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Alpe d’Huez Family Holidays & Breaks

Alpe d'Huez outdoor pool in wintertime.Alpe d'Huez outdoor pool in wintertime.© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism
Festival time in Alpe d'Huez.Festival time in Alpe d'Huez.© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism.
Cows grazing above Alpe d'Huez.Cows grazing above Alpe d'Huez.© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism.
Sledging in Alpe d'Huez.Sledging in Alpe d'Huez.© Laurent Salino, Alpe d'Huez Tourism.
Summer luge in Alpe d'Huez.Summer luge in Alpe d'Huez.© www.alpedhuez.com
Flying Time 3hrs
Timezone GMT +1

Today

Overview

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 when it comes to family ski holidays (except for the 21 hairpin bends on the road up!). Indeed, it's the deserving 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.

In summer, meanwhile, head for Alpe d'Huez for activities ranging from gentle rambles to glacier-walking.

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 seemingly 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.

Take advantage of the fact that a 6/15-day Alpe d'Huez lift-pass allows you two days in Les Deux Alpes and a day each in the resorts of the Grande Galaxie (Serre Chevalier, Puy Saint Vincent, Montgenèvre and the Italian Milky Way), as well as covering the indoor/outdoor pool (with sauna and Jacuzzi), outdoor skating rink (open year-round) and one activity at the sports centre.  

In summer, try everything from archery, tennis and squash to mountain-biking, canyoning, via ferrata and glacier-walking. With younger kids, there's summer luge, horse-riding and gentle rambles or hikes along 230km of lovely marked trails, some alongside lakes where you can swim. 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!

Eat

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 (July and August). 

Cost

Alpe d'Huez can be a good-value if not a cheap destination for French Alps family holidays due to having been underrated as a ski resort. Summer can also be a bargain when compared with the same time of year in a coastal setting.

By Nick Dalton

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