Find the Chalet of your dreams
If it’s great snow you’re looking for, Val Thorens has to be at the top of your wishlist. At 2,300m, it’s the highest resort in Europe. Add to that the fact that it’s part of the Trois Vallées ski domain - the world’s largest ski area - and all your boxes are ticked! There’s great skiing from November right through to May.
Outside the snow season, there’s just as much to do. As well as hiking and biking with incredible views, there’s rafting, canyoning, horse-riding, paragliding and much more.
You can get anywhere you need to in Val Thoren on foot, and you’ll find a great choice of shops, bars and restaurants. But if you want to take the weight off your feet, there’s a free shuttle bus which tours the town every 30 minutes.
Val Thorens has the Famille Plus label, so whatever time of year you visit, you can be assured that there will be plenty of entertainment for children. Those looking for lively apres-ski will find it too, with everything from bars and restaurants to nightclubs, including the famous Folie Douce!
Val Thorens is part of the Trois Vallées, with 600 km of pistes across several resorts, and with an altitude of 2,300m, snow quality is excellent. The Val Thorens/Orelle area itself has 150 km of pistes in breathtaking scenery and the fast lift system means you’ll spend more time on the snow.
The resort has five beginners areas where the young or inexperienced can gain confidence on their skis in total safety, but there’s plenty for intermediate and experienced skiers too - try the 3km Caron run from the Cime de Caron lift.
There’s also a 90,000m2 Snowpark and Boardercross.
With shopping, restaurants and activities all centred on one area, it’s easy to get around the resort on foot. Parking is free, so just park your car up and forget about it. A free shuttle bus tours the village every 30 minutes.
Families are well-catered for in Val Thorens, with a great range of child-friendly activities such as sledge runs, skating, dog-sledding, snowtubing, ice karting and much more.
Apres ski caters for all tastes too, with La Folie Douce for those looking to party, more than 40 bars and three nightclubs, including Klub Summit - Europe’s highest club!
The altitude that gives Val Thorens its reputation for great snow is also to thank for its superb walking and biking trails, fresh air and breathtaking views. Whether you want to immerse yourself in nature, enjoy some thrilling mountain sport or just relax and take in the views you’ve come to the right place.
As well as hiking and biking, canyoning, climbing, karting and paintball are just some of the activities available in the resort, which has the Famille Plus label, guaranteeing that your young ones will never be bored.
If you’d like to take life at a slower pace, you could take the Caron gondola to the top of La Cime Caron(3,200m) where you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the Alps.
Other summer activities include hiking with huskies, horse-riding, fishing, farm visits and yoga. There’s a swimming pool at the sports centre with waterfalls, massage jets and bubble beds, and swimming lessons are available too, for children aged from four to 12. The centre also has a wellbeing area for over 16s - relax and cool off in the balneotherapy pools, or wake yourself up in the cold water well or snow fountain!
Skiing and boarding are the main activities that bring guests to chalets in Val Thorens 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 Thorens - you’ll find the details below.
Via ferrata This Alpine adventure is a great day out for families with older children (seven years and over) - it combines hiking and climbing on a trail cut into the rock face. You’ll wear a helmet and be clipped to the trail at all times to ensure your safety, but you’ll still need a head for heights! The Lavassay Via Ferrata in the Belleville valley, is great for beginners whereas those with more experience should head for the Cochet Via Ferrata in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville.
Canyoning A great summer day out for families with older children, canyoning is a fun way to get down a mountain using the rivers, streams and waterfalls - yes, you will get wet! An instructor will help you get across the obstacles by jumping, sliding and abseiling, and wetsuits and helmets are provided.
Ski Patrol Who hasn’t wanted to drive the snow groomer? Now you can give your children this memorable experience! There are four workshops for children aged six to 14 which will introduce them to using a snow groomer, signposting and skier’s rules, mini snowmobiling and piste rescue. All are supervised by professionals.
Dog sledding Enjoy a new perspective on the mountains on a dog sled ride! You’ll help the musher hitch the dogs up to the sled, learn a little about the activity and enjoy a 5km ride across the snow. Each sled has room for up to four people, making it a great family excursion.
Fun park Whatever the age of your children, there’s something to keep them entertained at the Fun Park. Toddlers will be fascinated by the motor skills and discovery area; Under-fives have their own area with slides and a ball pool, etc and six to 11-year olds can let loose in their own play station with a bungee tower, slides, monkey bridges, rotating rollers and more. All ages are welcome in the trampoline area and there’s also a sports field with pitches for basketball and football. Open July to September, 10am to 8pm.
Buggy excursion Discover the villages and rivers of the Belleville Valley on a thrilling buggy safari! Or you could head up the mountain with a stop for refreshments and to take in the view.All the equipment you need is provided, and your guide is fully qualified.
Zipline adventure Hurtle 1800m through the air on this double zipline, reaching heights of 65m above the mountainside! And make sure you smile as you come in to land, as your souvenir photo will be waiting for you.The BEE zipline runs from the top of the Moutiere chairlift, and it’s open from Monday to Friday. Children aged from 14 to 15 must be accompanied by an adult, and those aged 16 and 17 will need a parental authorisation form.
Ski in space Families with young children can ski together at Val Thorens’ fun zones, which have a fun lunar theme! At the VT Fun ride your challenge is to cross space as fast as possible, conquering various challenges along the way. In VT Family Park takes you on another space adventure with mascot Valthy and his friends. After the fun, enjoy a break in lounge chairs and bean bags in the picnic zone.
Visit a farm Discover life on an Alpine farm at Chez Pepe Nicolas - find out how milking is organised, how the cheese is made and taste it for yourself. The guided visit is about 90 minutes long and starts at 10.30am - but the farm has its own restaurant if you fancy stopping for lunch. There are also beautiful walks and vegetable gardens to discover. The farm is open every day from July to September.
Pamper yourself at the spa There’s so much to do in Val Thorens that you may forget to stop and relax occasionally. That’s the perfect reason to book yourself some spa time. There are several places in the village where you can take a bit of time out and perhaps indulge in a reviving treatment.
Don’t fancy cooking? There’s a huge choice of restaurants in and around Val Thorens. Here are some of our favourites:
Au Mazot (Rue de Caron 172, 73440 Val Thorens, +33 4 79 08 63 95) There’s always a warm welcome at this small but popular restaurant which prides itself on serving local specialities such as fondues, tartiflette and raclette as well as more unusual dishes such as pork with pears and chestnuts, beef tartare and caramelised pork shank. For dessert, you could choose raspberry tart, cherry and blueberry crumble or perhaps pear poached in red wine, depending on what’s in season. Book in advance, as its few tables are in big demand.
Chez Pepe Nicolas (Piste de la Chasses, Val Thorens, tel: +33 6 09 45 28 35) Get a real taste of the region when you eat at this charming restaurant, which is set on the farm of the same name. They make their own cheese and grow their own vegetables, so it’s no wonder the food is delicious. You’ll also enjoy wonderful views of the pistes from the sunny terrace. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available, as is a children’s menu.
Chalet des 2 Lacs (Telesiege 2 Lacs, Val Thorens, tel: +33 4 79 00 28 54) Situated right on the 2 Lacs piste, this mountain restaurant is a great place to stop for lunch whether you’re skiing or out walking. The restaurant is also open in the evenings, and on Thursdays you can arrange to be picked up by the owner on his Snowcat! Kick off your meal with a delicious sharing board and then choose from the varied menu - from gourmet burgers and steaks to local specialities and fish. But make sure you have room for dessert or a selection of local cheeses.
La Fruitiere (Rue de la Boucle Telesiege Pionniers, +33 4 79 00 04 27) When you stay in Val Thorens a visit to the lively Folie Douce bar is a must - apres ski starts early with music, dancing and lots of fun. But there’s much more to the Folie Douce - take this great restaurant for example! To start you could choose oysters, beef carpaccio or perhaps gyoza, followed by Iberian pork rib, truffled macaroni cheese or confit lamb shoulder. Vegetarian options are available, as are children’s portions.
Favela (Rue de Gebroulaz Galarie Peclet, Val Thorens, tel: +33 9 67 86 82 91) Enjoy delicious Latin street food at this exciting apres ski bar in Val Thorens. Live music is on the menu as are nachos, cod fritters, empanadas, quesadillas, tacos and much more. Many of the dishes can be made gluten free, and there are plenty of veggie and vegan options.
Scandinavian Brasserie (Immeuble Les 3 Vallees, Galerie de Peclet, tel: +33 4 79 00 01 43) If you fancy something a little bit different, head to this brasserie and wine bar, where they offer a great selection of Nordic food, right down to baking their own bread. Smoked salmon, herrings and oysters feature on the menu, as well as schnitzel, lamb shank and cod filet. Veggie options are available.
La Bouitte (Saint Marcel, 73440, Les Belleville, tel +33 4 79 08 96 77) This one is a little bit out of Val Thorens but it’s worth the journey! La Bouitte, run by the father and son team, René and Maxime Meilleur, has three Michelin stars, so you know you’re going to get exceptional food. What you may be more surprised by is the friendly, unpretentious welcome you’ll get from the staff, who go out of their way to make you feel relaxed. Choosing from the menu is difficult, so why not let the chef decide and choose the surprise menu - you can opt for three, four, five or eight courses, all of which can be expertly paired with wine, should you wish. Prices start at €179 for three courses, up to €345 for eight courses. If you can, leave some room for the cheese ‘trolley’ - 40 cheeses all from Savoie or Haute Savoie. Children under 10 can try Sarpecot’s dinner, a €59 menu designed specifically for them.
As you’d expect from a purpose-built ski resort, all of your holiday needs are catered for in Val Thorens. Sports shops selling equipment and ski wear, delicatessens selling delicious local produce and gift shops and “tabacs” selling those vital souvenirs can all be found in the village. There are also several mini supermarkets - Sherpas, Spars and Carrefour Montagne - and bakeries where you can pick up your fresh bread and pastries every morning.
By car - If you’re driving to Val Thorens in the winter, it’s worth knowing that chains or winter tires are mandatory in mountainous areas. If you don’t have winter tires, you must carry chains in your car. Parking is free in Val Thorens, and if you think you will need it, it’s worth booking in advance.
By train - Your best route is to travel by TGV to Moûtiers, then it’s just two stops on a local train
to Brides-les-Bains.. From there, regular shuttles run to Val Thorens (37 km).
By plane - There are four international airports with a two-hour drive from Val Thorens: Geneva, Lyon Saint-Exupery, Chambery and Grenoble. There are regular bus services between the airports and Val Thorens.
Getting around Val Thorens
Everywhere is within walking distance in the compact resort of Val Thorens, but if you’re exhausted after a day on the slopes, or have a lot to carry, you might prefer to jump on the free shuttle bus. They run throughout the ski season from 8am to 8pm Sunday to Friday and 6.15am to 10.15pm on Saturdays.
You can use the shuttle bus to get to Les Menuires and Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, or simply to explore the Belleville Valley.
You could also download the Zenbus app, which will give you real time information on bus times, routes and stops.