Top 6 Summer activities in the Alps

 

It’s almost that time of the year where the streams begin gushing with meltwater, the temperatures start to rise and the bravest of buds tentatively unfurl on branches. When the seasons shift and summer arrives, the very same mountainsides you skied in the depths of winter burst into life, cloaked in lush greenery and beautiful wildflowers. 

The breadth of the activities on offer widens, and whether summer to you means hiking to dizzying peaks, or lazy lakeside family days – you’ll find it all in the stunning Alps. With our year-round base in the mountains, we are proud to be able to provide our summer guests with the same attention to detail that they are accustomed to during their winter breaks with Bramble Ski.

Besides our amazing portfolio of summer chalets, here are six more great reasons to visit us this year; unmissable activities for all ages, interests and ability levels that will allow you to get the most out of the incredible alpine landscape:

 

1. Hiking

 

What better way to truly take in the gorgeous summer scenery than on foot. Drink in the staggering views, enjoy the fresh air, the scent of the pine trees and the sound of chirping birds and whistling marmots. Whether you love more leisurely hikes, or live for intense treks and conquering summits, you can do both – and everything in between.

In Verbier, trail running and hiking are incredibly popular, and there are a great selection of marked paths to suit all abilities and ages. From family-friendly routes with panoramic views, to more demanding hikes, the landscape in summer is just waiting to be explored. 

Zermatt too has some fantastic hiking routes from where you can either admire the 4,000m peaks surrounding you, or scale them yourself! There are 400 kilometres of well-signposted trails to explore, and even gourmet hike packages that allow you to stop along the way to sample regional delicacies.

For advanced hikers, you’ll certainly leave feeling accomplished. The Europaweg from Grächen to Zermatt takes two days, and crosses the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, the longest of its kind in the Alps. Then there is the 4,164m ascent to the summit of the Bretihorn. Or, embark on the Matterhorn Trek, a circular route from Zermatt that lasts five days, passing iconic viewpoints on the way. We can help you organise a guide for these options.

The area surrounding Lech boasts some incredible 2000m+ hikes, including the summits of Spuller Schafberg and Braunarlspitze. Alternatively, take a calm meander along the Lechweg trail, following the twists and turns of the river from the source culminating in an impressive waterfall at the end.

In Val d’Isère, lifts are open all summer for free to pedestrians. Experienced hikers can don their crampons for a glacial hike either on the Grande Motte or Pissaillas Glaciers. With a mountain guide, it is even possible to cross the Vallee Blanche over to Italy. Breathtaking views, untouched wilderness and awe-inspiring crevasses make it all worthwhile.

Summer hiking in the alps

2. Biking

 

Combining taking in the stunning landscape with adrenaline-fuelled fun, biking is a perfect way to cover ground and explore what the Alps has to offer. Whether you’re pushing your limits or cruising around the on-mountain eateries in the sunshine, there will be a bike and a route for you.   

In summer, Verbier transforms into a haven for bikers. With 23 enduro trails, 500km of cross-country tracks and the bikepark containing 19km of downhill trails – it is no wonder that Verbier attracts bikers of all ability levels. In August, it plays host to Europe’s largest E-bike festival, lasting several days and jam-packed with tours, races and events sponsored by various famous bike and sports brands. 

Biking in Val d’Isère ranges from meandering cycle routes to difficult cross country and enduro trails. For years, the Alps have played host to the Tour de France, the gruelling mountainous climbs making for some of the most challenging stretches of the race. Val d’Isère has featured on the route several times, and even if it is not part of the map during your stay, you’ll still witness the highly-charged atmosphere as it is broadcasted on TV screens throughout the town and watched with bated breath.

Zermatt even offers heli-biking, where you’ll be flown along with a guide to one of three mountain landing sites, each one leading to unspoilt downhill trails that finish back in the valley. Ebikes are easily available and ideal for exploring the vast landscape, as you can cover a lot of ground with minimal effort. As Zermatt is a car-free zone, many restaurants have charging points that you can use whilst sampling the renowned culinary scene of this resort.

In Lech, try a BMW E-bike (available through the Lech Card), with powerful Li-Ion batteries and thinner tyres, ideal for a day trip to the beautiful Spullersee or Formarinsee lakes. Meanwhile, adrenaline junkies can take on the Burgwald Biketrail – full of challenging jumps, drops and twisting wooden boardwalks. 

Summer biking in the Alps

3. Family summer activities

 

The resorts welcome families with open arms throughout the summer months. Perfect family day trips await you that will forge lasting memories for you and your little ones. They’ll be enthralled by the festivities throughout the season, enjoy exploring nature and there are also numerous mountain summer camps on offer too, with activities to keep youngsters engaged, educated and entertained.

For families in Zermatt, a trip to Sunnegga should be on your list. You’ll find the ‘Wolli adventure park’ there, with a large playground, beach, picnic and BBQ areas. Adults can relax by the shimmering mountain lake and take a refreshing dip with fantastic Matterhorn views. 

Families holidaying in Val d’Isère can spend a perfect day out at Le Lac de L’Ouillett, another alpine lake with spectacular mountain views. In summer 2022, a new children’s play area will also open there. 

For a more high-energy family day out in Verbier, take a quick cable car up to Ruinettes or Savoleyres, where you can hire cross-country scooters, equipped with suspension and brakes – and enjoy a thrilling descent.

Visitors to Lech should take advantage of the exclusive Lech Card, which children 14 and younger can receive for free. Why not sign them up for a week of exciting alpine activities with the Children’s Adventure Program? The card is for all ages, though, with other perks including guided e-bike tours, themed hikes and affiliate discounts and deals.

With the card, you’ll also have free access to Lech’s tranquil 25m forest swimming pool, nestled amongst the pine trees. It boasts an ‘aquafit’ pool complete with loungers and massage jets for relaxing, a children’s pool, a baby pool and a waterslide. Nearby, you will find table tennis, tennis courts and a beach volleyball court, a spacious playground and plenty of space for a family picnic. Ideal for relaxing on long, lazy summer afternoons when your hiking muscles could do with a soak.

In all of our resorts, we will be more than happy to recommend summer camps, nannying services and family activities.

Families in the Alps in summer

4. Summer events

 

You can’t come to the Alps without being drawn in by the culture here. After the long winter months, summer is a time of abundance and celebration, and this spirit is reflected in the traditional events that you’ll stumble upon in the warmer months. There are also some newer traditions being carved out, with Verbier, for example, now establishing itself as a hot-spot for the creme de la creme of the sporting and musical worlds. There is never a dull moment in the mountains, and if you want a break from physical activity, why not become a spectator?

Alpine culture is celebrated in Zermatt with daily musical performances from folk groups at the train station square throughout July and August. Festivals dedicated to age-old local traditions allow visitors a real insight into the heritage of the region, such as the Folklore festival, Stafelalp festival and of course Swiss National Day.

The Fête de la Musique takes place annually on the summer solstice in June across France. In Val d’Isère, this jovial, free event spills out onto the streets from local restaurants and bars, and encompasses many different genres of music in a celebration of sound. From amateur garage rock bands to classical quartets, you’ll hear it all. 

Bastille Day is a French national holiday on the 14th of July. It is widely celebrated, with Val d’Isère making no exceptions – hosting various activities throughout the village and an impressive fireworks display when the sky darkens.

The E-bike festival isn’t Verbier’s only big summer event. Also in August is the Verbier International Show Jumping Competition, one of the most prestigious gatherings in the equine calendar. Entrance is free, and even if you don’t know your stirrups from your saddles, it still makes for an enjoyable day out.

Later in the month in Verbier is the Inspire Yoga Festival. From vinyasa flow dancing to vegan cookery lessons, the varied program set in the tranquil Verbier summer landscape is sure to leave you feeling calm, balanced, and rejuvenated.

One of the most notable cultural events of the summer is the Verbier Festival, gathering some of the most renowned names in classical music from across the globe. Performances range in price and take place at several venues throughout the town, from a tenor opera singer in the ethereal white church, to a chamber orchestra in the concert hall, which is constructed each year anew. 

Golf fans should be sure to diarise the “Best of the Alps Golf Tournament”, an international tournament taking place at 10 of the Alps’ most beautiful golf courses, including Lech’s stunning offering.

Summer events in the Alps

5. Rafting & Canyoning

 

The rivers and streams are gushing with meltwater in the spring and summer in the valleys around all of our resorts, meaning that white water activities are on the agenda. From Verbier, head to Sion to explore the valley waterways, whilst in Val d’Isère the Haute Isère is one France’s most varied rivers for white water sports. Take a calm meander down the Lech river, or tackle the powerful cascading torrents at the foot of the Cervin glaciers near Zermatt.

With a knowledgeable guide, you can navigate the turbulent waters and learn how to manoeuvre a raft through the natural obstacle course of the riverbed, tackling jumps, natural water slides, swells and eddies. Also on offer is hydro-speeding, which involves surfing the white water using a large float.

Canyoning involves an exciting descent through the terrain encompassing hiking, climbing, abseiling, swimming and diving. This varied approach to tackling the landscape is thrilling, challenging and most importantly fun – and children and adults can take part making for an exciting family day out. From Val d’Isère, it is even possible to canyon over to Italy within a day! 

If you are in the mood for a day trip, take the 2h drive from Verbier to Bern with friends and float down the Aare river. If you forget your own inflatable flamingo, rafts can be hired at the starting point.

Rafting and Canyoning in the Alps

6. Summer skiing 

 

If you just can’t get enough of winter sports, in Zermatt you can ski 365 days of the year, with a summer ski area comprising 21km of piste. This is also the chosen training area for many champion skiers in the summer, as the highest and largest year-round ski area in the Alps. Catch a glimpse of them preparing for the next season here as you cruise around the sunny slopes!

Summer skiing is possible too in Val d’Isère on the Pissaillas Glacier throughout June and July. The area is only open until noon, due to the snow turning slushy as the day progresses. However, reasonably priced ski passes, lack of crowds and three lifts servicing the area make it a fun and accessible morning activity, if you feel like putting your ski legs to the test!

Summer skiing

Whether an ideal summer to you means high-octane sports in the sun, long lazy afternoons with loved ones, a candlelit meal on a balmy terrace, or a rejuvenating re-connection with nature – The Alps have it all and more. Let yourself become enchanted by an Alpine summer, and you’ll want to return again and again. 

To learn more about summer in each resort, and to see our summer chalet availability, click here.

To view the beautiful range of summer villas on offer from Le Collectionist, click here.

 

 

 

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