Where to Spend Summer in the Alps
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 22 August 2019, ARTICLES
You may usually associate the Alps with your winter ski holiday, however, come spring, temperatures rise and the familiar blanket of snow is replaced by lush greenery and wild flowers exposing the ideal summer playground.
Temperatures reach the high 20s, accompanied by a refreshingly light breeze, allowing you to spend your week basking in the serenity of the mountains and surveying the expansive views.
Many resorts stay open and some are as bustling with life in July and August as much as they are during the winter season. Restaurants and bars open their windows to the sunshine and terraces in resort and up the mountain are dotted with people enjoying a glass of rosé in the warmth of the afternoon sun.
The primary attraction offered by the Alps is the multitude of activities to fill your day. A selection of lifts stay open during the summer, acting as a gateway to miles of hiking and mountain biking tracks, suitable for all levels from family strolls to hard-core Downhill Mountain Biking. Some resorts can even offer you a spot of summer skiing.
If you don’t fancy heading into the hills then relax lakeside, explore markets and boutiques or challenge the family to a game of mini golf.
If you’re looking to relax then retreat to the cool of your luxury chalet and read your book or take a dip in the swimming pool. Out of the winter season, you’ll find better deals on luxury accommodation, all whilst enjoying the same services and facilities.
Here are the 5 best resorts to reap the benefits of all the Alps have to offer during those sizzling summer months.
With a population of 5,700 and a steady flow of visitors throughout the year, the once rustic farming village has a charming but cosmopolitan ambience.
Surrounded by 38 summits above 4,000m, and views of the most photographed mountain in the world, the Matterhorn, you can focus your entire trip around experiencing views of this dramatic vista from every angle. Enjoy a 360˚ degree view from the Gornergrat viewing platform at 3,089m, which has been one of Switzerland’s top destinations since 1898.
Hiking in Zermatt is a unique experience when you are followed by breath taking views of the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks at every turn. The hiking trails cater to all abilities, be it a family stroll or challenging ascent for experienced hikers. If you’re feeling brave, cross the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, swinging 85m above the valley.
If you can’t wait until the winter to get your ski fix then Zermatt is the summer resort for you. The glacier is open 365 days a year with 21km of pistes for you to enjoy at the largest and highest altitude summer ski area in Europe.
Given Morzine’s central location in the vast Portes du Soleil ski area it is no surprise that the lively town remains a gateway to the mountain playground during the summer months.
The principle sport in the Portes du Soleil is mountain biking but you don’t have to be a daredevil racing down a high speed track over rocks and jumps to enjoy this diverse sport. The Portes du Soleil offers a multitude of cycle tracks that cater to families who just want to ride around taking in the beautiful scenery. For road cyclists, there are 15 mapped itinerates to explore.
The traditional chalet-style buildings in the town preserve Morzine’s character as an old French farming and mining town. With the best selection of chalets in the area, Morzine is a fantastic destination for those wishing to relax amongst all the facilities of a luxury chalet.
During the winter Morzine has a lively après scene and the considerable selection of bars and gourmet restaurants keep their doors open throughout the summer months. If you’re sourcing your own produce, explore the array of tastes and smells on offer at the market in the town held every Wednesday.
Perched high on a sunny plateau, Verbier is one of the most glamorous ski resorts in world. The lively Swiss town launches into the summer season with the Verbier Bike Park Summer Launch Party in June, featuring bike contests, barbeques, live music and plenty more. You can also enjoy concerts by some of today’s biggest names in classical music at the Verbier Festival in the middle of the season.
If you’re not at a festival or exploring the wide range of mountain sports and activities then relax and enjoy the famous Verbier sun from the balcony of your luxury chalet or the sun terrace of one of the many bars and restaurants.
If you’re an early bird, you might want to head up for the Mont-Fort sunrise and the panoramic view over the surrounding mountains. A continental breakfast is included in the package along with an all day lift pass for enjoying a hike or scenic stroll.
Traditional Savoyard character and charming views over the Abondance Valley makes Châtel an ideal setting for a summer holiday spent in a luxury chalet.
Take a leisurely stroll round the Lac de Vonnes in the middle of town and feed the ducks or challenge the family to a game of minigolf. The Smugglers Museum is aptly located in the Old Customs House and is a fantastic museum where you can learn all about the history of French-Swiss smuggling and how this criminality came to an end during the 1940s when winter sports made tourism a more profitable line of business.
For the daring individuals in your group, Châtel has a world-class bike park and the ‘Fantasticable’ zip line that sends you souring at almost 60mph and up to 240m above the valley.
Chamonix is characterised by the instantly recognisable jagged Aiguilles de Chamonix mountain range, which peaks at the top of Mont Blanc (4810m). Head up the Aiguille du Midi cable car for 360˚ views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Push your boundaries and take A STEP INTO THE VOID, a 2.5m glass box suspended over a 1000m precipice.
A favourite amongst both snow sports enthusiasts and mountaineers, the town of Chamonix is full of life all year round. Sit back and enjoy the scenery from the balcony of your luxury chalet or one of the restaurants on the valley floor or at altitude, a glass of fine French wine in hand accompanied by a platter of traditional Savoie delicacies.
If you’re looking for adventure, fill your day with the multitude of sports on offer, from hiking and mountain biking to paragliding through the striking mountain range that surrounds the town.
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