© Pam Williamson
© Laura Baker - Val Thorens Immobilier for seevalthorens.com
© Guides Belleville
Activities in Val Thorens
Discover the top Val Thorens activities
The main draw for people coming to Val Thorens in winter is, of course, skiing and snowboarding, however, there’s a whole host of other activities to do in Val Thorens in the summer as well as in the winter. So, whether you're just looking for something to do when the lifts close or you simply don't ski, we promise you you'll have no time to get bored here!
What to do in Val Thorens?
Val Thorens is an outdoor activities paradise. The Alpine town and its surrounding mountains offer hundreds of things to do for every ability and every age. Some activities are perfect for solo travellers while others are more suited to romantic couples. Families and groups will also find a wide range of things to do in Val Thorens. From relaxing to full on adrenaline, from child friendly to adults only, from outdoor fun to bad weather indoor activities, there is something for everyone in Val Thorens.
Top things to do in Val Thorens
Below are our three favourite activities in Val Thorens but there are plenty more to choose from. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration – you'll see that there are plenty of alternatives to skiing and snowboarding in Val Thorens.
1. Winter sports, skiing and snowboarding: Skiing and snowboarding are probably the most popular activities in the Les Menuires. But we're not talking about lift-assisted, downhill skiing and snowboarding only – there's a whole host of activities that involve boards strapped onto your feet including ski touring and split boarding, cross-country skiing or telemarking. But there's much more than just skiing and snowboarding in Val Thorens in the winter. The Les Menuires mountains are the perfect setting to go snowshoeing and husky-dog sledging, while the ice skating rink in Val Thorens town centre will keep the whole family entertained.
2. Mountain biking: The Les Menuires trails attract hundreds of enduro and downhill biking aficionados every summer to its almost 120km of tracks, that meander through lush forests to reach stunning mountaintops with breathtaking views. An experience not to be missed!
3. Walking, hiking and running: In the summer, the Les Menuires pistes turn into meadows and deep-forested trails to explore on foot. From easy valley strolls to gruelling trail running climbs, everyone can explore the Val Thorens valley's beautiful sunny landscapes.
Climbing in Val Thorens
Like most of the Alps, Val Thorens is a great place to go rock climbing for both beginners and experienced climbers. Experienced climbers can tackle the mountain side rock and enjoy the fantastic views (just make sure you have all the right gear and safety equipment). For beginners there are a number of adventure companies and mountain guides who can take you out on your first climb and show you the 'ropes'! Learn all the techniques and skills in the safe hands of a well-trained guide. Climbing is a great activity for all the family, just check with the guide beforehand what their minimum age is.
How much does it cost to go rock climbing in Val Thorens? Rock climbing course prices in Val Thorens start at around €45 per person for a half-day group lesson and up to €400 for a full-day climbing private guide.
If climbing up sheer rock on the end of a piece of rope sounds a bit scary then Via Ferrata climbing offers an element of security that still allows beginners to enjoy the achievement of having scaled a mountain! This form of climbing was invented by Italian soldiers in the Dolomites who used it to enable them to scale vertiginous faces easily and quickly. These days it is a popular sport that makes the thrill of mountain climbing more accessible to children, beginners and those who want a bit more security when they climb. Following marked routes through the mountains you are helped along by steps, bridges and ladders whilst being roped up for extra safety. Suitable for adults and children over the age of eight. Guides can be arranged on request and there are a number of adventure companies who can organise your Via Ferrata experience.
How much does it cost to try out Via Ferrata in Val Thorens? You can hire all the essential equipment, including helmet, harness and "cows tails" at most sports shops in resort – it'll set you back around €20. If you're a beginner, you should also book a mountain guide or instructor. Prices for Via Ferrata group lessons in Val Thorens start at around €45, with private guides charging around €220 for a half-day.
If you want to try something different, other than hitting the slopes, you could try ice climbing. If you are a beginner and have never climbed before, then a mountain guide will teach you how to climb the slightly scary but incredibly beautiful looking ice waterfalls. With a professional mountain guide on hand to help you learn how to ice climb, you will be making your way up the icy waterfalls in no time. You can also tackle the ice waterfall as an experienced climber as there are many different falls with varying levels of difficulty.
How much does ice climbing cost in Val Thorens? Ice climbing prices in Val Thorens start at around €250 for a half-day group course.
Culture and guided tours in Val Thorens
There are lots of lovely walks and treks that you can do in Val Thorens, and now you can do them in the friendly company of a donkey. These intelligent, funny, happy, and sometimes stubborn donkeys will join you on your trail or walk either for the full day or just for a half day. They will happily carry your picnic and your children! It can be great fun for everyone. These lovely animals are the perfect companion to help you discover the lovely trails and views that the mountains have to offer. You'll find them every day by the Croisette in Les Menuires 10:00-12:00 and 13:30-17:00.
A great day out for the family where your children will become the farmer's apprentice, helping feed the animals, make cheese and look after the pigs, cows and other farmyard animals. There are various farms around Val Thorens where you can learn all about the animals and the way the farm works, whilst having some petting and feeding time of the animals or watching how the famous cheese "Tomme de Savoie" is made, like Chez Pépé Nicolas.
There are weekly traditional summer markets in Saint Martin de Belleville (every Thursday) and Les Menuires (every Wednesday and Friday). Stock up on treats like Alpine meats & cheese, organic local produce or freshly baked bread.
Enjoy a traditional meal with friends in a mountain yurt. Situated at the top of the Cascades chairlift, when the lifts have closed and the pistes are quiet, you can enjoy an evening in a yurt. Part of the Chalet de la Marine, you can have a meal with friends and family in this traditionally built yurt. The yurt can hold up to 16 people maximum. The evening is open for pedestrians as well as skiers, access is via the cascade chairlift, via snow shoes, or you can contact the restaurant for alternative modes of transport.
Cycling and mountain biking in Val Thorens
Riding in the Alps is much more demanding than your favourite local route back in the UK. The roads around Val Thorens are the setting for some of the most gruelling sections of the Tour de France, but they can be tackled by enthusiasts as well as the professionals. To gain the most from your riding in the area it goes without saying you need to have a reasonable level of fitness. You do not need to be a super man or woman, but the ability to ride comfortably for up to three to four hours in the UK should see you enjoy the mountain routes.
How much does it cost to go cycling in Val Thorens? Once more, cycling prices in Val Thorens are a matter of your personal wants and needs. If you've brought your bike with you, then you can just get on the road and challenge your fitness as you climb some of the Alps most famous mountain 'cols' at no cost. Those in need of wheels will be glad to know that renting a carbon road bike starts at around €45 per day.
Val Thorens is a Mecca for mountain biking, with varying terrain and fantastic views it is perfect for mountain biking enthusiasts. With the whole of the mountain area to explore, Val Thorens is definitely a great place for biking as the different and varied terrains suit bikers of all levels. Whether you enjoy a leisurely cycle around some of the lower level trails, or a day's hardcore downhill is more your ‘thang’, Val Thorens definitely has something to suit all tastes.
How much does it cost to go mountain biking in Val Thorens? Mountain bike prices in Val Thorens depend on what you need. If you have all the gear and all you want is to access the trails, then you'll only need a lift pass. For bike hire – renting a hardtail or full-suspension mountain bike for a day starts at around €70, and about €350 for a seven-day electric mountain bike hire. Finally, you may want to get a private guide to show you around the local trails – expect to pay around €45 per hour.
Once the pistes are closed, the mountain empty and the sun setting you would think the only thing happening would be piste grooming.... Well not in Val Thorens!! Now you can race down the empty slopes on a mountain bike. Grab the lift up and race, bump, slide and enjoy your descent down the 6 km of snowy mountain on two wheels. At the bottom of your run you get offered a cheeky little glass of mulled wine - making the run down just that much better! Tickets and information for this experience can be purchased at the Chalet Toboggan at the Rond Point des Pistes.
How much does it cost to go snow biking in Val Thorens? The activity costs around €50, which may seem steep but can definitely be worth it with the beautiful view, the sun setting and the thrill of the experience. Plus it includes the rental of the bike, safety gear and a state qualified guide to take you down, teaching you as you go.
Fishing in Val Thorens
If you fancy a spot of fishing whilst in Val Thorens then there are a few local and nearby lakes where you can catch some fish and enjoy the Alpine scenery. There are many altitude lakes in the area and a multitude of small rivers at the Belleville valley, including the famous Les Bruyères lake which is full of trout and carp. You must, however, ensure that you have the correct fishing permit and are aware of the local fishing regulations.
Fitness and swimming in Val Thorens
There are facilities both in Val Thorens and Les Menuires if you want to keep fit while you're here.
How much does gym access cost in Val Thorens? Expect to pay around €15 for one entry to the gym or €35 for the whole week.
Whether you like to take a dip indoors or outdoors, you'll be able to find somewhere to go for a swim in Val Thorens. Most hotels, and chalets and apartments have their own swimming facilities, however there are also municipal swimming baths that you can visit, which often come free with your lift pass purchase. In summer and winter you should be able to find somewhere to take a dip, so don't forget your towel and your swimwear.
How much does it cost to go swimming in Val Thorens? Swimming pool access prices in Val Thorens start at around €6 for adults.
Facilities to play basketball are available at the multi-activity sports hall in the sports centre at Val Thorens. There are multi-sports courts at the sports centres in Les Menuires and Val Thorens where you can play football.
Flying in Val Thorens
Sit back and admire the mountains from even higher up! Daily panoramic helicopter flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snowcapped mountain tops, glaciers and Alpine forests.
How much does it cost to explore Val Thorens by helicopter? Helicopter tours in Val Thorens start at around €100 per person for a 10-minute flight.
If you’ve never tried paragliding before then Val Thorens is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France & Switzerland, there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is give you the experience of flying. From the heights of the mountain tops you can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. They will manoeuvres the parachute while you enjoy the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep you airborne for longer.
How much does a tandem paragliding flight cost in Val Thorens? Anyone can take part in a tandem paragliding flight, even if you've never paraglided before. You'll be attached to an instructor who'll take care of the wing, so you just need to relax and enjoy the views. Tandem flights start at around €90.
Hot air ballooning
One of the best ways to take the spectacular mountain scenery from a different point of view is on a hot-air balloon. Some companies in Val Thorens offer balloon rides, which usually take up half a day including preparation and inflation.
Indoor activities in Val Thorens
The bowling alley in Val Thorens has eight lanes, all of which can be equipped with bumpers for children. The lanes come to life at night when they are lit up in neon! There is also a games room with billiard, pool and snooker tables as well as video games, table football and air hockey.
Catch the latest films and releases in Val Thorens on your winter or summer holiday. Some cinemas open their doors early on a bad weather day, otherwise you'll find most screenings in the evenings. Look out for VOST for English speaking films.
Skiing and snowboarding in Val Thorens
Downhill skiing and snowboarding
Lift-assisted downhill skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities in Val Thorens. So much so that we could write several guides dedicated to them... and, in fact, we have! Take a look at our ski areas, pistes and parks guide where you'll not only find a lot of information on the Val Thorens ski area but also links to many other articles: ski lifts guide, best pistes guide, snowparks guide, beginner ski areas guide, advanced ski areas guide, off-piste ski areas guide, ski itineraries guide and even a guide on the best places to go skiing when the weather is bad.
However, lift-assisted downhill skiing and snowboarding aren't the only things you can do in Val Thorens while having a pair of skis or a board strapped to your feet.
Get back to nature and explore the lovely tranquil cross-country ski trails. There are two different techniques – classic and skating. Classic is the easiest for beginners; you simply place your skis in two parallel grooves, push off and glide around the trails. Skating is more energetic and a slightly harder skill to grasp; you push your feet out to either side as though you are ice skating and use your poles simultaneously to gain momentum. You can hire the comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons too. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
How much does it cost to go cross-country skiing in Val Thorens? Cross-country rental prices starting at around €15 per day. You may also want to book a group or private lesson to learn the basics, in which case prices start at around €180 for a six-day group lesson.
Ski-touring or split boarding
Val Thorens is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a back country route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group. This year Val Thorens have also created a marked 1.5 km route for those who want to give it a go in a safe environment. After gaining 280m in elevation you can ski back down the Plein Sud blue run.
How much does it cost to go ski touring or split boarding in Val Thorens? It depends. Ski touring prices in Val Thorens range between €60 per day if you’re only renting the gear and around €400 if you’re also getting a guide for the day to help you explore the backcountry. Of course, if you already have the equipment and the local knowledge, ski touring in Val Thorens is free!
Enjoying the thrill of being on the pistes need not escape you if you're less mobile or have special physical needs. Resorts all over the Alps offer equipment and fully qualified guides to help you get the most out of your experience. Sit-ski, taxi ski, Vertiski, Handiski... whichever method you're used to, or would like to try there will be at least one ski school or activity company in Val Thorens that offers this service.
Challenge your friends and family to a boarder cross race in the snowpark. With linked turns, hills and over 1.4 km of the course to race down you can enjoy challenging your friends and family to a race down the boarder cross. The giant air cushion is the perfect solution if you want to learn or improve your freestyle skiing or snowboard technique. If you don’t ski but still want to make some moves through the air, the AIR TUBBY is for you! Settle yourself into a rubber ring, slide down the run and land gently on the airbag.
The idea behind speed riding is to combine the sensations of skiing and paragliding into one activity, and then descend off-piste sections of the mountain using a mini-wing to enable you to access areas that you might not normally go. Learning and having fun with speed riding comes very fast as long as you are a competent skier; you need to be able to ski red pistes with confidence in any type of snow. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).
How much does it cost to try out speed riding in Val Thorens? Beginner speed riding lessons usually start at around €100 for a half-day group lesson and they include the wing but not the ski hire – high-end ski hire for advanced skiers starts at around €30 per day in Val Thorens. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).
Telemarking is a form of downhill skiing where you are only attached into the binding at the toe, so to turn, you have to lunge and bring your heel upwards. Talk to one of the ski schools or private instructors who can teach you how to telemark and take you out on excursions using this technique.
How much does it cost to go telemarking in Val Thorens? It depends. Telemarking prices in Val Thorens range between around €40 if you’re only buying a ski pass for a day, plus around €70 if you’re adding one-day gear rental, and around €90 if you’re also getting a private instructor for an hour to teach you the basics.
Snow and ice activities in Val Thorens
Snowshoeing, or as the French call it 'raquettes à neige', in and around Val Thorens is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers. Don't forget to wear comfortable and waterproof boots. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the ski area. Grab a trail map from the Tourist Office and head off on your own adventure. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
How much does snowshoeing cost in Val Thorens? If you don't know the local area well, we recommend you get a private guide or join a group on a snowshoe expedition – it may seem safer than skiing but you'll be exploring backcountry trails where the avalanche danger is high so it's better to go with someone who knows what they're doing. These outings start at around €30 for a half-day. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided by most companies offering this as an experience, but you can also hire them from most ski hire shops in Val Thorens starting at around €10 per day.
For a truly unique experience, clamp on your crampons and go hiking on one of the many glaciers in the Three Valleys area. The breathtaking views and spectacular crevasses make this an incredible adventure. There are a number of glacial hikes, of varying difficulty, in this region of the Alps. Most adventure companies will run organised excursions to the most accessible. To read more about glaciers and the environment please go to our Glacier Meltdown article.
Husky dog sledging
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting).
How much do husky rides cost in Val Thorens? Husky dog ride prices in Val Thorens start at around €100 for a half-day, with discounts for kids.
Tobogganing in Val Thorens is something you do not want to miss out on. It provides a day or evening of fun for everyone, ranging from the youngest member of your family or group to the oldest! Enjoy this adrenaline filled experience on the six km long run which is accessible from the Funitel Peclet and starts at the bottom of the Glacier de Peclet. The run is open everyday from 10:00 to 15:00 and on every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, adding the extra thrill of that night time brings. With turns, slopes and hills the run is fun, fast and safe as it is patrolled and groomed everyday. You can grab your tickets at the Chalet Toboggan above the Cascades chairlift. Check at the chalet for this years prices.
This is one winter activity that doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, just grab your sledge and head for the nearest snow-covered hill!
How much does it cost to go sledging in Val Thorens? You can rent a sledge at one of the many local ski hire shops for as little as €5, while most of the sports shops in Val Thorens will also have them for sale. Several activity companies also offer you the chance to sledge at night, down the ski slopes.
Spas and massages in Val Thorens
If it is calm and relaxation you are after then head to a luxury day spa or book in for massage therapies and beauty treatments. A day spa is also the perfect activity when the weather turns. You can keep warm and revive aching muscles in saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzis or take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. Unwind, relax and indulge.
Tennis and racket sports in Val Thorens
Tennis is a great way to get the legs moving and to enjoy the sunny summertime weather. You can play a friendly game or have a lesson, whatever you choose to do it is a great way to have fun with friends and family. The sports centres at Val Thorens and Les Menuires have nine and 13 outdoor tennis courts each. You can also rent all your equipment there.
How much does it cost to play tennis in Val Thorens? Tennis court rental prices in Val Thorens start at around €12 per hour, with rackets available to hire for €4.
Badminton and Squash
You can play badminton and squash at one of the sports centres, either in Val Thorens or down in Les Menuires.
Theme parks, waterparks and aquariums in Val Thorens
If you are looking for a fun filled group activity, then Val Thorens can provide just that with its paintballing course. Paintballing is a game where two teams play against each other to try and get the scarf located in the middle of the course without getting hit by a paintball from the opposing team. The course in Val Thorens is quite small but a game lasts 20-30 minutes and you are provided with the equipment - 100 paintballs and all the safety gear. So challenge your friends and family and nip off to the tennis court of the Galoubet for a quick round of paint balling!
How much does paintball cost in Val Thorens? Paintball prices in Val Thorens start at around €30 per person.
Sledging or luge takes place on the hillside close to the Bruyères gondola in Les Menuires. Take the lift up and sledge down 1000 metres to the bottom challenging Boukty, the resort's mascot. The lift runs from early July to late August each year, from 10:00 to 19:00, non stop.
Fly through the air on the longest zip wire for miles around! Possibly the best, and certainly one of the most fun, ways to get from A to B with your ski's or snowboard! If you are in the resort of Val Thorens this winter then this is one experience not to miss out on. The world's highest zip wire goes from a starting point 3230 metres up, and is only accessible by skiers and boarders. It takes 105 seconds to descend the 1.3 km wire to the 3000 metres finishing point. Reaching speeds of up to 100 km/h and at the highest point "fly" 250m above the snow and ice below.
How much does it cost to do zip wire in Val Thorens: It costs €50 and can only be paid for on site.
La Foret des Aventuriers is an adventure park in Saint Martin de Belleville. Adventure parks are designed for children and adults to play, explore, exercise and have fun in the natural mountain surroundings. Enjoy the thrills of adventure courses created in the forest in the mountains. The ropes, swings, tunnels, trees and activities will be a great day for children and adults alike. With all the protective gear provided and safety information given you can head out and enjoy the trees and wilderness. Qualified guides will be around the course throughout to make sure you are safe and having as much fun as possible. Different courses and tracks can be tried and tested, each one with a varying level of difficulty. There are courses designed for children only and tracks for juniors and adults to enjoy.
How much do adventure park tickets cost in Val Thorens? Adventure park ticket prices depend on age and number of people.
Walking, hiking and running in Val Thorens
Walking and hiking
In the summer months Val Thorens is a mecca for walking and hiking in the beautiful Alpine mountains. As the snow melts and the sun begins to shine, the mountains make an excellent place to head out on a hike or walk. Walking is the perfect activity for groups, families and friends. Pick from a number of routes ranging in difficulty, from easy child friendly walks to challenging day long hikes. Along the way enjoy the fantastic mountain views, beautiful scenery and wildlife that is normally hidden in the winter months.
Val Thorens is a winter walker's paradise, with lifts giving access to the higher ground and a network of groomed trails in the winter, it's very easy to discover the resort on foot. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you set out as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. You do not need any particular equipment, just a pair of sturdy boots and layers of warm clothing that you can take off or put on as necessary. A pair of walking poles will come in handy for extra balance on icy patches and for checking snow depth before you go striding forth. Top tip: buy ‘grippers’ for your walking boots to prevent slipping which you can buy from most local sport shops.
Watersports in Val Thorens
Canoe rafts are an unsinkable, stable type of inflatable canoe that allow you, without too much technique to profit fully from the joys and fun of white water river descent. The descents are taken on by groups of four to five boats, accompanied by a fully qualified guide. You are equipped with neoprene suits and shoes, a safety jacket and a helmet. The course which you take is chosen according to the water levels and experience of the participants.
White water rafting
If you haven't experienced white water rafting before then this is a definite 'must try' on your list of activities to do! There are a number of trained guides in resort who will let you experience some of the best white water rafting available in the Alps. From the middle of May until September, the mountain rivers flow furiously as they are fed from the melt waters running off the glaciers high above the town. There are various options available from a three hour adrenaline rush to a full days excursion - this activity is guaranteed not to disappoint. Take a look at the adventure companies in the area and watersports centres who offer these activities.
How much does it cost to go white water rafting in Val Thorens? Prices start at around €40 per person for about two hours of white water rafting in Val Thorens.
A not-so-gentle but extremely refreshing summer activity is one way to describe canyoning! Plunge yourself into the mountain streams via a series of abseil descents, jumps and natural water slides – just make sure you choose a warm day! You will make your way along rivers and rapids, using the river bed as a natural obstacle course. Not suitable for very young children, but anyone over the age of about eight can take the (very cold) plunge and try canyoning. With the safety of a guide everyone can abseil down cascades, splash into pools and ride the river rapids. You can choose from short beginners’ routes or longer ones for the more adventurous. Different companies will have their own policies on age limits but usually, unless they are booked onto a children's activity course, anyone under the age of about 14 years old will have to be accompanied by an adult. A basic level of swimming ability is required for safety reasons. There are a number of adventure companies that offer guided descents down the local waterways.
How much does it cost to go canyoning in Val Thorens? Canyoning prices in Val Thorens start at around €55 per person, including all the equipment.
Hydrospeeding is one of the newer 'extreme' water sports to hit the market, it's a fun and exhilarating way to get yourselves down a river!. Using a large float, which bears resemblance to a bodyboard, be ready to cling on for dear life as you send yourself hurtling down the rapids! This activity is a little more demanding physically than rafting or canoe rafting, but allows you to discover the unique sensation of surfing down white water rivers. It is also accessible to all, no need to be a professional diver or swimmer, you just have to be smart at using the water movements, obstacles and waves. There's plenty of protection from the icy water elements as you'll be given a wetsuit, safety helmet and flippers. You will need to bring a towel, swim wear and if you wear glasses, a cord to keep them on. Guides will brief you with a safety demonstration at the beginning and there’s a vehicle to meet you at the end of the rapids that will shuttle you back to your starting destination.
How much does it cost to try out hydrospeeding in Val Thorens? Beginner hydrospeeding courses in Val Thorens start at around €45-€50 per person.