Unless you are booking onto a winter resort based holiday or an activity holiday with a ready made itinerary that includes transport, having a car on holiday in the mountains is definitely an advantage. Mountain areas are generally not very well served by public transport other than the main habitations and towns or popular tourist hot spots. To really explore in the mountains and discover the undiscovered gems, a car is essential. Using an electric car is of course the best option and the infrastructure is now well in place across France and in the Alps for charging.
In winter driving in the mountains can be a concern for many people as the roads can be snowy and icy. If you are based in a ski resort, and all your activities are based from the resort, then you probably won't need a car, but if you are based outside of a ski resort in a village or small hamlet, then having a car will be an advantage. Driving in the winter in the mountains isn't as bad as you might think and the roads are very well cleared and managed to snow and ice problems - it is a far cry from a snowy day in the UK where everything grinds to a halt!
To help decide whether driving is for you or not for a winter holiday, have a read of our blog article, 'Planning a Winter Holiday to the Alps: To drive or Not to Drive". If you do hire a car for a winter activity or skiing holiday, then make sure you get one with either winter tyres (ideal) or a set of snow chains in the car. If you plan on doing a lot of small off piste tracks, then a 4x4 is also worth getting. Read our tips on driving in the snow.
For summer, a car in the mountains is a dream. The roads may twist and turn but they will take you to some of the best scenery in the world. It is rare to be caught in a traffic jam in most mountain areas, so relax and enjoy!
Don't forget that for hiring a car, you will need a valid driving license and a credit card in the same name as your driving license. Debit cards are not always accepted.
If you don't have a credit card, then make sure you check directly with the car hire provider whether they accept debit cards. You don't want to be in a situation where you arrive and are unable to collect your car!