Tignes Ski Resort Guide
Consisting of 5 separate villages at varying altitudes, Tignes provides the convenience of a purpose-built resort and is rightly considered one of the top ski destinations in France.
Tignes Val Claret sits highest in the natural valley at an altitude of 2100m and gives great access to the Grande Motte glacier and the more challenging pistes for experienced skiers and snowboarders. The bulk of the accommodation found here is self-catering, but there are also some attractive new hotels to be found between the high-rise apartment blocks.
Tignes Le Lac is regarded as the centre of the resort and features a greater array of amenities and apres-ski activities – including bars with sun terraces, the swimming pool, sports centre and spa. Access to more beginner pistes starts from here and Le Lac does feel much more like a complete resort than some of the other areas. Just around the corner – Tignes Lavachet is a smaller area with a quieter feel to it. Accommodation tends to be cheaper here and as such it is home to many of Tignes seasonal workers.
The recently redeveloped and vastly improved Tignes 1800 sits just above the large Chevril dam and boasts an impressive apartment / hotel block in the Kalinda Village. Access to the slopes is easy with a fast bubble lift, but after the lifts close the connection to the main Tignes resort is reserved to the free bus.
Tignes Les Brevieres sits in the shadow of that same dam, and is regarded as the prettiest of all the Tignes areas. It has its own church and a river flowing through the village too. Life tends to be quieter here and often suits families better – there are a few lively bars however – but no connection to the main resort after the lifts close.
With its high-altitude setting and convenient, purpose-built accommodation, Tignes offers one of the most snow-sure and convenient skiing experiences in France. What the resort lacks in charm it easily makes up for by providing access to some of the best ski terrain in Europe. Sharing the huge Espace Killy ski area with its posher neighbour, Val d’Isere, Tignes offers over 300km of pistes linked by lifts. Beyond that, there is also some of the best and most easily-accessible off-piste skiing to be had anywhere on the continent.
Offering something for everyone, Tignes is unapologetic about concentrating on what is important – the skiing and snowboarding. It may not boast the most beautiful of buildings, but if you take a holiday here you’ll be far too busy enjoying the amazing snow to even notice.
Airport Transfers to Tignes
Sitting at the end of the Tarentaise Valley, Tignes does have some of the longest transfer times in this local area. However, there are plenty of options in terms of local airports and either cheap buses or private minibus transfers which kind of makes up for the distance it is required to travel.
The closest airport to Tignes is the small, winter-only operation in Chambery. At a distance of 142km and with travel time of just over 2 hours, Chambery is definitely a great option – if you can find a reasonably-priced flight there. The more popular option is to fly in to the much larger Geneva airport just over the border in Switzerland and travel from here. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to land in a different country to Tignes and travel the slightly longer 170km, you will actually find many more cheap flight and transfer options from Geneva to Tignes than elsewhere. Several operators run cheap shared transfers on a regular schedule, while those looking for private minibus taxis will have no problem finding many companies doing just this.
Lyon and Grenoble airports also provide suitable options (albeit slightly more limited than Geneva) for both shared and private transfer journeys up to Tignes. Both airports sit at circa 215km from Tignes ski resort, but due to their quick access to the French highways the travel time of almost 3 hours is not too bad. Local taxi companies will be happy to do the airport to ski resort transfer, and for those able to fill up a minibus with their group this represents a good option. Some low-cost bus companies do operate from Lyon and Grenoble, but choices are less plentiful than the much busier transport hub of Geneva airport.