Tignes is a huge ski area in the far east of France, straddling the Italian border. Sharing the Espace Killy ski domain with Val d’Isère – a classy nearby ski resort – Tignes offers an impressive 154 runs of varying difficulty, plus 44 km of cross-country skiing tracks. Tignes is a huge ski resort with over 300 km of pistes – making it one of the largest in Europe – but has different neighborhoods each with its own appeal.

Located in the mountainous Savoie region, Tignes’ 5 villages snake their way up the mountain, and each one offers something a little bit different. Regular snowfall and excellent facilities ensure Tignes is an enduringly popular destination for a winter ski or snowboard vacation in France. Find out everything you need to know about Tignes below.

  • Where to stay in Tignes?

    Which of the 5 villages of Tignes is right for you?

    Where to stay in Tignes?
    • Adventure
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Group
    • Photo

    Tignes ski resort features 5 distinct villages:

    • Tignes Le Lac
    • Val Claret
    • Le Lavachet
    • Les Brevières
    • Tignes 1800

    Each village is no more than 10 minutes away from the next. You’ll find the best selection of dining, shopping, and leisure entertainment in Le Lac and Val Claret, although a free shuttle service connects each village and runs from morning to night.

    At a height of 2,300 meters, Val Claret is the highest of Tignes’ villages. It also has an impressive range of luxury dining and accommodations. Le Lac and La Lavachet are the largest villages with the most choice.

    If you’re looking for a budget trip to Tignes, consider Les Brevières and Tignes 1800, which are further down the mountain. These are also quieter, for a more relaxed experience. There’s little in the way of historical attractions in the villages – the original Tignes village was flooded to make way for a hydroelectric dam. But for adventure sports, Tignes is one of the finest destinations in Europe.

    Tignes at a glance:

    • The huge ski domain has over 300 km of pistes
    • Tignes enjoys the longest ski season in France (from December to May)
    • Glacier skiing on Grande Motte (elevation: 3,459 meters) is open throughout the year
    • A wide range of adventure sports are available in Tignes
  • How to rent skis and purchase a lift pass in Tignes?

    Good to know for first-timers

    How to rent skis and purchase a lift pass in Tignes?

    Booking the right lift pass is an important consideration when visiting a ski domain as large as Espace Killy. Tignes has 2 different ski passes to choose from: the Tignes Valley pass allows you to ride in the local area only (which is still huge). The Tignes-Val d'Isere pass gives you access to the entire ski domain on both sides of the mountain. You can book single-day passes, although it’s better value to book a 6-day flex pass, which you can use across a 7-day period. Toddlers and old-age pensioners (OAPs) can ride the ski elevators for free.

    For ski rental, you’ll find a variety of shops surrounding the base stations in each of Tignes’ 5 villages. You won’t struggle to find skis, snowboards, and winter apparel. Skiset has 8 different stores located throughout Tignes. They offer a wide range of skis and snowboards, with a 3D foot scanner to help you find the ideal equipment.

    • Tignes Valley pass – the local area ski pass. It’s cheaper but doesn’t allow you to cross over the mountain to Val d'Isere
    • Tignes-Val d'Isere pass – the whole area pass gives access to 300 km of pistes in 2 different ski resorts. Multi-day passes include free entry to Lagon Aqua and Wellbeing Center
    • Anyone under 5 years of age or over 75 years of age can use all ski elevators for free
  • Tignes skiing for beginners

    Find excellent beginner slopes and a choice of ski schools

    Tignes skiing for beginners
    • Adventure
    • Families

    Tignes has around 90 green and blue runs, many on the lower slopes, with several nursery slopes for absolute beginners. Tignes Le Lac is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in as they have 3 drag-lifts and a magic carpet lift to use for free. If you’re looking to practice with plenty of space, the beginner slopes around Tignes 1800 are often empty, although the snow quality might not be quite as good. Tignes Val Claret also has a child-only nursery slope to help your little ones learn in a safe space.

    There are several ski schools in Tignes with instructors teaching in French, English, and Italian. A popular option for those who've just taken up the sport is to book 3-hour lessons in the morning, which gives you the afternoon to practice what you've learnt.

    • 60% of Tignes is suitable for beginners
    • Nursery slopes are free to use. No lift pass needed
    • High-quality instruction is available for adults and children in multiple languages
  • Tignes skiing for intermediates

    Where to find the best red runs in Tignes?

    Tignes skiing for intermediates
    • Adventure

    With 46 red runs crisscrossing the mountains in Tignes, intermediates have the chance to find some serious speed without the feeling that you’re always in someone’s path. This helps to push your ability in a safe manner. There’s also plenty of back-country skiing available in Tignes, which is especially fun after a large dump of snow.

    Take the Aiguille Rouge lift, which drops you off close to the famous Eye of the Needle rock formation – a local landmark in Tignes. From here, the wide, steep red run down to Tignes Le Lac is a great piste to ride if you’re looking for speed. After that, you can also cross over to Val d’Isère for a few hours.

    • 46 red runs
    • 25 black runs
    • Lots of backcountry (off-piste) skiing available
  • Tignes skiing for advanced skiers

    Snow parks and black runs in Tignes

    Tignes skiing for advanced skiers
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Due to the huge ski area in Tignes and neighboring Val d’Isère, advanced skiers and snowboarders are spoilt for choice. You’ll find 4 different snow parks in the Espace Killy ski area. For skiers, the Tignes Snowpark is best. It has a series of kickers and rails with cameras that take pictures of your tricks. Find it at the top of the Grattalu chairlift. There’s also a drag lift if you fancy multiple runs. For snowboarders, the halfpipe at the top of Les Lanches chairlift above Val Claret is always popular.

    Experienced skiers should head to the 3,656-metre summit of the La Grande Motte glacier, one of the highest slopes in the Alps. It’s especially good after recent snowfall as you’ll find some deep powder to enjoy. Time it well and you can stop for lunch at Le Panoramic restaurant, which is accessible by a funicular from Tignes Val Claret.

    • 10-km black run, La Sache, above Tignes Les Brévières
    • 4 snowparks (2 in Tignes, 2 in Val d’Isère)
    • 6 slalom stadiums
    • 1 mogul stadium
  • What to do besides skiing and snowboarding in Tignes?

    Winter sports and activities in Tignes

    What to do besides skiing and snowboarding in Tignes?

    Tignes has an incredible range of winter sports to enjoy beyond skiing and snowboarding. You can also enjoy dog sledding, ice climbing, winter parasailing, and heliskiing. You can even try ice diving in Tignes Lake! It’s certainly a great destination for adventurous groups. In each of Tignes’ villages, there are agents offering a full range of winter activities. Evolution 2 has offices in both Tignes Le Lac and Val Claret.

    Although every village in Tignes has designated neighborhoods for sledding and tobogganing, a highlight is the tobogganing slope next to the Grand Motte Park entrance in Val Claret. It has a magic carpet lift to take you and your sled or snow tube up to the top of the run.

    Ice skating: the Tignespace sports complex in Le Lac has indoor skating throughout the year. Enjoy free entry with your lift pass. Depending on the thickness of the ice, you can also ice skate on Tignes Lake.

    Dog sledding: Tours range from 30-minute discovery trips up to half-day adventures. All tours include a professional guide (musher).

    Helicopter rides: 10-minute, 30-minute and 1-hour rides are available. The helicopter fits up to 5 people and will pass over glaciers and Mont Blanc.

  • Dining and restaurants in Tignes

    Where to eat in Tignes?

    Dining and restaurants in Tignes
    • Food

    The dining scene in Tignes is excellent, with a fantastic range of restaurants and bistros in each of the 5 villages, in addition to many acclaimed dining spots up on the slopes.


    Check out L’Escale Blanche in Tignes le Lac, which serves wholesome pizzas, salads and burgers and has a large terrace that you can literally ski up to, unclip and sit down to order.


    For something fancy, head to Tignes Val Claret. Here, you have the choice of Le Grattalu for classic Savoyard specialties such as raclette and fondue, or the Michelin-starred Ursus, which has creative plates of haute cuisine that’s sure to dazzle on a special occasion.


    For unbeatable views, head up to the top of Le Grande Motte glacier via the funicular and dine at Le Panoramic. The food is as good as the sweeping views.

    Read more
  • Tignes shopping

    Where to shop in Tignes?

    Tignes shopping
    • Shoppers

    The best place for shopping in Tignes is in Val Claret village. Although all 5 villages have sports stores, Val Claret has the best collection of boutiques selling fashion, jewelry and high-end souvenirs. If you’re looking for winter gear, Intersport is a famous sports’ retailer in France and stocks everything you might need, from skis to goggles to furry hats. Bear in mind that items are typically more expensive as you get farther from the big cities.

    Tignes Le Lac has a small market every Sunday, with local delicacies and souvenirs on offer. Come here to pick up local artisanal cheese and meat, especially locally produced Beaufort cheese. It’s also a good place to experience the local culture.

  • Tignes nightlife

    Where to enjoy après ski in Tignes for families and groups?

    Tignes nightlife
    • Nightlife

    For nightlife in Tignes, you’ll find the biggest selection of bars and clubs in Le Lac and neighboring La Lavachet.


    Several bars offer ski-in services straight off the pistes. The most popular bar in Tignes Le Lac is The Marmot Arms. It’s located close to the base station. Also check out Jelly Bar, which is popular with international visitors.

    Val Claret is more relaxed, with a nice selection of homey pubs and refined wine bars. Head to Bar Hors Piste for a few glasses of wine in front of a roaring fire.


    For late-night revelry, the most popular spot in town is Le Loop, which attracts famous DJs and bands in the high season.

    Val Claret does have 1 club, Melting Pot, which is where you’ll end up if you’re looking for a final beer after midnight.

  • Lagon Aqua and Wellbeing Center

    Enjoy bathing, spa, and fitness with year-round tropical temperatures

    Lagon Aqua and Wellbeing Center
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Group

    Lagon Aqua and Wellbeing Center is a popular place to enjoy when you want a day away from the slopes in Tignes. It features indoor and outdoor pools, children’s slides, Jacuzzis, saunas, and treatment rooms with a range of massage and physio available. There’s also a well-equipped gym and yoga studio. Facilities are cleaned thoroughly and there are lifesavers stationed at every pool.

    It’s unusual to find a wellness facility of this quality in a ski resort. It’s suitable for families looking to relax and groups seeking a day of relaxation. If you book a weekly ski pass, you receive free entry to the bathing pools and Jacuzzis in Lagon Aqua. It’s easy to find in Tignes Le Lavachet.

    Location: 18 D87A, 73320 Tignes, France

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)4 79 40 29 95

  • How to get to Tignes

    Factual travel information

    How to get to Tignes

    Tignes is one of the best-connected towns in the French Alps. You can reach Tignes in 2-3 hours from Chambery or Grenoble airports. The larger Geneva Airport – which is served by more airlines – is also a possibility, with a journey time of around 3 hours.

    The nearest train station is Bourg St Maurice, which is 30 km away and is served by TGV and Eurostar trains. The train journey from Paris to Bourg St Maurice takes around 6 hours, with multiple journeys every day. From here, you can book a taxi cab straight to your destination in Tignes.

    photo by Philippe de Chabot (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler