5-day Morzine itinerary: Adventure in the mountains
Break out of your comfort zone over five adventure-fuelled days in Morzine
Gushing rivers to raft, huge lakes to swim, rock faces to climb and high peaks to ride: in summer the mountains are a huge adventure playground with endless opportunities for fun and adrenaline.
The question is, with so much on offer, how do you fit it all into your holiday? In this 5-day itinerary we have combined the best tried and tested adventure activities (yes we have tried then all!) with our knowledge of the local area to create an action-packed plan that will leave even the biggest adventure seekers feeling fulfilled.
A thrilling way to get your bearings and see the Portes du Soleil mountain range in all its glory, is to experience it from the air. The excellent thermals and gliding conditions, coupled with the stunning scenery, have made the Avoriaz mountain tops a popular spot with European paragliders for decades.
However, you don’t need to have any prior experience to give this activity a whirl, in a tandem flight a certified instructor will show you the ropes – and quite literally, as you will have chance to pull the strings that direct the parachute yourself!
After strapping into the harness, it’s a few steps towards the cliff edge, before you and your instructor are launched into the air. You will usually have around 25 minutes of air time, playing in the thermals above the mountains and valleys, before swooping down over the roof tops of Morzine and sailing into the landing site near the Pleney téléphérique.
Once back on terra firma, it’s time to take a pleasant 30 minute walk (or 5 minute drive) along the river to the stunning Nyon waterfall. Admire the gush of the water from various angles by taking the trails on either side of the fall. For a lovely lunch spot, at the top of the trail veer right into a clearing and you will find a quaint restaurant serving delicious Savoyard dishes.
In the afternoon, you are in the perfect spot to take advantage of the thrilling activities offered by Cascade Adventure. You can opt for the rope course, which will have you swinging through the trees and flying over the top of the waterfall; or try abseiling, jumping and scrambling down the waterfall with the unique activity called canyoning.
This morning’s activity is a raft ride down the rapids of the spectacular Dranse. This river winds its way from the mountains through Morzine and into Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). It runs through a deep gorge made up of unusual rock formations, pinnacles and boulders, including hanging rocks which offer a natural jumping platform for those daring enough to take a leap into the cool water below.
In an 8-seater raft, you and your raft mates will learn how to navigate the twists and turns of the river under the guidance of an instructor (you can pre-book with Frogs Rafting). You will be provided with all the necessary equipment including a wet suit, helmet, boots, a life jacket and a paddle. Chat to your instructor about the different options for the route, as depending on how experienced (and how brave) you are, there are several ways down the river, from beginner level right up to Pro Grade IV rapids.
For lunch, head into Morzine and find a spot on the terrace of one of the many excellent restaurants to sample the local cuisine. After a leisurely lunch, it’s time to jump back in the driving seat. If you enjoy roller coasters, you’ll love this afternoon’s activity. The luge is a summer sledge ride down the mountain, which puts the driver in control of the speed – so its up to you whether you take a speedy dash down or enjoy the mountain views at a more gentle pace. To ride the luge, head to the Pleney area to pick up your sledge and take the Crusaz chairlift to the top of the luge.
This morning’s activity is a must-do for any adventurists heading to the Alps. Via Ferrata is a route built into a rock wall with fixed ropes, rails, ladders and bridges used by climbers to ascend the rock face. Le Rocher de la Chaux, which sits just down the valley in Saint Jean D’Aulps, is a route that guarantees to get the heart pumping and test your nerve.
Whilst experienced climbers can tackle this route independently, beginners should seek the help of a professional mountain guide to learn how to use the equipment to climb the rock front safely. Fitted snugly in a harness, you will need to clip yourself onto the fixed cable using specialist gear. You willl traverse a dizzying 795 metres above the forest to reach magnificent views stretching beyond Saint Jean towards Morzine, and Mont Blanc in the distance.
After your adrenaline fuelled morning, it’s time to head to one of the area’s most stunning beauty spots for a hearty lunch and a long soak to ease away any muscle aches left over from your climb. Beautiful Lac Montriond is a 15 minute drive from Saint Jean D’Aulps. Park at the far end of the lake and you will find L’Auberge du Bout du Lac, a charming Savoyard restaurant serving local specialities on a pretty terrace with gorgeous views of the lake.
Make your afternoon as relaxed or as exciting as you like; there is plenty to do around the lake but slowing down to enjoy the scenery is perhaps the most rewarding choice. At the opposite end of the lake there is a water sports facility where you can hire a paddle board or kayak, both offer a lovely way to enjoy the views from the water. Or take an easy 1.5 hour hike to discover the beautiful Ardent waterfall, you will find the trail starts in the corner of the lake across from the Bout du Lac restaurant.
On day 4, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots for a fairly demanding hike to the Col de Cou. The route takes around four hours and ascends 500m, but trust us, the rewarding views along the way and at the top are well worth the effort!
Start the route at Lac des Mines d’Or, a beautiful old gold mining lake which sits at the far end of Vallee de la Manche (you can drive and park here, or take a bus).
On the hike up to the Col you will encounter a unique boulder strewn valley, then towards the top you will be met with stunning views of the Dents Blanche and Dents du Midi mountain ranges.
For the return journey you can either retrace your steps along the same path or turn left to follow a trail through the beautiful alpine forest.
For a detailed explanation of the route, please read section 5 of our blog post.
For lunch dine at Ferme Auberge de Fréterolles, a charming restaurant located on the route, or find a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic.
For this option, remember to pick up a baguette from one of the lovely bakeries or sandwich shops in Morzine in the morning (our favourites are La Bonbonniere on Route de la Plagne and Au P’tit Casse Croûte on Rue du Bourg).
In the afternoon treat weary legs to a relaxing swim in Morzine’s pool. Although the pool is located in the town centre, the complex is situated to take advantage of gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and has lovely grass areas for sunbathing. There is a cafe, spa area, and several indoor and outdoor pools.
The Portes du Soleil is a Mecca for mountain biking and boasts miles and miles of mountain and forest trails, all connected by an extensive lift network. When it comes to spending a day on two wheels, there are many options. This route is a great starting point, and incorporates some exciting stops, as well as some of our favourite trails.
First, take the Super Morzine and Zore lifts, which will take you high up above Morzine, straight into the heart of the bike park. There is plenty of riding to be done in this area, but on this route we are making our way towards Les Linderets.
From the top of Zore join the VTT trail and ride down to the Proclou lift, which will bring you back up to Avoriaz. Track number 9 will take you down to Les Linderets, a natural bowl-shaped area where several lifts meet.
Here, take the Chaux Fleurie chairlift up to Fantasticable – your first stop, and one of the Portes du Soleil’s most unique attractions. It consists of two huge zip lines that stretch 3km from one side of the valley to the other at a height of 240m above the ground. For this exhilarating ride, you will be strapped into a harness and fly face first across the valley!
Once unclipped, you will be in the perfect spot to join one of our favourite biking trails. The Panoramic is so named due to the sweeping views in all directions, including fantastic views of Lake Geneva. It is a green trail, but you will welcome the easy route as it affords you plenty of time to gape at the views. From the bottom simply jump onto Rochassons lift to head back towards Les Linderets.
In the Lindarets bowl, you will find some excellent restaurant choices for lunch. Mamo’s is a great pit-stop when you are hungry, but also eager to get back on the trail before too long. The friendly staff serve delicious burgers, savoury galettes (large pancakes) and hearty salads.
In the afternoon take some time to enjoy the mountain bike trails, and either head back to Morzine via Avoriaz and the Super Morzine lift; or take the road down the mountain from Les Linderets to freewheel home via Lac Montriond for a cooling dip in the lake.