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Ski Holidays | Lakes Holidays | City Breaks | Mountain Holidays
Cervinia Ski Resort Italy
At the foot of Monte Cervino (a.k.a. the Matterhorn) on the Italian side of the border across from Zermatt is the Cervinia ski resort. Beautifully situated in a broad glacier capped bowl, Cervinia has awesome skiing & dining experiences at a bargain basement price in the Valle d’Aosta Italy.
Before Cervinia was developed as a ski resort, the village was a base for mountaineering types & it was known as Breuil. It’s officially now known as Breuil-Cervinia, but most people just refer to it as Cervinia. The resort includes Valtournenche & is lift, trail & pass interlinked with Zermatt in Switzerland to form one of the largest international ski resorts in the world called the Matterhorn Ski Paradise (behind the monstrous Portes du Soleil).
Pros & Cons for Cervinia Ski Resort
- Stunning views and landscapes;
- High altitude guarantees quality and reliable snow;
- Excellent piste trails for beginners and intermediates;
- World’s most spectacular learn to ski area;
- Long season, including summer skiing;
- Superb on mountain restaurants and après ski;
- Great freeride terrain including tree skiing for advanced riders;
- Excellent value for money;
- Linked with Zermatt Switzerland (and a lot cheaper too);
- Very quiet during the week;
- Lots of ‘ski in’ lodging options;
- Heli-skiing is available.
- Very exposed during blizzards and in high winds lifts often close;
- No piste trails for advanced riders;
- The drive up to Cervinia can be challenging during bad weather and when weekend traffic is coming the other way!
Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)
- Off-piste skiing for more advanced riders requires a little bit of knowledge & effort;
- Much of the on-mountain apartment accommodation is old and dated, but also very cheap.
Skiing & Snowboarding, Lifts & Terrain
The Cervinia ski terrain primarily consists of a large sunny bowl that sits below the southern face of Monte Cervino (Matterhorn). The ski area is serviced by 19 main lifts. The 150km of runs on the Italian side are ideal for beginners and intermediates, with lovely long manicured slopes that are highway wide. In Cervinia at the Plan Maison, one of the world’s most spectacular learn to ski areas exists under the looming Monte Cervino. Advanced riders will find no competition for off piste powder, but the Cervinia piste trails have very little for expert skiers & snowboarders.
Neighbouring Valtournenche has a range of long, mainly intermediate piste trails extending all the way into the valley. Beginner runs extend up from Salette via two slow chairlifts. The area is quite exposed and not pleasant for beginners in anything but the best weather. The 1,400m vertical valley run from Cime Bianche via Salette through the outskirts of Valtournenche town to the gondola base and car park is an absolute ripper – easily the best piste trail in the entire resort. A group of restaurants and bars just above town offer a superb place to stop on the way down.
Both Cervinia and Valtournenche have a ski-able vertical of around 1,400m each. There are seamless piste trail connections from Valtournenche to Cervinia and vice versa. To ski into Zermatt across the Switzerland border, either a ride up the wind prone Plateau Rosa Cable Car is required, or alternatively via the chairs to the Theodul Pass.
Snow & Weather
Cervinia is located along the highest spine of mountains in Europe ensuring a long snow-sure season thanks to high elevations between 2,050m and 3,488m, Cervinia is so snow-sure that it combines with Zermatt to have the largest on piste summer glacier skiing in the world.
With a predominantly southerly aspect the slopes are bathed in sunshine when the big orb is out! The sunny southerly aspect is a major drawcard for beginners as well as the Zermatt skiers who want to work on their tan. However, the weather isn’t always fine and due to the high and exposed nature of Cervinia ski resort, it can get very cold, windy and produce skiing by braille conditions, sometimes resulting in lift closures.
Interlinked with Zermatt Switzerland
The Cervinia ski resort is interlinked via the lifts and slopes with Valtournenche in Italy as well as the Zermatt Ski Region over in Switzerland (weather permitting). The areas combined form the Matterhorn Ski Paradise, a massive ski domain that provides 360km of piste and plenty of off-piste terrain. You can either purchase an Italian Area Pass that covers the two Italian resorts, or pay more for an International Pass that is also valid at Zermatt.
If you want to test the endurance of your thighs, head up Europe’s highest cable car (to 3,883m) to the Klein Matterhorn (aka Piccolo Cervino) and then schuss down a 20km and 2,359m vertical drop red (intermediate) run to Valtournenche. The run will be interrupted by a very short chairlift ride at the Cime Bianche just after you enter Valtournenche ski area but is otherwise a nice bit of exercise!
Summer Skiing at Cervinia & Zermatt
Cervinia ski resort is open in the summer for skiing on the Plateau Rosa Glacier in a combined ski area with Zermatt. Summer Skiing Cervinia runs from late June to early September every summer and has 5.5km of ski run available on the Italian side and 21km on the Theodul Glacier on the Swiss side in Zermatt. The Zermatt summer ski terrain is open to skiing all year round.
Cervinia Heli Skiing
Although not outrageously priced, for those with deep pockets there is also heli skiing to access terrain more challenging than the tame slopes of the Cervinia ski resort. The Cervinia heli skiing outfit offers a range of programs from single helicopter drops, a full day of heli skiing, and up to 6 days of blissful powder skiing! More information is coming soon.
Where is Cervinia Italy?
Breuil Cervinia is located near the top of the Aosta Valley, 117km north of Torino (Turin) in north western Italy. The neighbouring interconnected resort of Valtournenche is 9km by road south of Cervinia and is included in the ski resort area.
Cervinia ski resort’s closest major gateway airports are Turin (TRN) (120km – 1⅔hr), Milan Malpensa (MXP) (190km – 2¾hr) and Geneva (GVA) (210km – 2¾hr) by car. Private Shuttle or Transfer from the airports are available & are both efficient & cost effective for groups of 3 or more people. For those travelling on a shoestring, there are train & bus transport options via Chatillon – Saint Vincent as well, but they take a bit longer & require a few changes of train before one finally gets on the bus.
The Breuil Cervinia village has been largely purpose built so there are a few ugly dated concrete buildings, along with some more charming hotels. When it comes to attractiveness, the village is probably middle of the road at best. A plus is that it’s compact and easy to stroll around the mainly pedestrian-only streets. Unless of course you are staying in an apartment on the Cieloalto, in which case a walk down and a shuttle bus up is the go!
Cervinia hotels are somewhat varied: from glamorous 5-star hotels down to budget-oriented 2-star hotels. A Breuil Cervinia hotel typically costs much less than a Zermatt Hotel which can be über expensive, although Cervinia can cost more than some other nearby Italian ski resorts. Other Cervinia accommodation includes self-catering apartments & chalets of varying standards.
Various Cervinia hotels are ski-in ski-out or at least provide very easy access to the slopes and lifts. The Plan Maison cable car is located towards the top of the village, whilst there are also chair lifts from near the centre of town.
Accommodation further down the valley at Valtournenche is cheaper and in a more authentic town, although access to the slopes and access gondola will require a bus or car ride from most hotels.
Cervinia is an easy day trip from the Aosta valley towns of Chatillon & Saint Vincent. Availability is generally assured, but a car is required to make the journey viable.
Food & Nightlife
The Cervinia ski area is serviced by more than a dozen mountain restaurants, some of which are self-service, others are classic full service rifugios & none are too pricey. Après-ski drinking starts at a few slope-side bars. In town at Breuil Cervinia there are upscale restaurants, inexpensive pizzerias and lively bars where you can partake in some fabulous Italian revelry.
Nearby Ski Resorts
The Aosta Valley has some of Italy’s best ski resorts within a short distance. Courmayeur (with the amazing Skyway Monte Bianco), Pila, Crevacol and La Thuile are to the west. The Powderhound paradise of Monterosa Ski is to the east. Just to the south of Cervinia is gorgeous little Chamois.
There are serious plans afoot to lift link the Cime Bianche at the top of Valtournenche/Cervinia with Frachey (Champoluc) in the Monterosa Ski area, creating the world’s largest interconnected ski resort.
Where is Cervinia, Italy?
The Cervinia ski resort is on the Swiss border along the spine of Europe, south of the iconic holiday town of Zermatt. The resort includes the villages of Breuil-Cervinia & Valtournenche in the skiing area. By road, the villages are 9km & 600m elevation apart.
Breuil Cervinia forms the heart of the ski resort and is 120km north of Turin and 41km northeast of Aosta by road. The nearest railway station is 29km south at Chatillon St Vincent and the closest major international airport is Milan Malpensa, 185km to the east. Chatillon St Vincent is the linchpin town in any journey to Cervinia.
Flights to Cervinia Ski Resort
The best international gateway airport to Cervinia for travellers from non-European destinations is Milan Malpensa (MXP). If flying to Cervinia from the UK, Scandinavia or mainland Europe, Turin (TRN) provides the best access. Geneva in Switzerland could be utilised as well, but connections to Cervinia are more complex.
Airport & Hotel Transfers
The Powderhounds recommend taking the train & bus from the airports to Cervinia 7 Valtournenche, however it is not the easiest location to get to by public transit. If you cannot abide public transport, are in a larger group of 3+ people or just have the cash to splash, the quickest way to Cervinia from the airports is a private transfer.
Driving to Cervinia & Valtournenche
Driving to Cervinia is possible via various routes into the Valle d’Aosta from Italy, France & Switzerland. All routes are via the town of Chatillon St Vincent. Driving in from France is the most expensive option due to higher motorway tolls & exorbitant Mont Blanc Tunnel (MBT) toll.
From Turin or Milan, reasonably priced motorway tolls can be expected. The drive from Milan Malpensa airport is entirely on tolled & toll-free motorways before exiting at Chatillon St Vincent. Smaller local roads are utilised from Chatillon St Vincent, heading north on the SR46 for the last 29km to Cervinia (20km to Valtournenche). It is possible to drive from Milan Malpensa airport to Cervinia in about 2.5hr. Road conditions in the final mountain stage from Buisson to Breuil Cervinia will dictate the true journey time as the difference in elevation, temperature & snow/ice cover is significant.
From France, head to Chamonix on the N205 road, take the MBT directly to the Aosta Valley & on to Chatillon St Vincent before exiting to Cervinia.
From Switzerland, depending on the starting point, routes can be via France and the MBT or via Martigny and the Grand Saint Bernard Tunnel to Aosta. From Aosta, join the E25 motorway east to Chatillon St Vincent. Note the Grand Saint Bernard Tunnel is shorter and more scenic than the MBT, but only a little less costly. Swiss roads don’t have tolls, however a single one-off fee for all motorways may be required to be paid at border crossings.
Car Rental & Hire
All the major airports and cities have car hire available, however if coming into Cervinia via Turin or Milan, we recommend avoiding driving in the city and getting a vehicle directly from the airport. If seeking a hire car locally, Aosta has some useful outlets. From all hire locations, ensure the rental car comes with snow tyres and/or snow chains (bare minimum). All-wheel drive or 4WD vehicles offer the safest driving experience when driving to Cervinia or other such high elevation locations. If driving a diesel, fill up in the petrol station at Breuil Cervinia to avoid any issues with fuel gumming.
Train & Bus Transport
If one does not have a car or wish to pay for private transfers, travel to Cervinia from Aosta, Geneva, Turin or Milan is possible via public bus (Savda and/or Sadem) or combination of train & bus. As with driving, the town of Chatillon St Vincent is the key turning point in any bus or train journey. At least 8 public bus services run from Chatillon St Vincent & Cervinia Valtournenche per day.
From Milan Malpensa airport to Chatillon St Vincent, public bus services run twice daily (& 3 times on weekends).
From Turin airport it is necessary to travel into central Turin. Regular buses make the 45min journey and stop at both major railway station in Turin (Porta Nuova and Porta Susa). The main bus terminal (Autostazione corso Bolzano) is conveniently situated opposite the Porta Susa railway station. Buses to Chatillon St Vincent (destination Aosta or Courmayeur) leave from both main train stations three times daily (& 4 times on Fridays).
From Geneva airport public bus services run twice daily to Courmayeur (& 3 times on weekends), where other services can be utilised to Cervinia via Chatillon St Vincent.
See all the Savda bus timetables
Trains to the Valle d’Aosta terminate at Aosta but make an earlier stop at Chatillon St Vincent where the train is met by the Cervinia bus. All train services start at Chivasso on the main Milan-Turin line.
Once in Breuil Cervinia, all local timetables are on display in the bus shelter at the main terminal near the entrance to town.
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