Located in the French Alps, Tignes & Val d’Isere are commonly visited resorts for ski holiday lovers. The mountain caters to a wide audience with a variety of ski terrain and the surrounding area is packed with restaurants, stores, and other entertainment options. As with most ski resorts in Europe, extra travel time is required to reach the end destination.
If traveling from outside of France, Chambery is the closest airport to Tignes & Val d’Isere, at a distance around 140 km, but flights are not frequent and may not be available. The closest airports with consistent flights in and out is Geneva airport (GVA) in Switzerland, located about 200 km from Tignes. Alternatively, if traveling within France, train travel is an option. The Bourg st Maurice train station will bring you about 45 minutes from the first resort town in Tignes, adding more time if you are staying in the higher altitude Tignes towns or Val d’Isere.
When traveling to Tignes & Val d’Isere, plan for a full day traveling on each end of the trip. Whether traveling by plane to Geneva airport or train to Bourg st. Maurice, your next leg of the journey is to get to the resort towns themselves. Since Bourg st. Maurice is not too far from Tignes, a private transfer or taxi is likely your best option.
If traveling from the Geneva airport where the distance is longer, you will want to evaluate your options based on cost, availability, and convenience. Your main options include either renting/hiring a car in Geneva, using a ski resort large bus airport transfer like Bens Buses or AlpyBus, or using a private transfer.
The large bus airport transfers are likely the most economical, especially if traveling with a small group or on separate itineraries. A one-way ticket typically costs around 55 Euros, with an option to pay a slightly higher fare for flexibility on the bus time taken. It is highly recommended to pay the slightly higher fare for flexibility, in case of flight delays or baggage issues. Be sure to check the available bus times based on the days you plan to travel as there are NOT buses everyday and only a few time options each day.
Private transfers can quickly get quite expensive, but they provide flexibility if traveling at off-peak times. They also can be worthwhile if traveling with a group of 6-10 people who all have the same travel itinerary and therefore can plan to take the same private transfer. If planning a trip with a group, consider booking travel together to help keep expenses low and take advantage of the more flexible options. Companies like Alpybus and Ben’s Buses offer private transfers in addition to the large bus ski resort transfers.
Tignes and Val d’Isere are conveniently connected, meaning you can access both resorts without depending on a bus to transfer between the two. Tignes is the first resort you reach when traveling from Geneva or Bourg st. Maurice. It is comprised of five base towns with lifts and gondolas to access the mountain. Les Brevieres (Tignes 1550), Les Boisses (Tignes 1800), Le Lavachet, Le Lac (Tignes 2100) and Val Claret (Tignes 2300) are the five towns, often referred to by their altitude level. After passing all five Tignes towns, the Val d’Isere resort begins.
If skiing across the resort is not feasible or lifts are closed as you try to make your way back to your end destination, there is a free bus service operating between the towns of Tignes and Val d’Isere. Tignes has buses running between four of the five towns: Les Boisses (Tignes 1800), Le Lavachet, Le Lac (Tignes 2100) and Val Claret (Tignes 2300). That being said, if you are staying in Les Brevieres, you can still leverage the bus service, you will just need to take a gondola from Les Brevieres to Les Boisses (Tignes 1800). Alternatively, if returning back to Les Brevieres at the end of the day, the bus service can be used to reach Les Boisses (Tignes 1800) and there is a blue or red ski run you can take down to the base of Les Brevieres.
Download the Tignes app to see the various bus route options and stops. If traveling from Val Claret (Tignes 2300) to Les Brevieres, you will need to take two different buses. First catch the 2100 Tour bus from Val Claret and take it to stop 1 – Toviere. From here, cross the street and take the stairs down so you are located outside the tourist information center. Here you will need to catch the 1800 Tour bus where you will get off in Tignes 1800 (Les Boisses). From the bus stop, walk towards the mountain and get your skis back on. Depending on the time, you will have the option to either ski down the run next to the gondola or take the gondola to the base of Les Brevieres.
There are a lot of options to consider when deciding where to stay in Tignes & Val d’Isere. Ultimately, when selecting accommodations, you will want to consider your priorities including accommodation type (hotel, bed and breakfast, chalet, home rental), access to the mountain, size of accommodations, amenities (i.e. hot tub, washer, kitchen, etc.), ski in / ski out, proximity to restaurants, and nightlife.
Tignes has five main towns to pick from: Les Brevieres (Tignes 1550), Les Boisses (Tignes 1800), Le Lavachet, Le Lac (Tignes 2100) and Val Claret (Tignes 2300). The two largest towns and main hubs of Tignes are Val Claret (Tignes 2300) and Le Lac (Tignes 2100). They both provide a wide variety of accommodation options and easy access to buses or lifts directly in the town. The other three towns are smaller and quieter.
Les Brevieres is the cutest of the five; it is a tiny village with a lot of charm to it. From Les Brevieres, it is very easy to access the mountain. There are a bunch of chalets in the area, great for larger groups and many equipped with outdoor hot tubs. There is a funicular which makes it very easy to get from the chalets on the hill down to the base gondola. The town itself has a few restaurants, a small grocery store equipped with necessities, and ski / snowboard rental shops.
If a ski chalet is your ideal accommodations, there are a few key consideration points to know in advance. Generally, ski chalets are booked for a 7-day period and are often Saturday to Saturday bookings. This means if searching for a shorter time period, many accommodation options may not be available. Additionally, ski chalets can be booked with catering or as self-catering. If booked with catering, meals will be prepared and provided for guests based on different packages. There are many different options when it comes to booking ski chalets, but important to know these points when picking accommodations.
If you are visiting Tignes & Val d’Isere, you are likely visiting with plans to ski. There are a variety of important considerations to take into account when planning a ski/snowboard vacation including equipment, lift passes, transportation and accommodations (read above), resorts, and trip length. Tignes & Val d’Isere are best suited for a full week ski-holiday. Due to the amount of travel time required on each end of the trip, a full week provides enough time to get settled and enjoy a proper ski holiday.
If you are not bringing your own equipment or are planning to rent some items, it is best to place your order in advance. Intersport has numerous locations across all the towns in Tignes & Val d’Isere. After selecting accommodations, look for the closest location to keep the rental process easy and give yourself an easy pick-up and drop-off location for equipment. This is also especially helpful if there are any issues with the gear you rent.
When placing an order in advance, Intersport will ask for your ski ability and other key information for boot sizing and ski fitting. Intersport often provides a free seventh day if renting equipment for six days, and it also allows its customers to pick up their equipment the evening before the rental starts. Since you likely will spend your first day traveling to Tignes & Val d’Isere, it is nice if you are able to pick-up your equipment so you are ready to get on the slopes for Day 2.
If Intersport is not for you, there are other rental companies available. Some rental companies will even deliver to your accommodations if you place the order in advance and are comfortable with your sizing.
Another important consideration is determining what lift pass to purchase . This will be dependent on your length of stay, abilities and desires on the slopes (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), and other plans for the season. For Tignes & Val d’Isere, there are three main passes to consider: Tignes only pass, Val d’Isere only pass, combined Tignes & Val d’Isere pass. When selecting a pass, keep in mind that the two resorts are completely connected. If you choose to purchase a lift ticket for only one resort and find yourself crossing into the other resort, you will not be permitted to take the other resort lifts. With this in mind, it is recommended to get the combined pass unless you have no intentions of crossing between the two.
There are opportunities to get discounted lift passes including early season discount or group discounts. If skiing with a group of 4 – 7 people who plan to ski for 4+ consecutive days, tickets can be purchased together at a slight discount (about 30 euros cheaper per person). To provide some expense estimates, single day passes range from 50 – 65 Euros. A 6-day pass falls around 325 Euros and a discounted 6-day group pass is around 295 Euros.
Tignes and Val d’Isere are completely connected on the mountain and different areas of the resort will be better fit for different skill levels and preferences. This makes it a great location for group vacations, as there are options for everyone. Generally, the resort is more tailored to an intermediate level than advanced as the black (expert) runs are limited.
Tignes has longer intermediate and challenging runs, while Val d’Isere seems to have shorter beginner and intermediate runs. Between the two resorts, there are 163 pistes: 21 greens (beginner), 67 blues (intermediate), 41 reds (advanced), and 29 blacks (expert). The area also has two glaciers, with a few runs on each. In a good snow season, many choose to go off-piste and find alternative routes down the mountain.
The Tignes resort area covers a few different peaks and all 5 Tignes towns are connected by ski runs. The Tignes area has runs for all different ski levels. One highlight not to miss in Tignes is the highest point of the resort. Sitting at 3456 meters, the top of La Grande Motte provides beautiful views on a sunny, blue sky day. The top can be reached by first getting a ski lift from Val Claret, taking another ski lift and finally catching a cable car to the top. Alternatively, a funicular can be taken to the base of the cable car. From the top, there are only red and black runs down. However, for the lower skill levels, the cable car can be taken back down to a blue run option and for beginners, the funicular can be taken back to the base.
When looking at the resort map, the Val d’Isere area covers the left side of the map. Similar to Tignes, Val d’Isere also has its own glacier, but it is far less impressive. Val d’Isere has great terrain for newer skiers to learn and practice their technique with many short blue runs. Val d’Isere also has a few very long runs bringing skiers down to different base towns, requiring a gondola ride afterward to get back up the mountain.
Not located in Tignes or Val d’Isere, but worth calling out is Lake Annecy. If driving from Geneva to Tignes & Val d’Isere, the route passes through the town of Annecy and along Lake Annecy. This gorgeous lake is well worth a stop and provides a perfect mid-way point on your journey to Tignes. The lake is calm and there are a few restaurants along the water where you can stop in for a bite to eat. Alternatively, just find a spot to pull over and get out of the car to take in the beauty of the mountains over the lake.
Skiing in the alps is not complete without also experiencing Apres Ski. Depending on your preferences, Apres Ski can consist of drinks and dancing at a spot on the mountain, a few casual drinks with friends at a cozy mountain restaurant, or partying at one of the resort dance clubs. Apres Ski is a tradition, especially for European ski destinations, and can start any hour of the day. The most common mountain Apres Ski activities commence around 2 pm, continuing to get more lively as the day continues. The Apres Ski spots on the mountain start earlier, as they close when the evening rolls around. Then the base town Apres Ski spots pick-up and carry into the evening.
Technically located in Val d’Isere at the top of the La Daille gondola, La Folie Douce is a well-known Apres Ski spot. La Folie consistently has entertainers putting on shows outside throughout the day. As the afternoon approaches, the area fills up and the high-top tables transition into little dance floors. Grabbing a table earlier in the day can be easy and if you manage to keep it until the party picks up, you will have the table for your group. As expected, drinks are pricey, but the vibes and energy at La Folie make for a great afternoon of Apres Ski.
Another Apres Ski spot, Coco Rico’s has a location at the base of Val Claret and also in Val d’Isere. Note the Val Claret spot is closed on Saturdays.
Located in Les Brevieres across from the gondola, this quaint restaurants has a variety of options and the food is delicious. The restaurant has a warm atmosphere and the staff is all very friendly. After visiting, the pizzas come highly recommended and so does the steak.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks