Photo: Val Thorens – © C.cattin / OT Val Thorens
Val Thorens is located in the 3 Valleys, which is the largest ski area in the world. Many people are attracted to this fabulous French ski resort due to its reliable snow conditions, lively atmosphere, and slopes for all abilities.
In this post, we will go into the details of places to stay, eat, drink and ski during your trip to Europe’s highest ski resort. You will also learn about all the best activities available to make your trip truly memorable.
Val Thorens part of the largest ski area in the world: The 3 Valleys with over 600kms of runs
THE RESORT AND MOUNTAINS
Due to Val Thoren’s high altitude at 2,300m, it is very snow-sure, and when you combine unrivalled conditions with access to 600km of pisted slopes, you are in for a superb skiing holiday. Another advantage of the resort’s high altitude is that its winter season is one of the longest in Europe, starting from the end of November and continuing into early May allowing you to enjoy excellent spring conditions.
Val Thorens’ wide range of slopes makes it a ski resort for all levels of skier and snowboarder. You can expect some lovely blues runs to cruise around, an abundance of red runs and some of the most challenging black and off-piste runs in the Three Valleys. A great way to experience the slopes at their best is to do “First Tracks With Breakfast”, which happens every Thursday. This activity gets you up the mountain before everyone else to ski freshly groomed slopes and untouched powder.
All of this is accessible via the 3 Valley lift pass, which allows you to ski the whole of Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel. There are various options for lift passes to suit your group. For example, you can buy a family pass, a beginner pass, a group pass or even one for couples. Be sure to choose the right lift pass for you, as you may not need a full area pass if you are a beginner or have a young family.
One of the reasons people choose Val Thorens over the other resorts in the 3 Valleys is that it offers skiers great value. They still get to ski the whole area, but the accommodation is much less expensive. Around 90% of Val Thorens’ accommodation is ski-in-ski-out, which makes it a very convenient resort for families, and those who want to get their powder turns in before it gets tracked out.
Val Thorens is a lively ski resort with a wide range of hotels and purpose-built apartments. There are two other villages in the valley connected to the main ski area. Les Menuires is a resort sitting at 1850m and has good amenities and an excellent selection of charming chalet-style accommodation. St Martin de Belleville is at a lower altitude and is regarded as a traditional French mountain village that has gradually become a charming holiday destination.
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe (2,300m) and is snow guarantee from November to May
Even though Val Thorens is regarded as an excellent ski resort for families, there is no shortage of high-end accommodation to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible. Here are some of our favourite luxury places to stay in Val Thorens.
5 Star Hotels
Le Pashmina is a beautiful five-star hotel, offering ski-in ski-out access to the slopes. One of the standout attractions to Le Pashmina is its 500 m² spa and wellness centre. Here you can unwind after a day on the mountain in the indoor and outdoor hot tub. You can also relax in the Turkish and Nordic baths, solarium and sensual shower. In addition to this, you can keep up with your exercise regime in the fitness centre and rejuvenate with a selection of massage treatments.
Guests at Le Pashmina can choose from a range of soundproofed spacious rooms and apartments. All have their own balcony, mountain views and a relaxing seating area. They also have private bathrooms, cosy bathrobes and slippers and high-end toiletries.
The self-catered apartments have fully equipped kitchens with dishwashers and coffee machines. But the building has two onsite restaurants, managed by award-winning Chef Romuald Fassenet and Chef Josselin Jeanblanc. Les Explorateurs is fabulous and boasts a Michelin star, so you can be assured that you can enjoy a high-end experience while staying at Le Pashmina. To add to Le Pashmina’s convenience, guests are looked after by the 24-hour front desk, while the in-house ski shop is at your disposal for ski hire. But one of the more popular features of the building is the south-facing terrace bar, where you can sip aprés drinks in the sun.
Another fantastic ski-in-ski-out five-star hotel is Hôtel Fitz Roy. Here guests can enjoy the luxury rooms with stunning alpine views from their private balconies.
The Fitz Roy offers luxury and convenience thanks to the delicious food served in the hotel restaurant, featuring local contemporary and traditional cuisine for both lunch and dinner. There is also an excellent hotel bar open to guests.
To maximise guests’ convenience, the hotel offers equipment hire and a ski locker room. To rejuvenate from exploring the three valleys extensive ski slopes, the Fitz Roy’s wellbeing centre features a hammam, a sauna and an indoor swimming pool to soothe aching muscles. You can also choose from a range of massages during your stay.
The wood-panelled rooms of the striking five star L’Altapura are a delight to spend time in. Most of the hotel’s rooms have panoramic views of this high altitude ski resort and its surrounding mountains.
Guests can dine in any of the hotel’s three restaurants, including a beautiful bistro and the cheese specialist known as La Fromagerie, but there is also a breakfast buffet to start your day properly. To end your day properly, you can relax in the hotel bar while using the free Wi-Fi or catching up with the day’s news with one of the newspapers.
The hotel has a great range of ski equipment on hire, meaning everything you need is in one place.
If you are looking for one of the best hotels in the highest ski resort in Europe, Hotel Koh-I Nor is definitely worth your consideration. This five-star ski-in-ski-out hotel boasts two indoor swimming pools, a panoramic terrace and three restaurants.
Each room features views over the mountain or village, while the en suite marble bathrooms are equipped with luxury bathrobes and free toiletries. A five-star hotel is not complete without a fully equipped spa, and the Koh-I Nor is no exception. Here you can enjoy a hot tub, sauna, hammam, relaxation zone and a salt wall.
Guests start their day with breakfast in their rooms if they wish. The hotel has a brasserie and two restaurants serving international cuisine and local specialities. The restaurant’s situation means guests can enjoy their meal on a terrace with panoramic mountain views.
The stunning 5***** Hotel Le Pashmina and its Cosy Homes provides a unique ski-in ski-out luxurious experience
4 Star Hotels
The Fahrenheit Seven is a wonderful four-star hotel with ski-to-door access, located at the foot of Val Thorens slopes.
Due to its location, most of the luxurious rooms and suites feature spectacular views of the French alps, and all have satellite TV and free WiFi access.
The hotel has two restaurants. The first, La Rotisserie, is the best choice for specialist grilled meat dishes, while Le Zinc is the place to go for cheese lovers. When the weather is at its best, meals are served on the south-facing terrace. On colder nights, guests love to stay warm in front of the hotel bar’s open fire.
Relaxation is high on Fahrenheit Seven’s priority list, too, thanks to the spa, featuring a hammam and sauna. You can also cool down with the spa’s very own ice pillar when necessary.
You can arrange equipment hire at the hotel’s ski shop. This shop is located next to the large ski room, where every room has its own heated ski locker.
Ski to door accommodation makes your holiday super convenient, but Hotel Le Hameau Du Kashmir adds luxury to convenience while staying in Val Thorens.
The hotel suites all have balconies with mountain views and two bedrooms. They also have two bathrooms, while some also feature a living room with a flat-screen TV.
Guests can dine in either of the hotel’s two restaurants, where they can dine on local cuisine and a steak house menu after pre-dinner drinks in the hotel bar. Each morning, guests can fuel up for the day with a breakfast buffet. They can also finish their day on the slopes in the sauna and indoor swimming pool in the spa.
Resort and slopes view from the ski-in ski-out 4**** Hotel Le Hameau du Kashmir
Self Catered Apartments
Les Chalets Cocoon
Les Chalets Cocoon is a five-star apartment block that offers its guests a shared lounge, ski-to-door access and a terrace. Its location makes it very convenient, as it is not far from the ski school meeting point.
Each apartment has a balcony with hot tub where you can enjoy panoramic alpine views, a seating area, a satellite flat-screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, microwave and coffee machine.
The building’s spa provides its guests with a range of wellness facilities, including a hot tub, sauna and an indoor pool.
Résidence l’Oxalys is a superb ski-to-door apartment block featuring contemporary self-catered apartments. The apartments’ design uses design features such as wood-panelled walls, parquet floors, and wooden beams, for that French alpine style. All properties have a balcony, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV.
Even though Résidence l’Oxalys is a self-catered property, you can enjoy top-level service, a lounge bar with a fireplace, or the wellness centre with an indoor swimming pool, sauna and hammam.
The ease of getting on the slopes from the front door and the close proximity to the local shops make Résidence l’Oxalys an excellent choice for families, groups and couples to enjoy all that Val Thorens has to offer.
Residence Montana Plein Sud offers high-end contemporary apartments with an indoor pool and sauna.
Each five-star apartment’s decor features a modern twist on the classic chalet style and wooden furniture. They also have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, DVD players and private bathrooms.
These self-catered properties feature fully equipped kitchens, so you have everything you need for cooking for your group. To add to the property’s convenience, guests have access to luggage storage and laundry facilities. The Residence Montana Plein Sud also has a hammam for relaxation, and massages are available upon request.
Located in the five-star La Pashmina hotel, the Cosy Homes features one to four-bedroom luxury apartments. All are unique and provide an excellent level of comfort with great features and facilities.
As these apartments are located in La Pashmina, guests can access the five-star service, Michelin star restaurant and spa. La Pashmina is also located on the slopes, giving you lots of convenience during your stay.
The 5***** ski-in ski-out Residence Montana Plein Sud in the ski resort of Val Thorens
APRÈS AND NIGHTLIFE
Val Thorens is a party town, and aprés starts early. A popular venue is 360 Bar located at the foot of Moraine & Portette chair lifts. Here you can expect DJ’s and bands entertaining the crowds before the bar closes just after the lifts.
A must for any visitor to Val Thorens is La Folie Douce. This is basically a nightclub on the slopes during the day. It attracts party-goers from 2 pm to 5 pm every day and is located under the Plein Sud chairlift. Book a table to be sure to get a good vantage point for all the entertainment. Plan well in advance to get into the VIP area, which will blow your mind.
If you prefer to start your après in resort rather than on the mountain, check out Café Snesko for live music and seriously good times. This is a Scandinavian bar, so expect cheesy sing-a-long-music, lots of shots and the bar being set on fire.
Le Saloon is regarded as one of the best après bars in Val Thorens. The bar staff are super friendly and come from all over the world, and there is always something going on, including live music. It’s open from 3 pm until late, with happy hours between 3 pm and 5 pm.
Val Thorens is a fantastic ski resort for those that like late nights, thanks to the wide selection of late-night bars and clubs.
In the main resort, you will find the famous Malaysia Club on Place Caron. This is one of, if not the biggest, nightclubs in the Alps and open until 5 am.
For a late-night party, head to Klub Summit for party music, dance music, cheesy disco and rock classics until 4 am. You don’t have to head to a nightclub for late-night drinks, though. For example, Le Baramix is a bar that holds regular theme nights, and Panda turns is a bar that transforms into a nightclub from 10 pm until 2 am.
Après-ski (after ski) treats with the family – bars are not the only things to enjoy at the end of the day
Due to the sheer amount of terrain open to you in Val Thorens, you will need to stop off for refreshments. Luckily, there are lots of very nice places to eat and drink all over the mountains. However, here are some of our favourites in the Val Thorens area.
Chez Pépé Nicolas is an authentic French restaurant located between Les
Menuires and Val Thorens, on La Chasse piste. It overlooks the Péclet-Polset glacier and the Lou valley, which is very unique for a lunch stop.
Here you can enjoy local specialities, and they provide options for veggies and vegans too. The restaurant has an adjoining boutique exhibiting art and gifts by local artists and artisans.
Le Chalet de la Marine is regarded as one of the best mountain restaurants in Val Thorens. There is a self-service restaurant on the lower floor called the ‘Bistro de la Marine’, and a restaurant upstairs.
You can enjoy drinks and a quick lunch in the Bistro, but if you want an excellent meal, head upstairs, where the desserts are exceptional. This mountain restaurant is unique because they serve Savoyarde meals with a torchlit descent in the evening. This has to be booked in advance, but you can also reserve the Mongolian yurt for an evening meal. This seats up to 16 people, and the dishes are prepared in advance by the chefs. After your meal, you return to the resort on snowshoes or skis.
Chalet des 2 Lacs
Chalet des 2 Lacs is a great mountain restaurant for beginners to get to. You reach it by jumping on the 2 Lacs chair and turning left at the top.
The cosy interior is enhanced by roaring log fire. Customers can expect excellent service, good food and drinks.
The simple but delicious food is made with quality products, with originality. Favourite dishes are the small sardines from the 2 lakes, and the pâté en croûte du Chalet.
Delicious food, breathtaking views from the terrace at Chez Pépé Nicolas restaurant in a charming setting
EATING IN VAL THORENS RESORT
In Val Thorens itself, you will find a fantastic range of quality restaurants. We have already mentioned a few of these restaurants, as they are located in the various four and five-star hotels and apartments, such as Les Explorateurs in La Pashmina and La Fromagerie d’Altapura.
If you are staying in Le Kol-I Nor or not, you should check out their excellent restaurants Le Diamant Noir or the L’Atelier d’Eric. While you are there, you can enjoy the gorgeous terrace while taking in the beautiful views before having a few relaxing drinks in the lounge bar open during the day and the evening.
La Maison is the ideal restaurant for those with larger groups, as there is something on the menu for everyone. It also boasts a great selection of wines, beers and cocktails that can be enjoyed at lunchtime aprés or in the evenings.
But for a unique take on the classic fondue restaurant, you need to head to La Laiterie. Each fondue is made from two kinds of cheese from a particular area that have been chosen by a master cheesemaker. The cheeses are combined with a matching regional wine to complement each other. You get to sample the ingredients before they are melted together, creating a fantastic dining experience. You can even choose a Truffle fondue with champagne!
Val Thorens features 2 zip-lines including the highest one in Europe
Even with all the opportunities Val Thorens and the Three Valleys create for great skiing, there is a wide selection of other activities that are ideal for non-skiers, families and those that want a day off the mountain. Here are some of our favourites:
There are two zip lines, and they go from the top of the Bouchet chairlift in the Orelle resort over to the Val Thorens crest. This puts it at 3000m, and it lasts 1 minute 45 seconds. You will reach speeds of over 100 km/h high above the valley below. In fact, one of them is the highest in Europe, which adds to the adrenaline rush.
The other zip line is not as high, but it is 1.6km long, and its starting point is at the top of the Moutier chair lift at 2511m. You don’t need to worry about your skis, as they travel along the zip wire with you. This is something that you cannot book, so it is worth getting there early before the queues start.
Fat biking is a unique way of enjoying Val Thorens. These bikes have big squishy tyres that allow you to ride over soft snow easily. You can join a guided fat bike tour that takes you from the foot of the Péclet glacier at 3000m, all the way down to 700m. This takes place in the evenings when the slopes are closed with an instructor, so you have the whole mountain to yourself.
Another fantastic activity to do when the slopes are closed is snowmobiling. It gives you a whole new perspective of what the mountains look like at night as you race along on one of these fantastic machines.
You can ride solo or with a passenger as you follow your guide to areas of the mountain you wouldn’t usually be able to reach in the moonlight.
Try one of the many winter activities during your stay like Fat Bike, snowmobiling, paragliding, tobogganing…
Ice diving is an exhilarating and very different activity to try out when visiting Val Thorens. Head across the frozen Lac du Lou on snowshoes or cross country skis before slipping into a waterproof drysuit and diving equipment.
Led by qualified diving instructors, plunge beneath the ice and see the light shine through the ice and your bubbles as they come to rest under the frozen surface.
Often referred to as the purest form of aviation, paragliding in Val Thorens is a fabulous experience. On a paragliding session, you take off from a mountainside on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. Your instructor does all the flying while you enjoy the ride and fantastic views. The views while soaring over the highest ski resort in Europe are unrivalled.
If you have never been paragliding before, there is nothing to be worried about. The take-off can be a little scary as you run off the side of the mountain. But, once you are airborne, just sit back in the harness, relax and enjoy the scenery.
Val Thorens is home to the longest toboggan run in Europe, the Cosmojet. This is available to anyone over the age of 5 and starts at the foot of the Péclet glacier. The ride takes about forty-five minutes all the way back down the mountain. This is super fun and should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Val Thorens.
Snowshoeing is the oldest snowsport in the world, and it is a fantastic way to experience the alpine landscape at a more leisurely pace. You don’t need any technical knowledge, and anyone can try it no matter your fitness level.
Taking a guided snowshoe tour will take you through stunning landscapes and reveal aspects of the mountains you would not usually see, such as local wildlife.
Val Thorens opened its first ice rink in November 2020. Known simply as La Patinoire, it is located in Place Péclet. The ice rink provides an activity suitable for every family member on its 400m2 of natural ice.
You can expect a music and a light show as you skate around which enhances the experience. There is a small and cozy chalet to enjoy pancakes and hot chocolate with family or friends, and for those that would rather watch.
There is a range of scenic helicopter flight options to choose from when staying in Val Thorens. Sitting aboard a helicopter over the snowy peaks of the French Alps is a fantastic experience. This is the perfect way of making your trip extra special.
Race through with your friends and family on the ice track with ice karting, ice driving and much more
Why Book your Ski Holiday to Val Thorens
As you can see, Val Thorens has a lot to offer its visitors. From luxury accommodation to world-class dining and access to the largest ski area in the world. All this combined with unique experiences and a party atmosphere, there is something for everyone.