Wait – Summer holidays in the Alps?!
Isn’t the Alps all about shredding the powder on your board or skis in the day, eating a potentially fatal amount of cheese fondue in the evening and then heading out for some stylish and sozzled après-ski at night?
Well, yes – but only between December and April. Now, we’re certainly not knocking a skiing holiday (and have a fantastic portfolio of luxury ski chalets to prove it!) but to write off everything else that can be found in the Alps for the rest of the year because there isn’t any snow is just plain madness. The Alps make a fantastic destination at any time of year, but here are 10 reasons why Alpine summer holidays are amazing, and should really be next on your travel to-do list!
1) It’s something different…
If enquiries to our concierge team are anything to go by, many modern holidaymakers are looking for new and unusual ways to spend their hard-earned holiday time. Ten days in the Algarve just doesn’t cut it any more, and the opportunity to experience a truly beautiful part of the world in a totally different way is the kind of holiday that people are specifically searching out. And hey, there’s definitely some bragging rights to be had when you get to talk about “summering in the mountains”…
2)… And Alpine holidays are spectacular!
When the spring air rolls across the mountaintops and the winter snows melt, the entire Alpine region changes. The glare of white is replaced by green, and by the time June has rolled around the grass is thick and swathes of wildflowers begin to carpet the landscape. It might all sound a bit Sound of Music but couple those utterly spellbinding views with fresh mountain air and you’ve got a pretty enticing mix – and that’s before we’ve even mentioned…
3) The climate
Because you’re missing out if you’ve never sunbathed at the top of a mountain. Temperatures on the lower slopes can often soar to the mid-twenties when the sun’s out, and the mountains help provide a natural barrier against clouds and rainfall – so that’s the warmth of a glorious climate to go with the captivating views. What’s not to like?
4) Going lakeside
If things get a bit too hot (or perhaps you’re just missing the sea) then the Alpine landscape has an answer for that too, in the form of dozens of beautiful natural lakes. What in winter would be an invitation to hypothermia becomes the place to go in summer if you’re looking for a different type of relaxation or some adrenaline-boosting water-sports that include windsurfing, boating and even scuba diving. Couple that with some wonderful lakeside towns and villages and a beach atmosphere and you won’t even miss the sand! A mountain holiday is good, but summer holidays in the Alps are next-level because it brings the lakes and mountains together (and all the adventures to be had on them!).
5) And taking further advantage of the lack of snow!
And it isn’t just the lakeside water-sports that offer summer visitors the chance to explore. When the snowdrifts have receded, a huge network of wonderful hiking and walking trails are revealed, ranging from easy ambles to a nearby picnic area to high-altitude ice-hikes that will challenge even the most hardened mountaineer.
6) In fact, you can even ski if you want to
Yup, that’s right – despite everything else on offer, you can still indulge in a bit of skiing if you feel the need. ‘Bit’ might be the operative word there, however. Some resorts will open up their glacial slopes a couple of months after the ski season ends, but avid skiers should be aware that these will usually be very high altitude slopes, and that the likelihood is they’ll open and close very early in the day. After all, nobody wants to ski on slush.
7) And that’s before we’ve mentioned everything else…
It’s not like heading to the lake or enjoying the scenery on a hike are the only things you can do, either. While a winter visit is pretty much relegated to choosing whether you want to belt down the mountainside on a snowboard or a pair of skis, in summer a whole new set of activities is revealed. You could try some mountaineering, potholing, mountain biking, abseiling and, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, paragliding. It’s a great opportunity to indulge in your favourite extreme sports or try them for the very first time! If something more sedate is more your style, many nursery slopes actually double up as golf courses during the summer, so there’s ample opportunity to get a few rounds in if you feel like working on your swing.
8) And the kids are catered for too!
Seeing as many of the chalets in the Alps are well versed at catering for younger guests during the ski season, it goes without saying that they’re equally prepared for looking after children during the summer too. Not only will many of the chalets on offer be equipped with handy accessories such as cots and high chairs, babysitting is easily arranged and many resorts will run activity clubs for kids of all ages, so they can be kept busy while the adults can enjoy a little peace and quiet of their own.
9) And speaking of peace…
Because you’re essentially visiting in the off-season, you’ll find the Alpine resorts a lot less crowded during the summer months. Admittedly, this might mean that some of the bars and restaurants are closed or keep reduced hours, but those establishments favoured by the locals will be open as normal, and those are the ones that we’d recommend you visit anyway! Who needs packed bars and busy pistes when you can wander about the town like you own the place?
10) And then there’s the price
You’ll also find that visiting the Alps during the summer is an incredibly cost-effective way to visit the region. Many luxury chalets will cut their rates dramatically when skiing isn’t on the agenda, so you may well end up with an amazing bargain as you enjoy one of the most overlooked European destinations. An Alpine summer holiday isn’t just about taking advantage of the region’s off-season – it’s taking advantage of the different world that’s revealed once the snow has melted.