Destinations / The Alps

Enjoy a traditional Christmas in the Alps

The Alps are full of small, authentic ski resorts that have everything you need for a perfect festive holiday.

So for your next holiday, say goodbye to the monotonous buildings of the big-name resorts. This winter, head for the small, authentic villages for a magical, unforgettable holiday.

Even the quaintest, more remote resorts in the Alps have plenty to offer. Charming chalets, illuminated streets, stunning natural landscapes, a magical atmosphere… all the conditions are there for you to enjoy a memorable Christmas holiday.

In this post, we shine a spotlight on the eight most authentic ski resorts for a traditional Christmas in the Alps…

1. Combloux, a typical Alpine village

A snow-covered view of Combloux with forest and mountains in the background
There’s plenty to surprise you in Combloux © Office de Tourisme de Combloux

As well as its small size, which gives it a warm and welcoming feel, Combloux is also one of the most authentic resorts in the Alps. This is largely thanks to its rich farming and architectural heritage.

With its 18th-century baroque bell tower, charming hamlets, mountain pastures and its many working farms, Combloux is truly enchanting.

This is especially the case in winter, when the magical atmosphere of Christmas gradually takes hold in the village streets. Every Thursday in winter, you can discover the world of the Légendes de Combloux. This festival recounts the stories of the village through theatrical, sound and light shows that are sure to amaze you. Aurélien Astre, director of the Combloux Tourist Office, says the event aims “to bring history to tourism and bring locals and visitors together”.

An iconic village resort in Haute-Savoie, Combloux promises unforgettable winter holidays…

Dream holidays in the Évasion Mont-Blanc


2. Samoëns

Snow-covered chalets and a traditional chapel under a blue sky
Immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit during a winter visit to Samoëns © Office de Tourisme de Samoëns

As soon as the snow falls, Samoëns gets itself ready for Christmas and invites its visitors into a magical world. Twinkling lights, the scent of cinnamon, and Christmas carols… the cobblestoned streets of the village offer guests a truly enchanted experience!

And when Christmas finally arrives, Samoëns adorns itself with beautiful decorations for a magical end to the year. Christmas trees, candles, garlands… you’re in for a treat!

Throughout the holiday season, visitors are invited to numerous family-friendly and festive activities organised in and around the town centre. There are ice sculpture demonstrations, concerts, Christmas markets, festive workshops, and much more. Between heartwarming traditions and new creative events, this authentic Alpine village has something for everyone!

If you’d like to know more about Samoens, go to the tourist office’s website.

Book your stay in the Grand Massif


3. Manigod, a resort keeping traditions alive

The beautiful village of Manigod on a snowy evening
During the holiday season, Manigod shines brightly with a thousand lights. © Veyrat Sport

Nestled in the heart of the Aravis Massif, the charming village of Manigod is definitely worth a visit. A welcoming and family-friendly resort that has preserved its Savoyard authenticity, this Alpine destination is perfect for winter holidays. Whether it’s skiing (day and night), entertainment, or festive events, there’s no time to be bored!

No matter what activity you’re doing, don’t forget to take in the breathtaking surroundings. Moreover, Manigod offers one of the most beautiful panoramas in Haute-Savoie, with its endless alpine meadows and traditional chalets.

If you’d like to know more, visit the official website of the Manigod Tourist Office. Or check out the following articles:

Visit Manigod this winter


4. La Chapelle d’Abondance

Vue d'ensemble du village La Chapelle d'Abondance recouvert de neige.
La Chapelle d’Abondance : a little village with a big heart © Office de Tourisme La Chapelle d’Abondance

Charming chalets accompany a friendly and magical atmosphere in La Chapelle d’Abondance at Christmas time.

Whether you want to admire the lights, stroll through decorated streets or find gift ideas, make sure to visit the Christmas market. Many craftspeople are waiting to show you their handmade goods in their little wooden chalets. Choose from mulled wine, jewellery, wooden toys, waffles or pretzels – there’s something for everyone!

The tourist office also organises a programme of activities throughout the Christmas market. Children can join in craft workshops or meet Santa Claus while adults enjoy advent concerts and street performances…

The magic is everywhere! So come enjoy a timeless moment in a typical Alpine village.

For more information, visit the official website of the Pays d’Evian Vallée d’Abondance Tourist Office.

Discover the Portes du Soleil


5. Saint-Gervais, a charming village and resort

The  village of Saint Gervais in the snow
Rest and relaxation are guaranteed in Saint-Gervais © Savoie-Mont-Blanc

Perched on the slopes of Mont-Blanc, the village of Saint-Gervais captivates visitors with its authentic charm and friendly atmosphere.

Its origins as a spa town in the early 19th century, before it became a ski resort in the 1930s, are still visible in the village today. This is particularly apparent in its charming architecture where Belle Époque baroque architecture meets the spirit of the mountains.

As the holiday season approaches, the atmosphere becomes even more magical. The village streets are adorned with light installations for the Lumières Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc festival, offering spectators a breathtaking sound and light show that is sure to leave them in awe.

When you stay in Saint-Gervais, you can enjoy the charm and authenticity of a typical Alpine village while benefiting from the various offerings of larger neighbouring resorts such as Chamonix, Cluses, or La Clusaz.

For more information, visit the official website of the Saint-Gervais Tourist Office.

Stay in Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains


6. Châtel

The village of Chatel on a winter's night
Châtel : a cosy traditonal village © Alex K

If you’re looking for an authentic, family-friendly, and small-scale destination for your upcoming winter vacation, Châtel is the place to be!

At an altitude of 1,200 meters in the Abondance Valley, Châtel is a small village that has managed to preserve and showcase its natural, architectural, and historical heritage.

That’s why the resort is still popular with nature lovers and those who appreciate the authenticity, charm, and quality of life that reign in these villages, away from mass tourism.

The tourist office’s guide to the village starts: “Welcome to a world of freedom, adventure, and discoveries. Here, respect for nature, preservation of heritage, and a sense of hospitality blend perfectly with tourism. Châtel, in every season, offers the privilege of discovering unsuspected treasures and fully experiencing an authentic and natural destination.”

This is a great summary of what Châtel has in store for its visitors! It’s an ideal destination where families can discover the joys of the mountains.

For more information, go to the Châtel tourist office’s website.

7. Le Grand-Bornand, an authentic village

The beautiful traditional chapel of Le Grand Bornand, with the ski area in the background
Enjoy an unforgettable Christmas in Le Grand-Bornand © Office de Tourisme Le Grand-Bornand

In the heart of the Aravis mountains, between the Arve Valley and Lake Annecy, Le Grand-Bornand is one of the most authentic ski resorts in Savoie Mont-Blanc. With its 400 two-century-old chalets (making it the French resort that has preserved the most traditional habitats), its central square, typical church, stone streets, and small shops, Le Grand-Bornand has retained all its charm from the 17th century.

Sprinkle all of this with a thick blanket of snow and festive garlands, and add a delicate aroma of gingerbread and you’ll have a magnificent Christmas setting, worthy of a fairy tale.

Next, explore this authentic Haute-Savoie village and its Christmas traditions through the multitude of activities and events that are available. Light shows, street performances, concerts, nativity scenes, photo opportunities with Santa Claus, torchlight descents, Christmas mass, a giant wooden play area, or creative workshops… you’ll be spoiled for choice.

This beautiful destination in the Aravis Massif is not to be missed under any circumstances, but particularly during the holiday season!

To find out more, check out the Grand Bornand tourist office’s website.

Luxury chalets in Le Grand Bornand


8. La Fouly

Ski slopes of La Fouly

When it comes to experiencing a traditional Christmas in the Alps, few places can rival the charm and beauty of La Fouly. Tucked away amidst stunning alpine scenery, this picturesque village offers a perfect blend of natural splendour and festive cheer that will leave you enchanted.

Surrounded by iconic peaks like Le Dolent, Le Tour Noir, and l’Aiguille d’Argentière, La Fouly immerses you in a winter wonderland like no other. The snow-capped mountains create a breathtaking backdrop, perfect for capturing those memorable holiday moments.

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a novice looking to hit the slopes, La Fouly has something for everyone. The ski terrain caters to all skill levels, with a ski school providing lessons for beginners and challenging runs for the more experienced. For those seeking adventure off-piste, guided free-ride ski routes are also available.

For a serene winter experience, strap on a pair of snowshoes and venture into the snow-covered forests surrounding La Fouly. Guided snowshoe trails allow you to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the mountains while marvelling at the winter wonderland around you.

If you’re looking to experience a traditional Christmas amidst the majestic beauty of the Alps, La Fouly promises an unforgettable holiday filled with winter adventures, exciting events, and festive delights. Embrace the magic of the season in this charming alpine village and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Check out the events page for La Fouly and the surrounding areas to find out what’s on this Christmas!

Finally, if you’re looking for the dream chalet near La Fouly for your Christmas break, then look no further than Chalet Cinq Moutons. With a hot tub, sauna and gym, as well as endless untouched nature on its doorstep, it’s the perfect choice for groups of up to 14 guests at Christmas.


You now know all about the most typical villages in the Alps. Often overlooked, these smaller resorts have a lot to offer, especially as the holiday season approaches and the Christmas atmosphere fills their streets. Authenticity, hospitality, friendliness, and liveliness… the most authentic villages in the Alps still have plenty to say!

Follow us on social media to share your beautiful Christmas holiday experiences in the Alps and subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when new properties are available for rent!

Here are a few more articles that will help you get ready for your winter holiday:

Discover more chalets in the Alps for Christmas


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