Alps. Chamonix in France is one of the closest ski resorts to London, because of a 50-minute transfer on a good day from the Swiss airport. The French ski resort is a massive ski area that's easy to access. You can enjoy 150km of pistes in no time.

How do I get to the French Alps from London? ›

The Eurostar ski train takes you from London St Pancras to the Alps valley in France. Calling at Moûtiers-Salins, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-St-Maurice, these direct Eurostar ski trains are a perfect way to start a holiday on the slopes.

Are there still trains in the US? ›

As of 2022, the only operating high speed rail service in the United States is Amtrak's Acela, between Washington, DC, and Boston.

What is the best route from the UK to the Alps? ›

With the speed and efficiency of the Eurotunnel, driving out to the slopes can be easier and quicker than you think. Eurotunnel is easily accessed via England's south eastern motorway network - the M4, M40, M11, A1(M) or M1 all join the M25 from where you can follow the signs to the channel ports of Dover/Folkestone.

What is the famous railway in the Alps? ›

The Glacier Express train is the most famous train in the world and promotes itself as “the slowest express train in the world.” The train cuts through the Swiss Alps, providing passengers with some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.

What train goes across the Alps? ›

The scenic Bernina Express train traverses the Alps between Switzerland and Italy, and delivers some of the most remarkable views and railroad engineering on the continent. It ends in Tirano, a quaint Italian city on the border that's perfect for an overnight stop while exploring the Alps by rail.

Which is the most beautiful train route in the World? ›

Glacier Express, Switzerland

Moritz, Switzerland, through the Swiss Alps with breathtaking views of mountains, streams, and quaint towns. Starting in the mountain village of Zermatt near the Matterhorn, the journey continues past rocky peaks, crossing the Rhone into the Upper Rhone Valley.

What is the most beautiful train ever? ›

1. The Bernina Express, Switzerland. If you're looking for the most beautiful train ride on earth, you know that Switzerland has to be number one on this list.

How to travel the Alps for cheap? ›

Table of Contents hide
Mar 9, 2018

What is the most expensive train to ride on? ›

Most Expensive Train Rides In The World
  • Maharajas' Express, India. ...
  • Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, Russia. ...
  • Royal Scotsman. ...
  • Rovos Rail Pride of Africa, South Africa. ...
  • Venice Simplon Orient Express, Europe. ...
  • Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia. ...
  • Danube Express. ...
  • Royal Canadian Pacific.
Mar 8, 2023

What is the most expensive train fare? ›

Maharajas' Express is the most expensive train in India. Each train has 43 cabins.
  • Deluxe cabin – INR 6,19,920.
  • Junior Suite – INR 7,94,640.
  • Suite – INR 11,59,200.
  • Presidential Suite – INR 19,90,800.
Jan 4, 2023

What does a US citizen need to enter France? ›

Quick Facts
  • PASSPORT VALIDITY: At least three months beyond date of departure from the Schengen area. The 12-page U.S. emergency passport is not valid for visa-free entry into France.
  • BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: Must have at least one blank page for stamps.
  • TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays under 90 days.
Jul 27, 2022

Do US citizens need a visa for France? ›

American passport holders are not required to obtain a visa prior to visiting France for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Do you have to wear mask on Eurostar? ›

DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK ONBOARD? For everyone's comfort, we recommend wearing a mask on board our trains. You're not required to take any COVID-19 tests, complete any forms or quarantine on arrival. This applies to ALL travellers, regardless of vaccination status.

What month is best for Alps? ›

The best time to go to the French Alps for hiking and trekking is between June and September as there are still avalanche risks before then.

What month is best to go to the Alps? ›

Switzerland's summer "tourist season" runs roughly from May through September, though in mountainous areas, it doesn't start until sometime in June. High summer (July–August) has its advantages: the best weather, snow-free alpine trails, very long days (light until after 21:00), and the busiest schedule of tourist fun.

Where in the US is most like the Alps? ›

The northern range, found in northern Washington in Cascades National Park, is an entirely different world. Nicknamed the “American Alps,” the Northern Cascades are home to some of the most jaw-dropping terrain on the planet.

Can you drink water on Eurostar? ›

Luggage allowance

There's no restriction on liquids so you can take your favourite toiletries or even bring back some Parisian perfume. We do have some restrictions on alcohol and you can find these here.

What is the luxury train from London to Paris? ›

The Eurostar can take up to 2hrs 37mins from London to Paris, however, most of our trains will take you to Paris in only 2hrs 16mins.

Is WIFI free on Eurostar? ›

Our trains have free wi-fi throughout. To connect, choose EurostarTrainsWiFi then go to to get started.

Can you take food in luggage on Eurostar? ›

Can you take food on the Eurostar? You're welcome to bring your own food from home. Unlike airlines, there are no restrictions on liquids so you can even bring a bottle of bubbly.

Do you have to go through customs on Eurostar? ›

Eurostar passengers require a valid passport or identity card. You will pass through UK, French, Dutch or Belgian customs depending on the journey you are undertaking.

Can I take medication on the Eurostar? ›

Yes, you can take your medication with you, but if you have equipment like an oxygen cylinder, insulin syringes or a large amount of medication, please bring a letter from your doctor to show at security.

How can I keep my luggage safe on a train in Europe? ›

Because train luggage isn't checked in, most European trains don't have a separate baggage car either. You can store your baggage on the floor-standing racks located at the end of the carriage, in the overhead rack, under your seat, in front of your seat, or even right next to you—if you have enough room.

Where is the safest place to sit on a train UK? ›

When choosing a seat on a train, try to get one in the center-most car, or one of the central cars. This will put you as far as possible from the most common points of issue for collisions or derailment, namely the front and end of the train. Also, when possible, sit in a rear-facing seat.

Do you have to go through security for trains in Europe? ›

No Long Check-In and Security Lines

There are no lengthy check-in procedures or security screening for most train travel. You simply show up a few minutes before the train leaves, buy a ticket if you don't have one (often from a ticket machine with English instructions), and hop on the train.

Which city is close to Alps? ›

The Alps are surrounded by, and in some cases include, vibrant and cultural cities such as Geneva, Innsbruck and Venice. Visiting a city can be an invigourating contrast and a way to celebrate a succcesful trip to the mountains.

Where does the Eurostar go to in the Alps? ›

Eurostar ski train winter 2022/23

A direct Eurostar ski train makes it easy to reach the French Alp resorts of Tignes, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Val d'isere, Les Menuires or Meribel, less hassle and more fun than 7 hours of airports, flights & a looong bus journey from the airport.

Which country to go to for Alps? ›

The Alps (/ælps/) are the highest and most extensive mountain range that is entirely in Europe, stretching approximately 1,200 km (750 mi) across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia.

Do you need a passport for a train from London to France? ›

You need a valid passport to travel between the UK and the EU.

Can you sleep on the Eurostar? ›

Eurostar + NightJet to Austria

You can choose from sleeping in a 2-berth, 4-berth or 6-berth couchette compartment, and these can be shared or booked off as private.

What is the best way to travel from London to France? ›

Eurostar Train. This is perhaps the easiest way to get from London to Paris and is usually our recommended way to travel between the two cities. The Eurostar is fast and efficient, and direct from the heart of London to the heart of Paris.

Why are UK trains so expensive? ›

“Unlike trains in the rest of Europe, which tend to be publicly owned and have cheaper fares… most UK trains are privatised, which means that a profit has to be paid out, reducing the scope for fare cuts,” he tells Spotlight.

Why doesn t the US use trains anymore? ›

While the US was a passenger train pioneer in the 19th century, after WWII, railways began to decline. The auto industry was booming, and Americans bought cars and houses in suburbs without rail connections. Highways (as well as aviation) became the focus of infrastructure spending, at the expense of rail.

Why did America stop using trains? ›

During the post-World War II boom many railroads were driven out of business due to competition from airlines and Interstate highways. The rise of the automobile led to the end of passenger train service on most railroads.

What is the easiest way to get to the Alps? ›

The Alps are served by three major international airports. The TGV and TER trains connect you to the big cities in the region. Shuttles and coach busses help you reach the villages and resorts – or you can always come by car.

Which airport do you fly to for the Alps? ›

What is the nearest airport to Alps? The nearest airport to Alps is Sion (SIR) Airport which is 58.2 km away. Other nearby airports include Geneva (GVA) (73.3 km), Turin (TRN) (93.5 km), Lyon (LYS) (139.1 km) and Milan Malpensa (MXP) (145.2 km).

How do I get from London to the French Alps? ›

The Eurostar ski train takes you from London St Pancras to the Alps valley in France. Calling at Moûtiers-Salins, Aime-la-Plagne and Bourg-St-Maurice, these direct Eurostar ski trains are a perfect way to start a holiday on the slopes.

Can you see the Alps by train? ›

But if you want to see the Alps, the Bernina is the obvious choice. This is the only route that goes over the Alps rather than tunneling through them. The Bernina is served by Rhaetian Railway services from St Moritz (in the Swiss Engadin) to Tirano (in Italy).

Do trains go through the Alps? ›

The scenic Bernina Express train traverses the Alps between Switzerland and Italy, and delivers some of the most remarkable views and railroad engineering on the continent. It ends in Tirano, a quaint Italian city on the border that's perfect for an overnight stop while exploring the Alps by rail.

How do you train for the Alps? ›

Training for the down is as important as training for the up! Climbing stairs can help you build strength and stamina for mountain trails in the Alps. Start by doing just a few flights 2-3 days a week, and add more gradually each week. To mix it up – and further work your hips – go up and down sideways.

What is the closest major city to the Swiss Alps? ›

Which Swiss city is closest to the Alps? Thun is the closest Swiss city to the Alps.

What city in Switzerland is closest to the Alps? ›

The two that are closest to the Alps are Geneva and Bern.

Can I go to France from UK by train? ›

Eurostar is your starting point for trips by train from London to France. Leaving from London St Pancras International, the Eurostar runs every half hour during peak times and roughly every hour off-peak times. These regular Eurostar services run to Paris Gare du Nord and Lille-Europe stations.

Is there a direct train from UK to France? ›

There's only one train running directly from London to Paris: the Eurostar high-speed train. So that makes choosing the right train a bit easier! This train is seriously speedy. On average the journey takes 2 hours 28 minutes, at its fastest, 2 hours 16 minutes.

Is it possible to travel from UK to France by train? ›

By train from the UK to France

It is easy to travel by train to France in a day from the UK. The fastest route is to take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International Railway Station to either Lille Europe (1 hour 22 mins) or to Gare du Nord in the French capital Paris (2 hours 16 mins).

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