[dropcap]I [/dropcap]know what you’re thinking, the Alps is a winter destination: snow, skiing, a sneaky vin chaud at the top of the mountain.
Well yes of course it is, but have you ever considered going in the summer months? We hadn’t, until we bought an apartment in the Alps. In fact even then, we assumed that Les Gets would be a ghost town in the summer holidays and we might be the only ones foolish enough to drive 12 hours to spend two weeks with bored teenagers.
How wrong we were! The first time we visited the Alps in summer, was June 2015 and we were surprised to find that the whole region comes alive in the summer months. I’m now genuinely torn as to whether I prefer it in the summer or winter – they both have a totally different appeal.
To follow are 5 reasons why I think it makes a great summer holiday destination…
1. Breath-taking views
One of the reasons why I love skiing so much is the spectacular scenery. You think it’s amazing in the snow? Head to the Alps in the summer and it looks as though someone has come in with a brush and swept through in technicolour!
Around each corner there is a new view, each one as breath-taking as the last. If you’re someone who is blown away by a view, or you enjoy comparing your own tiny existence to the awesomeness of the world that we live in, head to the Alps. You will not be disappointed.
2. Mountain air
In my normal every day life, I live about an hour away from London. Our house is situated on a main road through to a busy town and we are therefore subjected to fumes and traffic noise every day – yet another reason why the Alps is a firm favourite of mine.
Head to the top of the mountain, or the depths of the valley and you can fill your lungs with fresh mountain air. When in the Alps, I just feel healthier, more alive and ready to take on the world.
3. Something for everyone
We had our first encounter with white water rafting as a family 2 years ago and it was great fun! There’s so much to do in the Alps from parasailing to extreme mountain biking. In fact biking is almost as popular as skiing in Les Gets, which helps the tourist industry no end.
There are a number of tree top adventures similar to Go Ape in the UK (but better in my opinion) and the Fantasticable zip wire ride in Chatel is extremely popular. Not sure I’ve got the stamina for the latter myself, but if you’re holidaying with a thrill-seeking teenager then I think you’ve found the perfect activity!
If you prefer something slightly more sedate, then a leisurely ascent up the mountain on a chair lift and a gentle stroll at the top followed by lunch with a view, might be more up your street.
Want to head a bit further afield? Only an hour away you have the historic beauty of Annecy in one direction and the hustle and bustle of Geneva, Switzerland in the other.
4. Freshwater swimming
The freshwater lakes are an absolute highlight of the Alps. Although locals and tourists do flock there in the afternoon, it’s never heaving like a British beach in the height of summer. Most lakes will offer paddle boarding and canoeing if swimming and sun bathing isn’t keeping you entertained.
For me, the lake is a place of serenity, the views are spectacular and it’s the perfect place to read a good book while the kids splash around.
There are only two places I’ve visited during my years on this earth, that have provided true escapism from the rat race of life: a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides, and the Alps.
You’ll certainly come across more people in the Alps, but you still leave feeling refreshed and as though you’ve had a proper break from it all. There is something very special about being in the mountains and now that I’ve visited in both the winter and summer months, I can confirm that the majestic beauty remains the same all year round.