has anyone been to the alps in summer?(31 Posts)
Looking for ideas for summer holiday and I've always liked the idea of being in the alps in summer. In a ski resort you would have cable cars, etc, to get you to the mountain tops and all facilities in valley. but are these places lively enough in summer? have just one dd aged 12. she is outdoor type but would want her to be able to mix with other kids.
I looked at Simply Morzine - they run family activity type holidays. Chamonix seems another popular summer place.
We go to Switzerland most summers. Kids are 14, 10 and 8 and they love it. White water rafting, gorge walking mountain biking etc. lots of walks that end at a cable car. Many places have lakeside lidos where you can swim/ diving platforms in lake etc. We travel everywhere by train/ boat cable car. Easiest as you don't have to return yo the same place, you can do circular routes. Look at the Bernese Oberland or Alternatively Austrian Tyrol. Eurocamp has several fab looking sites in Austria, your dc should find other kids to mix with there. We've never found this to be an issue, I suppose our dc just have each other.
We camped near Lake Annecy when I was in my early teens and I loved it. Lots of adventure type activities to do.
We visited Les Gets last year with a company called Alpine Elements, there is certainly plenty to do cycling, walking swimming etc and the highlight for us white water rafting. They also have places in other resorts in the Alps.
DD1went with the guides and absolutely fell in love. They went up cable cars, climbed, swam and traveled a lot by train. She said the scenery and the colours in the glacial mountain rivers were just stunning. (They are in her photos).
Looks far better than skiing (which I am hopeless at)
Thanks so much for all your replies. Very helpful. Owlmother - is Switzerland expensive? I have always had the impression that it is.
Switzerland is reasonably expensive- we tend to go to apartment and cook for ourselves. We get a travel pass which covers all trains/boats/ cable cars, this means we don't stop to think about the individual cost of these as they can be quite expensive.
We eat out mostly at lunches- the same kind of mountain huts that feed skiers- and BBQ at night, or pasta or similar.
I think Austria is probably cheaper ( I've noticed this when we ski there) but I've never found Austria to be as well connected transport wise and we do quite enjoy being car free.
I stayed in Les Contamines when I was 15. I was an exchange student and stayed with a rather well off French family in their summer chalet. We went trekking all over the place, as well as taking trips to Chamonix, Italy and other places. I remember going to see The Sting while I was there and found it pretty hard to follow in French (it was hard enough in English).
Having just had a look at images of the main street it doesn't appear to have changed much from 40 years ago.
Trip Advisor seems to rate the resort
We go to Serre chevalier every summer, it's probably much cheaper than Switzerland/chamonix etc. it is fantastic, always amazing weather, 22-30deg, peaceful and beautiful scenery and the list of activities is never ending - hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, white water rafting, paintball, go karting, jungle park, via Ferrara, a couple of lakes within 45mins drive where you can rent pedalloes, windsurf, play on a massive floating bouncy castle (lake at Embrun). I'd go for it. [ smile]
We stayed in bavaria on the edge of the alps last summer. It was fantastic. Lots of castles and outdoor activities. Loved going up the mountains in cable cars and hiking around the alpine pastures. We stayed in Schwangau which is beautiful and has a brilliant spa complex. Hire an appartment at Haus Luna which was great as meant we could choose to eat in or out depending on our mood. Germany and Austria are really child friendly places to holiday.
We were in Les Gets, Chamonix and Les Contamines last summer. I love the alps (four seasons as chalet maid!). The weather can be a bit unpredictable but there is so much outdoorsy stuff to do, our DC were only one and three and loved it
We've been to Switzerland for summer hols 3 or 4 times. Absolutely loved it as did the DCs (at similar ages to your DD).
There is so much to do. We stayed in a village with a cable car and used to whizz up into the mountains, taking chair lifts all over the place. There were thermal baths nearby (just over the border in France), enough to keep them entertained all day. Also tree top adventure centres which they loved.
And if you do go to Switzerland, Swiss national day - August 1st - is brilliant fun. Paragliding was one of the activities on offer one year, so we had a go at that. Brilliant fun!
Even though they are all young adults now, they would all love to go back. Re weather, we had mostly very warm days, but some torrential rain too. It is very expensive (DH and I have just come back from a long weekend there) but we used to save money by eating in some nights - supermarket prices arent that different to home.
Second the Swiss travel pass too, you can hop on and off any trains, great sense of freedom.
Might you and your DD enjoy this Explore Family Adventure in the Alps ?
I haven't done this tour but a similar one in another location and it was by far the best holiday we have ever had. Everything organised, so no thinking "what shall we do today" but not at all like a holiday camp - no jollying everyone along to join in etc. Sociable but not too sociable and the organisation and attention to detail was brilliant. I felt that we did and learned loads more than you do on a standard holiday and we got to see the real country, not just the touristy bits.
As children, we went to Austria and Switzerland several times and loved it - the really is not shortage of things to do and the fabulous pools and lidos make up for the lack of beaches. My Mum and Dad always went independently though so I really missed the kids clubs. Could you go with a tour operator to get that side of things?
Sleep, I am really keen on the idea of Serre Chevalier in summer! Loved it in winter.
Thanks everyone for all your comments. I am so excited about this now. Can't wait to book something!
Another recommendation for Les Contamines here! The views of Mont Blanc are stunning and there is loads to do in the village (a family pass costs about 100 euros for a week and gets you on the lifts and into the fantastic swimming lake/beach, and money off loads of other activities). We are staying in Argentiere near Chamonix this year but will definitely return to Contamines again.
If the weather is really bad you could always drive to Geneva and wander around CERN, we've visited twice in recent years and now both DSs want to be physicists.
We are looking at a summer alps holiday as well. Does anyone know if Les Contamines or Serre Chevalier are quite self contained. We were hoping to try and find somewhere that had lots to do without driving up and down the windy mountain every time that we wanted to do something as our DC gets very travel sick. It would be great to go somewhere that has lots to do without going too far afield. Thank you.
The road to Serre Chevalier is very winding!
Thanks Lizs. It's not so bad if there is lots to do when we get there so we would only have to do it once rather than keep going up and down. Have been looking at Chamonix as well.
Once you are there (Serre Che) you are within 15 minutes (max) drive of most activities, along a straight road on valley floor, between the villages of Chantemerle , Villeneuve and Monetier les Bains. If you want the lakes then the road goes South out of Briancon towards Gap, fast and not windy at all. The only time we tackle windy roads is getting to some amazing picnic spots or up to the luge at Montgenevre .
Chamonix in the summer is one of the most beautiful places in the world. There's loads to do in addition to walking- high rope walks, train rides & cable car rides up the mountains, white water rafting (amazingly good fun - just don't scream, you'll get water in your mouth, tobogan runs (DP claims I got an award for the slowest time ever). you can drive thru the Mont Blanc tunnel, look at glaciers, house riding, golf, parapenting (jumping off the mountains with a parachute. There's also a 24 hrs race around the mountains. All this a french food too!
Sorry sounding a bit like the tourist info for Chamonix - but the Alps are amazing in summer - and this is coming from a keen skier.
Have a wonderful trip - really jealous now
Zell am Zee in Austria is lovely in the summer. Beautiful resort with a crystal clear lake you can swim in and loads of alpine walks and treks into the mountains and glaciers.
Wengen in the Swiss alps is also stunning.
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