Haute-Savoie / France
Once a small farming village, picturesque Val d’Isère, in the Tarentaise valley, is now linked with Tignes to form part of the Espace Killy ski area which, thanks to its altitude, enjoys a great snow record.
In the village itself, you’ll find a great choice of shops, bars and restaurants, centred on the Avenue Olympique. If you’re eating out, you’ll be spoiled for choice, with bistros serving local specialities, pizza and burger joints and creperies right up to a two Michelin-starred restaurant. On the slopes, some of the mountain restaurants are considered to be amongst the best in Europe.
Apres ski doesn’t disappoint either - start at the Folie Douce with live music and table dancing, move on to after-dinner bars and perhaps end up at one of the resort’s many nightclubs.
There’s plenty going on in Val d’Isère in the summer too - if you’re still hooked on skiing, head for the Pissallias and Grande Motte glaciers, where the slopes are open in the mornings.
There’s also climbing, hiking in the Vanoise valley, cycling, via ferrata and white water rafting!
One of the most snow-sure resorts in Europe, Val d’Isère is linked with La Tignes to make up the Espace Killy ski area, named after ski champion Jean-Claude Killy, who won three gold medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
There are 300km of pistes as well as great off-piste skiing. Beginners should head for the Solaise area, whereas Bellevarde is ideal for those with more confidence - those looking for a challenge should check out La Face, the black run built for the Men’s Downhill at the 1992 Albertville Olympics. Le Fornet is the gateway to the Piassallias Glacier, and at La Daille you can take lifts to Col de Fresse, Toviere and Tignes.
If you fancy a break from skiing, there’s plenty more to explore - drive a team of huskies with the help of a professional musher, or try a tandem paragliding flight from the top of Solaise.
Back in the village itself, there’s an indoor swimming pool, gym, climbing wall and spa at the Aquasportif centre, and an outdoor ice rink which is open in the afternoons and evenings.
If you’re visiting Val d’Isère in the summer, you’ll find just as much going on.
Once the snow has melted, the main attractions are mountain-biking, cycling and hiking, but adrenaline-seekers can also try watersports such as canyoning, whitewater rafting and hydro-speeding.
But if you’re still hooked on skiing, head for the Pissaillas and Grande Motte glaciers, where the slopes are open in the mornings - there are 27km of pistes as well as a snow park.
Glacier walking is a great day out - there are a range of hikes of varying difficulties, and you can even cross the Vallee Blanche into Italy with the help of a mountain guide.
Walkers can use the lifts free in the summer, and there are also great lakeside walks at Lac de Sassiere.
Other activities in the area include via ferrata, tree-top adventure parks, horseriding, tennis and golf.
Skiing and boarding are the main activities that bring guests to Val d’Isère in the winter, and in the summer, hiking, biking and climbing are the most popular. But when you stay at an OVO Network property, there is so much more to see and do.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Val d’Isère - you’ll find the details below.
See the Alps from a different perspective when you head down the river on a raft! These thrilling excursions are open to anyone over the age of eight - you don’t need any experience or skills, but you do need to be able to swim, and you should’t be afraid of going under water. The excursions start in Bourg St Maurice (30km) and there are a variety to choose from, including half day trips, full day trips and children’s courses. You’ll have a professional guide and all equipment is provided, but you should bring a towel and swimwear.
Spend a magical winter evening around a campfire in the woods at Les Boisses, Tignes, before a luge ride to Les Brevieres! You’ll be picked up in Val d’Isère and taken to the secret location, where you’ll find three Mongolian Yurts and a tipi. After an apero, you’ll move into the your for a fondue dinner with wines and a dessert. You should dress warmly and bring gloves, goggles and sensible footwear for this unique experience.
Sit back, relax and fly with the eagles during this 35-minute paragliding session (flight time 10 minutes). You can opt for a relaxed flight and a tranquil descent, or an exhilarating adventure! You’ll take off from the top of the Solaise mountain - wear ski clothes and take a camera to capture those memories! You’ll need a basic knowledge of skiing or an advance knowledge of boarding to take part.
You can enjoy the ride as a passenger or drive the pack yourself - the choice is yours when you join this 20-minute dog-sledding adventure in the Tarentaise. This activity can’t be booked as it’s dependent on snow, so make enquiries when you arrive at your OVO ski chalet.
Fancy yourself as a winter Olympian? Learn the basics of biathlon - cross-country skiing and shooting - from professionals, summer and winter. It’s a great day out for families (minimum age seven), but also perfect for team-building days. In the winter, you’ll start at the bottom of the Face piste above the sports centre, and in the summer, the action takes place in the Manchet valley.
Ferme de l’Ardoit in the Manchet valley welcomes visitors in the summer and the winter to its Fromagerie and restaurant. Visitors can join in the milking, watch cheese being made and meet the farm animals - it’s a great day out for children and adults. After your visit you can enjoy lunch in the farmhouse, made with the farm’s own produce. And of course, you can buy cheese, butter, charcuterie and wines from the shop.
If the weather’s not great or if you just fancy a change, you can enjoy a great day out at the Aquasportif centre in Val d’Isère. Activities are split into five areas - Beach World, Spa World, Sports World, Wellbeing Wrold and Lounge World - where you can choose from swimming, steam room, sauna, climbing wall, gym, squash courts, a spa and much more.
Get up early, collect your e-bike and pedal up to a local viewpoint with a guide to watch the sunrise! Then enjoy a gentle ride back through the snow to the resort. If you’d prefer, you can just hire the e-bikes by the hour and take things at your own pace. Bikes are available for anyone aged eight and over, and protective equipment is provided. Hire is available in the summer too.
Get the ultimate views of this stunning region by taking a helicopter tour - you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Espace Killy, the Trois Vallées and the Mont Blanc valley. Choose from a 10-, 30-, or 60-minute flight, exploring glaciers and crossing the border into Italy. Heliskiing packages are also available.
End your day on the mountains with a relaxing yoga session, with the Alps as a stunning backdrop. As well as regular classes in the sports centre, you can book sacred circle events (women only) and yoga and brunch mornings. Val d’Isère hosts an annual yoga festival in April or May, with three days of classes, music and meditation.
This award-winning restaurant dishes up great food with an even better view. There’s a restaurant on the first floor serving classic French food with great homemade desserts, and a self-service diner and bar on the ground floor, where you can enjoy hot dishes, salads, soups and quiches etc. There’s also a takeaway, if you’re keen to be back on the snow. Wherever you eat, the views are incredible.
Top of Le Fornet cable car, Val d’Isere, tel:+33 4 79 06 03 38
A great mountain restaurant that’s a bit of an institution in Val d’Isère. It’s best to book, but they will always try to fit you in. The tartiflette is great, but if you’ve eaten all the local specialities you can face, there are also pasta, stir-fries and risotto. The Edelweiss is only open for lunch
Le Fornet, Val d’Isère, tel: +33 610 287 064
Great food with a local flavour and a friendly welcome are on the menu at this popular restaurant at the foot of the slopes. Decor is traditional, and the best place to be on a chilly night is in front of the fire. The snacking menuis a great choice at lunchtime, whereas things take a more formal turn in the evening. Truffles feature heavily (even on the children’s menu) and if it’s not already on the dish you’d like, you can add it for an extra charge.
1 Rue des Lessieres, Val d’Isère, tel: +33 4 79 22 22 22
With two Michelin stars, you’d expect superb food, beautifully presented, and that’s what you’ll get here. Chef Benoît Vidal’s menu reflects the delicious produce of the Savoie and his Catalan origins. And the bill doesn’t have to be a huge shock if you choose the lunchtime Marché menu - three courses with an aperitif and chocolates for 58€. If you want to go all out, the 12-course Imagination menu, featuring oysters, crayfish, caviar, veal and cheese will set you back 210€.
Le Fornet, Val d’Isère, tel: +33 4 79 00 00 82
Just come off the mountain and still buzzing? Head for La Folie Douce, at the top of La Daille cable car, for a unique apres ski experience. DJs, table-dancing and cabaret, as well as three restaurants make this the place to party. Cabaret lunches start at 1pm and at 2.30pm the intensity ramps up. However, there are four restaurants, renowned for their food. La Fruitiére serves authentic local food from noon to 3.30pm, La Petite Cuisine is self service and more canteen style, and you can grab a quick burger or sandwich at The Butcher Shop on the terrace. The team at La Cucucina is all Italian, and the menu is too - don’t expect spag bol though, this is pretty classy, although pizzas are on the menu.
Télécabine de La Daille, 73150 Val d’Isère, tel: +33 4 79 06 07 17
Halfway down the black-rated Face piste, getting here is a bit of an adventure - if you’re not skiing, you can take the Bellevarde Express chairlift. Of course the views are spectacular on a sunny day, but if the weather’s not that great you can hunker down for a long cosy lunch in the candlelit restaurant. Burgers are very popular - they’re not cheap, but they are huge and delicious. lDo check the time of the last chairlift back up, especially if you’ve had a few genepis.
Bellevarde-Loyes Express, 73150 Val d'Isère, tel: +33 4 79 06 11 29
As you’d expect from a ski resort, there’s no shortage of sports and ski hire shops in Val d’Isère, but you’ll also find plenty of delicatessens selling delicious local cheeses, preserves, charcuterie and wines, and some tempting patisseries - check out the window display at Maison Chevallot! And if you find yourself lured in, they serve great chocolat chaud.
On a more practical level, you’ll find Sherpa and Spar food stores, which will have everything you need to cook up a meal back at your OVO Network chalet.
The area is served by four international airports: Geneva (3hrs); Lyon (3hrs); Chambery (2hrs); and Grenoble (2hrs). For transfers, try Altibus or Ben’s Bus.
The closest station is Bourg St Maurice (32km). For transfers, try Altibus or Ben’s Bus.
If you’re driving to Val d’Isère, be warned that traffic is particularly heavy on Saturdays, particularly during French school holidays. It’s best to arrive early or late if you can. There is no street parking in the resort during the winter - check out this list of car parks and how to book a space. However, in summer, parking is free in the underground or outdoor car parks!
Many local bus and taxi companies also offer transfers from the airport or train stations, as well as transport while during your stay.