Val Thorens, Savoie: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Val Thorens in Alps ski resorts (Rhone-Alpes region)

Visit Val Thorens (Rhone-Alpes, France)

Val Thorens is a ski resort located in the French Alps, in the 'Three valleys' ski region (with Meribel and Courchevel) towards the west of the Vanoise National Parc. The Three Valleys region is the largest Alpine Ski region in Europe.

The resort at Val Thorens receives more than 300 000 visitors each year, making it one of the busiest ski resorts in the world.

Exploring Val Thorens

resort of Val Thorens

The resort is purpose built, developed largely during the 1970's, and is at the high altitude of 2300 metres. Val Thorens promotes itself as being 'the highest ski resort in Europe', with skiing taking place at up to 3200 metres altitude.

As a result the ski season is longer here than in many, lower altitude, resorts and typically lasts from November until the middle of May. The high altitude also means the resort has easy access to impressive ski slopes which surround the resort and is among some of the very finest scenery in the Alps.

In general the easier ski runs are very close to the village in Val Thorens and the more challenging slopes a little further.

The altitude and the surrounding slopes mean there are ample and varied ski opportunities for those of all levels and capabilities, and is suitable for both families and for more experienced skiers. You are already spoiled for choice here by the mountains and glaciers that surround Val Thorens with more than 75 different designated ski runs, while the Trois Vallées region as a whole has more than 600 kilometres of ski runs available.

Numerous off-piste opportunities are also accessed from Val Thorens. As well as skiing you will find many other related activities such as a six kilometre luge run (the longest in France) and an area for children and numerous others such as night-time excursions and mountain biking on the snow. One of the most unusual is the chance to have lessons in car driving on ice!

mountains above Val Thorens

In common with some other ski resorts, Val Thorens has established itself as an attractive destination by focussing on buildings in the local architecture and chalet style and the resort is very good at giving you the feeling of being in a true Alpine village (even if some of the apartment blocks are rather larger and less 'chalet style' than you might hope).

The town has lots of shops, boutiques, bars and more than 50 restaurants, many accessed directly on your skis, and suitable for all budgets along with spas, discos and other places to relax. Val Thorens is also largely pedestrianised - great for enjoyment and the environment, but you will need to pay for the 24 hour parking. As you would expect of a major resort facilities for après-ski and nighttime entertainment are also extensive.

There are also free buses between the villages that make up the resort: Val Thorens, Saint Martin and des Menuires.

Summer in Val Thorens

Like most of the major ski resorts, Val Thorens is also open in July and August for those who prefer summer activities in the mountains such as hiking, cycling, climbing and mountain biking or fishing, rafting, tennis, archery...

Enthusiastic cyclists might like to arrive by bike using the route from Moutiers that the Tour de France followed in 1994. During the 36 kilometres of cycling you will gain nearly 1900 metres in altitude with gradients up to 9%. I didn't say it would be easy!

Where is Val Thorens

The closest major towns to Val Thorens are Chambery to the north-west and Grenoble to the west of here.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Savoie guide and the Rhone-Alpes guide.

See also:

Map of Val Thorens and places nearby

Visit near Val Thorens with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Savoie

Address: Val Thorens, Rhone-Alpes, France || GPS: latitude 45.2981, longitude 6.58

Plan your visit to Val Thorens, Savoie

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne: recommended detour (18 km)
  • Aiguilles d'Arves: site of natural beauty (27 km)
  • Col de la Croix-de-Fer: site of natural beauty (30 km)
  • Jardin alpin du Lautaret: remarkable garden (34 km)
  • La Grave: most beautiful village (35 km)

The French version of this page is at Val Thorens (Francais)