For most of us the Ski Season is behind us (although for those refusing to put their skis away yet, there is still skiing at altitude to be found!) and in our family, thoughts turn to summer activities in the Alps, when everything takes on a whole new identity.
It is true to say that I am a fair weather skier, I can take it or leave it, but the male members of my family are avid fans, and cannot do without their annual fix of the white stuff. However one thing we are all agreed on, the Alps has just as much to offer during the lush, warm months of summer. In fact many parts of the Alps get more sun on average than the Cote d’Azur, making it a sun worshipper’s paradise, as well as offering a whole host of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.
As a family there is nothing we like more than packing a picnic, putting on our walking boots and heading to the ‘hills’. You don’t have to be a keen mountaineer to enjoy the stunning scenery all around, as many of the chair lifts and cable cars re-open for the summer, providing access to the superb network of trails and walking paths, all over the Alps. You will also find many cafes re-open over the summer, offering the opportunity to sit with a glass of something cold and take in the wonderful scenery all around.
In Switzerland, many walking routes follow alongside the Bisses, which are man-made water ways, offering some of the very best in Alpine Scenery. Walks vary in length, but never overly challenging, so perfect for families with younger children, whose parents want to gently introduce them to the joys of hiking. More information click here
For those who take their walking more seriously and enjoy Nordic Walking, which is akin to cross-country skiing, without the skis or snow, then I would thoroughly recommend Meribel in France, which has a large number of well-maintained Nordic Walking Trails.
As a family we are also very keen cyclists and have certainly been spoilt for choice throughout the Alps. Having spent time in Morzine and Les Gets last summer, the choice of routes for all levels is superb and you don’t have to compete with the very experienced cyclists who bomb up and down the mountains, when there are many more gentle rides to enjoy also.
You don’t even have to bring your own bike with you, as there many places where you can hire a bike for the duration of your stay. For those who prefer to take the hassle out of deciding where to go, there are a number of companies who organise guided rides, anything from a few hours, to a few days or longer. For more information click here
There are so many other activities to enjoy in the Alps, some not for the faint hearted, whilst others can be enjoyed by all members of the family.
Why not try a Hot Air Balloon ride, and appreciate the Alpine scenery at its very best, from the air. Either an early morning or evening flight, offers the opportunity to look down over some of the very best the mountains has to offer and take in the breath taking views, perhaps even better enjoyed whilst sipping a glass or two of fizz ! For more details regarding flights in Switzerland please click here
For the more adventurous, who might enjoy the exhilaration of jumping off a mountain why not try a tandem paraglide. A number of places offer the opportunity to try out this activity and should you find it is something that you would like to do more, beginner courses are available, allowing to make solo jumps for yourself (not something this blogger will be doing anytime soon…!). For more details click here
What is certain is that the Alps really do offer something for everyone, during the Summer, the sights, sounds, fragrant smells, stunning scenery and activities on offer, making in an all year round location, to be enjoyed, over and over again, with no two visits ever being the same.
We will make our annual Summer Pilgrimage, back to the Alps in August and in the words of my youngest son ‘it’s like coming home’.