What can you do in Tignes in the summer?
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
We are often asked what activities there are to do in Tignes during the summer months, whether it's busy and what kind of weather to expect. Before embarking on our first summer trip to Tignes we wondered the same things: would there be enough to occupy 2 small children, would it be warm and sunny, would it be busy and how would we occupy the children if the weather didn't play ball? Hopefully this blog will answer all these questions and inspire you to book an amazing summer trip to Tignes!
We would definitely recommend driving to Tignes in the summer. You can pack as much or as little as you like without worrying about paying for extra luggage, and you can avoid those airport check in queues! Also we found that whereas in the winter people often want to get to resort as quickly as possible to maximise their time on the slopes, you can take a little more time in the summer and perhaps break up the journey with an overnight stop or two. In the past we have stopped on the way to Tignes near Reims with an overnight stay in a vineyard, and on the way back we have stopped at Lake Annecy for a swim and a couple of nights in a village near Beaune. Our friends have also recommended the medieval town of Troyes, so that's on our list for next time!
Although the weather in the mountains can be changeable, we have experienced many blue sky sunny days during the summer months in Tignes. The days tend to start cloudless and calm, with more of a breeze and some cloud developing as the day goes on. If it does rain, it is more likely to arrive in the late afternoon or early evening with the occasional storm. While the air temperature in Tignes is quite cool, the sun is very strong, so if the thermometer says 15 degrees, it will feel more like 20. Temperatures are generally in the high teens to low twenties although we have experienced high twenties and even low thirties in the past! It's warm enough to sunbathe on your balcony and to wear shorts during the day. The temperatures don't usually reach the searing heat of the valleys, but they are definitely advantageous for the numerous sports and hiking that Tignes has to offer. The temperature drops markedly in the evenings so it's definitely worth packing some warm layers. It's a good idea to take some waterproofs too for the occasional rainy day or showery afternoon.
Activities - General
Since we first started visiting in the summer, Tignes has invested heavily in it's summer activity programme. There's now a whole range of sports to choose from as well as daily organised events such as beach volleyball or football matches, a wine festival, an E-bike festival and an annual summer fireworks display. A sports pass is 21 euro for 7 days per adult and it's a good idea to book your activities in advance. There's a twice weekly farmers market in Tignes Le Lac on Sunday and Thursday and live music on Mondays and Thursdays from a barge on the lake.
Activities on and around the lake
The lake in Le Lac tends to be the focus of many of the summer activities in Tignes. There is a water sports centre called the base nautique which offers pedalos, canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Life jackets and short wetsuits are provided and there are lockers, showers, toilets, changing rooms and a panoramic terrace. Next to the terrace is Acroland which consists of a series of giant slides leading straight into the lake. If you're not brave enough to partake, it's a great spectator sport on a sunny afternoon!
Just behind the nautical base there are tennis courts, beach volleyball and football, a skate park and a trampoline park. In addition there is a large pop-up soft play area, including a giant panda bouncy castle which is great for younger children. Our children loved spending time there when they were younger and there are deck chairs for the adults to take some time out in the sun! Both this area and the trampoline park close for lunch. At the other end of the lake towards Val Claret is Europe's highest golf course. At 2100m it has 18 holes and offers panoramic views of the lake. If mini golf is more your thing, there is a winter sports themed mini golf course located on the roof of the car park in Val Claret. It's a great place to spend a couple of hours in a very unique location!
One of our favourite summer activities in Tignes is enjoying the many mountain walks that are on offer. An easy one to start with is the walk down from the Palafour chair lift in Le Lac which offers great views over the lake and gets your legs accustomed to the terrain. Hiking boots are recommended as opposed to trainers as the ground can get quite slippery when it's dry. From Palafour you can also take the steep trail up to the Aiguille Percee and climb through the needle, or head right for amazing views of the dam. The Col de Fresse walk starts from the top of the Toviere gondola and follows the ridge with panoramic views of the surrounding area before leading down into Val Claret. Our favourite walk which doesn't require use of any ski lifts is the Bois de la Laye which takes in a lovely waterfall and leads through woodland down to the Chevril dam.
Aside from hiking, one of the most popular summer activities in Tignes is mountain biking. Mountain bike lifts include the Palafour chairlift, Toviere gondola and Tufs chairlift. There are green, red, blue and black trails, and experienced riders can cycle over to Val d'Isere. For unexperienced riders, lessons can be booked in 3 hour slots starting in the skate park and progressing up to green and blue trails for beginners. For something more sedate, horse riding is another activity on offer.
If you are missing the snow, the Grand Motte glacier is accessible for summer skiing from around mid June to the end of July. This season it will be open from 18/06/22 to 31/07/22 and the slopes are open from 06:45 until 12:30. In the summer it is also possible to ride on the roof of the Grande Motte cable car and enjoy 360 degree views of the glacier and the whole of Tignes.
The Lagon pictured below houses a swimming pool complex, gym and wellness centre complete with jacuzzis, saunas and a steam room. It's a great place to spend the afternoon if the weather isn't so good and there are lovely views across the lake towards Val Claret. For younger families, the swimming pool has a baby pool with a mini slide, there's a main pool with three large slides, a lazy river and a waterfall, and a third pool with swimming lanes if you fancy some exercise. In addition to the Lagon, there is a sports centre in Le Lac called Tignes Space, complete with badminton and squash courts, a climbing wall (bring your own shoes and harnesses) and indoor table tennis. There's even a 100m running track! Also in Le Lac if for something different, you can try out the laser game which takes place in an inflatable structure near the lake.
Away from Le Lac, there is a cinema in Val Claret with English subtitles and some screenings in English, and an Escape Room in Lavachet. Throughout Tignes there is a range of shops, delis, restaurants and cafes which can be explored on a wet day. We especially like the large Intersport for clothes shopping in Val Claret and the Fromagerie du Lac in Le Lac which sells a large range of local wines, cheeses and salamis.
Day Trips from Tignes
If time permits, there are a number of day trips worth exploring from Tignes. Firstly, on the way into Tignes you cross the famous Chevril dam. Tours of the dam run daily during the summer and can be booked in resort (note that the tours are given in French). Further down the valley, the village of Sainte Foy is small but very picturesque and is around 15 minutes' drive from Tignes. There are lovely walks in the area including one which takes in the village of Le Monal where you can buy the famous persillé cheese, made from raw goat’s milk. First produced in the mid-eighteenth century, it is still made today using the ancestral methods. Bourg St Maurice is around 40 minutes' drive from Tignes and home to many cafes, shops and restaurants. It has a pretty town square where a weekly market is held on a Saturday, and a large Fromagerie which specialises in the famous Beaufort cheese. Bourg is also the place to come to for white water rafting or river tubing. Further afield Annecy with its famous lake and pretty old town is a great place to spend the day. It takes around two hours to drive to Annecy from Tignes so we would recommend it as an overnight stop rather than a day trip from Tignes.
Over the past few years Tignes has become more popular with summer visitors but it is still relatively quiet in the summer compared to resorts such as Chamonix and Morzine. With its amazing lake and beautiful hiking trails, we think its a great place to visit with something to satisfy everyone. There is more than enough to keep the most active family occupied for a week, if not two, with a great choice of both outdoor and indoor activities. What's more, when you arrive in Tignes you are encouraged to leave your car in the carpark during your stay and use the free resort shuttle buses to get around. There are also e-scooters and charging points throughout the resort meaning that you can do your bit for the environment while enjoying your holiday. We hope that you have found this blog useful but if we have missed something or you have any questions please do contact us! Thanks for reading.