Morzine is a vibrant, attractive French village attached to the giant Portes du Soleil ski area offering great skiing for all standards. It is also very close to Geneva airport making it one of the easier resorts to get to in France.
- Vibrant chalet style town with a decent nightlife
- Close to Geneva – just 90 minutes to the airport
- Beautiful tree-lined ski runs that are great for when the visibility is bad
- Some good off-piste
- Ski between two countries – Switzerland and France!
- Good value
- The village is spread out and peak-hour buses can be busy, so best to choose accommodation within walking distance of everything.
- The lower altitude of the village means that snow conditions can be variable, including rain in the village. However, the greater Portes du Soleil area does have higher-altitude slopes.
- Any off-piste can be dangerous so using a guide is a must
Morzine is a popular French ski resort in the heart of the huge Portes du Soleil ski area. Situated just 90 minutes-drive from Geneva it is one of the easiest of the major French resorts to get to. This convenience comes with its drawbacks – on sunny weekends it can be crowded and as the altitude is lower the snow conditions can be variable. That said – when the weather pattern is right the snow here can be better than higher altitude resorts. The slopes are grassy so don’t need much coverage and when the winds come across nearby Lake Geneva they can pick up moisture, and when they hit the Mont Blanc range behind Morzine it can seriously dump with snow. When this happens the skiing is fantastic, and the village covered with fresh snow is as pretty as a French postcard.
Morzine village is the perfect combination of vibrant yet laid back, modern yet attractive, big enough to have plenty of shops and restaurants but small enough to get around easily. It’s just right for families but also great for groups of partying friends. Best of all it can be great value for those not looking to break the budget but still have awesome skiing and a fun time. It really has something for everyone so it’s no wonder it’s incredibly popular with the Brits, Belgians and Dutch. We loved exploring the village stores from clothing to pottery to toy shops and many food specialty shops selling local Savouyard delicacies. It’s easy to give the restaurants a miss one evening and instead have a hotel room picnic with fresh bread, local cheeses and cured meats washed down with a glass of vin rouge.
Morzine comes alive once the lifts shut and the many great bars and restaurants scattered throughout the village can be heaving – particularly on weekends. There aren’t any Michelin starred high-end restaurants – that’s not Morzine style. Instead there’s a mix of good value mid-range to decent restaurants serving all sorts of cuisine, including of course, the classic cheese fondue and raclette dishes. Bar hopping starts right at the base of the lifts with an après disco at the Tremplin hotel – and can keep going until the wee hours of the morning at one of two nightclubs (hopefully not still in ski boots).
Morzine is situated at one end of the giant Portes du Soleil (“doors to the sun”) ski circuit. The Morzine-Les Gets area sits to the eastern side of Morzine village while Avoriaz and the larger Portes Du Soleil area extends from the western side.
With Morzine village at 1000m and the highest slopes of the Morzine-Les Gets area poking just above 2000m, most of the slopes are tree lined which is unusual for a European ski resort. The result is prettier, more defined ski runs where in bad weather the visibility can be significantly better than those above the tree-line. There are some first-timer slopes right in the main village and easy beginner and decent intermediate runs throughout the resort. The Ponte De Nyon area has some challenging advanced runs and a dedicated off-piste free-ride area.
If you are here for more than a day or two you will definitely want to explore the greater Portes du Soleil circuit by heading up the Super Morzine gondola on the other side of the village. A series of lifts takes you to the ski-in ski-out village of Avoriaz whose architecture is either hideously ugly or spectacularly magnificent depending on which way you look at it. As we prefer more charming villages, Morzine is our pick for where to stay even though it’s not as centrally located as Avoriaz whose higher altitude slopes benefit from better snow conditions. From Avoriaz you can ski in all directions and with just one lift you can be skiing in Switzerland. During bad weather the upper slopes are often above the clouds, making them warmer and sunnier and much more pleasant to ski. The views from the top of the lifts are breathtaking and it’s even possible to see Mont Blanc on a sunny day. The Swiss section has a series of villages including Champery and Les Crosets and plenty of great intermediate runs, mostly above the treeline. On the Avoriaz side you constantly switch between Switzerland and France and there is endless exploring to be done. If your day finishes at one end you can always catch a return bus to Morzine. Othwerise you can ski back via Avoriaz, downloading on the Super Morzine gondola (you can’t ski all the way back to the village).
There are some excellent terrain parks in the Avoriaz part of the resort.
It is possible to purchase a ski pass that covers the entire Portes du Soleil ski area, or a cheaper one that just covers Morzine-Les Gets.
Further afield it is always an option to take day trips to explore the nearby ski areas of Flaine, Samoens and Chamonix.
Morzine makes a great choice for families looking for a good value, happening village with extensive skiing for beginners and intermediates, while still having a few challenges for more advanced skiers. The tree-lined slopes are gentle and sheltered from the elements which makes them very appealing. Morzine has several good ski schools and ESF has good facilities right at the main Pleney gondola base. They take children from 3 years old. Morzine village has plenty for kids to do after skiing and lots of family friendly hotels and restaurants.Search Hotels
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Apart from 5-star luxury hotels, there is pretty much every other type of accommodation in Morzine. From 2-4 star hotels, apartments and private chalets ranging from simple to over-the-top there is something for (almost) everyone. We recommend choosing a hotel within easy walking distance of the Pleney gondola base area if you want to avoid having to catch busy shuttles around the village. There is a good selection of hotels within a few blocks of the base, though only a few that are ski-in ski-out.Search Hotels and Deals Get your
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There is plenty to do in Morzine other than skiing. The village has a very good indoor ice-rink which hosts local ice-hockey games, a smaller outdoor rink, two cinemas, a sports center with indoor pool, 70km of Nordic ski trails, walks and of course shopping – there are lots of great shops that aren’t super pricey. The tourist office is worth a visit and the friendly staff can make suggestions for excursions such as a visit to local cheese makers, tobogganing and more. It is possible to do day excursions to nearby towns such as Montreux, Geneva, Annecy or Chamonix, though some would be difficult without your own car.
Morzine is one of the closest of the large ski resorts in France to a major airport. It’s just 75-90 minutes’ drive from Geneva airport. Chambery, Grenoble and Lyon are all around 2 hours. The easiest way to get to Morzine is on a transfer bus – either private or shared – for which several companies run services. If you prefer public transport the closest train stations are at Thonon Les Baines and Cluses – each approximately 40 minutes away by taxi or private transfer, or slower on the scheduled public bus. Scout can help with transfers as part of a Morzine ski package.
Given the lower altitude of the village, it is best to avoid early or very late season visits to Morzine. Christmas and New Year can be busy. January is a great time to visit – the slopes are less crowded and snow falls are common though it can be quite cold. February is very busy during the British and French half-term school holidays. March is excellent – when sunny weather lets you enjoy one of the many on-mountain restaurant sun decks.Search Hotels and Deals
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