Getting the most out of Val Thorens

  • Things to do
  • France
  • 6 min read
Getting the most out of Val Thorens

With plenty of facilities to keep everyone entertained, a trip to Val Thorens is as good as it gets!

When plans were announced during the 1970s for a ski resort to be built at the top of the Belleville valley in France, many thought it was a crazy idea. Locals expressed their concerns that the area was too high, too cold, and too avalanche-prone to expect tourists to visit.

Yet in defiance of the nay-sayers, 40 years on, Val Thorens has become a popular and most well-rounded ski resort in the Alps. It continues to adapt and evolve to this day, maintaining enthusiasm from skiers from all over the world.

Driving to Val Thorens from the LeShuttle Calais terminal

The drive from Calais will take around 8 hours and 40 minutes on a long but relatively straight access road from Moûtiers in the Tarentaise Valley. It is one of the earliest turn-offs on the N90 from Albertville.

With the changes in travel made by Covid-19, driving to ski resorts in France (or further afield) is the best way to ensure social distancing. You'll avoid crowded airports with their check-in and boarding queues by self-isolating in your car.

Plus, driving will allow you to pack ski gear, which can take up a fair bit of space. You can pack the extra ski helmet and 80’s ski suit after all!

Once you arrive, Val Thorens offers large car parks to visitors, so we recommend you book your spot in advance to make this part of your journey easy. Find information on parking in Val Thorens here.

If you love to hit the slopes, see our useful guide to driving to Europe’s best ski resorts.

signpost for various mountains and slopes standing in the snow on an epic mountainside with bright blue skies

Winter sports insurance from LeShuttle

We can offer winter sports insurance for peace of mind. Cover can include your ski passes, replacement equipment, and piste closure.

Perfect skiing conditions

Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe at an altitude of 2300m above sea level. It’s a mix of man-made and natural slopes, an ideal combination for skiers as they can enjoy both rugged, natural terrain, and sculpted tracks designed to provide optimum fun.

The altitude helps by maintaining thinner and colder air, creating the perfect atmosphere for snow to be made both naturally and artificially. This abundance in snow is why Val Thorens’ mountains are regarded as some of the most reliable in the French Alps.

Val Thorens boasts over 600km of skiable pistes and 180 lifts that take skiers to whichever peaks they choose, the highest of which sits at a jaw-dropping 3,230m. The lifts also span across the three valleys and give Val Thorens a huge advantage over other resorts.

Metal enclosed ski lift at the top of a mountain with a car rising up to the top

Val Thorens ski passes

Purchasing the correct ski pass is important. Those looking to tackle as much of the landscape as possible will want the pass that grants access to all 600km of Les Trois Vallées region. There are also more localised ski passes available, which cover the 150km Val Thorens-Orelle area, or the wider 300km area of the Vallée des Belleville.

To be able to hit the slopes as quickly as possible, it’s best to book a ski pass online, which can either be delivered to a home address beforehand or can be collected on arrival. For last-minute bookers, acquiring a ski pass after arriving is also very easy. For further information on ski passes, visit the Val Thorens site.

Après Ski

Après Ski (after ski) is essentially all the fun available whilst not on the slopes, and as it turns out, there’s an awful lot to do in Val Thorens when you’re not clipped into a pair of skis.

Folie Douce

For younger party goers, club La Folie Douce is great for music, drinks, and dancing on the outdoor terrace. DJs regularly play everything from electro to house music. Inside, the restaurant terrace offers a panoramic view of the valley.

360 Bar

Party at 2368 metres with some of the world's best DJs and MCs. Music starts from 2 pm, gradually turning up the party volume to full-on dancing and partying.

The Frog and Roast Beef

Europe’s highest pub, The Frog and Roast Beef, is a Val Thorens institution. Known for serving up British cuisine (including a full English), there’s also wines, spirits, and of course, pints of beer.

snowboarder in a woolly hat creating a huge billow of snow as he slides down the side of a mountain

Where to stay

When deciding on where to stay in Val Thorens, think about what type of accommodation is best for your party and budget. There are plenty of self-catering, bed and breakfast, and all-inclusive hotels to choose from in the region.

Self-catering accommodation is the best option for those looking to not spend too much, because you can shop in the local supermarkets and whip up your own meals. The accommodation featured in Saunders Says’ video is a self-catered chalet that boasts a rather spectacular view of the surrounding landscape, plus a balcony to enjoy it from.

Those looking for luxurious hot tubs, saunas, and all the mod cons will enjoy any of the region’s 5-star hotels. These high-end all-inclusive hotels are ideal for honeymoons, special occasions or for those that like to enjoy the finer things in life.

The resort boasts a variety of indoor, outdoor, and underground car parks, meaning your vehicle is never too far away. More parking information, as well as things to consider when preparing for winter driving can be found on the See Val Thorens’ website.

Ski resort and chalets at night lit up with yellowing lights at the base of a snowy mountain

Eating & drinking in Val Thorens

Val Thorens has plenty of options when it comes to cuisine. There are lots of supermarkets within the resort that are perfect for filling up the boot to cater for yourself. We do recommend trying one of the local restaurants at least once in celebration of a trip to France’s most beloved ski resort. The resort takes its dining seriously, with a variety of restaurants serving up different types of cuisine. Try our favourites:

Les Enfants Terribles

Les Enfants Terribles is a sophisticated restaurant named after the 1929 novel by Jean Cocteau, where seafood is their speciality. 

La Maison Val Thorens

La Maison Val Thorens is a bar, restaurant, and pizzeria that has an open-air seating area, allowing diners to enjoy the scenery and the sunshine as they eat.

La Pause in Hôtel Le Portillo

To dine like a local, try La Pause in Hôtel Le Portillo in the middle of town. Excellent wines are aplenty here.

Les Explorateurs in the Hotel Pashmina

For occasions worth celebrating, try the Michelin star-awarded Les Explorateurs in the Hotel Pashmina.

two large snow apartment blocks with balconies set into huge white snow banks

Other activities in Val Thorens

There’s also plenty of fun to be had on the snow without a pair of skis. Val Thorens grants visitors the opportunity to take a ride on a skidoo (snowmobile), with sessions running throughout the ski season. It’s great fun and allows visitors a new and exciting way to tackle the mountains.


Take a walk in some snowshoes to explore the resort at a slower pace. You can hire these from a few places on the resort and spend an afternoon or whole day playing in the snow.


You’re bound to create some long-lasting memories by taking in the resort from this high! Your state-qualified instructor will help you glide above the Belleville Valley, facing the impressive Mont Blanc.

Start your Val Thorens ski adventure with LeShuttle

With Val Thorens offering so much, why not book a LeShuttle ticket and have an exciting adventure to look forward to? Be sure to book as far in advance as possible to take advantage of the best possible fares.

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