Tignes (together with Val d'Isere) is part of the Espace Killy ski area in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps. It is one of the biggest ski areas in Europe, with over 300km of piste.
Some might say it's the poorer sibling of Val d'Isere. That may be, but Tignes is snow sure, high altitude, functional and provides excellent value for money, which is why is has featured so heavily in my winter holiday schedule over the last ten years.
Tignes is also quite a fractured resort, with many different villages that hang under the label of Tignes. Tignes La Lavachet, Tignes La Lac, Tignes Val Claret and Tignes Le Brevieres all house chalets, hotels and bars, so it can be quite complicated choosing an area for those that don't know the locations of each of the villages. I've generally gone for La Lavachet and Le Lac because they are in the middle of the lift system. And because they have the most bars :)
So if you're planning on going to Tignes this winter, here are a list of bars, attractions, things to do and activities to keep you busy during your high altitude week :)
SKI / SNOWBOARD
Start with the obvious, right? Tignes and the Espace Killy is a superb ski area, for beginners or advanced. The pistes are varied, and you can even hop over into Val d'Isere for the day. Use the infamous 'up and over' chairlift and ski down the enlarged half pipe blue run known as Santons.
There is also quite a famous natural attraction in Tignes, known as the 'eye of the needle'. Depending on the snow levels and time of year, you might see people jumping through it, which makes for some pretty cool photos. You can reach the eye of the needle at the top of the Aiguille Percee lift.
One of the features that makes Tignes stand out from other resorts is the (usually) frozen lake at Tignes Le Lac. This creates an opportunity for a multitude of awesome activities, many of which have been listed here. One of the fun things to do in Tignes is drive around an ice circuit. Yep, the ice driving circuit is located in Tignes Les Brevieres, and prices start from €90 for a 20 minute drive.
|Photo source: Tignesnet.com|
Similar to ice driving, you can also downgrade your vehicle and pretend you're in your own icy Mario Kart world. Located at Tignes Le Lac, you can go ice karting as a group, and prices start from just €20.
|Photo source: Tignes.net|
Ice diving is definitely not for the faint hearted. A friend of mine did this during our 2007 trip. In fact you can read the blog post about it here. You can do a day dive, or a night dive, where you put on a dry suit, head under the ice with a torch and check out the ice features.
You can get spectacular views of Tignes, the Espace Killy and the Tarentaise Valley when you ski, but, if you want some even better views, then you can have a go at paragliding. If you do it with Evolution 2, you can even take you're own GoPro camera up with you. Prices start from €70.
|Photo source: Tignes.net|
If you're not content with throwing yourself down the snowy slopes and prefer to have a pack of dogs pull you a long instead, then you're in luck because you can also go dog sledding in Tignes. This is a great activity for anyone, and starts at €95 for two people with Evolution 2.
|Photo source: Evolution2-tignes.com|
Fancy doing something completely different? You can escape the concrete buildings of Tignes and head into the forest for a traditional Savoyard evening. After sledging to your secret location, you can have a drink by the open fire and stare at the stars before getting comfortable in your yurt camp. The best bit? It's only €69 per person....
|Photo source: Tarentaisesourcemagazine.com|
PANORAMIC HELICOPTER TOUR
If skiing and paragliding don't float your boat, then you might fancy a helicopter tour of Tignes and the Espace Killy. Different helicopter tours are available, but remember they are dependent on the weather conditions. Many helicopters are also used for mountain rescue too, so they take priority.
TEN PIN BOWLING
Back on the ground, you can also have a go at ten pin bowling in Tignes. Located at Tignes Le Lac, you can keep your feet on the ground and stay warm with an evening of ten pin bowling, especially if you fancy a change of scenery from your chalet, apartment or hotel.
BAR CRAWLING AROUND TIGNES
You didn't think I would miss out this important activity did you? Because of it's multi-village, fragmented layout, there is no one central place for all the pubs and après-ski bars. In Tignes La Lavachet (my personal favourite) you have So Bar, Brasero, Scotty's bar and TC's Bar. At Tignes Le Lac give the Loop Bar, Jam Bar or The Marmot Arms a try, and for late night partying give Le Melting Pot (in Tignes Val Claret), or Jack's Club (Le Lac) a try.
Did I miss any après-ski bars? Hell yes I did. One of the biggest, best and well know après-ski bars is located high up on the mountain between Tignes and Val d'Isere - La Folie Douce. Belting out tunes with live singers and DJs from 3pm onwards, it's well worth stopping off on your way back down the slope. Just remember which direction Tignes is though, or else you might go the wrong way, miss the last lift and have an expensive taxi ride back from Val d'Isere!
|Photo source: Valdisere.weebly.com|
SWIMMING / WELLNESS / SPA
If none of the activities above take your fancy, then surely a nice spa and wellness session will put a smile on your face. Take a break from the skiing, and give your muscles a pampering. At the Lagon in Tignes Le Lac, there is a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi as well as an exercise studio to help you work off those beers, cocktails and steak haché :)
I think the best way to experience Tignes is to stay in a catered chalet. There are plenty of options to suit all budgets. Booking with a ski chalet holiday provider means you get flights, transfers, accommodation, breakfast, a three-course dinner every night (with wine) and the services of a rep to show you around. From personal experience I would recommend Ski World, Iglu Ski or Ski Total. All top chalet holiday providers! Just keep an eye out on the deals pages for the best offers :)
If you've been to Tignes this season, and did an activity that I've missed, please let me know in the comments below!