Wondering if Courchevel is too expensive for you?
Well, I’m here to give you the low down on the price of everything in Courchevel and the best tips for travelling on a budget.
Like anywhere in the world, you can spend a lot of money or save your Euros. Most people will tell you that the cost of life in Courchevel is eye-wateringly high.
While that can be true, I’ve spent many years living and working in the ski resort. And I am no millionaire. In fact, it’s my favourite place to ski, even when I was working on minimum wage.
So let’s dig in and look at the cost of travel, skiing, food, accommodation, and other activities.
Cost of Travel to Courchevel
Getting to Courchevel is no more expensive than any other French ski resort. The majority of people fly into Geneva airport. This international airport serves a huge portion of the Alps. You can find great value flights (sometimes under €100) from many locations including London, Manchester, and Amsterdam.
Along with your flight, you’ll need to book a transfer from the airport to Courchevel. The drive is about 2 and a half hours. As it is a part of the world’s largest ski area, shared transfers run multiple times a day costing less than €80 each way per person. They’ll even drop you at your accommodation.
That’s it, you’ll have arrived in Courchevel without spending too much. During off-peak times, you could even do this for less than €200.
On a larger budget, there’s also the option of flying into Chambery airport which is much closer, about a 1 hour drive. Arrivals here are more limited and flights will be more expensive.
The rich and famous go one step further. They arrive at the Courchevel Altiport which is right on the side of the slopes. This does not offer commercial flights so it is expensive to charter your own private jet or helicopter transfer…
Once you arrive at the resort you can get around using the free ski buses which regularly run to all areas of the ski resort.
There’s a wide range of accommodation across the Courchevel valley. You can book a private super chalet costing €20,000 (and much more), choose a hotel room, or relax in a self-catered apartment.
The most expensive accommodation is found in Courchevel 1850. When trying to save money, you can look for self-catered apartments in lower down villages like 1650 and Le Praz. Here you’ll find a wider range of affordable options. These villages still offer great skiing with guaranteed snow and instant lift access. For example, Le Praz has a direct gondola delivering you in 1850 in 7 minutes!
If you decide to self-cater, then local grocery stores including Carrefour and Spa give you a selection of well-priced food. Pick up fresh vegetables, meat, pasta, rice, and anything else you can think of, plus visit the local bakery for fresh bread and croissants every morning.
Ski Pass Costs in Courchevel
One thing that you can’t avoid buying is a lift pass (unless you want to go on a ski tour everywhere…)
These are set prices, although you might be able to get a small 10% discount by pre booking or through certain travel agents.
You can reduce the cost in a few clever ways though! Firstly, there is a group discount for families and couples who buy a certain amount and type of tickets.
In addition, you can choose between a Courchevel or a Three Valleys lift pass. The ‘Courchevel only passes’ give you access to the Courchevel valley. While a Three Valleys pass allows you to access all of the lifts in Courchevel, Meribel, and Val Thorens.
The exact prices change every season, but a Courchevel pass is usually about €30- €40 cheaper than a Three Valleys pass for 6 days.
If you’re a complete beginner you can take advantage of free ski lifts that don’t require a ticket. The Bellecote lift and green slope can be accessed for free!
You’ve probably heard that Courchevel is a hotspot for Michelin stars and fine dining restaurants. You can even stop for a Michelin star skiing lunch!
Sounds expensive right? Well, if you like fine dining then get ready to open your wallet. But you can easily find reasonably priced options too. You just need to know where to look. Like any ski resort, it’s easy to get stuck with a €20 bill for a crappy hotdog…
Be sure to check the prices before heading into any restaurant as you might get a shock. Around the centre of the villages, there are plenty of good value restaurants serving pizzas, burgers, and fondue.
If you’re looking for lunch on the slopes, then choose the ‘skiers lunch’ or ‘plat du jour’ at places like Le Bouc Blanc and Le Bel Air. In addition, keep your eye open for snow front snack bars along your route.
Many of the bars offer tasty meals for lunch and evening dinner. Once again you’ll find laid-back meals including steak, burgers, fondue, raclette, and pasta which are reasonably priced. Try places like L’elephant in Le Praz, Le Schuss in 1650, and La Grange a Pizza in 1850.
Off the Snow Activities
What else is there to do in Courchevel? Plenty!
For family friendly activities, check out the toboggan tracks in 1850 and 1650. The 1850 luge track is free to use, just rent toboggans from a ski shop. Then you can race down and use the Grangette gondola for free after 5pm. The 1650 luge track has a small charge, but is designed as an epic snowy race track.
Head to Aquamotion for a swim and a spa. The state-of-the-art facility is open to the public and is reasonably priced. It cost less than €50 for full access to the pool, waterslides, and wellness spa. Even cheaper for kids too!
Elsewhere you could enjoy snowshoeing, ice skating, ice hockey, and tenpin bowling without costing much. Adding to this, check out the events calendar at the tourist office. There are regular free events like epic fireworks championships!
5 Tips for Skiing Courchevel on a Budget
Let’s go through the top tips for visiting Courchevel on a budget
Avoid School Holidays
This is the number 1 money saver. Unless you have no option, don’t ski during the school holidays. That means Christmas, New Year, and mid-February.
These are the peak weeks and everywhere will be very busy. That leads to two problems – higher prices and queues.
The price of accommodation, flights, transfers, and ski lessons all ramp up at this time. Ski companies only have a few months to make their money so they’ll look to cash in when they can.
Not only will you be paying more, but everywhere is super busy. Restaurants are fully booked, lift and busy queues are long, and everything is a little less enjoyable.
During quieter times like January and March, you’ll find much better deals! Plus you’ll have wide open slopes to yourself.
When looking for accommodation, look at self-catered apartments. It will be much cheaper than a catered ski chalet. You won’t be paying for a host and a chef. Or paying the premium for the comfort of a hotel.
Trust me, you can have just as much fun in an apartment. You can eat and cook what you like, head out for dinner when you choose, and save a bundle.
Stay in Le Praz or 1650
The location of your stay greatly impacts the costs too. Lower down Courchevel villages like 1650 and Le Praz still give you instant access to the ski area. You can ski right into the middle of all the villages.
These are much more affordable locations with a wider selection of apartments, chalets, and hotels. You can save yourself tens of thousands of Euros compared to the elevated luxury hotels and chalets of Courchevel 1850.
Check the Menu Prices
Before you head into a restaurant or bar, take a quick look at the menu. That way you’ll avoid any shocks when your bill arrives. It’s easy to get caught out in any ski resort, even more so in Courchevel
You can easily find a bite to eat for less than €15 around any of the villages. Often pizzas, fondue, and burgers give a good value meal. Plus when on the slopes look for places serving a skiers lunch or plat du jour.
Don’t be afraid to grab food from a local grocery store and take a packed lunch or picnic with you for the day.
Ask a Local
If in doubt, ask a local. Your transfer driver, ski rental shop, ski instructor, or other staff member will be glad to point you in the right direction. The resort workers know all the tricks and places to go which aren’t built for millionaires.
Is Courchevel Expensive Summary
I hope this article answers your question ‘is Courchevel expensive?’
The answer is yes and no.
There’s no doubt that Courchevel is a playground for the rich and famous. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it too!
The skiing is incredible with wide open manicured runs for all abilities. By taking care of your travel and accommodation choices you can have a ski holiday here on any budget.
It helps to avoid peak ski season weeks, check on the menus before eating, and consider villages outside of Courchevel 1850 like Le Praz, 1550, or 1650,