Like many ski resorts in the French Alps, Meribel's terrain transforms after the snow has melted uncovering a mountain playground that lends itself to a variety of alpine activities but which has been proven to be particularly good for mountain-biking.
Meribel and its environs are also home to some spectacular hiking routes whether you like high mountain views or walks through trees and around lakes.
There are many other activities to be enjoyed in Meribel and its alpine surroundings including via ferrata, lake swimming, climbing, golf, tennis, high ropes courses, rafting and much more besides.
July and August are the best months to visit during which several of the ski lifts (converted to include bike racks) are open to transport you (whether on bike or foot) to the top of some of the best trails in France.
Meribel offers mountain-bikers something different from many of its near alpine neighbours. Although a little off the radar it offers chairlift assisted riding and access to the huge Three Valleys area. The trails are quiet and comprise a mix of great quality purpose built trails including a world cup down hill track with road gap jump as well as many natural flowing footpaths that lend themselves really well to mountain biking with their mix of natural features.
There are a variety of trails marked on the trail map but in our view one of the best descents is an impressive trail that descends 2,000m over 20kms from the top of the Saulire on the left hand side of the Meribel Valley all the way down to Brides les Bains where you can catch the bike bus to take you back up to Meribel centre. These long descents are a feature of riding in the mountains.
See our mountain biking page for more information.
Meribel and the Three Valleys have an amazing range of walking and hiking trails. Whether you use the lifts or just your own two feet there are amazing views and trails to take you away from the crowds and relax in the peace and tranquility of the mountain air. Walk through open pastures overflowing with wild flowers, summit the ridges on either side of the Meribel Valley, hike to a mountain refuge for lunch or an overnight stay, there are countless possibilities.
We have explored many of the trails around Meribel in the summer months and can make lots of recommendations to suit you. One of our favourite walks involves spotting alpine marmottes and other wildlife on a day hike to the Refuge du Saut in the Vanoise National Park above Mottaret. Another of our top ten is the hike up Mont Jovet where you get fantastic views across to Mont Blanc in one direction and back towards the Three Valleys. We also love rambling through the woods in Meribel's Altiport area. There really is something for everyone.
Via Ferrata is another alpine activity to boost your adrenaline with several courses in and around Meribel enabling you to test your mettle and enjoy the surroundings. It is a type of climbing where you follow a trail marked by foot and hand holds, always attached to a safety wire by two clips from your harness. There are various grades of via ferrata from easy to challenging so everyone from age 8 can take part. Equipment is available to rent locally.
Lac Rosiere in Courchevel is home to the beginner route but beware there are a couple of tricky sections including a high rope bridge and a walk-the-plank section.
In Pralognan the via ferrata takes you up the side of a waterfall and over a wire bridge at the top with spectacular views.
The Croix de Verdons via ferrata at the top of the Saulire in Meribel is undoubtedly the most exposed course in the area situated right at the rocky summit. Incredible views and adrenaline buzz all in one!
Bozel lake (pictured) is just a 20 minute drive from the chalet and is a lovely, well maintained swimming lake. It has a beach with sand for children to dig in on one side and grassy banks for sunbathing on the other. The part of the lake on the beach side is roped off and patrolled by life guards. There are facilities including toilets, showers and a restaurant serving lunches, drinks and ice-creams. Best of all you can swim along in the cool (but not too chilly) mountain water with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains...heaven!
It is only 1 hour's drive to the Bout du Lac (the near end) of Lake Annecy too. Lake Annecy boasts slightly warmer water and the Bout du Lac has a beach and large grassy area to play on or just kick back and relax.
Meribel is very well placed to enjoy a day trip to one or more of the historic cities of Chambery, Annecy and Grenoble.
Often referred to as the 'Venice of the Alps' due to its network of waterways, Annecy is a wonderful town for a day trip. There are lots of shops, restaurants and some excellent ice-cream parlours. Around the lake is a large park for sunbathing and playing games as well as several beaches. Pedalos and small boats are available for hire along the waters edge.
Grenoble is the economic and cultural capital of the French Alps with the Isere river running through it. There are parks, gardens and boulevards and the lovely pedestrianised old town. The Fort de la Bastille is well worth a visit. Take the cable car from the town up to the fort where you can look around and get a great view over the city and beyond.
Chambery is the capital of the Savoie region having been home to the Dukes of the Savoie centuries ago. It is possible to visit the Chateau during the summer at certain times. The town itself has several pedestrianised cobbled streets, small independent shops and many restaurants serving lunchtime menus. It is easy to park and worth a wander.