Savoie / France
Valmorel is in the heart of the Tarentaise region, and is linked with the Grande Domaine ski area. It’s a relatively new resort, developed in the 70s, but you won’t find any ugly high-rise hotels here: the village has been built in a traditional style and feels all the more special and family-friendly for that.
The Valmorel ski area has a reputation for being very family friendly. It’s a great place for youngsters to learn to ski, with plenty of snow parks and blue and green slopes for beginners and intermediates, but those with more experience will find plenty of challenge in the off-piste areas.
In the summer, walkers will be spoiled for choice, with challenging piste hikes as well as fairly flat waterfall walks, perfect for those with young children. There’s a similar variety for bikers too: hurtle down a vertiginous descent or pedal with the family along a pleasant valley.
Photo credit - Office du Tourisme Valmorel
Skiing and summer tourism are fairly recent arrivals in Valmorel. Find out what life in the Tarentaise was like when it revolved around farming with a trip to Quarante Planes, home to the Museum of Traditional Life, which is set in a house that is more than 300 years old. Open Tuesdays and Fridays in the summer.
Sit back and enjoy the a dog sled ride, driven by a qualified musher or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, learn to drive the dogs yourself (adults only). All the equipment you need is provided, and all trips include a chance to get to know the huskies. If you’d rather stay on your own two feet, try cani-hiking — walking pulled by a dog! It’s a great family day out, for those with children aged seven and over.
When you step through the Porte de Savoie into medieval Conflans, in Albertville, you’ll feel like you are stepping back in time. Within the 14th century walls, narrow streets and alleyways are clustered around a central courtyard with stunning views of the Combe de Savoie valley, Albertville and the Chartreuse mountains. Photographers will also love the quaint streets and the unique shop signs. The city, which is on the Roman road from Milan to Vienna, is just a 40-minute drive from Valmorel.
The mountains are a magnet for walkers, and there is no end to the variety of routes to explore. Choose from a strenuous mountain hike, a valley stroll, a meditative guided walk or Nordic walking with yoga. There really is something for everyone. Many of the walks are also available to snowshoers in the winter. It’s a great way to see the mountains with a guide.
Valmorel is a great choice for young families, with great skiing for beginners, and a pedestrianised village with plenty of restaurants geared towards children. The resort has put in a lot of work and investment to earn the Famille+ award, and it shows, with plenty to keep children of all ages happy.
Youngsters as young as three years old can gain confidence on the snow and take their first glides, turns and stops at the Piou Piou club, run by the Valmorel ESF ski school. The club has its own ski garden in Doucy, so parents can enjoy some time on the slopes confident that the children are safe and having fun too. There’s also a kindergarten for toddlers aged from 18 months, and group and one-to-one lessons are available for all ages.
This short walk in La Lechere is perfect for those with young families. One path is suitable if you’ve got a pushchair while the other is a little more challenging for youngsters. The path follows the river, and there are several small man-made waterfalls before you get to the impressive 80m cascade.
The Magic Adventure high ropes park is a great summer day out, and it’s open every day from the end of June to the beginning of September. With several courses graded by difficulty, 31 ziplines and a 30m pendulum jump, there are thrills for all ages, although younger visitors might be better sticking to the 8m children’s course. The park is open to anyone aged six and over, and tickets cost €8 for children up to the age of 12, €16 those over 12 and €24 for adults.
You don’t need any experience of climbing to conquer the mountains when you try via ferrata — a sort of vertical hike around cliff faces on wire trails. It’s all totally safe as you’re attached to the rocks by a wire harness. Even children can do it!
The open-air swimming pool in Valmorel is open in July and August. There’s a heated 25-m pool and a paddling pool — a great place for young families. There’s another similar pool in nearby Doucy. However, if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, head over to the leisure centre in Bellecombe (14km), where you’ll find indoor and outdoor pools as well as a fun pool, waterslide, water cannon and paddling pool.
Okapi Parc takes over the Piou Piou garden in Valmorel, offering inflatable assault courses, trampolines, a ball pool and a flight simulator. Entrance starts at €6, and the fun is not just for children — adults are welcome on the trampolines too!
Discover the beauty of the mountains with a donkey by your side! There are various excursions for adults and children — a magical day out for all ages. Explore the Aigueblanche valleys or conquer Crève-Tête while your four-legged friend carries your lunch. Children aged five to 12 can learn how to handle the donkeys, care for them and lead them, while those with younger children can just get to know the donkeys on the farm.
If you are visiting Valmorel in July and August, consider purchasing a seven-day activity card. For the latest information about card options, click on the link below.
As you would expect from a resort which prides itself on its family-friendly approach, the village of Valmorel has a good selection of restaurants which welcome children. Here are some of our favourites:
One of the most popular restaurants in Valmorel, this is a great place to go if you want to try some authentic Savoyarde dishes - there is a variety of fondues with various cheeses, as well as tartiflette and “diots” — local sausages. There is also a good choice of pasta dishes, burgers, or meat cooked on a hot rock at your table. A three-course Menu Savoyarde costs €29, and a children’s menu, which includes pasta, burger or chicken nuggets followed by pancakes or ice cream, costs €10. Desserts include the intriguing deep fried Reblochon with salted caramel as well as a great choice of pancakes and ice cream sundaes. Booking is advised.
For something a little bit different, head to this Tex Mex restaurant in the centre of the village. Kids will love the swing seats at the bar and the fun atmosphere. The menu includes all the usual Tex Mex offerings — tacos, burritos, ribs etc — as well as the more unusual, such as bison steaks. Veggie options are available.
This traditional restaurant offers a great choice of Savoyarde food — fondues, raclette, tartiflette — as well as pizza, pasta and salads. The children’s menu is €9 for a choice of burger, nuggets or salmon pasta followed by ice cream or pancakes. Booking is advised.
As you would expect from a mountains resort, Valmorel has everything you need to enjoy your holiday (sports hire shops, supermarkets, bakeries), but if you’re looking for a shopping excursion, you’ll have to head a little further afield, perhaps to Albertville. Here are some of our favourite shops in Valmorel:
You’ll find a great choice of local cheese, charcuterie, preserves and wine at this co-operative dairy in the centre of the village. Try it while you are on holiday, and if you want to take some home, they will vacuum pack it for you.
Pop in here for superb pastries, breads and chocolates. They also prepare great sandwiches that you can take with you if you’re off out for the day.
These smallish mountain supermarkets have everything you need to cook at your OVO Network chalet, as well as a selection of local specialities. You can shop online and pick it up when you arrive, or have it delivered to your chalet. You can also borrow fondue and Raclette equipment.
If you’d prefer not to use your car, the best way to get around the Valmorel area is the Valmobus free shuttle. There are three routes linking villages and ski slopes.
Several local taxi firms are available, both for local journeys and for airport transfers:
AJS taxis - +33 621 52 77 39 https://www.ajstaxi.com/
Taxi Sylvain - +33 6 80 06 26 34 https://www.allo-transports-sylvain.fr/
There are 530 underground parking places and 1,200 outdoor parking places in Valmorel, all of which are payable. In the village of Le Crey (1.5 km from the resort), there are 180 free outdoor parking spots. Parking spots can be booked before you arrive for your holiday.
Photo credit - Office du Tourisme Valmorel