Bourg-Saint-Maurice – An Active Holiday Guide
The Alpine town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice is the gateway to the Tarentaise Valley and makes an ideal base for exploring the valley’s famous mountain resorts, including Les Arcs, La Plagne, Tignes, Val d’lsère, La Rosiere and Sainte Foy. Hosting the KV Vertical Cycling event annually, Les Arcs is the home to the second largest inter-linked ski area in the world with 425 km of pistes.
Mountain Biking in the Tarentaise near Bourg-Saint-Maurice | © Camping Huttopia
Active Holidays in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
We’ve teamed up with the best active holiday companies to help you organise an unforgettable trip to Bourg-Saint Maurice:
Enjoy walking through the epic mountain ranges of Beaufortain, Mont Blanc and Vanoise and you may even catch a major sporting event which are held regularly including; canoeing, cycling, paragliding, race walking and skiing. Breathtakingly beautiful, you can catch some leisure time strolling through quaint villages and enjoy local specialties such as fondue, raclette, tartiflette and local honeys and jams.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice has plenty of thrilling adventure-sports to take part in and places of interest to discover. After enjoying the local scenic beauty, strap on your skis to ride the slopes at the world famous ski resort; Les Arcs. Other points of interest are; the Saint Marie Madeleine Chapel, discovering how the local ‘Beaufort’ cheese is made and plenty more active sports including cycle touring, hiking, snowboarding and paragliding.
Parc National de La Vanoise
Nestled in-between the Tarentaise and Maurienne valleys, the Vanoise National Park has hundreds of kilometeres of hiking trails weaving through preserved, stunning countryside. Small villages like Champagny-le-Haut, Termignon, La Chiserette and Bramans lie near the park and on the Italian side, the park continues on into the Gran Paradiso National Park. Several large ski resorts border the park including; Les Trois Vallées, Tignes, Val d’lsère, Les Arcs and La Plagne.
Bourg St Maurice Funiculaire
You can choose from four different villages to stay at in the Les Arcs ski resort; 1600, 1800, 1950 and 2000. The Funicular railway is a great way to ride between them while enjoying jaw-dropping mountainous views. If you have a valid ski pass, you can ride the funicular for free, otherwise it’s 8.50E for a single ticket or 13.50E for an adult return.
Outdoor Swimming at the Nautical Centre
Chambéry (1 h 22 min)
Pharmacie Centrale, 11 Avenue de la Gare, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
La Poste, 72 Avenue du Centenaire, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
Tarentaise Taxi, 180 Rue Saint-Michel, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
The nearest airport to Bourg-Saint Maurice is Chambery Airport, with a transfer time of around one hour. Other airports nearby are in; Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon. You can get major train connections from Paris, Lyon and Chambery, with the option to take an overnight train from Paris.
Active things to do in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Bourg-Saint-Maurice. With plenty of winding mountain trails to suit all level of rider, mountain biking in Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a popular pastime. Take on the Traversee du Beaufortain which entails a 60km ride ending in Albertville. Enjoy a shorter 29km, relatively flat ride around the Balcon de Tarentaise where you can enjoy lush greenery and a pretty lake. Experienced riders should take on the Pass of the Petit Saint Bernard, which has one of the steepest passes to climb at more than 2000m of altitude!
Les Arcs Bike Park
Beginners to mountain biking should start with the fun trail in the Mille8 centre at the bottom of the Les Villard’s telecabin in Arc 1800. Here you can enjoy forest and meadow trails for a fun ride. Endurance riders can tackle one of 5 endurance routes amounting to 68km in distance. Other routes include; 8 downhill rides, 2 cross country circuits, 1 fun trail and 7 links. A freestyle zone can be found in Arc 1600 alongside 7 practice parks from beginner to advanced.
Route 66 – One of the world’s longest enduro trails
Strap on your back pack and spend the whole day riding the 30km trail of Route 66. Here you will pass through the pastures of the Arc Valley, travel alongside the resort of Arc 1950, continue downhill through the forest at the edge of the Hauts de Villaroger nature reserve, travel along the Isere and tackle a steep climb before arriving in Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
Mountain biking doesn’t get more exciting than on the trails of Beaufortain. 400km of tracks snake through the mountain ranges, alongside 100 km of enduro trails and 12 slopes of challenging descents for levels green to black. 300 km of cross-country routes and marked hiking trails make this area one of the most prolific in the mountain biker community.
Rafting in Bourg-Saint-Maurice is an electrifying experience for all levels of ability. Start at basecamp on the famous Isere River situated in the Valley of the Tarentaise in the Savoie. Choose from an epic 5 day adventure or shorter half day, whole day or weekend. The Doron de Bozel is accessible in the summer months due to the melting of the glaciers which run into the river.
The Val d’Aoste and the Dora Balte are also popular rivers to raft. Choose to experience a range of watersport activities including; the canoe-raft, hydrospeed or kayak and various levels of course amongst wild and beautiful landscapes.
Skiing and snowboarding
Head to Paradiski, to experience some of the largest and most famous ski areas in the world. 70% of the ski runs are over 2000 metres long and a world class artificial snow system is on offer. Being the gateway to the Vanoise National Park, Paradiski enjoys a panoramic backdrop of the stunning peaks of Mont Blanc and Pierra Menta.
Hop on the funicular railway to ride between the slopes of the vast Paradiski area. The Vanoise Express (world’s largest cable car), rides between the massifs of the three resorts in just four minutes in a luxury, spacious cabin with glass bottomed views.
Aim to visit here in the best conditions between April-June and September-November. The scenery is picture perfect with alpine chalets, craggy stone walls, tiny lakes and gold leafed larch trees scattered about.
Best visited between May and October, the terrain here is challenging ranging from vertical slabs, overhangs and dihedral points. Check out the climbing school at Arcs 1600 for help with equipment and stunning views over the valley.
Falaise de Versondane
Located next to the small hamlet of Le Villaret, climbing the Falaise de Versondane is best between April-June and September-November. Enjoy slabs and vertical points around challenging climbs.
Pont de Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Tackle slabs and vertical points over 10 and 25 routes from 6a and 6b. Avid climbers will love these craggy routes and certainly get a sweat on.
Via Ferrata des Rochers du Vent. For a real challenge, take a whole day to conquer the Via Ferrata des Rochers du Vent. Climb through difficult terrain while enjoying views of the Mont Blanc and Roseland Lake. Jump onto the Nepalese Bridge, descend into a canyon and discover a tunnel dug before the war.
Choose from 31 hiking trails in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, ranging from easy family walks to challenging, high-exertion hikes. Experience a range of terrain from mountain pasture, rocky outcrops, high mountains and lush woodland.
An experienced walker would love the Col de L’Ouillon walk which is 5 hours one way along border with Italy. You’ll enjoy stunning views of the Haute Tarentaise Valley, the resort of Les Arcs, the Bellecote Massif, Aiguille du Clapet, Roc de Belleface and Mont Miravadi.
A bit more accessible is the hike up to the Col du Breuil (2879m) from the Pont de Chezari (2047m) car park. It’s a straightforward 8.5 km walk up to the Italian border and back. You’ll experience some spectacular high-mountain scenery and stunning views back down to the valley below.
If you’re looking for a loop to do with the family, try the Circuit des Lacs in Arc 2000. You can park next to the Club Med and follow the Circuit des Lacs waymarked trail. The walk takes in 3 lakes – lac de l’Homme, lac Marloup and lac de Moutons, and takes about 3 hours. Throughout, you’ll have breathtaking views of the mountains, including the Bellecôte range, the Aiguille Rouge (3227 m) and the Italian side of the Mont-Blanc.
For guided walks and greater insights into the local area you can join a walking tour with the Guides at de Haute Montagne. And remember, you’re in the Vanoise National Park, so there’s a chance you’ll spot wildlife like marmottes, black grouse and chamois.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice has plenty of places to paraglide in and around the area. Whether you are experienced or a complete beginner you will be able to enjoy the sensation of flight. Beginners should hook up with one of the many paragliding schools to experience a tandem paragliding session with an experienced instructor.
Beginners to advanced paraglider’s can develop their skills at the Arcs en Ciel Paragliding School in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, in the heart of the Haute Tarenteise Valley. If you’re paragliding on your own, make sure you check the signs at each take off point, due to some spots being closed at certain times of the year due to weather conditions.
Accommodation in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Bourg-Saint-Maurice certainly has a lot to offer with its impressive mountain ranges, rolling pastures, snow-capped peaks and wild forested areas. Thrill-seekers can ski, paraglide, hike and climb through the toughest of terrain, while leisure lovers can meander through pretty hilltop villages and stroll along lush pastures. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a few weeks, Bourg-Saint-Maurice will undoubtedly make an impression and have you coming back for more. Just make sure you book ahead in the busy months to save disappointment!
Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your trip to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Happy holidays!