With so many places to discover, it’s always tempting to go somewhere new and spend a vacation exploring unknown locations. This winter, though, we both felt the need to relax and take a break, so we returned to Avoriaz, the same place we went to last winter.
Last year we were here during the first week of January and had no snow. This year, we went during the last week of March and it couldn’t be more different. There was about a meter and a half of snow on the ground when we got here, which meant that what used to be the ground floor was now below street level and stairs needed to be carved out of snow and ice to get to hotel and restaurant entrances. That alone created a completely different town from the one we were in last year.
Getting there/getting around
Avoriaz is a town that’s high up in the French Alps. The best way to get there is to fly to Geneva and take an airport transfer to Avoriaz. Or, you can rent a car, but we really wouldn’t recommend that. Once you get to Avoriaz, a car is pretty much useless. Cars aren’t allowed into town, so your transfer will drop you off at a central parking location and it’s up to you to make your way from there. You can either rent a small sled for your luggage or hire a horse-drawn sleigh (which is also the primary mode of transfer in town).
During your stay, you can easily ski through the whole town, hire a sleigh or just walk. There’s plenty of places to go and explore on foot, so you definitely won’t be missing your car.
What to eat
While there, we recommend taking advantage of the variety of cheese dishes available. Most food is fairly simple, but delicious. You can’t leave without trying tartiflette – potatoes with bacon and Reblochon cheese. Also, give galettes a try – thin buckwheat crepes with all sorts of toppings from Nutella to various cheeses and hams.
Of course, you can’t miss out on the variety of baguettes, pastries and wines. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and stores to choose from.
What to do
During the winter, most people come here to ski or snowboard. Avoriaz is high in the mountains, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to have snow all season long. But even if you don’t ski, there are plenty of things to do.
There are plenty of hiking trails to take even in winter. Our biggest hike was walking down the mountain (and then back up). There are trails specifically dedicated to hikers, so you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a skier. We ended up making it halfway to Morzine, when the threat of an impending storm made us turn around and go back up (the second half of the hike was a lot less fun than the first).
Speaking of Morzine, the picturesque town at the foot of the mountain deserves a day trip. You can take the Prodains Express cable car down the mountain and a free ski bus will take you into town. You can spend a few hours exploring, shopping and discovering more local restaurants and bars.
In addition to that, Avoriaz offers a lot of bars, restaurants, a bowling alley, a movie theater and activities. You can go sledding, snowshoeing, night sledding, mountain biking (yes, even in winter) or visit Aquariaz, the local park.
Overall, we had a great and relaxing week and we hope to get to come back again and do more. Avoriaz is always full of things to do, but you can also have some quiet time to relax, if that’s what you’re after.