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Alpe d’Huez Family Holidays & Breaks

Getting ready to skiGetting ready to ski© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism
Children at a festival Children at a festival © Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism
Children skiingChildren skiing© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism
Family sledging Family sledging © Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism
View of the resortView of the resort© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism
Flying Time 3hrs
Timezone GMT +1



The hub of the Massif des Grandes Rousses area, Alpe d'Huez with its 249km of piste, quaint old town, reasonably attractive newer area, and Les Bergers slopeside village, with skiing and/or lifts just about encircling the lot, is an all-round winner for family holidays (except for the 21 hairpin bends on the road up!) – and indeed, the winner of our Best Ever Family Ski Resort Award in the Ages 7 and Under category. A huge swathe of green runs the length of the resort, with drag-lifts, chairs and even the DMC gondola.

Things to do with kids in Alpe d’Huez

Ski this huge and underrated area, with its massive easy-skiing area at the base. If you take the gondola’s second stage, confident youngsters love the bumpy, sometimes narrow blue back down. Wide pistes head off in varying directions, with interesting runs down to the villages of Vaujany and Oz.

Head up and there’s the big glacier where you can do the Sarenne, the longest run in the Alps (16km), and a black at that. Only the top section is demanding, but many children do tackle it, enjoying the endless sweep, uninterrupted by other runs, down through a long ravine. Meanwhile, if the kids are in ski school, expert parents can try the serious off-piste and steep, bumpy blacks down from the glacier. To the other side of the resort is the Signal area, or take a lift across the ravine and there’s Signal de l’Homme, with pleasing (if sometimes slushy) runs down to the village of Auris.

Enjoy a pleasant stroll around the centre – your lift-pass covers the indoor/outdoor pool (with sauna and Jacuzzi), outdoor skating rink (open year-round) and sports centre.

In summer, try everything from archery, tennis and squash to mountainbiking, canyoning, via ferrata and glacier-walking. Perhaps best suited to family holidays are summer luge, horse-riding and gentle rambles or hikes along 230km of lovely marked trails, some alongside lakes (where you can swim). Note that there's a Pedestrian Life Pass available to take you to the higher trails, for awesome views.

Also in summer (June/July), you might catch part of the Tour de France – a stage finish of the classic bike race generally takes place here, with riders ascending those 21 hairpin bends!


See our French Alps destination guide for tips on eating out in the region as a whole. Alpe d'Huez has a great choice of restaurants, many of them representing excellent value, whether you want local fare or pizza. Most of the mountain restaurants are good, although the more accessible ones tend to get very busy.

When to go to Alpe d’Huez

The ski-season in Isère lasts from December to April.

Summers sports and activity enthusiasts will find the area pleasantly uncrowded even in high season. 

How to get to Alpe d’Huez

There are frequent TGV trains to Grenoble from Paris, where you can hook up with Eurostars from London. Grenoble is roughly 1hr 30mins from Alpe d'Huez by private transfer, more by shared shuttle.

Grenoble Isère airport is served by low-cost airline from London Stansted and Dublin throughout the year, and in the skiing season from a variety of UK airports. The area is also within easy reach of Lyon international airport and Geneva in Switzerland.

It’s about an 8hr 30min (930km) drive to Grenoble from the Channel ferry/Eurotunnel terminus at Calais, almost entirely by motorway.


Alpe d'Huez can be a good-value destination for family hoildays in the French Alps by virtue of its having been underrated. A wide choice of self-catering accommodation helps keep costs down too.

By Nick Dalton

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What do you remember most clearly about your childhood holidays?

Long days on the beach
Long journeys by car or plane
Making new friends
Spending more time with parents

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