Summer in the Alps
Summer has finally arrived in the Alps.....and not before time! After a decidedly soggy June (in Europe as well as the UK), we are at last able to make the most of the beautiful summer scenery and the long list of activities available during the warmer months. People who have never experienced the Alps during the summer often wonder what on earth we do out here when the snow has gone. Well, read on.......
.......if you enjoy the outdoors then it’s a sure fire bet that you will love the Alps in summer. Whether it’s an active, adrenaline fuelled rush that you are after or a relaxing holiday chilling by the pool – all tastes are catered for.
If thrill seeking is your thing, then one of the definite benefits from all the rain fall we had last month is that the rivers are raging at the moment and the white water rafting is currently the best it’s been for several summers.
The rafting options vary from a gentle introduction on a low grade (but still fast) river that the whole family can enjoy, to a white knuckle ride down grade 3-4 rapids that would even make Meryl Streep blanche! The qualified guides know the rivers so well that, however rough you decide to go, you can be sure that it will be an experience to remember!
If you go higher up then there are also infinite hiking and mountain biking possibilities now that the snow has melted, and despite all the recent rain, the trails are on the whole smooth and dry. Up above 2000m though, it’s still quite likely that you will come across occasional snow patches on the trails (known as “névés”) that require a bit of care when crossing. The snow underneath can be a bit “rotten” at times and you can unexpectedly find yourself up to your knees in snow!
Getting up to these sorts of altitudes is not as difficult as you might think as the summer lift systems are now up and running. You can either buy single or return journey tickets for which ever lift you want to use, or if you plan to use the lifts regularly, then it is probably better value to buy one of the multipass tickets. Obviously the great thing about using the lifts is that you get to enjoy all the stunning scenery from the higher trails without the hard slog getting up to them, or more importantly, without the knee crunching descent which is often harder on the legs than the climb.
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If all this sounds like too much hard work and you’d rather spend your summer holiday lounging by the pool, then we are also in the enviable position of enjoying a rather temperate climate that is perfectly conducive to doing nothing more energetic than sun tanning and eating ice cream. Towards the end of last week when it was a sweltering 32 degrees, the terraces in town were doing a roaring trade in iced coffee and cold beers.
Thankfully though, there are plenty shady spots along the river that enjoy a lovely cooling breeze.
The summer in the Alps is also host to some world class sporting events; the Tour de France probably being the most famous one. Already a week in, the riders (and the thousands of supporters!) are currently heading our way for the gruelling mountain stages of the Tour.......and a Brit (Bradley Wiggins) currently wears the yellow jersey and is favourite to win in Paris in a fortnight.
Can we win Wimbledon and the Tour in 2012?!?
However, there are also the World Climbing Championships in Chamonix next week (11th – 13th July), where you can witness some astonishing climbing skills in both the speed and technical disciplines. Even if you’re not a climber this is an amazing spectator event and is followed by a huge firework display to celebrate Bastille Day. Mountain bikers may want to try the Megavalanche in Alpe d’Huez (18th-22nd July) which is a bone shaking downhill race open to both pro and amateur riders that has between 2000-3000m of vertical descent. Not for the faint hearted!
If you’ve not booked your summer break yet and the weather at home is getting you down, then maybe you should try a change of scene and check out summer in the mountains. We’ve got a range of accommodation options available across the Alps and we promise that you won’t be disappointed by the view!
Still to book a summer holiday?
Call us on 0203 137 7678 or email us what you are looking for - contact us
Summer in the Alps was posted on 7 July 2012 by Guest Blogger.