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Val d'Isère family holidays and breaks

Snowboarders relaxing by the pistes.Snowboarders relaxing by the pistes.© Agence Nuts - Val d'Isère Tourist Office
Winter magic on the streets of Val d'Isère.Winter magic on the streets of Val d'Isère.© Agence Nuts - Val d'Isère Tourist Office
View over Val d'Isère in summer. View over Val d'Isère in summer. © Agence Nuts - Val d'Isère Tourist Office
A winter evening in the resort.A winter evening in the resort.© Agence Nuts - Val d'Isere Tourist Office
Mountain biking around Val d'Isere.Mountain biking around Val d'Isere.© www.valdisere.com
Toddlers playing in Val d'Isère.Toddlers playing in Val d'Isère.© Agence Nuts - Val d'Isère Tourist Office
Horse riding in the summer.Horse riding in the summer.© www.valdisere.com
Flying Time 1.75hrs
Carbon Footprint 0.72 CO2
Timezone GMT +1
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

Val d’Isère offers great family skiing holidays at a snowsure altitude, and a pleasing town – a long-time Brit colony – to go with it. It's also set to develop quickly, with the €200-million Coin de Val plan slated to be complete by 2022.

Val d’Isère’s slopes are part of the 300km Espace Killy shared with Tignes – the resorts have a seamless join rather than being connected at the edges. Val’s skiing goes up to 3,300m on the Glacier de Pissaillas, while Tignes’ reaches 3,455m on the Grand Motte glacier. The latter is particularly good for enthusiastic youngsters, with easyish runs all the way down.

In fact, while there’s challenging stuff from end to end, the endless pistes are wonderful for families, even if there are some steep bits above town. Beware that Val constantly underplays its runs, though, so watch out when exploring with children.

Ski schools take children all around Val d’Isère's mountains, so they can get the most out of the area. Parents can dash around and barely ski the same run twice during a holiday. It’s not always convenient, with a lot of the accommodation needing a bus hop to one or other of the base areas, but it’s simple enough going up and down the road.

In summer, come for all sorts of mountain activities in the fresh air, from gentle donkey-trekking to exhilarating canoe-rafting.

Things to do with kids in Val d'Isère

Head for the nursery area in the centre of town – big and busy but a great place for even the youngest tot to start out. Trouble is, there’s not much to progress on to, with steep runs coming down from the Solaise area to one side, and the Bellvarde – and fast skiers criss-crossing with timid beginners – to the other. Once you’re past that first hurdle, though, there are places to go: the La Daille area 1.5km or so from town, with a big, rugged apartment complex near the base, is a good family spot.

Take the Funival underground funicular to the top of Bellvarde, from which a sometimes steepish but comfortable red run weaves all the way back down. Or take chairs up for some easy cruises.

Alternatively, meander over to Tignes, where you’ll find lots of simple slopes (as well as plenty of exciting ones), all of them snowsure. (If you want to experience Val’s skiing but feel it might be a little over the top, Tignes’ Val Claret area has plenty of space to learn and is packed with family apartments right on the slopes.)

Take some time out from the slopes at Val d’Isère's swimming pool and sports centre or skating on the ice rink.

In summer, try out paragliding, archery, canoe-rafting or white-water rafting, canyoning, mountain-biking, donkey-trekking, farm visits, fishing, geocaching, via ferrata and much more besides. 

Eat

From Michelin-starred establishments to humble bistros serving traditional mountain dishes, Val d’Isère's 70-plus restaurants cater to everyone. Because of the large Brit family presence – you’re as likely to hear an English voice as French – there are lots of pizza and pasta options, even though a vast number of holiday-makers eat in their chalets.

When to go to Val d'Isère

The Val d’Isère ski season lasts from the end of November to late April, though there's glacier skiing for experts in summer. Summer activities are at their height in July and August.

Cost

As a guideline, expect to pay £500–1000pp for a week in Val d'Isère, depending on your dates of travel and what kind of accommodation you choose.

By Nick Dalton

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