Everyone associates the Alps with winter; crisp winter mornings where your breath freezes in the air in front of a back drop of imposing mountains covered with snow, curling up in front of a crackling fire whilst icicles drop from the windows or shooting down steep slopes on two planks of wood. To many people, the Alps certainly hold some fantastic winter memories. However, the Alps is now fast becoming a hotbed of summer activity too; with mountain biking becoming an incredibly popular activity, many resorts are now opening for the summer months as well as the winter ones. So what’s there to do, and is it as exciting as the winter? Well, if you’re an adrenalin junkie there’s certainly no shortage of things to do, and if you can’t imagine visiting the alps without dropping in on one of a range of luxury chalets then you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that more and more properties are opening for the summer season as well and still providing all the trimmings. We’ve outlined below some of the activities on offer across the Alps which might tempt you to visit the alps again, and this time, leave the skis at home.
1. Mountain biking
If you can’t imagine visiting the Alps and not hurtling down a mountain over various drops as fast as you can, then downhill biking is for you! Many resorts now open the lifts in summer to allow you to skip the effort of pedalling your bike up the hill, if like me you push your bike up and down hills then there are plenty of trails across the Alps which are relatively flat to allow you to enjoy the environment without getting out of breath. There’s plenty of road biking on offer and if that’s more your cup of tea, don’t miss the “1 jour 1 col” days held across the Alps which allows you to cycle up a variety of cols throughout the summer season which are closed to cars for the day.
2. Wellbeing weeks
If cycling is far too much effort for you and you fancy a break to recover after a strenuous few months then these well being breaks might be for you- they are held at plenty of chalets throughout the Alps and include yoga, pilates, meditation and a variety of other well being exercises or treatments. Performing yoga on a yoga deck surrounded by mountains provides a perfect gentle break in an otherwise hectic life.
3. Lake swimming
If you fancy an invigorating swim, or you’re a fan of outdoor swimming, then you should be aware that the Alps is home to such a large amount of mountain lakes we’d be unable to count them even if we tried. Some hidden away in the bowls of the mountains, and others accessible by road, you’ll never swim anywhere so beautiful. With the climate in the Alps usually reaching an average of 27 degrees during the summer months, a cooling dip is often incredibly tempting.
The Alps and surrounding areas are home to a range of golf courses; from the world renowned greens in Evian and Chamonix to the lesser known gems in Avoriaz and Flaine, a golf break is perfect in the Alps. A few chalets are beginning to advertise golf breaks where you can tour a variety of surrounding greens, and don’t forget the Evian Championship which takes place on 11th-14th September this year.
If you’re an adrenalin junkie then these zip wires should definitely not be missed! Strung between two sides of a valley in the Portes du Soleil, it is the only ride of it’s kind in the world and encompasses two zip wires at lengths of up to 1325m, 240m above the ground. Reaching speeds of 100kmph, this experience is definitely worth a visit!
If flying across a valley at a ridiculous speed isn’t your cup of tea, but you’re still a fan of seeing the mountains by air, then parapenting is ideal. Floating around the mountains enjoying the stunning vistas is a great way to spend an hour or so, and it is incredibly peaceful.
A spa break in the Alps would be a spa break to remember, with plenty of spas popping up all over the place and a few chalets offering proper in house spas (wave goodbye to a single hot tub and say hello to saunas, steam rooms,pools and dry flotation baths, to name a few, all in the comfort of your own accommodation.) Spa breaks in the Alps are fast becoming a new thing, both in summer and winter, so the next time you’re looking for a rejuvenating break, look no further!
8. Rock sports
If you’ve got a head for heights then there are plenty of cliffs and caves to explore across the Alps. Why not try Via Ferrata where you’re exploring the cliffs on a variety of metal ladders, steps and bridges, all the while clipped to the rock. Canyoning and caving are also very common, although not for the claustrophobic or for the faint hearted, why not give it a go next time you fancy an activity break to remember.
9. Fine dining
Most people think of the Alps and think cheese and potatoes, however there are more and more fine dining establishments popping up throughout the area, meaning that you’re likely to see more than just fondue and tartiflette on the menu. Wine tasting is also becoming more popular across the region, an activity which can be enjoyed by even the most tentative wine drinker.
Flying down white waters whilst clinging to a raft provides an incredible adrenalin rush. With the most famous white water rivers in the Alps as the Dranse in Morzine and the Giffre in Samoens, white water rafting is very common in the summer throughout many resorts. It’s the perfect activity to cool down in the hot summer months and is likely to be an experience you won’t forget!
…and thats the list completed, although not exhausted… it just goes to show how far the winter wonderlands are transforming into summer playgrounds across the Alps; so whatever type of summer break you fancy, you should try and incorporate a stop over in the Alps to gain a taste for the summer mountains!
Alexandra Howse is Events and Marketing Manager at Le Grand Joux.
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