About Summer Activities in Alpe d'Huez
With the Ecrins National Park on its doorstep, Alpe d’Huez is a paradise for summer visitors. Activities include hiking, climbing, horse riding & more. Road bikers can test their thighs on the legendary 21 bends, whilst MTB enthusiasts will love the miles of cross country & downhill routes. If this sounds too energetic then exploring the village of Huez & the hamlets of the Oisans will leave you enchanted by summer in the Southern Alps.
Practice your Robin of Sherwood skills in a tranquil Alpine setting. Beginners can learn 'tir l'arc' from scratch and those with more experience can put their skills to the test with a variety of courses; there is a practice range up by the summer luge where you can hire the equipment and take the advice of an instructor. The nearby Vaujany Tennis Club also has archery facilities.
There are a number of badminton courts at the Palais des Sports. The courts are open throughout the summertime. Booking ahead is recommended at any time of year.
You can play basketball indoors in the winter and on two outdoor courts in summer in Alpe d'Huez, at the Palais des Sports. In winter the courts are open every day from early December to the end of April. Booking ahead is recommended at any time of year.
Beach volleyball in the heart of the French Alps may sound strange but in Alpe d'Huez you can hop on the sand and play a game of volleyball with your friends or family. The beach volleyball courts can be used free of charge, and there are even beach volleyball tournaments arranged on a weekly basis.
There are bowling alleys in Alpe d'Huez to keep you entertained on bad weather days, or if you're looking for something to do with a group.
Canoeing / Kayaking
Canoe rafts are an unsinkable, stable type of inflatable canoe that allow you, without too much technique to profit fully from the joys and fun of white water river descent. The descents are taken on by groups of 4 to 5 boats, accompanied by a fully qualified guide. You are equipped with neoprene suits and shoes, a safety jacket and a helmet. The course which you take is chosen according to the water levels and experience of the participants.
Kayaking is a fun watersport that can be enjoyed as a team or on your own. Unlike canoeing, paddlers face forward and have a double bladed paddle. It is a versatile sport that you can enjoy on rivers, lakes and the sea. You can take your inflatable or plastic kayak and make your way down the water. Using the double bladed paddle you can control the speed, direction and enjoy the experience and wonderful views in your own time. There are some watersports centres and adventure companies who can take you out for your kayaking experience
A not-so-gentle but extremely refreshing summer activity is one way to describe canyoning! Plunge yourself into the mountain streams via a series of abseil descents, jumps and natural water slides – just make sure you choose a warm day! You will make your way along rivers and rapids, using the river bed as a natural obstacle course. Not suitable for very young children, but anyone over the age of about 8 can take the (very cold) plunge and try canyoning. With the safety of a guide everyone can abseil down cascades, splash into pools and ride the river rapids. You can choose from short beginners’ routes or longer ones for the more adventurous.
Different companies will have their own policies on age limits but usually, unless they are booked onto a children's activity course, anyone under the age of about 14 years old will have to be accompanied by an adult. A basic level of swimming ability is required for safety reasons. There are a number of adventure companies that offer guided descents down the local waterways.
Catch the latest films and releases in Alpe d'Huez on your winter or summer holiday. Some cinemas open their doors early on a bad weather day, otherwise you'll find most screenings in the evenings. Look out for VOST for English speaking films.
Riding in the Alps is much more demanding than your favourite local route back in the UK. The roads around Alpe d'Huez are the setting for some of the most gruelling sections of the Tour de France, and undoubtedly the most famous with its 21 bends, but they can be tackled by enthusiasts as well as professionals. To gain the most from your riding in the area it goes without saying you need to have a reasonable level of fitness. You do not need to be a super man or woman but the ability to ride comfortably for up to 3-4 hours in the UK should see you enjoy the mountain routes.
There are a number of beautiful mountain lakes, rivers and streams where fishing is permitted in Alpe d'Huez. The lakes are Lac Besson, Lac des Bergers, Lac Blanc, Lac Noir, Lac de la Faucille and Lac de Milieu. You can also fish the waterways of the Sarenne, the Rif Nel and the Rif Brillant. You can expect to find rainbow trout ("truite arc en ciel"), brown trout ("truite fario"), brook trout ("saumon des fontaines") and Arctic char ("omble chevalier"), amongst others.
Lac de Bergers is a designated children's fishing area. Each August a competition is held here for all keen anglers up to the age of 13. Situated in resort, just in front of Les Bergers shopping mall, it is easily accessible and a popular summer relaxation spot.
An Alpe d'Huez 'Société de Pêche' (fishing club) license is required for all sites and can be purchased from the Tourist Office for a day, a week, a month or a season. An AAPPMA fishing licence is also necessary for some sites, enquire locally for details. There are also varying regulations governing the number of fish you can catch, the size of the fish and hours of fishing permitted.
There is a multisports court at the Sports Centre where you can play indoor footbal. Alternatively, you can try "Jorkyball"! Derived from football and inspired by squash, two teams play against each other to score a goal without using the arms... but you can use the court's walls.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Alpe d'Huez!. It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
For a truly unique experience, clamp on your crampons and go hiking on Les Deux Alpes' Glacier 3200 or on one of the many glaciers in the Ecrins National Park. The breathtaking views and spectacular crevasses make this an incredible adventure and if you are quiet you can sometimes even hear the creaking noise of shifting ice! There are a number of glacial hikes, of varying difficulty, in this region of the Alps.
We strongly advise hiring a qualified guide for any activities on a glacier; most mountain guiding companies and some of the adventure companies will run organised excursions to the most accessible.
To read more about glaciers and the environment please go to our Glacier Meltdown article.
The golf course at Alpe d'Huez is open every day from 9:00 to 19:00 throughout the summer. The 9-hole golf course is accompanied by a large driving range, pro-shop and a clubhouse serving snacks and drinks.
Gym / Fitness centres
The Sports Centre has a complete gym as well as a wide range of fitness lessons to try and keep fit while on vacation.
Daily panoramic helicopter flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and Alpine forests of the Alps.
As well as being home to the world renowned Poutran International Equestrian Training Centre, Alpe d'Huez is also a great place to ride just for fun. The scenery is stunning and you can cover much more terrain on horseback than on your own two feet!
The Centre Equestre on Route du Col de Poutran offers a variety of lessons and weekly courses as well as horse and pony rides. Holders of a Visalp Pass can claim 10% off all hacks. There is also the Les Nouvelles Ecuries des Centaure in nearby Reaumont.
Hydro speeding is one of the newer 'extreme' water sports to hit the market, it's a fun and exhilarating way to get yourselves down a river! Using a large float, which bears resemblance to a bodyboard, be ready to cling on for dear life as you send yourself hurtling down the rapids! This activity is a little more demanding physically than rafting or canoe rafting, but allows you to discover the unique sensation of surfing down white water rivers. It is also accessible to all, no need to be a professional diver or swimmer, you just have to be smart at using the water movements, obstacles and waves.
There's plenty of protection from the icy water elements as you'll be given a wetsuit, safety helmet and flippers. You will need to bring a towel, swim wear and if you wear glasses, a cord to keep them on. Guides will brief you with a safety demonstration at the beginning and there’s a vehicle to meet you at the end of the rapids that will shuttle you back to your starting destination. There are a number of adventure companies who will take you out for your hydro speeding experience.
Ice-skating / Hockey
Get your skates on and enjoy the ice skating rinks in Alpe d'Huez. The perfect activitiy for families and groups you can enjoy an afternoon of ice skating. There are a few ice skating rinks in Alpe d'Huez and one of them is even open year round so you can enjoy this, normally winter activity, in the summer time too.
If you don't fancy climbing outdoors, or you're new to climbing and want to give it a go in an indoor centre, then Alpe d'Huez has somewhere for you to go. Climbing equipment is normally provided, or you can bring your own and insurance is normally needed before you hit the climbing wall.
Light Aircraft / Microlight Flights
Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Alps from a light aircraft. If you've ever wondered what it's like to fly a plane, then this could be your chance to try. Alpe d'Huez has its own small airport where you can partake in a number of flying activities including offers flying courses, initiation (first flight) sessions and air excursions. Open all day, every day according to the weather – reservation necessary.
There is also an array of airborne activities for the more adventurous including microlight, hang gliding and parapenting. Book in for an experience you'll never forget, and see the mountains from a totally different perspective.
Enjoy a few hours of fun in the summer months on the miniature golf course in Alpe d'Huez. Great for some gentle exercise on a sunny day, Alpe d'Huez has a mini-golf course open every day from 9:00 on Chemin de Brandes.
Alpe d’Huez and the Grandes Rousses are renowned for being an exceptional mountain biking area. Stunning scenery, miles and miles of dedicated MTB routes and summer access to the cable cars make this a fantastic place to put your bike (and you!) through its paces.
The home of the Megavalanche MTB race, Alpe d’Huez hosts a number of smaller events and competitions throughout the summer season. Have a look at our What’s On Calendar to find out what’s happening when. (NB: In French, mountain biking is called VTT (Vélo Tout-Terrain!).
There are a number of companies who can take you mountaineering in both summer and winter, from local guides to ski schools, private instructors and activity companies.
Museums & Galleries
Alpe d'Huez and its surrounding area have a range of museums and galleries to visit and learn more about this fascinating region. If you want to know more about Alpine flora, fauna and minerals, you can head to the Fauna Museum in Vaujany, the Bourg d'Oisans Museum, or the Maison du Bouquetin in Allemont.If it's heritage and customs you're after, visit the Notre Dame des Neiges Church, the Grotte de Glace, the Espace Patrimoine or the Brandes Archaeological site, all in Alpe d'Huez.
Nature Reserves & Parks
The Ecrins National Park is one of the highlights of the Southern Alps region; a haven for all sorts of wildlife as well as a magnet for outdoor sports enthusiasts, it is well worth a visit at any time of year. The 750 000 people who visit the Ecrins National Park each year are a diverse bunch ranging from serious alpinists, ramblers, hardcore rock climbers, families with children, adrenaline junkies and day trippers hoping to spot a marmot or two!
Paragliding / Parapenting
If you’ve never tried paragliding before then Alpe d'Huez is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France & Switzerland, there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is give you the experience of flying. From the heights of the mountain tops you can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.
Petanque / Boules
There is a petanque court at the Sports Centre, open all year.
Alpe d'Huez is a great place to go rock climbing for beginners and experience climbers. You will find a multitude of climbing routes in and around Alpe d'Huez, to be tackled under your own steam or under the watchful eye of a guide.
The west facing cliffs of Lac Besson (2200m) boast 150 climbing routes of level 5-6, split into 7 sectors. The rock faces are mainly fairly steep slabs and walls, ranging from 30 to 120m high. Not for the complete novice, but climbers with some experience will find this area to be a great playground. The routes are all bolted with inox anchor points for optimal safety.
The Oisans region boasts great climbing for those who wish to see more of the area. Le Vernis (750m) has 30 routes that are accessible all year round; Venosc (950m) has 51 routes and the climbing season runs from May to October; La Bérarde (1500-2000m) has a whopping 100 routes and is open throughout spring, summer and autumn; La Chalp (1000 m) has 37 routes and is also open throughout spring, summer and autumn.
The Ecrins National Park offers a range of climbing routes amongst them; the south face of La Barre des Ecrins, a massive 2000m wall with moderate 5c climbing; La Meije, a huge south face with more than 20 pitches of bolted 6b routes; the granite slabs at Ailefroide. Maps and guides for the various routes can be bought from one of the park information centres.
Climbing is a great activitiy for all the family, just check with the guide beforehand what their minimum age is.
Many people would not automatically think of Alpe d'Huez as a place to shop. However the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports mecca, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountin goods.
Spas & massages
If it is calm and relaxation you are after then head to a luxury day spa or book in for massage therapies and beauty treatments. A day spa is also the perfect activity when the weather turns. You can keep warm and revive aching muscles in saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzis or take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool.
There are a number of places where you can play squash whilst you're in Alpe d'Huez either during winter or summer.
There are so many things for kids to do in Alpe d'Huez throughout the summer that sometimes the only way to make the most of it is to enrol them in a summer club! For younger children there is the Mini Cats activity club for 3-6 year olds. Here your children can try their hands at mini-golf, trampoline, rock climbing, hiking, ice skating, circus skills and pony trekking amongst other things. There are also themed workshop weeks on a range of diverse subjects such as the circus, pottery, meteorology, animals, orientation, history and more.
Whether you like to take a dip indoors or outdoors, you'll be able to find somewhere to go for a swim in Alpe d'Huez. Most hotels, lots of chalets and apartments have their own swimming facilities, however there are also municipal swimming baths that you can visit, which often come free with your lift pass purchase. In summer and winter you should be able to find somewhere to take a dip, so don't forget your towel and your swimming costume or shorts.
Play a game of tennis with friends and family in Alpe d'Huez, a great all year round activity to enjoy in the Alps. For those of you who like to build up a sweat you will find a number of indoor and outdoor tennis courts in Alpe d'Huez. In winter the tennis courts are open every day from early December to the end of April. They are also open throughout the summer months. Booking ahead is recommended at any time of year, especially if you require lessons.
Tree-top / Forest adventures
Head to the adventure park for a day, and everyone is guaranteed to leave with a big smile on their face. Adventure parks are designed for children and adults to play, explore, exercise and have fun in the natural mountain surroundings. Enjoy the thrills of adventure courses created in the forest in the mountains. The ropes, swings, tunnels, trees and activities will be a great day for children and adults alike. With all the protective gear provided and safety information given you can head out and enjoy the trees and wilderness. Qualified guides will be around the course throughout to make sure you are safe and having as much fun as possible. Different courses and tracks can be tried and tested, each one with a varying level of difficulty. There are courses designed for children only and tracks for juniors and adults to enjoy.
If climbing up sheer rock on the end of a piece of rope sounds a bit scary then Via Ferrata climbing offers an element of security that still allows beginners to enjoy the achievement of having scaled a mountain! This form of climbing was invented by Italian soldiers in the Dolomites who used it to enable them to scale vertiginous faces easily and quickly. These days it is a popular sport that makes the thrill of mountain climbing more accessible to children, beginners and those who want a bit more security when they climb.
There are two Via Ferrata routes on the Grandes Rousses Massif, both south facing; an elementary route that can be completed in around 2 hours and a more challenging route that takes about 2 ½ hours. The routes can be accessed from Pierre Rond (via the Col de Sarenne) or Huez Village.
Following marked routes through the mountains you are helped along by steps, bridges and ladders whilst being roped up for extra safety. Suitable for adults and children over the age of 8, you need to have a harness, helmet, carabiners and ropes/tethers in order to do the activity. The kit can be rented from most sports shops in town or you can also arrange a Via Ferrata guide, who of course, will provide all the necessary equipment for you.
Walking & Hiking
In the summer months Alpe d'Huez is a mecca for walking and hiking in the beautiful Alpine mountains. As the snow melts and the sun begins to shine the mountains make an excellent place to head out on a hike or walk. Walking is the perfect activity for groups, families and friends. Pick from a number of routes ranging in difficulty, from easy child friendly walks to challenging day long hikes. Along the way enjoy the fantastic mountain views, beautiful scenery and wildlife that is normally hidden in the winter months. Check out our walking and hiking guide for more details on hiking in Alpe d'Huez.
If you haven't experienced white water rafting before then this is a definite 'must try' on your list of activities to do! There are a number of trained guides in resort who will let you experience some of the best white water rafting available in the Alps. From the middle of May until September, the mountain rivers flow furiously as they are fed from the melt waters running off the glaciers high above the town. There are various options available from a three hour adrenaline rush to a full days excursion - this activity is guaranteed not to disappoint.
If you want to stretch your muscles, there are a few yoga centres in Alpe d'Huez where you can find a whole range of classes.