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This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 1 May 2024

Serre Chevalier in the French Alps may be best known as a ski resort, but you can enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities all year round. There is something for everyone, from the faint-of-hearted to daredevils.

Serre Chevalier: a true outdoor destination

The Serre Chevalier valley lies in the southernmost part of the French Alps. Its altitude ranges from 1200 to 2800 meters, so fresh mountain air is guaranteed. These heights also guarantee snow in winter.

Serre Chevalier is a well-known ski area that includes the town of Briançon and the villages of Villeneuve, Chantemerle, and Le Monêtier-les-Bains. The area has many mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, and lots of space. Which, in my opinion, is the perfect setting for all kinds of outdoor activities in all seasons.

En je hoeft echt niet je leven op het spel te zetten hangend aan een klif (kan wel, als je wilt), er zijn juist ook heel veel licht actieve outdoor opties in Serre Chevalier. Dat is meer mijn stijl. 😉

Hiking in Serre Chevalier

I always enjoy a walk in the mountains and forests. Of course, there is something to be said for every season, but I visited Serre Chevalier in the fall. The trees’ different brown, red, orange, and yellow shades are so beautiful. You can do all kinds of different hiking trails: difficult, easy, long, short. It’s up to you.

Several hiking trails are marked; otherwise, you can always use a walking app. For example, try Komoot: you will find many hiking trails in the Serre Chevalier area.

I go on three short hikes from Le Monêtier-les-Bains. The first is to Chapelle Sainte Anne (Google Maps location), one through the valley along the Guisane River (Google Maps location), and also a hike to the beautiful Lac de la Douche (Google Maps location).

Climbing and the via ferrata in Serre Chevalier

No idea what a Via Ferrata is? I didn’t know it either. So I had to Google what a via ferrata in Serre Chevalier was. It is a protected climbing route on a mountain. You hold on to or clip into the trail with climbing protection. The course consists of stairs, cables, bridges, and more. There are routes for young and old – but not for people who fear heights like me. More info can be found here.

There are also year-round climbing options in Serre Chevalier. Various routes have also been set out so that anyone who wants to climb, regardless of age or experience, can do so, or learn to do so. Read more.

Cycling: electric mountain biking or cycling

The Serre Chevalier valley is ideal for mountain biking. You can take a part of the mountain slope here and there or go even higher into the mountains. If you go with a guide, like me (I go with Serre Che VTT), your route will be adapted to your level. We Dutch can cycle quite well, but those height differences are not what we’re used to at all!

So yes, bring on that electric mountain bike! It’s still hard work, but it takes me further and higher. The trails are not just for mountain bikers; you will also encounter hikers and dogs. So, always pay attention to the others who use the trails.

Serre Chevalier mountainbike

Cyclists may know the region from various mountain passes in the Tour de France. I’m not really into that, so all I know is that if you like cycling, you will find a challenge here!

You will find both cycling and MTB routes in the Komoot app. The Serre Chevalier website lists various tour providers.

River fun: canoeing, rafting, canyoning

In autumn, the river’s water looks icy cold, but in the summer, you can enjoy canoeing, rafting, or canyoning in Serre Chevalier. With canyoning, you follow the river, climbing, jumping, sliding, and more to follow the gorge. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, you can find tour operators on the Serre Chevalier site here.

Skiing and snowboarding in Serre Chevalier

In the ski season of 22/23, no less than 1 million (!!) ski passes were sold in Serre Chevalier, so it is a popular activity. This makes sense because it is an extensive ski area with more than 250 kilometers of slopes. 80% of the slopes are even above 2000 meters.

The ski area is often recommended for more experienced skiers and snowboarders. Still, there are also areas where you can go as a beginner. Each village has its own ski lift, and all slopes are connected. This allows you to make a skiing day trip out of it.

Dog sledding in the French snow

I always thought that in Europe, you could only dog sled in Scandinavia, but it is also possible in France. In Serre Chevalier, you can go on dog sled rides. There are rides of an hour up to several days. A dog team can cover no less than 40 kilometers per day in the snow. You can choose to simply take a seat and enjoy the experience, or you can also learn how to drive a dog sled yourself. More info.

Even more outdoor ideas in Serre Chevalier

Okay, this was already a nice list of outdoor activities, but there is more. For example, you could think of:

There are plenty of options. So you might have to come back to Serre Chevalier every season? I guess you have no choice!

More inspiration for travel in France?

  • Accommodation. All-time favorites: Booking.com and Campspace for unique camping spots. Rather stay in a hostel? Check out Hostelworld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. You can find other good options at WithLocals. Check out Freetour and GuruWalk for ‘free’ walking tours, and for bike tours, try Baja Bikes. If you’re into wine: check out all the wine-related activities at Rue des Vignerons.
  • Attractions and museums. Book museum and attraction tickets with Tiqets and get a 5% discount with this code: KIMOPREIS22.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Be sure to check out Transavia, but do compare all your options! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? You have many options! For the Dutch, try ANWB vakanties or Sawadee, or maybe you can find a sweet deal at TUI, Sunweb, D-reizen, or Vakantie Discounter?
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Train and bus. Travel by train to France with NS International or FlixBus, or find deals on trains and busses in France via Busbud, Omio, or 12Go.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. I love the practical travel guides from Lonely Planet, buy them at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. And what about a yoga retreat in France?

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission.

I was invited by the tourism board of Serre Chevalier. They gave me complete editorial freedom.

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