If you have a spirit of adventure and reasonable fitness levels, you can choose from a wide range of activities and accommodations to create your very own fun vacation under the sun in the French Alps, while on a road trip or as a destination in itself.
Activity holidays by top brands like AlpineElements, in this part of the Alps will not only provide you with spectacular mountain scenery but a broad program of rock climbing, cycling, rafting, and other adventure sports, keeping in mind your interests and body strength as well.
Here is a brief round-up of some amazing activities you can take part in the coming summer in the French Alps and the beautiful villages surrounding them.
1. Rock climbing
Chamonix, Ercins, Morzine, and the Anney-Cluses region are some of the popular places to go rock climbing in the French Alps. Chamonix, especially, is considered to be a world-class area for mountaineering, dominated by the towering 4810 m high Mont Blanc and the famous granite towers on the southern side of the valley.
These towers provide some classic climbing paths, ranging from a few hundred meters to over one thousand meters. These reddish rocks are easily accessible by a series of ski lifts from Chamonix or the nearby car parking areas. Some routes are fully bolted, while some are purely traditional routes.
2. Mountain biking
The French Alps has an established network of miles of track making it one of the leading mountain biking destinations in Europe. Tignes, especially, because of its location high above the tree line, is known for its fast open tracks and access to five mountain biking lifts and slopes.
There are designated areas for all levels of bikers, on free-ride and downhill tracks, all signposted excellently. A water jump, a bike park, and an airbag are some areas for beginners to practice their biking skills on. You can even link up to neighboring Val D’Isere to enjoy 150 km of great biking.
Apart from the splendid scenery the vast and changing landscape of the French Alps provides, the clean fresh air makes it a dream destination for hikers. A trustworthy signpost system and well-managed 490 miles of pedestrian trails, connected by 22 lifts can get weary legs up the mountains in a jiffy.
The over-century-old farming village of Les Gets is the best place to make a base for hikers, especially those with families, as it holds the ‘Famille Plus’ award for child-friendliness. Walkers are rewarded with surreal views of Mont Blanc from the top of the mountains on either side of Les Gets.
4. Horse Riding
Riding horseback along mountain trails and river banks can be an extremely enjoyable experience for all ages, from novices to keen riders. The equestrian center, located in morzine and les gets offers a variety of horse riding trips, complete with basic instructions for both kids and adults.
More accomplished riders can go on pony trips from Tignes and Val D’Isere on a half-day ride over mountains, across verdant valleys, and the odd river. The cross-bred horses are sure-footed and comfortable and suitable for children, eight and above.
5. Quad biking
A ride on a quad bike affords a unique way to explore the French Alps. The bikes can be enjoyed by adults while children,12+, are given mini-quads, complete with helmets and overalls for an exhilarating experience. The rides are suitable for all abilities of riders, after a short training session to make the riders familiar with the standard rules and regulations.
Your quad experience includes driving the quad through sand and water for an adrenaline rush, following thousand years old routes carved by glaciers. Stop to take photos at the point where the temperate forests and ice meet to give a spectacular effect.
6. Summer ski & board
Skiing doesn’t stop in summer in the French Alps. You can expect smooth groomed runs early in the morning and some soft bumps later on in the day, but you can ski for sure in Tignes, in the Tarentaise Valley region. Due to the prevailing conditions, summer skiing is best from June to early July on the Grand Motte Glacier.
The Perce-Neige funicular transports skiers through the Grand Motte cable car to an elevation of 3456 m, the highest point in Tignes. While beginners will find the soft summer snow ideal for skiing, professionals utilize the opportunity to complete their summer training on the glacier.
Exploring canyons and gorges along the sides of high alpine rivers can be a thrilling experience. There are opportunities to slide down into the water, jump into pools or even zipline across ravines. Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, is a major alpine center and one of the most visited by adventure seekers in the world.
The canyoning guides are very knowledgeable and experienced and will choose the right canyon for you and ensure safety. The best time to enjoy this activity is in late spring or summer when there is just enough water in the canyon and the sun is up and shining.
8. White water rafting
The Alps form an excellent getaway for watersports because of the abundance of natural lakes and family-friendly swimming spots. The Giffre River is a popular mountain destination for white water rafting because of the perfect current provided as the water gushes through narrow gorges and over the wide Vallon plains.
Some resorts in Morzine and Les Gets provide free white water rafting for their guests as a great way to socialize with the other guests. After a short session on safety, you change into your rafting kit, and you are off to conquer the rapids.
Kayaking in Morzine or Tignes is an activity that offers an opportunity to discover the beauty of the surrounding area from your little vessel. Sit-on kayaks are easy to use and available for those ages four and above. Moreover, the lakes are stunning and allow for some excellent kayaking.
There are many other activities at the watersports center including restaurants and beautiful walks everywhere. For family entertainment, the lakeside area has trampolines, obstacle courses, etc for a great day out with the kids.
For the daring ones, an awesome experience awaits in the skies by way of a 20-minute tandem paragliding ride, in optimal flying conditions, above the French Alps. This is an extremely popular activity to try and should be booked immediately on arrival.
This exciting adventure is suitable for all ages 13 and up, and requires no special advance skill or fitness level. All you need is a head for heights and a penchant to be vowed by some exhilarating aerobatics, should you so choose.