<p>Just as spectacular in summer as in winter, enjoy a plethora of activities during a summer holiday in the Alps.</p>
Photo: Daniel Zangerl/Lech Zurs Tourismus

Top 10 Summer Holidays in the Alps

Just as spectacular in summer as in winter, enjoy a plethora of activities during a summer holiday in the Alps.

Published at: 25 Apr 2022
Last updated at: 17 Feb 2023

Spending time in the mountains needn’t be confined to the colder months of the year. The Alps in summer is just as spectacular - arguably even more so. Summer in the Alps is when the region truly comes alive with lush green vegetation, wildflowers, shimmering lakes and a variety of wildlife. So forget about that boring beach break and take a look at our top alternative summer holidays in the Alps.

Serena Norton
Serena Norton

The Swiss Alps in Summer

Luxury Summer Chalets in Switzerland
Summer Skiing in ZermattPhoto: Michael Portmann

1. Enjoy a spot of summer skiing in Zermatt

Whilst there are plenty of things to do in Zermatt in summer, skiing in Europe's highest summer ski area should be at the top of everyone's bucket list. Take the gondola from Zermatt to the Klein Matterhorn at 3,883m and practice your turns on 21 km of pistes. The best time to enjoy Zermatt summer skiing is early in the morning before the conditions start to deteriorate under the strong morning sun.

Freestyle fans can get their kicks at the Zermatt Snowpark whilst those taking it a bit easier can watch the experts training on the glacier as they get ready for the next winter season.

Paragliding in Verbier in summerPhoto: verbier.ch/Melody Sky

2. Experience an adrenaline rush in Verbier

Verbier promises adventure and thrills this summer with a number of adrenaline-inducing activities on offer. See the beauty of Verbier in summer from a bird's eye view by taking to the skies on a tandem paragliding flight with a professional pilot. Fly over the spectacular alpine valleys and snow-capped peaks with Verbier Summits on a flight lasting up to 30 minutes - no experience required!

If you're feeling even braver, why not try a tandem parachute jump from a helicopter over the Val de Bagnes? A tandem skydiving experience with Alpsskydive includes a 15-minute helicopter flight and jump with a drop time of 40 seconds. Once the free fall is over, you still have 10 minutes of canopy flight time to recover and enjoy the views.

Kitesurfing in St Moritz in summerPhoto: Filip Zuan/Engadin St Moritz Tourismus

3. Make a splash in St Moritz

Irresistable to wind and kite surfers, the Engadin's Lake Silvaplana is a mecca for water-sport lovers around the world. The famous Majola wind combined with the sublime mountain panorama attracts numerous surfers and sailors to St Moritz in summer. Each year, Lake Silvaplana and Lake St. Moritz host the World European and Swiss Sailing Championships, but if you are just starting out then there are a variety of courses on offer to help you learn how to sail.

If you prefer to take it a little easier, then head out on a paddleboard and explore the crystal-clear waters at a more leisurely pace. There are also a number of smaller lakes suitable for swimming. Lakes such as Lej de Staz reach pleasant temperatures in July and August and are ideal for taking a dip.

The French Alps in Summer

Luxury Summer Chalets in France
Mountain biking in Les Gets in summerPhoto: V. Ducrettet/OT Les Gets.

4. Go on a mountain bike tour of Les Gets

If you're a mountain biking fanatic, then there is nowhere better to ride than Les Gets in summer. Les Gets Bikepark is a world-famous mountain biking site and playground for all disciplines including downhill mountain biking (DHI), cross-country (XCO), freestyle, freeride and electric mountain biking. Suitable for all levels, there are 128 km of marked trails to explore as well as numerous fun zones.

This year, there's the added excitement of the DHI and XCO MTB 2022 World Championships. Taking place from 24-28th August, this must-see event brings together the best riders in each discipline.

Step into the Void in Chamonix in summerPhoto: OT Chamonix Mont Blanc SA

5. Hit the heights of Chamonix

For breathtaking views, look no further than the delights of Chamonix in summer. Get up close and personal with the summit of Mont-Blanc from the Aiguille du Midi. A cable car takes you from the centre of Chamonix up to the summit of Aiguille du Midi (3842m). From here you can experience 360° panoramic views from multiple viewing platforms, dine at Le 3842 (one of the highest restaurants in Europe), or "Step into the Void" (a 2.5m glass box that juts out over a precipice). Afterwards, take a stroll over to the famous "Mer de Glace" and catch the little red Montenvers train back down to the resort.

Often referred to as the "capital of world climbing' Chamonix is also popular with mountaineers and climbers in the warmer season. Whilst there are many extreme rock climbing ascents, there are also easily accessible beginner and family-friendly crags which provide superb rock climbing experiences if you are new to the sport.

Golfing in Megeve in summerPhoto: Marie Bougault

6. Get a hole in one in Megeve

With an 18-hole golf course at the foot of the mountains, 21 practice driving ranges, a putting green and training bunker, it is no wonder that golfers flock to Megeve in summer. Created in 1923 and redesigned in 1964, the course if considered one of the most prestigious mountain golf courses with plenty of technical specificities.

During your summer holiday in Megeve, you can benefit from personalised teaching plans and coaching from reputed and competent professionals. Whether you are a novice just hitting your first ball or an expert golfer, Mont d'Arbois golf course caters for all.

The Austrian Alps in Summer

Luxury Summer Chalets in Austria
Fishing in the lakes of Lech in summerPhoto: Daniel Zangerl/Lech Zurs Tourismus

7. Fish in the waters of the Arlberg in Lech

Fishing in the peace and quiet of the Arlberg valley is a must for keen anglers. The flowing waters of the Arlberg provide a solid stock of riverine brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout and speckled trout. Soak up the beauty of Lech in summer by the crystal clear waters of Formarinsee lake, rated Austria's most beautiful place in 2015. Spullersee lake is another spot with fantastic mountain scenery and is home to brook char, salmonids and rainbow trout amongst others.

Fly fishing fans should head to the Lechbach stream where you can find rainbow and riverine brown trout.

Hiking in St Anton in summerPhoto: TVB St Anton am Arlberg/Josef Mallaun

8. Hike the Arlberg Trail from St Anton

This new long-distance hiking trail connects all five resorts in the Arlberg - St Anton, St Christoph, Stuben, Zurs and Lech. The well-signposted circular trail comprises a total length of 50 km, 6,038m in elevation difference by foot and takes around 18 hours to complete. Start from St Anton in a clockwise direction to coordinate the routes and cable car rides easily. Accessible in July, August and September, the route is designed to be done in three stages with overnight stays in Stuben and Lech.

If you do not want to walk the entire route, it is also possible to do individual stages or try easier variants.

The Dolomites in Summer

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Gourmet cuisine in Alta Badia in summerPhoto: Andre Schoenherr

9. Sample the gourmet flavours of Alta Badia

Alta Badia is increasingly becoming one of 'the' gastronomic spots in the mountains. Within an area of 15 square kilometres are four Michelin stars so this does not come as a huge surprise. From traditional Ladin restaurants to the elegance of fine-dining, there are a multitude of restaurants to discover in Alta Badia in summer. If you're a wine connoisseur then don't miss "Vins alaleria" where a local sommelier accompanies you on a wine tasting tour of some of the best wines of South Tyrol, surrounded by the incredible scenery of the Dolomites.

There are also several cooking demonstrations taking place throughout the summer in Alta Badia. Master the art of Ladin recipes at "Cujiné te ütia" or experience the popular strudel festival on 19 July 2022.

Family time in Val Gardena in summerPhoto: DOLOMITES Val Gardena

10. Spend time with family in Val Gardena

A family holiday in the Dolomites is a memorable experience. Val Gardena in summer is ideal for family holidays with countless adventures to enjoy both on and off the mountain. Keeping children entertained is easy with the PanaRaida adventure trail, High Ropes course and the weekly Val Gardena Kids Active programme for children aged between 6 and 12.

From hiking to horseback riding, there are also plenty of sports to choose from. Afterwards, cool off in the indoor and outdoor pools at Mar Dolomit which also offers a sauna, 65m adventure slide and several relaxation rooms for a well-earned massage.

Frequently asked questions

What are the Alps like in summer?

Summer in the Alps is spectacular with stunning scenery, fantastic weather and thrilling activities to enjoy. As the snow begins to melt, the Alps heat up and you can expect temperatures in some resorts to reach highs of 30°C with over 10 hours of sunshine per day. On average however, temperatures tend to stay around the mid to high twenties. The higher you go the cooler it is, making it perfect weather for activities such as hiking and mountain biking. Many resorts such as St Moritz have lakes where you can cool off or enjoy various water sports such as paddle boarding and sailing.

Can you ski in the Alps in summer?

Whilst the majority of ski areas are closed in summer due to lack of snow, there are several resorts which offer glacier skiing such as Zermatt, Saas Fee and Tignes.

What is there to do on summer holidays in the Alps?

From hiking and mountain biking to horse riding and climbing, there is so much to do in the Alps in summer. The Alps is the perfect destination for family holidays in summer with activities for all ages. Whether you like to get active hiking up a mountain or just sit back and enjoy the view from a mountain restaurant, there is something for everyone on a summer holiday in the Alps.