Alpine summer holidays- your experience

(28 Posts)
goingtobefree Sat 03-Nov-12 19:59:23

Thinking of going to alps in summer.
12 year and a 5 year old, needs to have some activities as the eldest will enjoy it.
Thinking of Espirit summer adventures, anyone been recently?
Tripadvisor reviews are mostly for skiing holidays.
We have never driven in Europe so needs easy assecibility to train station or an airport.

Iamstressed Sat 03-Nov-12 23:13:19

We have had several holidays in the Alps. Choose a hotel that offers lots of indoor activities as well as having an indoor and outdoor pool as the weather is very unpredictable. Take warm weather and cold weather / waterproof clothing. Never done Esprit but plenty of things to do in the Alps. Make sure your resort meets your needs. Kids had a fabulous time.

Ponders Sat 03-Nov-12 23:18:15

DS1 did a summer with Esprit as a ranger (??? = snow ranger in the winter, minding children) - helping with eg hiking, mountain biking etc anyway. From what he's said it was good fun for all smile

if you have any specific questions I can ask him for you?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 03-Nov-12 23:18:39

I've had some lovely holidays in the alps in the summer, just booked a campsite myself rather than an organised company.

I've stayed in chamonix, pralognan, and zermatt and another place in Switzerland I can't remember. Chamonix has plenty to do in the summer. It's nice been able to take the cable cars up and walk down the mountains with all the marmots.

Pick a resort with plenty to do, stuff like crazy golf, summer luge, swimming pool, etc.

goingtobefree Sun 04-Nov-12 15:56:47

Thanks for all the advice so far.
*I am stressed*- can you recommend any Hotel in particular.I would prefer self catering (dietary restricitions -I am a vegetarian) or hotel with full board like espirit as they do have some vegetarian options.

I have not decided on the place either so open to suggestions regarding which part of the Alps - as both of us have not driven in Europe and we don't want to drive to Alps if we could help it.

Ponders could you please ask him regarding activity for 5 year old and the activities for them. We have been to Cornwall for our last couple of summer holidays. Usual farm, chickens, beach etc., The eldest is super sporty and would lke her to do some activities (Espirit has teen activities, another reason that I was thinking of booking with them)

VivaLeBeaver Sun 04-Nov-12 16:03:26

We've skied with Esprit many times, Dh is vegi and they cater for him fine. I've seen their summer brochure and thought that Alpe D,huez looked nice with plenty to do.

I think you might struggle getting there unless you drive, don't think they do transfers in the summer?

Driving in Europe is fine, really is. I'm not an overly confident driver but have managed fine.
You can get a train from Paris to la plagne.

Ponders Sun 04-Nov-12 16:18:41

he's playing FIFA on the XBox atm (with a friend on the other end so he can't stop) & says he'll come & give me some details when he's finished; but he did say very enthusiastically that the summer holidays are fantastic!

Beaver is right about the lack of transfers in the summer but you could fly out & then pick up a car. DS1 did both winter & summer seasons based in Chamonix & we visited him once, flying to Geneva & hiring from there - driving on the R is much easier when you're in a LH drive car.

Chamonix is a great town all year round, we loved it.

Ponders Sun 04-Nov-12 16:32:39

Chamonix.net website - mostly snow atm of course but there's a link about summer activities

there's also a link to the Alpybus which does transfers from Geneva - it says "from" €19.50, but for 4 of you that's a minimum of €156 round trip. I put in some random July dates & it came up with €24.50 pp each way, €196 in total

You could hire something like a Corsa for around £170 a week & that way you could go anywhere else you wanted to - Esprit do some family activities & some children only, so the 2 of you could have a day out smile

Geneva airport is a bit tricky for arranging car hire, because most of it is in Switzerland with Swiss prices, but there is also a French part where you can pick up a car at French prices.

LIZS Sun 04-Nov-12 18:44:41

Many resorts will have a summer activity programme- the Skischool often runs climbing, rafting and guided walks for example - and indoor/outdoor pools . If you google a few of the larger ones you will be able to see what is on offer. We've had nice breaks in Saas fee, Wengen/Grindelwald, Engelberg, Chamonix, Lech and others. For Switzerland have a look at MySwitzerland.com. Alternatively the Italian lakes (Lugano and Garda) may be worth considering but not as accessible by public transport. We did Chamonix with Esprit and it was very much orientated towards entertaining the little ones.

femmeaufoyer Sun 04-Nov-12 20:39:00

We're thinking of doing the same next summer and I've found this place which I think looks great. You can do self-catering or full-board. They also do a pick-up service from a number of airports. Gets great reviews on Trip Advisor too:

www.chillypowder.com/summer-homepage.htm

goinnowhere Sun 04-Nov-12 20:59:29

Wonderful! Lots to do and see. We've alwayse had great weather and enjoy having a pool. We stay in France and visit Switzerland.

goinnowhere Sun 04-Nov-12 21:00:27

We tend to drive all the way btw.

Iamstressed Sun 04-Nov-12 21:22:14

We have stayed a couple of times in the summer at the hotel aktiv and spa in seefeld, Austria. Would recommend it. The occupancy is 10% uk and the rest are mainly German and Italian. Not a problem as really most people speak English. Very friendly hotel. The hotel provides lunch every day and there are always snacks in the afternoon provided. All free of charge. Seefeld is lovely with lots to do and fantastic scenery.

Iamstressed Sun 04-Nov-12 21:23:39

By the way, the food is excellent with something for everyone. Waiter / waitress service with choice of menu including vegetarian options

Iamstressed Sun 04-Nov-12 21:24:44

Look in Inghams or Crystal Summer brochures

SoozleQ Sun 04-Nov-12 21:51:39

We've spent many wonderful summers in Morzine in the French Alps. It's just over an hour's drive from Geneva Airport. We've done it every way possible - driven all the way there, hired a car at the airport and arranged transfers with the place we stay. Having a car at your disposal is really useful for days out, like a day at the lake, and we had no issues organising car hire from Geneva Airport.

Morzine's great and there's loads to do in the summer. There's lots of downhill mountain biking and lots of the ski lifts run so even if you don 't want to mountain bike there are lots of accessible mountain tops with restaurants open, beautiful. There's a summer luge, golf course, outdoor swimming pools, sports courts, parapenting for the more adventurous (I've done it, it's fab) and the Fantasticable (like a zip slide thing between mountain tops) for the even more adventurous. Lots of restaurants and bars but still a nice villagey feel to the place.

We always stay with The Mountain Lodge Company. They run two independent chalets and I can't sing their praises enough. Can't remember their website address off the top of my head but you'll easily find them on google.

TheLightPassenger Mon 05-Nov-12 09:41:04

I've been to the Austrian Tyrol in summer, IME the restaurants were surprisingly good at catering for vegetarians.

goingtobefree Mon 05-Nov-12 12:01:30

Thanks.
I will have to do decide, where we are going to go.
I would ideally prefer full board for one week in summer and go self catering for another.

goingtobefree Mon 05-Nov-12 12:02:29

Sorry should have been clearer - that is two weeks of our holiday during summer taken at different times.

Ponders Mon 05-Nov-12 14:07:39

ok, have nobbled DS1

he says when he did it (2008) they had 3-day Teen Rangers on Mon-Wed-Fri for ages 12-15 - they went white water rafting, mountain biking & glacier walking (with crampons)

& it was all great, he says grin

for younger ones he mentioned husky walking - one dog, with an adult helper attached, then 3 kids attached to the adult, hurtling around the woods (but he says some smaller children found the dogs a bit scary - they are quite big!) but generally the organisers invented activities for them each day

but that was just Chamonix - some Esprit places offer eg pony trekking

Incidentally Inghams & Esprit are now the same company. No idea what effect that has had on either of them!

We love the Alps and in summer it is possibly better than in winter - even though we are both obsessive skiers! We go to the southern French Alps. It is not very trendy, but if you google Serre Poncon you will get an idea of what it is like. We drive, but there is a train that stops in Gap, Embrun and up towards Briancon. Not too sure about hotels as we go s/c.

As for activities for children, ours are 5 and 8, and they love swimming (pools, lakes), playing with other children, biking (mountain and road / track biking), picnics in the mountains, the odd trip to places like Briancon / Italy. Via Ferrata is also something to consider

Have fun!

goingtobefree Mon 05-Nov-12 17:58:50

I am getting really excited, looks like there is a lot going.
I will look into self catering options as well.

Ponders Mon 05-Nov-12 20:00:34

incidentally the France/Switzerland car hire pricing thing that applied in Geneva when we went seems to have changed - Switzerland now cheaper than France shock grin - I think you need to tell them though if you'll be travelling into the other country

DS1 adores skiing, but had just as much fun in the summer season as the winter. You will all have a wonderful time smile

for self-catering have a look at homeaway (used to be holidayrentals)

& ownersdirect

(there are others of course but those are v reputable websites with quite a lot of properties)

cathpip Mon 05-Nov-12 20:11:18

We spent a couple of weeks in Grindelwald Switzerland in june and drove over with a 1 year old and a 3 year old, it could not of been easier! (9 hrs from the tunnel) We rented an apartment through owners direct and they were superb. You must pack wet weather gear and stuff for colder days as the weather can change very quickly, it is very outdoorsy so would def recommend a car for exploring if the weather is not up to it, lots of hiking, picnics and mountain biking, Switzerland is expensive though........

muzzybee Tue 06-Nov-12 07:31:32

We have stayed at Hotel Monte Bianco in Saint Gervais twice in summer. It is all inclusive and very good value particularly if you can go in a week when they have free child places. I have reviewed it on this site. Saint Gervais is an excellent base for a summer holiday in the alps. There is the Mont Blanc tramway, lovely open air pool and thermal baths are worth a visit. You can get an inexpensive family pass to use the pool, ice rink and ski lifts for the week. There are various adventure parks and lakes nearby. You are also only 20 mins drive from Chamonix so it is easy to do a day trip there. Saint Gervais is one of the easiest places to drive to as it is in the northern alps and not far from the motorway. We stop overnight en route and the journey isn't too bad. Peak Retreats list the above hotel plus lots of other ideas on their summer website. We use them for summer and winter holidays and they are very good.

LIZS Tue 06-Nov-12 08:18:01

You can also find rentals through the tourist office. They can match your requirements up and ask owners of suitable accommodation to get in touch or have listings on their website. Just be aware that European school holidays often finish around mid August so locally run activity programmes may scale down after that. Alternatively Kinderhotels or kidshotels.ch are worth consideration as they often organise activities in-house (great if weather is dodgy) and have family friendly options like early evening meals for kids.

goingtobefree Tue 06-Nov-12 10:18:44

So many choices.. It is very very difficult to decide...
I fell asleep looking at the various possible locations in Alps in google maps yesterday.
DH says he does not mind driving, but I am bit nervous about it.
LIZS Does kinderhotel cater for 12 year old's otherwise they do look reasonable.
Thee is also a direct flight to Grenoble from a local airport for a fly drive options.
We have done self catering in UK, how do you take everything you need in flight?
or do you just go there and shop?

Ponders Tue 06-Nov-12 10:58:55

make sure you get one that provides all your bed linen & towels - you don't want to be taking those in your luggage!

otherwise yes, you shop for food etc when you get there - most s/c places we've used tend to have things like washing-up liquid, salt & pepper etc in the cupboards from previous visitors & if your flight lands at an awkward time you can ask the owner/agent to get a few basics in for you

I think Grenoble is a smaller airport than Geneva so will have fewer car hire places - & possibly limited hours - so you need to get a car booked early on. prices are generally better that way anyway

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