If you are not a fan of package holidays, then a DIY ski trip is the answer. But, getting to the mountains can be a challenge that will put off even the hardiest of travellers. This guide provides everything you need to know to plan your own DIY trip to Breuil Cervinia in Italy. It is a stunning resort in the shadow of the Matterhorn with over 200km of ski trails to keep you entertained.
A DIY ski trip allows you flexibility with the number of days you stay, and the option to combine skiing with sightseeing in the nearby cities of Milan or Turin.
Getting to Cervinia
The biggest challenge, when organising any DIY ski trip, is getting to the mountains. Unless you hire a car, it can be a struggle, and prior planning is necessary to ensure you do not get stranded.
Sadly, we booked flights to Milan. In hindsight, flights to Turin would have been better, as the transfer is much shorter.
From Porta Susa, take the train to Chatillon for €8.05. The train changes in Ivrea, where you hop off the train and on to the neighbouring train, headed to Aosta.
Jump off at the first stop of Chatillon, and from there, take a cab or bus. The cab cost €60 for three people, whilst the bus costs €2.90 each but runs infrequently. Savda bus timetables will allow you to plan your journey.
From Milan Malpensa
Take the bus direct from the airport to Turin for €22 each. This drops you directly at Porta Susa and from there, follow the directions above. Be warned, this option will require several hours of travelling. We left Milan Malpensa at 2pm and arrived in Cervinia around 7.15pm.
A better option is to take the direct shuttle from the airport to the resort for just €25 per person, however this only runs at the weekend.
On our return, we did manage to book a bus to Milan, changing at Chatillon, for just €18.40 each. The buses are scheduled to allow for an easy transfer, and worked nicely for us as we had planned to spend New Year in Milan.
Assuming you stay in the village, then you will be able to walk, as it is compact. Beware, some properties are on the hillside and will require a thigh busting clamber, so choose your accommodation carefully using the Cervinia map.
When booking directly, I prefer to use hotels.com. This site rewards users with one free night for every ten paid nights. The free night value is equivalent to the average cost of your ten nights, and you can put this value towards the cost of a higher priced room. (Read more about hotels.com here if you are not familiar with them.)
This means that, although you might stay in ten different hotels including chains and independent hoteliers, you still get rewarded for your loyalty.
My other go to booking company is Booking.com. Use this Booking.com referral link to receive a £15 gift.
We booked the Hotel Da Compagnoni which is rated 8.8 on Booking.com and is in a superb location at the base of the ski runs. It is perfectly situated for bars, restaurants and dragging your kit back to your hotel at the end of a long day.
From the locker room to the chairlift is around 100 metres. Pretty sweet! Other than location, I loved this hotel for its spacious, charming rooms, mountain views and friendly staff. How cool is this room?
Whatever you decide, I recommend staying in a hotel in locations B3 and C3 on the Cervinia map, as you will be close to bars and restaurants. You will also avoid a climb to your accommodation after dining out.
Ski passes can be bought in resort, and prices start at €41 for a day. You can buy them online, but all it will save you is time. Otherwise, you can buy them directly from the base of the chairlift. The full list of ski pass prices can be found here.
We booked five consecutive days for €205, but with hindsight I would consider paying by day, as there were a few days where the conditions were so dicey that we did not really get value from our passes.
Incidentally, when you hand your card in, you receive a refund of the €5 deposit and also a voucher for a free day of skiing in either 2017/18 or 2018/19 seasons.
Head to Cervinia 2001 on Via Carrel to hire equipment. The staff are extremely helpful, courteous, and multi-lingual. Muriel deserves a special mention for his advice regarding my boots.
You can secure discounted prices if you book your ski hire online. Likewise, if you pick up a voucher from the Hotel Da Campagnoni (assuming you are staying there), you will save 15% off the hire price.
If you wish to take lessons, you can book these in advance, or in person from €92 for a two hour private lesson. The cost gets progressively less for each additional person wishing to join the lesson. I booked with Scuola Di Sci Del Cervino, and it took just fifteen minutes for a ski instructor to arrive.
Alternatively, you can join group sessions which cost from €175 for five days with skiing from 09:45 to 12.30 each day.
Cervinia ski map
Check out the Cervinia ski map online so you can plan your skiing. This ski area links to Zermatt, but you need to plan carefully, to consider the weather and also the time needed to get back over the mountain.
The international pass costs an additional €34 per day. Whilst, you can buy an international pass from the outset, personally I don’t think it is worth it. You will need four days just to exhaust the slopes on the Italian side, so why pay for something you may not use?
Cervinia resort tips
Food and drink
Most hotels offer bed and breakfast, but skiing is hungry business. Allow around €25 to €30 for lunch for two on the mountain.
In town, there are plenty of restaurants offering hearty Italian fare and international food. If you are visiting for a week, there are more than enough options to keep you satisfied. Here are some of our top tips.
Bar Au Planet is a cosy little coffee shop and bar at the top of Via Carrell. Alcoholic drinks are served with a platter of cheese and meats, whilst a fire roars in the corner. It is popular with boisterous locals and a perfect place to practice any fledgling Italian.
Ymeletrob is where we spent Christmas Day. For main courses, dessert, a bottle of prosecco and coffee we paid €105. The food is absolutely divine, with great portions, friendly service and photo worthy presentation.
This is one restaurant you must not miss. In addition, it has a lively bar with live music some nights, and it’s pretty to boot!
Other restaurants I would highly recommend are Hotel Grivola, Bar Falcone and Al Solito Post. All are as popular with locals as with tourists which is always an encouraging sign. You can find all these on the linked map of Cervinia.
The Dragon is a welsh pub situated at the bottom of the slopes by chairlift E. Happy hour with ‘buy one get one free’ runs between 3pm and 4.30pm, and with two pints costing €5.50, you might be encourage to leave the slopes a tad earlier.
Hopefully this provides enough information to give you confidence that you can DIY a ski trip to Cervinia.
Maybe you have already visited, and have some other top tips. Feel free to pop them in the comments below. I’d love to hear any advice, particularly relating to better routes for getting to resort, as this will be the biggest stumbling block for those wanting to travel independently.