About Family Activities in Avoriaz
Whatever you choose to do on your family holiday, you are sure to find a huge range of activities across Avoriaz. There is something for everyone, every ability and every age. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration!
Archery is one of those sports that people all ages love to try. There are archery lessons with qualified instructors every day in the summer from 09:30 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 19:00 (closed Saturday mornings) at the Plateau Sportif in Avoriaz, available for anyone over 6 years old. Kids can also practice archery in Avoriaz at the Village des Enfants and become the Robin Hood of the Alps. They will provide them with bow and arrows and they can also take lessons with qualified instructors.
There are basketball courts available for free at the centre of resort. Tournaments are organised regularly by the tourist office.
Beach volleyball in the heart of the French Alps may sound strange but in Avoriaz you can hop on the sand and play a game of volleyball with your friends or family. Located in the centre of the resort, the beach volleyball courts can be used free of charge, and there are even beach volleyball tournaments and children's activities arranged regularly. Open every day from 09:00 to 20:00.
There are two bowling alleys in Avoriaz to keep you entertained on bad weather days or if you're looking for something to do with a group.
Canoeing / Kayaking
Canoe rafts are an unsinkable, stable type of inflatable canoe that allow you, without too much technique to profit fully from the joys and fun of white water river descent. The descents of the Dranse river are taken on by groups of 4 to 5 boats, accompanied by a fully qualified guide. You are equipped with neoprene suits and shoes, a safety jacket and a helmet. The course which you take is chosen according to the water levels and experience of the participants.
A not-so-gentle but extremely refreshing summer activity is one way to describe canyoning! Plunge yourself into the mountain streams via a series of abseil descents, jumps and natural water slides – just make sure you choose a warm day! You will make your way along rivers and rapids, using the riverbed as a natural obstacle course. Not suitable for very young children, but anyone over the age of about 8 can take the (very cold) plunge and try canyoning. With the safety of a guide, everyone can abseil down cascades, splash into pools and ride the river rapids. You can choose from short beginners’ routes, such as the one in Balme (Cluses) or longer ones for the more adventurous like the route down in Nyon (Morzine) which is not suitable for children under 12. Activity companies will take you from Avoriaz to your chosen route.
Caving / Pot-holing
Caving or pot-holing (also known as Speleology) is an exciting way to explore the mountain caves and their intricate tunnel systems which have been naturally formed by the rock over time. Most of the caves will be absorbed in darkness so a hard hat and head torch are worn as well as appropriate clothing. If you are caving with an adventure company then they will provide all the safety equipment and tools necessary, as well as a professional guide. There are multiple caves to explore in the Avoriaz area, as well as in Megevette and La Balme. Children must be over 7 years old to participate.
Depending on the age of your child there are a number of childcare options available in Avoriaz. There are also numerous babysitting and nursery facilities available in the area.
The main winter establishments are the ski schools which offer a combination of tuition and childcare for children 4 years and older. You can book your child in for full or half day programmes and lunch can also be provided for an extra charge. The Village des Enfants is open both in summer and winter offering lots of activities for children, from ski and snowboard to horse riding, judo, tennis, hiking, fencing, kayaking and more.
Catch the latest films and releases in Avoriaz on your winter or summer holiday. At Cinema Les Portes du Soleil you'll find most films are shown in the evenings with some screenings in the early afternoon. Look out for VO or VOST for English speaking films.
Kids from 3 years old can learn how to ski cross country. Portes du Soleil boasts 216 km of tranquil cross-country trails, 45 km of them in Avoriaz alone. There are 4 cross country areas accessible from Avoriaz and Morzine: the Manche Valley with 25 km of challenging circuits, the Morzine-Avoriaz at Parc Naturel des Crêtes de Zorre with up to 47 km for all levels, Lake Montriond with 10 km of Canadian-style runs and the Pléney-Chavannes sector with 18 km of forest runs. You can hire comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
Also see: Cross-country Skiing in Avoriaz
The roads around Avoriaz are the setting for some of the most gruelling sections of the Tour de France but they can be tackled by enthusiasts as well as professionals. In Avoriaz, the most famous cycling route is the ascent from Morzine which is a short 14.5 kilometres with 850 metres of altitude gain and an average 6% ascent with peaks of 11%. Older kids can even try and measure themselves against Bernard Hinault's record of 33 minutes in 1979.
Also see: Cycling in Avoriaz
Visit La Ferme de Seraussaix, on the road on the way down to Morzine, to take a tour of the farm. A great day out for the family where your children will learn all about the animals and the way the farm works whilst having some petting and feeding time. Tours of the farm take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 to 12:00, followed by a tasting of their products in summer. During winter, they happen on Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:00, followed by a cheese tasting, or on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:00 (a lunch comprising fondue made with local cheese, dessert and wine is included). Book in advance with Avoriaz tourist office.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Avoriaz! It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
Sit back and admire the Chablais mountains from even higher up! Panoramic helicopter flights are available from Avoriaz (weather permitting) with a couple of local flight companies. You can choose from quick 5-minute flights to longer tours around the Portes du Soleil area.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides
Horse-drawn sleighs aren't quite the novelty in Avoriaz that they are in most parts of the world, here they are the main form of transport! As Avoriaz is a traffic-free resort, horses double up as taxis here. They are used to get you from the car park to your apartment, out for the night, anywhere in fact that you want to go. Horse-drawn sleighs are available from 08:00 to 19:00, 7 days a week. With 28 sleighs and around 100 horses, they are a common sight on the streets and one of the highlights of visiting Avoriaz. You can either use them as a way of getting around the resort or you can hire one for scenic trips. Sleighs can be picked up at the entrance of the resort (“Accueil”), the outdoor parking P2, the top station of the Prodains cable car and in the centre of town. Book a tour through the tourist office for around €20 per person.
The Portes du Soleil offers a wide expanse of spectacular terrain on which you can saddle up and go exploring. There is a wide range of trails and routes waiting to be explored and there are a few companies offering horse riding tours around the mountains, forests and rivers. At the Village des Enfants, kids can ride ponies.
One of the best ways to take the spectacular mountain scenery from a different point of view is on a hot-air balloon. There are some companies in Avoriaz which offer balloon rides, which usually take up half a day including preparation and inflation.
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting), last for around 2 hours and there are even children-dedicated rides.
Hydrospeeding is one of the newer 'extreme' water sports to hit the market, it's a fun and exhilarating way to get yourselves down a river. Using a large float, which bears resemblance to a bodyboard, be ready to cling on for dear life as you send yourself hurtling down the rapids! This activity is a little more demanding physically than rafting or canoe rafting but allows you to discover the unique sensation of surfing down whitewater rivers. It is also accessible to all, no need to be a professional diver or swimmer, you just have to be smart at using the water movements, obstacles and waves. In Avoriaz, anyone over 7 years old can descend the Dranse river on a board wearing a thick neoprene and fins.
Ice-skating / Hockey
Avoriaz has an open-air ice rink in the resort centre that is open daily from 15:00 to 20:00 (14:00-20:30 during French school holidays). Holders of the MultiPass can get in for free. The rink may close in the case of bad weather. You can also go to the ice-skating rink in Morzine for fun loops with friends and family. With a refreshment bar, music and lighting you can enjoy the indoor ice skating rink at Parc des Dereches all year round. It is open during the day and with night sessions from 09:00 to 23:00 on Tuesday and Thursday, although be warned these are sometimes postponed due to hockey matches or special events. In the winter, you can scoot around on the outdoor ice skating rink situated in the tourist office square with ice shows on Thursdays. Open every day from 10:30 to 12:30 and 15:00 to 19:00 throughout the winter season.
The Village Igloo Experience brings you a fantasy attraction of ice caves that could have fallen straight out of a fairytale book. Beautiful and unique, the Village Igloo is an annual project that occupies Avoriaz 1800 (at the bottom of the Arare piste) every year, bringing guests and locals of the resorts the chance to enjoy the sheer novelty of enjoying the unique environment created by a giant igloo. It's open from 09:00 to 18:00, 7 days a week.
Avoriaz has a 12-holes crazy golf, open every day. The perfect activity to enjoy with the whole family.
Avoriaz and the wider Portes du Soleil area was the original, and still remains, the best mountain biking (MTB / VTT) area based in a winter ski resort. Its popularity has increased year on year, aided and abetted by the stunning alpine scenery and 80 kilometres of world-class trails. The variety of terrain ensures that everyone from beginners to expert and pro-level downhill and freeride riders, can get many days riding on trials suited to their preferences and ability level. Avoriaz only boasts 12 downhill pistes, 2 enduro trails and 2 pump track circuits.
Also see: Mountain Biking in Avoriaz
At Les Portes du Soleil, night skiing takes place on the Pleney piste in Morzine every Thursday, weather permitting.
Orienteering involves going on foot through unfamiliar terrain and requires the honing of your navigational skills, with the use of maps and a compass to go from one place to another. The Alps offer a great playground where to practice it surrounded by stunning landscape, and it is also a great activity for children, with the Village des Enfants in Avoriaz offering orienteering events and lessons. Just try not to get lost!
Challenge your friends and family to a game of paintball! This exciting activity offers fun for groups of all ages. In most cases you're split into teams and a variety of scenarios and courses are offered at the beginning of all games, with each game lasting approximately 2 hours. The ultimate aim is to shoot your opponents with paint pellets and capture their flag before they get hold of yours. To practise it in Avoriaz, the minimum age is 14 years old and there is a minimum of 10 participants.
Petanque / Boules
Petanque or boules is one of the most popular games in France with plenty of spaces to practice it in every village in the country. There are petanque grounds available for free in the centre of Avoriaz.
Avoriaz is a great place rock climbing for both beginners and experienced climbers. Experienced climbers can tackle the mountain side rock and enjoy the fantastic views (just make sure you have all the right gear and safety equipment). For beginners there are a number of adventure companies or mountain guides who can take you out on your first climb and show you the 'ropes'! The main rock climbing area, known as the 'Falaise d'Avoriaz' is located at the top of the Prodains lift, around a 45-minute walk from there. It is a challenging wall with routes ranging from 4c to 7c.
Ski Joering hails from Scandinavia, the word 'joering' itself means ski driving in Norwegian. In France, the preferred style is to use a rider-less horse which is controlled by the skier. A rig with reigns is connected to the horse’s bridle and the skier is towed along behind the horse on skis, holding onto the rig. The horse is steered with vocal commands and by pulling on lines connected to the horse's bit. This sport that is suitable for all ages and rides can be tailored to suit any standard of skier, from a gentle hack to a gallop through the snow. In Avoriaz, you can choose between an introductory lesson or a longer excursion in the forest.
Skiing & snowboarding
The main draw for people coming to Avoriaz in winter is, of course, the skiing and snowboarding. Avoriaz is part of the Portes du Soleil linked ski area, with 426km of pistes spread across 13 different ski resorts in France and Switzerland. Avoriaz ski area has 75.5km of pistes accessed by 17 chairlifts, 2 cable cars and 14 drag lifts. Due to its elevation of 1800m, snow lasts longer in Avoriaz than other French resorts. It is a favourite among experienced skiers but there are also great areas for families and beginners.
Also see: Ski Areas in Avoriaz
Sledging / Tobogganing
This is one winter activity that doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment, just grab your sledge and head for the nearest snow-covered hill! You can pick up a sledge at one of the many ski hire shops or sports shops in Avoriaz. Night sledding also takes place in Avoriaz in winter on a special 3km long track. Go up using the ski lifts and come down on a sledge with a head torch (minimum age is 16).
Raquette à Neige or Snow-shoeing in and around Avoriaz is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers. Don't forget to wear comfortable and waterproof boots. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the ski area such as the beautiful Lindarets village. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided by most companies offering this as an experience, or you can hire them from most Sports Shops or Ski Hire Shops, grab a trail map from the Tourist Office and head off on your own adventure. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
There are two squash courts in Avoriaz open every day from 09:00 to 19:00. You can book a slot through the main tourist office. Expect to pay around €6 for half an hour with an additional €2.50 for racket hire.
In Avoriaz, the 'Aquariaz' centre is an aquatic paradise offering a huge water park made up of a gentle flowing indoor river, a slidewinder (an aquatic halfpipe), a toddler's paddling pool and water playhouse and a large pool with natural climbing walls.
Tennis is a great way to get the legs moving and to enjoy the sunny summertime weather. Open during the summer season there are five tennis courts in Avoriaz. Lessons are available in groups of 2 or individually. There are also tennis tournaments every Thursday morning between the end of July and August, register at the tourist office.
Tours & excursions
One way to find your way around town in the summer is to hop aboard the miniature tourist train that trundles daily through the resort, offering a free transport service. The Avoriaz 'Petit Train Touristique' is a great way to take in the sights and get your bearings!
If you fancy a free, educational activity, why not try a lesson in Cheese making at the central Morzine cheese shop? La Fruitiere L’Alpage (which is close to the Ferme De La Fruitiere restaurant) offers free tours of its cheese cellar on Wednesdays at 09:00. You’ll learn about how all the popular Savoyard cheeses are made, whilst also tasting a few!
Head down towards Thonon in summer and you can take a trip underground at the Gorges du Pont du Diable. There are a series of walkways and steps leading you into the gorge. It's a great place to escape the heat of the summer days!
Tree-top / Forest adventures
The Village des Enfants in Avoriaz offers a great array of activities for children aged from 3 to 16 years old. Younger children can play on the mini-trampoline or bouncy castle, learn circus skills, try out the climbing wall, go pony trekking and learn gymnastics amongst other things. Older kids will enjoy archery, judo, pony trekking, mountain biking, fencing, building log cabins, taking part in various nature workshops and more. There are also football pitches, street basketball areas and a skate park, all free of charge.
Alternatively, the Fantasticable in the Portes du Soleil is the only one of its kind in the Alps. Located in Chatel at the top of the Chaux Fleurie lift this zip wire covers over three kilometres in two stages and reaches speeds of up to 100km/h. Strapped into a harness you fly face first across the valley, taking in the views in unique style. All safety equipment is provided - Superman outfit optional... Open to anyone over 35kg.
Via Ferrata climbing offers an element of security that still allows beginners to enjoy the achievement of having scaled a mountain! This form of climbing was invented by Italian soldiers in the Dolomites who used it to enable them to scale vertiginous faces easily and quickly. These days it is a popular sport that makes the thrill of mountain climbing more accessible to children, beginners and those who want a bit more security when they climb.
Following marked routes through the mountains you are helped along by steps, bridges and ladders whilst being roped up for extra safety. The main Via Ferrata site in Avoriaz is the Saix du Tour, its 600m in length afford some beautiful views over the valley. It features foot bridges, monkey bridges and ladders and should take around 2-2 1/2 hours to complete. It is accessible from May to October, if there is no snow. Suitable for adults and children over the age of 8, there are various adventure companies who can take you out on your Via Ferrata adventure.
Walking & Hiking
In the summer months Avoriaz is a mecca for walking and hiking in the beautiful alpine mountains. The Portes du Soleil offer 800 kilometres of marked trails that go across a wide variety of mountain landscapes, from ridges to forests, farms and, of course, views of Mont Blanc and the Dents du Midi. From Avoriaz, you can embark on short walks to lakes like the Chavanette or the Lac de Montriond, farmlands like the Alpage de Morzinette or the Séraussaix farm or waterfalls like the Cascade de Brochaux. Longer hikes will take you across the border into Switzerland or down the surrounding valleys.
Also see: Walking Routes in Avoriaz
The 'Aquariaz' centre is an aquatic paradise offering a huge water park made up of a gentle flowing indoor river, a slidewinder (an aquatic halfpipe), a toddler's paddling pool and water playhouse, and a large pool with natural climbing walls.
If you haven't experienced white water rafting before then this is a definite 'must try' on your list of activities to do! From the middle of May until September, La Dranse river, around 20km from Avoriaz, flows furiously as it is fed from the meltwaters running off the glaciers high above the town. There are various options available from a three-hour adrenaline rush to a full days excursion - this activity is guaranteed not to disappoint.
With Nordic walking you can discover the wide open spaces of Avoriaz and the Portes du Soleil, pristine and free of noise and traffic. Take your time to enjoy the heart of the forest in the middle of the field of powdery snow. The routes are open to all, adults and children of all levels. Equipment is provided for half day (in the afternoon) or a full day. Afghan walking is a technique of rhythmic breathing, synchronised with the walk in a way that brings stimulation and oxygenation of the body. Practised in the heart of the Avoriaz mountains, discover a new experience of well-being.