Two words: the Alps.
If what springs to mind is a snowy Swiss village or an image of the Royal family gracefully skiing down the slopes in matching snowsuits (Kate and Wills were famously papped smooching – for the first time – in Klosters), then it’s time for some tough love – you’re missing the best of the alps.
While in the winter it might be all about hopping on a ski train and indulging in a little après ski in the French or Swiss Alps, there’s another season just as worthy of your attention – summer.
Ah yes, summer. The season that makes the long, dark, cold winters bearable. The season where bedtime is just a suggestion and sandals make more sense than any other type of footwear. This year, instead of spending your holidays on a crowded beach or in hot, smoggy city, break the mould and head on out to the Alps for a true taste of the great outdoors.
Free from crowds and for a fraction of the winter prices, here’s what we love best about the Swiss Alps in the summertime…
Yes, we’re still talking about Alpside accommodation. Come the great thaw, the pricey ski chalets offer much cooler prices – even luxury villas are known to come down as much as a third of the price they’d cost between December and February. Standard accommodation is even better – you could bag yourself a bargain that’s two thirds cheaper than what you paid just a few months before.
Breath-taking is one way of putting it. While in the winter you’ve got the stunning contrast of blue skies and white slopes, how about lush green valleys, sparkling white peaks, crisp blue skies, bright blue rivers and vibrant white, yellow, pink and blue wild-flowers. You could scarcely find a more naturally stunning place on Earth, and even if you’re not an avid outdoorsman, there’s still plenty to feast your eyes on.
If you want warm sunny rays without the stifling heat then get ready – you’ve found the promised land. Well protected from the wind and rain by the imposing mountains, Valais is the country’s largest wine producer and home to long, sunny days and bearable temperatures. It’s too high for mosquitoes and the crisp fresh water lakes offer swimming so fresh you could literally bottle the water up and drink it.
Swimming, boating, hiking, snowshoeing, golfing – when it comes to outdoor adventures, if you dream it, you can do it. Afternoon and multi-day excursions with a group and certified tour guide are available, or if that’s not your style, you can head out and explore the area by bicycle. Tandem anyone?