About Summer Activities in Val Thorens & The Belleville Valley
Whatever you choose to do on your summer holiday you are sure to find a huge range of activities across the Val Thorens area. From relaxing to full on adrenaline there is something for everyone, every ability and every age in Val Thorens. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration!
Archery is one of those sports that people all ages love to try. There is a field to practice archery by the Stade de Slalom piste in Val Thorens, as well as two in Les Menuires, at the Croisette and Bruyères (by the lift). There you can become the Robin Hood of the Alps as they will all provide you with bow and arrows.
You can play badminton at one of the sports centres, either in Val Thorens or down in Les Menuires.
Facilities to practice basketball are available at the multi-activity sports hall in the sports centre at Val Thorens
Val Thorens boasts a bowling alley with 8 lanes and a sports bar. The perfect plan for a rainy day!
Canoeing / Kayaking
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 4 to 5 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.
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 8 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.
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.
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 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 3-4 hours in the UK should see you enjoy the mountain routes.
Also see: Cycling in Val Thorens
There are lots of lovely walks and treks that you can do in Val Thorens and now you can do them with the friendly company of a donkey. Head off on a trail with the donkey to keep you and your family company. 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 family companion to help you discover the lovely trails and views that the mountains have to offer. 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 farmers 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.
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 trouts and carps. You must, however, ensure that you have the correct fishing permit and are aware of the local fishing regulations.
There are multisports courts at the sports centres in Les Menuires and Val Thorens where you can play football.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Val Thorens!. It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is… you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
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.
Gym / Fitness centres
There are facilities both in Val Thorens & Les Menuires if you want to keep fit while you're here.
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.
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.
Hydro speeding 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.
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.
There is a mini-golf course at Les Menuires, at the Foret des Aventuriers.
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 mountain is more your ‘thang’, Val Thorens definitely has something to suit all tastes.
Also see: Mountain Biking in Val Thorens
There are a number of companies who can take you mountaineering in both summer and winter, from local guides to ski schools and activity companies.
Orienteering involves going on foot through unfamiliar terrain and requires the honing of your navigational skills, with the use of maps and a compass to go from one place to another. The Alps offer a great playground where to practice it surrounded by stunning landscape, and it is also a great activity for children, with some companies in Val Thorens offering orienteering events and lessons. Just try not to get lost!
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!
Paragliding / Parapenting
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. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.
Val Thorens is a great place 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 or mountain guides who can take you out on your first climb and show you the 'ropes'! Learn all the technique and skills in the safe hands of a well-trained mountain guide. Climbing is also a great activity for all the family, just check with the guide beforehand what their minimum age is.
Many people would not automatically think of Val Thorens as a place to shop, however, the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports resort, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountain goods.
Spas & massages
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.
You can play squash in one of the sports centres in Les Menuires or Val Thorens, and rent the equipment there.
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.
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, lots of 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 swimming costume or shorts.
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 9 and 13 outdoor tennis courts each. You can also rent all your equipment there.
Tree-top / Forest adventures
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 1.3km wire to the 3000 metres finishing point. Reaching speeds of up to 100km/h and at the highest point "fly" 250m above the snow and ice below. It costs 50 euros 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.
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 8. Guides can be arranged on request and there are a number of adventure companies who can organise your via ferrata experience.
Walking & 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.
Also see: Walking Routes in Val Thorens
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.