The picturesque French Alpine town of Morzine might be best known as a ski destination but it’s just as much fun to visit Morzine in summer.
The 600km of ski slopes become marked trails for hiking and mountain biking. There are golf courses and zip wires; white water rafting and lake swimming; horseback riding and lots of good food. There’s always a packed summer calendar of events and the scenery is simply stunning.
As a family holiday destination, Morzine and the neighbouring town of Les Gets are hard to beat!
Post and photos by Philippa Langrish. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and commercial links. For more information see our disclosure policy.
Morzine forms part of the Les Portes du Soleil ski area. The ski area covers 12 resorts located between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It’s hugely popular during the winter months for family ski holidays but it’s becoming increasingly well-known as a summer destination too. If you’re visiting Morzine during the summer months, then here are some of the best activities to do.
For more information, do visit the Tourist Office in the centre of town (next to winter ice rink). They’ll be able to advise on lift passes for the duration of your holiday; multi passes can often be the best deal.
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Summer Activities in Morzine
1. Go walking in the mountains
Morzine offers miles of brilliant hiking trails. Whether it’s a short stroll along the Dérêches river or a gentle hike from Lindarets goat village to visit the magnificent Brochaux waterfall, there are walks to suit all abilities. Cable cars still run during the summer months giving you even more walking options.
The following are some of my favourites to do as a young family. The walk from Lindarets and Dérêches can both be done with a pushchair – you can hire one from Intersport, in the centre of town, if you don’t have one.
The village of Lindarets is a short 20-minute drive from the centre of Morzine. Head to Lac de Montriond and keep going past the lake following the windy road up to Lindarets.
The hike from Lindarets to Brochaux takes you along a wide path bordered by banks of wild flowers and cow pastures. The waterfall is hidden behind the mountain just past the refuge d’Abricotine. It’s best to go on a sunny day just after a big rainfall when the waterfall is at its most spectacular. Take water shoes for the kids so they can play in the little pools and streams at the bottom of the falls.
The hike takes us about an hour and a half return since we stop a lot to look at the flowers, butterflies and cows. We also like to take a little picnic to have at the falls.
Start at the tennis courts at the bottom of town for a leisurely meander along the Dérêches. There is plenty to do along the river including various parkour courses, the Indiana adventure park, the horse riding stables and a play park. Kids of all ages love throwing stones into the river, trundling across the little bridges and climbing over fallen logs and up leafy slopes.
From the bibliothèque opposite the church, Le Renard, is another peaceful amble along the river to the Nyon falls. It is a gentle incline and pushchair friendly. It is also really shady so good to do on a drizzly or sunny day as it is not exposed. From the top of the falls you can either retrace your steps or double back across the Pleney plateaux which has nice views over the town.
Chardonnière – La Golèse – La Bostan
If you are looking for more of a challenge, then there are some great hikes from Lac des Mines D’or and the Chardonnière. These will be steep in parts so they are well suited for older children or young tots in a hiking baby backpack.
We embarked on the three-hour hike to La Bostan this year with our two little ones (one in a back pack the other fuelled by chocolate). This was very steep in parts and challenging for my five year old. However, we were rewarded at the end by an overnight stay in an Auberge and marshmallows by the fire.
2. Swim in Lac de Montriond
The small village of Montriond is just outside of Morzine located near the Ardent bubble lift. It’s home to the Lac de Montriond, the Montriond Lake, a beautiful freshwater lake. During the winter months it’s a popular spot for ice diving but during the summer months it’s a playground for swimmers, kayakers and canoeists. It’s also a great place to launch your stand up paddle board.
There’s a little lake for kids, complete with sand pit and a miniature waterfall. The lake is usually home to hundreds of tadpoles too, which provide endless hours of entertainment for young kids.
There are plenty of activities around the lake as well, including a mini 4×4 course, a playground with a little zip line and pony rides. You can also walk a loop of the lake.
There are three restaurants on the lake all serving delicious Savoyard delicacies. I love the filets de perche (locally caught fish), or a steak with local mushroom (cepes) sauce. If you have access to a parasol bring it along as there is limited shade next to the lake and it gets quite hot in the summer months.
3. Ride the summer luge
The slopes of Pleney are situated just a short walk from the centre of Morzine. There are a handful of lovely places to eat on the slopes that have activities for the kids including trampolines, mini golf, and playhouses. This is my favourite place to come for an aperitif so the children can let off steam in the late afternoon while parents watch on from the comfort of a sun lounger.
The other reason that we love coming here is the Luge. Located next to Le Tremplin restaurant, this large summer sledge winds its way down the left hand side of the Pleney slope. Younger kids can ride with an adult and older ones can go solo.
We love whizzing down the slope, drinking in the spectacular views of Morzine below. The luge is accessed by La Crusaz chairlift.
4. Go to the pool
Be prepared to spend a whole day at the pool with the kids. The swimming pool in Morzine has everything. There’s a twisty slide, a bouncy castle, a baby pool with slides and fountains, a play park, a 50m outdoor lap pool, an indoor heated pool, a medium kids pool and diving boards. There’s also a sandy volleyball area and picnic lawn.
You are not allowed to eat poolside, but we love to take a picnic along with us and retreat to the grassy picnic area to refuel after hours of splashing around.
Be warned, speedos are obligatory in French swimming pools! The slide and bouncy castle close for lunch so best to go in the morning or afternoon. It’s worth investing in the Multi Pass if you plan on swimming regularly, it offers great discounts for the pool as well as lots of other activities and attractions.
5. Faire le Fête!
There are plenty of local festivals throughout summer in Morzine and the neighbouring villages of Les Gets, St Jean D’Aulps and Montriond.
The children love nothing more than a spectacle, and parents can benefit from a dose of local culture and often free entertainment. Whenever we are in Morzine we try to catch as many celebrations as possible both local and national. Some of the most popular summer festivals include:
- La Fête Nationale
- La Fête de Char (biannual floatilla fête)
- La Kermesse (school fair)
- La Fête de la Musique Mécanique (Les Gets)
- La Fête de Lindart
- Morzine Aime Les Enfants
- Feux du lac (Montriond)
During these fêtes the villages come alive with colour, music, custom and tradition. Although Morzine has become increasingly popular as a summer holiday destination it has also steadfastly preserved its tradition and culture. These events are where you can really witness local French culture.
6. Visit Les Gets
Morzine’s neighbour, Les Gets, punches above its weight during the summer months. We regularly spend a couple of days a week here enjoying a change of scenery and making the most of the artistic focus.
My new favourite place in the world is now Poterie Artisanale des Gets where I learned how to use the wheel to make simple bowls. While I was spinning the wheel, my daughter was in a class with lots of other children crafting objects by hand and learning the basics in moulding and design. Anouk and Nathalie who own the farm are brilliant and patient teachers who are lucky enough to own a little piece of paradise that they want to share with the world.
7. Chill Out at Lac de Mines d’Or
This is the little pocket of rural France where I always take my Mum for lunch with the grandchildren. Here, we sit back with a glass of wine and relish the marvellous view of the little lake as it mirrors the soaring grey mountains in the distance. The children are able to dart from the small play park to the donkey field, down to the lake and back again in time for dessert.
Once we have finished a delicious lunch I usually take the kids for a little tour of the lake to spot dragonflies, tadpoles and butterflies. The lake is popular with local fishermen who while away hours in this peaceful haven.
Lac des Min d’Or has been designated an area of special ecological interest There are various boards positioned around the lake detailing the ecology and geology of the area.
8. Go mountain biking
Along with hiking, mountain biking is the most popular of Alpine summer activity. Morzine and Les Gets have definitely captured the market for adrenaline junkies. VTT, or Downhill Mountain Biking, gives a similar rush as skiing does in winter. Maybe it is the contrast of zooming down the mountain teamed with long lazy rides on the chairlift and hearty lunches in mountain cafes which appeals so widely.
Over the years I have seen more and more families going out mountain biking together, usually on the more forgiving blue and green runs. This is a sport for older kids since the terrain can be steep, rocky and slippery.
Study your piste map carefully before heading up the mountain so that you can choose easy tracks for the whole family to enjoy. It is expensive to hire all the kit but well worth it. A day up the mountain will easily cost 100 Euros per person. Hiring good bikes is a must (I prefer the lighter frame hybrid types) and maximum body armour to avoid injury.
Road cycling is also a popular sport in Morzine and Les Portes du Soleil – the area often forms part of the Tour de France. I wouldn’t recommend cycling along the mountain roads with kids, however. The winding roads are narrow and cars like to zip along at speed!
9. Try the zipline in Avoriaz
High above Morzine is the uniquely designed town of Avoriaz. For the most part Avoriaz is a pedestrian only zone, which makes it a great day trip for families. My children love Aquariaz, the indoor water park complete with a lazy river, outdoor Jacuzzi, rope swing, rubber ring flume and toddler’s slide and fountain area. I save Aquariaz for a rainy day since it is a great indoor activity.
If the sun comes out while the family are splashing around inside, then there is a great play park opposite that boasts a climbing wall and mini bike park. There is also Le Petit Train, which is always a bit hit with younger kids.
Next time we visit Avoriaz we are keen to try out the Fantasticable, a zip line across the mountains that you ride completely horizontally with an epic view of the valley below.
10. Visit the Goats at Lindarets village
A trip to the little village of Lindarets is well worth the effort. I love to go to Lindarets on a sunny day with the aim of spending the whole day here with the family. This year we spent several days picnicking by the river, hiking to the Brochaux waterfall, and of course feeding the goats.
There are a couple of eateries perched next to the river in the “Lindarets Bowl” (past the actual village) which have invested in playhouses and kiddy slides. We had a sumptuous picnic here with cheeses, baguettes, cured meats, fruit, olives and wine while the children paddled in the ankle deep river, collecting stones and sailing toy boats.
In Lindarets village, the goats roam freely through the lower part of town, munching on the goat food pellets (available to buy) and idly standing in the way of oncoming traffic. My daughter loves to pet the goats (especially the kid goats) who look so cheeky standing on picnic benches and water fountains.
Happily, there is plenty of ice cream available in the village, but be careful as Maya was chased by a naughty goat who wanted a lick of her vanilla cone!
11. Enjoy a morning yoga session by Montriond Lake
Not one for the kids but if you enjoy yoga then make sure to book in for a lesson with Ursula, on a terrace overlooking beautiful Montriond Lake. Held on Sunday mornings during summer months, this is the perfect way to start the day. Ursula also runs yoga classed in Morzine. Take a look at her website for more details.
12. Go to the adventure park
Located near the swimming pool complex in Morzine is the Tree Top Adventure Park. There are three circuits: the P’tit Kid circuit for children aged from 2-years and up to 105cm in height; the Kid circuit for children who are between 105-135cm tall and the Junior/Adult circuit. Each one offers platforms, suspension bridges, ladders, tunnels and more.
Things to do in Morzine when it’s raining
Despite forming part of Les Portes du Soleil, which translates as “Gates of the Sun”, the sun doesn’t always shine in Morzine. Indeed, when it does rain it pours! So make sure you bring a set of wellies and a raincoat.
Our family have to get creative when it decides to rain since most of the activities on offer are outdoors. My “To Do” list of rainy day activities in Morzine includes:
- A visit to the indoor water park Aquariaz in Avoriaz
- Taking a class at La Poterie in Les Gets
- Go to the indoor ice rink (located next to the swimming complex)
- Hiding out in the library for a story time session
- Taking a dip in the indoor pool in Morzine
- Visit the Museum of Mechanical Instruments in Les Gets
- Braving the drizzle and taking a walk in the rain along the shady park of the Dérêches
- Take a ride on the bubble to the top of Super Morzine and hide away in the cosy restaurant La Grenouille with a warm cup of hot chocolate.
Where to stay in Morzine
There are a multitude of places for families to stay in Morzine from catered chalets and self-service apartments to AirBnB’s and hotels. You are totally spoilt for choice with a place for every budget and family dynamic.
However, if you want a little piece of luxury and oodles of warm hospitality then here are my top picks.
La Bergerie Chalet Hotel is a little gem of a boutique hotel. Located right in the centre of town it boasts a swimming pool, a garden with children’s play area, areas to relax, a bar, a games room, a spa with a hamman and a selection of gorgeous rooms complete with kitchenette and balconies.
My favourite room is the family room which not only has a roll top bath and sumptuous bed, but also hides away a secret door to an interconnecting kids’ bedroom. It’s so Narnia! The hotel provides children’s meals and snacks but has no restaurant. However, each room has a kitchenette and there are dozens of superb eateries within walking distance.
For catered chalets I would recommend Chill Out Mountain (that offer both catered and self-serviced chalets) and Reach 4 the Alps. As well as AirBnB, there are plenty of places to choose from on Mountain Extra and Independent Mountain.
We also love AliKats, luxury catered and self-catered apartments that have an incredibly impressive attitude towards sustainability; the company will be carbon neutral by mid-2020.
Morzine has plenty of restaurants but if you’re new to town it’s not always easy to know where to go. Here are my favourite places that not only offer good food but that also have child-friendly staff, a great atmosphere and are located in wonderful settings.
One of our all-time favourite places to eat simply for the atmosphere, view, warm welcome and local dishes is the Télébenne at the top of the Zore chairlift.
Access to the restaurant is an adventure in itself! First, take the Super Morzine bubble lift (which can hold a push chair). Once at the top descend on foot for two minutes to the Zore chair lift (if you have a pushchair leave it by the ski racks before descending to the Zore chair lift). Then, take the chair lift over the VVT tracks. After descending the chair lift, take a right and the restaurant is just there.
You can access Le Télébenne by car and foot but its nowhere near as fun. Make sure you pick a sunny day so you don’t get rained on. Children of all ages are permitted on the chair lift – I take my two and five year old up no problem.
Hervé and Christophe welcome you with open arms to their little paradise. The garden has a playhouse, climbing frame, table-tennis table and tepee – perfect for the children to amuse themselves for hours. Be careful not to miss the last lift down!.
Back in Morzine itself, La Grange is tucked away in the centre of the old town. Owners Fred and Alex are a Franglais couple who put their heart and soul into making La Grange one of the cosiest, friendliest and yummiest places to eat in Morzine.
Alex manages the front of house while Fred works wonders in the kitchen. As parents themselves they are very accommodating with families and have a good selection of ice cream on offer. The restaurant is traditional both in décor and cuisine. When my fondue craving comes a calling this is the only place I want to be!
Lac de Mines d’Or
Chalet Les Mines d’Or promises seriously delicious food, an amazing location, friendly staff, a play park, donkeys, and a little lake. I go here every year with my family. It’s the most relaxing place to eat with children and makes a really special day out. Once you have eaten there is a charming lake to stroll around, a couple of donkeys to visit and a slide and merry-go-round for the children to play on.
Situated on the slopes of Pleney, l’Aubergade is a real hit with families. Run by a lovely English couple the restaurant serves tasty wraps, burgers, salads and quick fix tapas (such as calamari, garlic prawns, humous and pita). We are true regulars here in the summer since the children are big fans of the mini golf course in the garden.
Inside the restaurant is spacious with big leather sofas and rustic wooden furniture. The annual cider and sausage festival at the l’Aubergade is not to be missed.
Located in the heart of Morzine this cheery cafe serves excellent crepes as well as wraps, sandwiches and burgers. The staff are very friendly and the home-cooked food is delicious. We like to come here after skiing during the winter months for hot chocolates on their heated outdoor terrace.
The best time to visit Morzine
For a summer vacation choose the months of July and August when everything is open (June is the quiet time when most of the activities are closed).
The beginning of July is the best time as it is quieter. Avoid the busy weekends when the Tour de France and Harley Days are hosted in the town.
The winter ski season usually runs from mid-December to mid-April.
How to Get to Morzine
By Air: Fly to Geneva International Airport with any major airline. If you are travelling from Europe then EasyJet, British Airways and Swiss Air all fly into Geneva.
From Geneva Airport book a transfer or hire a car for the short journey to Morzine. You can book airport transfers with many different operators. The journey usually takes around 1.5-2hours.
Here are a few operators: