The highest resort in Europe, and part of the 3 Vallees

Winner of the World’s Best Ski Resort many times over, Val Thorens is Europe's highest ski resort and is an integral part of the huge 3 Vallées ski area. Being so high, it is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps, and has a fast efficient lift system up to the highest point in the ski network at 3,230m. Val Thorens’ own ski area is extensive, with a wide choice of terrain for all levels. The village works, it is largely car free, almost everywhere is on or a few steps from the slopes. Building on its successes, a number of top quality new hotels – now four with 5* – and some good restaurants have opened here. It has it’s own Folie Douce.

What about the Property Market in Val Thorens?

When it comes to properties here, we are talking mainly apartments and purpose built chalet-style buildings. Standalone chalets are rare. Don’t let this put you off, standards can be excellent, everywhere is close to if not on the slopes. The potential for holiday rentals is strong due to the long ski season and snow-sure credentials. Most properties on the market are apartments, including spacious 3-5 bedroom units, they may be 'apart-hotel' options, these can be attractive propositions for the rental potential and lock-and-leave convenience. For comparison with the rest of the 3 Vallées, Val Thorens is not as expensive as you might imagine - prices start at around €10k/m2 for smaller apartments, €12-15k/m2 in the mid-range and €15-18k/m2 for a larger multi-floor property with parking and close to the pistes.

A guide to Val Thorens

The highest ski resort in Europe, that says something. An integral part of the 3 Valleys, the largest linked ski area in the world, tells you even more. Val Thorens is one of the most snow-sure resorts in the Alps with many north facing pistes, and is one of the best places in the Alps to ski in the late or early season. It is also one of the most convenient, with pistes running above, below, beside and even through the village. Mostly is ski-in/ski-out, accommodation in the resort consists mainly of apartment buildings, but has moved gradually upmarket in recent years. Now a wide range of luxury accommodation and chalets to rent are available and two five 5-star hotels stand out from the rest – The Alta Pura and the Koh-I Nor.

Val Thorens Ski Area

Val Thorens’ own ski area offers 140km of pistes on its own. The terrain here suits everyone from beginners to experts, efficiently linked into the vast network of trails to the Méribel and Courchevel valleys, but also into the neighbouring fourth valley, the Maurienne to Orelle. Val Thorens has plenty to amuse advanced and expert skiers, even before you consider the rest of the vast 3 Valleys network on its doorstep. But it is also great for intermediates with 40 blue and green runs to choose from. For beginners an excellent wide nursery slope at the foot of the resort has various free lifts with some easy blues to progress to.

Méribel, Les Menuires and St Martin all within easy reach, and Courchevel is little over an hour’s ski away. Val Thoren’s high altitude allows for a longer season than most other resorts in the Alps, from November – May. The resort is famous for its powder skiing options. La Vanoise is considered one of the most beautiful off-piste tours in the 3 Vallées.

Or try the the Tyrolienne, only accessible by skiers and boarders. Said to be the world’s highest zipline, it connects the Maurienne and Tarentaise valleys in 105 seconds over 1300m starting at over 3000m in altitude.

Après ski in Val Thorens

Val Thorens is well known for some of the liveliest après-ski in France, partly as it attracts plenty of university ski trips. The action starts on-slope at the legendary Folie Douce – you’ll hear it before you see it. Bar 360 is recommended for slopeside après ski from 3pm. Saloon Bar and Café Snesko are other favourites renowned for a party atmosphere. The outdoor après bar at the slopeside Hotel Fahrenheit Seven is also ideal for a post skiing drink. Malaysia has various acts and bands playing throughout the season, it shuts at 4am.

Eating Out in Val Thorens

Val Thorens has a wide range of restaurants for all budgets and tastes, with over 60 restaurants. On the mountain, among the popular options are the Folie Douce and La Fruitière at the top of the Plein Sud chair-lift. The highly regarded Chalet de La Marine can be reached from the Cascades chairlift. The Chalets des 2 Lacs is also welcoming, with a log fire and hearty food.

In the resort, the Oxalys has two Michelin stars. Fitz Roy Hotel serves traditional quality French cuisine. Epicurien is well regarded. Chamois d’Or as well as Petite Ferme have varied menus with reasonable prices. La Maison Blanche is a small but popular brasserie offering simple, good food in a friendly atmosphere.

Summer in Val Thorens

Summer activities in Val Thorens and the Belleville valley include mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking, rafting, horse riding, summer sledging, tennis, there is a swimming pool, fishing and hang-gliding. For mountain biking, the varying terrain and fantastic views will suit bikers of all levels with 21 routes over 120km. All routes are clearly marked on the 3 Valleys trail map. You can also easily link up to neighbouring Méribel and Courchevel to really broaden the number of trails and terrain.

Walkers and hikers can choose from a number of signposted paths ranging in difficulty, from easy child friendly walks to challenging day long hikes offering fantastic mountain views, beautiful scenery and wildlife that is normally hidden in the winter months.

Free bus shuttles can be taken within the Belleville valley, thus linking the activities and entertainment in Saint Martin de Belleville, Les Menuires and Val Thorens.

For more details on Mountain Biking in Val Thorens, check out our blog: Where to go Mountain Biking in the Alps.

• Other Destinations in the French Alps •

Alpe d'Huez Chamonix Courchevel Les Gets Megève Méribel Morzine Pays du Mont Blanc St. Martin de Belleville Tignes Val d'Isère

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Val Thorens

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