Top 10 things to do for non-skiers in Avoriaz
Our pick of the best non-skiing activities to try in resort
When you think of ‘Paradise’, do you think of a white sand beach, tropical rainforest, or windswept countryside? For skiers, paradise would be a winter wonderland. Snow covered pine trees, mountain views and log fires.
However, if skiing and snowboarding has never appealed to you, you may not have considered a trip to the French Alps. But let me tell you, you don’t have to be into your snow sports to enjoy this kind of haven.
1. Take a trip by horse & cart
Avoriaz is a beautiful town nestled under snow, on the French-Swiss border. It is a pedestrianised resort, where the quickest way to get around is still by horse and cart. Taking one of these trips really gives you an alpine experience like no other. When you arrive with your luggage, you can arrange for the horse to pick you up from the top of the Prodains bubble lift and take you to your hotel.
This is a great way to see the town for the first time and no doubt you will immediately fall in love with the scenery. A trip like this will cost between €7 and €15, and an extra €3 per suitcase. However if you’d prefer to do a more scenic tour after you’ve ditched your luggage, it will cost between €20 and €50, depending on how far you want to go.
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2. Eat out
Avoriaz is home to many great eating spots. Seeing as a lot of people visiting will be on the pistes during the day, you should make the most of the quieter times in town. You’ll find traditional Savoyard dishes on the menus, along with more popular dishes like pizza and pasta. There is a competitive burger scene here, with Changabang, the Cookie Café, and Piz’Burg all fighting for the top spot. Who takes it? You decide. The Boulangerie in the centre of town is a must-see. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave of sweet and savoury treats, with plenty of seating outside and upstairs. My tip would be to avoid the obvious lunchtime, between 12:00 and 14:00, and instead enjoy late lunches and get the best seats in the house.
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3. Go ice skating
You may fancy some exercise after lunch, in which case you should head down to the ice skating rink located opposite the Carrefour supermarket. This is the perfect late afternoon activity, and also a cheap way to spend an hour or two. Adult entry is €4, and you can rent ice skates for €3.70. If you’re travelling with your family, kids under the age of five years go for free, and admission is €2.30 for children up to the age of 16.
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5. Take the plunge in Aquariaz
This I cannot recommend enough for both adults and children. Aquariaz is a tropical paradise in a winter wonderland, featuring climbing walls, massage benches and an open-air spa. You can go there either to exhaust yourself or to relax. The luscious green vegetation inside the building and the snow-covered mountains outside are the perfect contrast, seen nowhere else in the Alps. There are individual entry tickets but Aquariaz is open Sunday to Friday from 14:00 to 20:00, so if you’re staying for a week and want unlimited access to paradise, consider buying a one-week pass.
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4. Relax at the spa
You’re on holiday, therefore you may want some time to clear your activity schedule, and just put your feet up. The Deep Nature Wellness Spa, situated in the Amara Hotel is the place to do this. Here, you’ll find a treatment to suit every need and budget. Access to the spa facilities in the morning will set you back a mere €23, and for this you get to enjoy the breathtaking views across the mountains, whilst sinking into a heated outdoor Jacuzzi. Other treatments include massages, facials, manicures and pedicures with options for men, women and children.
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7. Go shopping
If physical therapy isn’t quite enough to ensure your relaxation, perhaps you could spend an afternoon indulging in some retail therapy. In resort you’ll find a multitude of well-stocked ski shops, featuring brands such as Burton, Oakley, Spyder, Bolle, Quicksilver and Roxy.
8. Visit the Ferme de Seraussaix
There is a lot of culture in this area and the French are proud to show this off to the increasing number of tourists visiting every year. The Ferme de Seraussaix is a working cattle farm located on the Route d’Avoriaz. The stables here are open daily for you to visit. Here you can see the cows and calves, free of charge, and look around the shop in which they sell local produce. On sale, you will find cheeses and meats amongst other farm produce. Guided tours of the farm can be arranged, and you can even visit for a four-person lunchtime fondue tasting.
9. Stroll around the Goat Village
The Goat Village, located below the Ardent bubble lift, gets its name from the crowds of goats that reside in this particular part of the resort every summer. During the winter, they are nowhere to be seen, however, the village still attracts groups of people looking for good food or a cosy corner to sip on a mulled wine. The Terrace is a bar and restaurant that often has a lively atmosphere for après ski, they also do one of the best cheese fondues in town.
10. Unwind at the Igloo Village
A great entry on the list of places to get a cheese fondue this year is the Igloo Village. This unique area, located on a small plateau above the Prodains bubble, has become easier to access by foot this winter due to its growing popularity amongst visitors. The village features intricately designed igloos that you can walk around and an ice bar that now serves an assortment of cheese and charcuterie as well as drinks. Reservations for the meal can be made in advance.