Mountainpassions blog

5 great reasons to spend your summer holiday in the mountains

Summer holidays in the mountains mean lots of activities, cooler temperatures and a friendly welcome, not to mention the amazing scenery.

Summer holidays in the French Alps are becoming really popular. There are lots of activities, wonderful accommodation at a reasonable price and a really friendly welcome, not to mention the amazing scenery. Nowadays, everyone can get to the top of the mountains via key lifts, open specially for walkers and cyclists to access the best trails and viewpoints. Here are five activities to help you enjoy the French Alps with ideas for family activities, outings and scenic touring.

1. Get Active

Instead of lazing on a crowded beach, discover lots of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy (and they’re free).

Le Lac de Tignes, canoes

Tignes is a great place to go if you love trying different activities. The SPORTIGNES card, free from your accommodation provider, gives you access to a huge variety of sports and activities, including tennis, trampolines, water jumps, archery, beach volley etc. You also get two entries to the Lagon swimming pool, one entry to the mini-golf, one to the multimedia centre plus free use of chairlifts for walkers. There’s also a weekly programme of events with music, contests and demonstrations.

Even if you’re not sporty, there’s plenty to see around the lake, not least a gentle stroll around the circumference, with picnic areas and restaurants along the way. Oh, and a renowned golf course.

2. Pull on your boots and go for a real walk...

There are well-signed trails for all abilities, including long-distance routes for experienced walkers (with mountain refuges for overnight stops).

Beaufortain, mountain view Areches
The Alpine pastures above Arêches in the Beaufortain

The Beaufortain walking tour would delight anyone who adores Savoyard picture-postcard chalets and lush Alpine pastures, turquoise blue lakes, flower-filled meadows and herds of cows, bells-a-tinkling… a timeless image of the Alps. Join a guided tour with an experienced leader for an unforgettable Alpine holiday.

Even if you’re not sporty, there’s plenty to see around the lake, not least a gentle stroll around the circumference, with picnic areas and restaurants along the way. Oh, and a renowned golf course.

3. Let the train (and the tram) take the strain...

It’s easy to travel to the Alps by train from the UK, but the Tramway du Mont Blanc will take you to the top of the mountain too.

Tramway Mont Blanc
The Tramway du Mont Blanc takes passengers on a spectacular journey, shown here at Col de Voza

In summer the world-famous mountain tramway remains as sensational as when it opened in 1913, and climbs all the way to the Nid d’Aigle (2380m), an epic journey of around 1hr 15min. There are two main departure points – Le Fayet and Saint-Gervais, with six stops en route, enabling walkers to follow varied signed itineraries.

4. Find out what a mountain bike is really for...

There are testing downhill trails where you can seek white-knuckle thrills in most Alpine resorts, with chairlifts specially adapted to take you and your bike to the summit. Those of a gentler disposition can enjoy cycling in stunning scenery around Les Saisies in the Val d’Arly where a bike-carrying bus service transports you back to the village.

Mountain-biking, Les Saisies, Val d'Arly
Cycling the mountain trails near Les Saisies

Most Alpine resorts offer mountain bike hire and have some mountain trails to follow. The real enthusiasts head for the Portes du Soleil area and resorts such as Morzine and Châtel for the challenges offered by one of the largest networks of cycling trails in the Alps.

5. Discover real Grand Touring...

The scenic Route des Grandes Alpes runs for 684km from Lac Léman to the Mediterranean – an amazing Alpine experience, including many of the classic climbs and descents made world-famous by the Tour de France.

Lac de Roselend, Beaufortain
The azure blue Lac de Roselend, one of the highlights on the Route des Grandes Alpes.

The Route des Alpes, as it was originally known, was conceived by the Touring Club de France in 1911, and during the 1920s soon became one of Europe’s most celebrated touring itineraries. The Route was finally completed in July 1937, with the opening of the 2770m Col de l’Iséran, the highest pass in Europe. Col de l’Iséran isn’t opened until early June and many Cols will close after the first snowfalls in October so plan your journey accordingly.