Summer holidays in the Alps

Even for those of us who really enjoy our jobs, we wish that we weren’t limited to just 4 weeks of holidays a year. So it is no wonder that we want to make the most of our time off and why more and more of us are looking for an active holiday versus a week of sunbathing on the beach.

Holidaying in the Alps is a no brainer in the winter, with skiing and snowboarding among the many activities to choose from, but the Alps also make a surprisingly great destination in the summer.

Here is a list of some of our favourite destinations and a few ideas on what you can do while on holiday in the Alps in the summer.

Zermatt

Zermatt is the dream destination for anyone who enjoys beautiful scenery, great food and fantastic hospitality. The town lies at the foot of the famous Matterhorn and offers plenty of different activities in the summer. If you are after a relaxing holiday, there are some amazing hotels and pleasant walks around town. It is also possible to go up the famous Gornergrat railway or any of the numerous cablecars to experience the views from higher up. If you like hiking, then you can do as much as you want around Zermatt, and the views are incredible in every direction.

For those of you that can’t wait until the winter, you can actually have a pretty good ski in Zermatt during the summer months up on the glacier.

To get to Zermatt you can either take the train, or be driven as far as Tasch from where you can get picked up in an electric taxi or jump on the train.

Click here for more information on transfers to Zermatt.

Chamonix

Chamonix is a mecca for fans of all mountain sports in Europe. Tourists have been visiting this charming French town at the foot of Mt Blanc for centuries. It used to take 2 weeks to reach Chamonix from London. Now it’s a short flight to Geneva airport followed by a quick transfer, so it’s a great destination for a weekend break in the summer. The views are second to none and there is a whole range of activities to keep you busy while you are holidaying in Chamonix in the summer. Why not try white water rafting or a round of golf on a spectacular course? Chamonix is also a great destination if you are planning a summer holiday for the whole family holiday. Kids will enjoy riding the Montenvers train and visiting the ice cave or they can try a bit of mountain climbing on a climbing wall. There is also a swimming pool in Chamonix or they can go horse riding or try one of the adventure parks.

Chamonix is also really well setup for both hikers and mountain bikers with a great network of well signed trails.

Chamonix even has a Casino to keep the grown ups entertained if the thrills offered by nature aren’t quite enough for you.

Get prices on transfers to Chamonix here.

Kitzbühel

The hills are alive with the sound of music… Sorry, couldn’t stop myself… Whether you love or hate (impossible) the Sound of Music you will have to agree that the Austrian Alps make a stunning destination in the summer.

There are literally hundreds of places where you can have a fantastic summer holiday in the Austrian alps, but we had to choose one and so we have gone with Kitzbühel. For lovers of walking in the mountains, the region around Kitzbühel has over 2500km of well marked walking trails. Mountain bikers are also at home in the region with lots of trails that will suit all abilities. If you like the idea of traversing the alps on two wheels but not the idea of pedalling, then the good news is that the Kitzbüheler Alpen area is pioneering the use of electric bikes with 1,000km of dedicated trails.

Another bonus about visiting this region in the summer is the Kitzbüheler Alpen Summer Card. With this card you can access 29 cable cars and it also entitles you to discounts at lots of attractions.

To get to Kitzbühel you can fly to Munich or Innsbruck and then get private or shared transfers to Kitzbühel.

Morzine and Les Gets

The neighbouring villages of Morzine and Les Gets are getting more and more popular for people looking to spend active holidays in the alps during the summer months. They are probably best known for their epic mountain bike trails, but there is so much more going on than that. There is golf, white water rafting, tennis, swimming, summer luge, spas, paragliding, paint balling, horse riding and hiking to name but a few…

One of the best reasons to visit Morzine or Les Gets in the summer is the Portes du Soleil Multipass, which for just 2€ per day allows you to use many of the lifts, cablecars and leisure facilities during your holiday.

Transfers to Morzine

Transfers to Les Gets

Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons

Chamonix

Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons
Mont Blanc and Glacier des Bossons

Chamonix is one of the original climbing and skiing destinations of Europe and home to its highest peak, Mont Blanc. The natural beauty of the Chamonix valley has been mesmerizing travellers for centuries and it is still one of the most visited destinations in France.

The first tourists apparently arrived in Chamonix in 1741 and they were two Englishmen, William Windham and Richard Pocock. They documented their journey and their discovery of La Mer de Glace glacier in a publication which influenced many others to endure the long journey to the ‘Sea of Ice’.

The new visitors brought with them their appetite to conquer the mountains but it wasn’t until 1786 that the top of Mont Blanc was summited by two locals, Dr Paccard and Jacques Balmat.

In 1770 the first tourist hotel, the Hotel d’Angleterre was opened and Chamonix has never looked back since.

After our introduction you probably won’t be surprised to hear this: There is a lot to do in Chamonix.

If you are not afraid of heights then take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the viewing platforms at 3842 metres. You will feel like you could touch the peak of Mont Blanc and you will see groups of brave mountaineers attempting to conquer one of the stunning peaks around or ski the famous Vallée Blanche. You can even go over to the Italian side of the Alps and travel over the glacier on the Helbronner lift. This is our personal favourite and it is worth every extra penny to get this view!

If you prefer trains to cable cars then take the Montenvers rack railway to the famous Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier. You can go down to the glacier and into the ice grotto that shows you the history of the glacier along with some great ice sculptures. You do have to climb over 300 steps though in each direction. On the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc is the Brévent cable car. You get the best view of Europe’s highest mountain from here.

In the winter there is lots to do for non-skiers as well in Chamonix, which makes it an ideal destination for families and people who want to enjoy the snowy vistas. You can take the cable cars or the Montenvers railway up into the mountains of Chamonix and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the top. You also have a choice of some excellent spas in Chamonix if you are after something relaxing.

If you want a real bird`s eye view of the mountains then why not try a helicopter ride around Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks.

There is also a leisure centre in Chamonix with a swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, ice rink, indoor climbing and other facilities.

You can find a bowling alley in Chamonix, which also has pool tables and air hockey tables. Chamonix`s cinema also shows some films in English with subtitles.

If you like a bit of gambling then why not try the Casino in Chamonix`s centre? You can enjoy some blackjack or roulette but of course you have to be over 18.

The other great activity you can do is of course Shopping. Chamonix has many great shops. You can find anything from luxury boutiques to mountain hard-ware shops.

Chamonix also attracts many extreme sport enthusiasts. This is the perfect place to try your fist tandem parapente flight, learn to traverse a glacier, climb the highest peak in Europe, go canyoning, white-water rafting or try any other crazy adventure under the sun.

It is easy to enjoy the Savoyard gastronomy in Chamonix`s delightful restaurants. In the winter there is nothing better than a hearty meal of cheese-based dishes. Try a raclette, a fondue or a tartiflette – it should satisfy the biggest appetites!

A raclette, as you can see on the picture is a big block of cheese put under the grill and you get to scrape off the top melted layer. You then eat this cheesy goodness with boiled potatoes, charcuterie and drink some Savoie white wine with it. We recommend a cold glass of Apremont wine!

A tartiflette is a dish made with layers of potatoes, bacon and onions topped with a famous local cheese called Reblochon and grilled to perfection.

A cheese fondue needs no introduction, however a Savoyard Fondue uses local cheeses, like Beaufort and also Comté and Gruyere.

If you want to go for a day trip from Chamonix then try the beautiful town of Annecy, which is only an hour away. Your other option is the medieval town of Yvoire on the shore of Lake Geneva or Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc tunnel.

To get to Chamonix your best option is to fly to Geneva airport. From Geneva airport to Chamonix many companies operate shuttle services if you are after the cheapest option. If you are after a bit more flexibility or there are a few people in your group then ask for private transfer quotes to Chamonix from local companies.

Distance of Transfer from Geneva Airport to Chamonix: 104 km
Geneva Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: App. 1 hr 10 mins

Distance of Transfer from Chambery Airport to Chamonix: 145km
Chambery Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: 1hr 30mins approx

Distance of Transfer from Grenoble Airport to Chamonix: 225km
Grenoble Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: 2hrs 30mins approx

Distance of Transfer from Lyon Airport to Chamonix: 220km
Lyon Airport to Chamonix Transfer Time: 2hrs 10mins approx

Have you got any insider tips for people visiting Chamonix? Tell us about your favourite ski runs, restaurants, activities!