A guide to Morzine
Morzine is a thriving Alpine village set deep in the Chablais mountain range between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, by the France-Switzerland border. It has grown over the years to become a charming ski resort in winter and a popular biking destination in summer. It's roots as an old French farming and mining town are apparent in the village today, where local produce is available at the weekly market, and many of the chalets sport local slate roofs.
Morzine is just over an hour's drive from Geneva Airport and is located the middle of one of the biggest ski areas in the world - the Portes du Soleil ski domain. Morzine's ski area is filled with cruisy, tree-lined blue and red runs, and it's also linked directly to the ski resorts of Avoriaz and Les Gets. Although the village is situated at a relatively low 900 metres, it's network of lifts reaches the panoramic Chamossière at 1800 metres, and Avoriaz, at 2100 metres. You may not be able to ski back to your accommodation at the end of the day, but the extensive lift system and free shuttle services ensure you'll find it easy to get back to your accommodation whatever the snow cover.
The low level traditional chalet-style buildings in Morzine help preserve the town's character and charm. It has the greatest selection of holiday rental chalets in the area, most of which are independently run. This style of accommodation, along with the attractive skiing provides the quintessential ski holiday experience, making Morzine a firm favourite with families and groups of friends. In the last few years, Morzine has invested in new lifts and sports facilities. New bars, luxury catered chalets and high quality restaurants have also begun to emerge, allowing Morzine to compete favourably with many of the big-name resorts in the Alps. With access to 426km of pistes, great quality accommodation and buzzy nightlife, Morzine is one of our favourite ski resorts.
Skiing in Morzine
Morzine and the connected resort of Les Gets have a combined 120 kilometres of pistes, accessed by 26 chairlifts, 3 cable cars and 14 drag lifts. There are 5 green pistes, 29 blue pistes, 28 red pistes and 9 black pistes. The skiing here is renowned for its picturesque tree-lined runs, with plenty of gentle pistes for beginners and intermediates. More advanced skiers can use the lift system to explore the whole of the Portes du Soleil ski area - it encompasses eight French resorts of Abondance, Avoriaz, La Chapelle d’Abondance, Châtel, Les Gets, Montriond, Avoriaz, St Jean d’Aulps and six Swiss resorts of Champéry, Champoussin, Les Crosets, Morgins, Torgon and Val d’Illiez. Free shuttles also connect the centre of Morzine with all these resorts. Circuits (taking approximately 2h 30 min) organised according to ski levels have been designed to allow skiers to easily explore the various areas. Itineraries (blue, red or black runs) are marked by a specific mountain animal such as a bear, white rabbit, jackdaw, ibex or reindeer.
Also see: Ski Areas in Morzine
Things to Do in Morzine
If you don’t ski, yet still want to be active try snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, or take an ice dive into the chilly Lake Montriand. If swishing through the snow with a bit more style is more your thing, you could take a horse-drawn sleigh ride or go husky dog sledding. In Morzine itself there is a cinema, a bowling alley, and plenty of sports shops to browse in. Get your fill of local produce at the weekly Morzine market (held on Wednesday mornings), or buy presents for those back home in the town's gift shops.
In the summer, Morzine offers mountain bikers some of the world’s best mountain biking terrain, with around 380kms of marked trails with varying degrees of technical skill required. Road cyclists also enjoy the surroundings and there are 15 mapped itineraries to explore. With such variety on offer, Morzine has been a repeat venue for the Tour de France and a host to the Mountain Biking Championships. Just a few of the other options on offer include hiking (800km of marked trails), paragliding, rock climbing, golfing, fishing, horse riding, the summer luge, adventure parks, canyoning and tennis. In the Parc des Dereches you can enjoy a whole outdoor swimming complex including a heated Olympic pool, it also has a great range of entertainments for children.
Also see: Sports & Activities in Morzine
Events in Morzine
During the winter, Morzine has a packed events calendar. The biggest winter festival is the Rock des Pistes week in March, where live bands play up on the pistes, with many other concerts being held in resort during the evenings. Throughout the rest of the season, some of the bars on the pistes have apres-ski parties starting around 2pm. Later on back in Morzine, many of the bars host live bands and DJ's both for apres-ski and late night parties. Morzine also prides itself on providing family entertainments. The school holidays are particularly fun, with plenty of special activities laid on for children. Check our Whats On Calendar to see what's on during your stay.
Also see: Main Events in Morzine
Where to Stay in Morzine
If you want to be first on the ski lifts in the morning and last out of the bars at night, then booking accommodation in Morzine itself is a must. Both of the main ski lifts (Super Morzine & Pleney) are located in the centre of Morzine. Super Morzine takes you towards Avoriaz, and the Pleney lifts take you up to the local area and Les Gets. Morzine stretches several kilometres along the valley so if you are staying out of the centre, check where the nearest bus stop is to take advantage of the free shuttle buses. Your accommodation provider may also offer free transfers to the slopes if you are staying a bit out of town.
Both catered and self-catered chalets are plentiful both in the centre of town and on the outskirts towards Avoriaz, Nyons and Montriond. Many of the chalets are owned and run by expats who settled in Morzine with their families. You can expect a personal welcome, high quality interiors and plenty of extras. Alternatively, there is a good selection of apartment rentals in the centre. Many of the hotels in Morzine have upgraded themselves to keep up with the market and now offer contemporary interiors and a wealth of amenities.
Also see: Where to Stay in Morzine
Restaurants in Morzine
There are all manner of restaurants and cafés to choose from in Morzine, from traditional Savoyarde tartiflette and fondue restaurants to fine dining. As the resort smartens up it's appeal, so have the restaurants improved to cater for this demand for better quality. Many of the restaurants serve refined yet traditional French cuisine, try L'Atelier, Chalet Philibert or Le Mas de la Coutettaz. Morzine also has an excellent choice of independently run mountain restaurants for your lunch stops. L'Atray des Neiges, Le Vaffieu, Chez Nannon and La Petite Ourse all get rave reviews.
Also see: Where to Eat in Morzine
Nightlife in Morzine
Morzine has a fantastic selection of nightlife, for both party animals and the more sophisticated wine or cocktail lover. For those who enjoy beery bars, Bar Robbinson or Robbo's as it's locally known is a tiny French café bar serving the legendarily strong beer; Mutzig. It's a must for any visitor and always popular with the locals. For live sport the Dixie Bar just next door has several huge screens and is always packed during the Six Nations Rugby and big Football matches. For a more civilised affair try the Beanies for cocktails, the Coup de Couer wine bar on the high street or the hipster Micro Brewery the Bec Jaune at the top of town.
Also see: Nightlife in Morzine
Travelling to Morzine
The nearest and most convenient airport to Morzine is Geneva, situated 100 km (around 1 1/4hrs) away. From here, you have a number of different methods of transport to choose from to get you up to resort including minibus transfers, buses and trains. If you can’t get a flight to Geneva, the next best options are Chambery (1.5hrs), Lyon (2.5hrs) and Grenoble (3hrs) all of which are serviced by a number of the major airlines.
Also see: How to Get to Morzine