Family holidays in Morzine

  • Inspiring places
  • France
  • 7 min read
Family holidays in Morzine

Rachel Ifans takes a family holiday to ski-paradise Morzine and finds that the Alps in summer are bursting with outdoor activities for all ages and interests.

“You come for the winter,” says my guide as we gaze at the sun-drenched mountains from the shade of the café’s terrace. “But you stay for the summer.”

I can see what she means. Morzine is rightly renowned for its skiing, with beautiful tree-lined pistes plus links to the more snow sure Avoriaz for when the white stuff is scarce.

This is my first time visiting in August, though, and it’s as if the whole town has come to life. The days are long and the sunshine is plentiful – although these are the Alps and storms can sometimes appear out of nowhere. 

Two mountain bikers sitting on a chair lift, doing victory signs with their hands and grinning. Their bikes are hanging from the back of the chair lift.Mountain bikers hang their bikes on the back of the chair lifts (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.Sylvain Cochard @morzineofficiel #morzine)

As we chat and sip our coffees, it strikes me that everyone here is busy doing something. Visitors and locals alike take the cable car up to the mountain tops, to walk or run or mountain bike. In the town, families are heading to the swimming pool or skate park, or horseriding, or taking on challenges high in the trees. 

Morzine in the summer is an ideal destination for a family holiday. The activities are plentiful and varied, the scenery is stunning and, at just an hour’s drive past Geneva, it’s surprisingly accessible. 

A family admire the view across the valley from high in the mountains, with sunshine, pine trees and colourful flowers on displayThe scenery is breathtaking when you’re up in the mountains above Morzine (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.Oliver Godbold @morzineofficiel #morzine)

Hiking in the Alps

Walking and hiking in the Alps is one of the most life-affirming things you can do but if there’s a downside, it’s getting up there in the first place.

This is where all that ski infrastructure comes in handy – Portes du Soleil, of which Morzine is part, runs key cable cars and chairlifts throughout the day to take walkers straight up into the heart of the mountains. It makes the whole thing incredibly accessible – my family were amazed by how much we enjoyed hiking at altitude once the upward slog had been removed.

Our first hike took us up the Pleney lift, in the direction of Les Gets. It was our first day in Morzine, so took it easy with a meander around the lift area, followed by a cool drink at a mountaintop restaurant with a stunning view. We walked back down to Morzine on well-signed paths through the welcome shade of the pine trees.

The view from a spot next to the top cable car station on Pleney, looking across Morzine in the far distance over to the green mountains beyond, against a sunny skyThe view of Morzine from the top of the Pleney telecabine is glorious (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.Sam Ingles @morzineofficiel #morzine)

A couple of days later, we took on a bigger challenge, taking the lift up to Super Morzine and walking over to Avoriaz, the purpose-built ski resort with buildings clad in red cedar. It’s a great route – we took a stunning detour to the Belvedere with views across Lac de Montriond. In this direction, the views opened out quickly as we walked along the ridge lines that were well stocked with wild bilberries. 

Your key to fun in the Alps - the Multi Pass 

To take the lifts as a pedestrian, you need a Multi Pass card, which you can pick up from your accommodation provider, tourist office or cable car station. You can use the pass throughout the Portes du Soleil area, which includes Morzine, Avoriaz, Les Gets and a host of other places, from mid-June to mid-September. 

In 2022, when we visited, the Multi Pass was €12 per person per day (under 5s are free) but if your accommodation provider is signed up to the scheme, the price is just €2.50. That’s a huge saving when you multiple it by a family of four for a few days, so it really pays to check with your accommodation before you book your holiday.

Three teenage girls chat in the water at the side the Morzine outdoor swimming pool, with others swimming behind them. In the background, the high up pedestrian bridge links both upper sides of the town against a sunny sky.You get free access to Morzine’s swimming complex with the Multi Pass card (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.Oliver Godbold @morzineofficiel #morzine)

Family activities in Morzine town

The Multi Pass really comes into its own when you’re back in town with the family. As well as lift access, it gives you free entry to the swimming pool complex, mini golf, petit train, ice rink and tennis courts.

The temperature was mid-30s when we stayed in Morzine, so the swimming complex was a godsend. It’s only a few years old, with three indoor and three outdoor pools of different sizes and depths. We stuck mostly to the Olympic-sized outdoor one, but the number of pools meant it was never too busy despite the weather.

Two women sit on a bench in front of a large lake, gazing over the water. They are surrounded by green pine trees and we can see mountains in the distance, framed by a blue summer sky.Lac du Montriond is a beautiful swimming lake with restaurants and activities (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.YK @morzineofficiel #morzine)

You can also swim in Lac de Montriond, a short shuttle bus ride from Morzine. It’s a beautiful spot with restaurants and a fun mini golf course if you’ve got any energy left.

It’s not all high-speed action in Morzine; you can also spend summer there engaging your brain and improving your French. The Alpine French School runs a range of courses, including a kids' club, so the whole family is covered. The format for an adult intensive learning week is three hours of lessons a day for five days, leaving you the afternoons free to relax. Lesson groups are small and the emphasis is on using your spoken and aural French as much as possible.

Mountain biking in Morzine

You can’t visit Morzine in the summer without being surrounded by mountain bikers. The Portes du Soleil is one of the premier spots for Vélo Tout Terrain and it’s little wonder – there are 80 managed downhill tracks and the lifts make it a doddle to get up there.

Lift passes for mountain biking are different to the Multi Pass. An adult one-day pass costs €25, with discounts for multiple days – for instance, three days is €55.

A young child in helmet, sunglasses and jacket rides his bike along a mountain path in summerMorzine’s mountain bike trails are graded so riders of all abilities can enjoy them (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.Sylvain Cochard @morzineofficiel #morzine)

Mountain bike trails are graded in a similar way to ski runs. There are easy ones for beginners and fast, technical challenges for experienced downhillers. The MTB routes are separate from walking trails, apart from a few linking paths where everyone goes slowly.

The similarity with skiing extends to the equipment. You can bring your own bike and protective gear or hire it by the day from one of a dozen MTB shops in Morzine that also offer lessons and guides to help you make the most of your time on the slopes.

Extreme sports for all the family

The Cascade de Nyon is a short walk from the centre of Morzine, following the Dranse de la Manche river along a treelined path. The Nyon waterfall is a lovely spot to cool down and paddle, and it’s also the site of the town’s treetop adventure site, Cascade Aventure, complete with zip lines over the waterfall.

You can also sign up for a canyoning session, wetsuits included. We watched a group of all ages abseil down the waterfall – it looked like a lot of fun but it’s not for the faint hearted. 

You can turn up on the day for arboreal fun in July and August but reservations are needed outside of these months and always for canyoning.

A smiling mother and son walk along a slatted walkway high in the trees, safely held by harnesses in case they slipThe treetop adventure in Morzine has a zip wire over the Nyon waterfall (Credit: ©Morzine-Avoriaz.Sam Ingles @morzineofficiel #morzine)

Where to eat and drink in Morzine

Le Coup de Coeur – a bustling, good value wine bar in the corner of the main square with lots of outdoor space.

La Rotonde – 100m or so away from the Pleney lift and a firm favourite for Alpine specialities. It’s not all cheese, though – my recommendation, the octopus salad.

Gusto E Basta – over the road from the Mairie, an Italian restaurant with a good selection of pasta and pizza. I had the ricotta and spinach ravioli, a big portion that I was thankful for after a long hike that day.

L’Improviste – a short walk out of the pedestrianised area in the direction of the Nyon waterfall, good value pizzas with lots of interesting, delicious toppings – a firm family favourite.

Travel to Morzine with LeShuttle

LeShuttle is the perfect way to start your family holiday. The journey from Calais to Morzine takes about nine hours in the car, passing by Reims, Troyes and Dijon, any of which are ideal for interesting stopover.

About the author: Rachel Ifans

I am a journalist and editor, covering a wide range of lifestyle and travel subjects but always returning to my first love, France. Born unfortunately to non-French parents, I have spent my life trying to make up for it by spending as much time as I can in France or writing about it, studying the language, tirelessly dragging my children round all six sides of l'Hexagone, and endlessly chuntering to my husband about moving there.

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