Offer me a Mediterranean beach for a fortnight and I will be first in the queue. However – there are so many other options to consider when planning a summer holiday and the mountains should be up there on your list. The Alps have long been the go-to destination throughout the winter months but the summer appeal has never really infiltrated the British market. Whether you are planning the family summer holiday, a short break for friends or a corporate retreat there is plenty to satisfy every need. Here are my top ten reasons for choosing an Alpine summer:
The scenery is beautiful. I've been lucky enough to spend plenty of time in the mountains in both summer and winter and I will never get bored of the majestic views. Words cannot describe them. You still get snow capped peaks in the summer months, along with flower filled meadows, babbling streams, waterfalls and turquoise lakes. Twinned with the super fresh air you know you are onto a winner.
Activities aplenty. If you are an active type you will be in your element. Biking, hiking, rafting, horse riding, swimming (in mountain lakes and outdoor pools), golf, even summer skiing to name just a few. There are amazing spas, cookery schools, cheese farms and vineyards to visit.
The weather. Alpine summers can be super warm but the altitude tends to mean it is not oppressive. It can also rain and be pretty miserable at times but there is so much to do that this doesn't mean a ruined holiday.
Amazing accommodation. Whilst most resorts operate at a quieter level than during the winter months there are benefits. A good selection of hotels and chalets can still be found and often the rates are considerably lower than you would expect to pay in the winter so you can indulge in luxury for less. Alternatively camping is great way to get back to nature.
Travel plans. As the Alps are less in demand during the summer months it means flights can be very reasonable and most airports are still nicely accessible.
Where to go. Many of the big winter resorts are amazingly well set up for summers too. You can enjoy some 'apres-velo' in the bars and it can feel similar but quieter than the winter vibe. There are also many mountain villages that might not be winter resorts but can offer a beautiful summer base. Think local markets, hot air ballooning and cafes in the church square. Your options are endless.
Children. To risk repeating myself, there is so much to do with kids of all ages. Some resorts even offer a ski school equivalent allowing you some time out whilst the kids are entertained with activities, nature, or language courses if you want! I personally think it is much easier to entertain small children in the mountains than on a hot beach all day long.
The luge. Really fun – loads of resorts have one. You'll want to have a go!
Who knew what was under the restaurant terraces? We all have our favourite mountain restaurants on a ski holiday and when the sun is shining there is no better place to be than on the terrace watching the world go by. But did you know that some of these terraces are removed in the summer to reveal a mountain top swimming pool! Take a dip at altitude surrounded by views of glaciers. Amazing!
Food. If you can't wait 12 months for your next fondue, tartiflette or Tiroler Grostl then it is all available in the summer too! Along with delicious meats, cheese, ice creams and wine! Say no more!
The location of the Alps means that you are well placed to mix up your holiday and combine some mountain air with a city break, multi-country road trip or even head down to the beach - but beware - like me - you may not want to leave!