Summer holidays in the mountains may just be the best-kept secret around. One of the first things people tend to say when they visit the Alps during the summer months is, ‘WOW, I never realised it was like this?!’
After the skis and snowboards have been packed away at the end of April, Morzine and Les Gets are transformed from snow-covered resorts into lush, green, bustling towns.
There are so many exciting activities to do, that it’s pretty difficult to narrow them down to a ‘must-do’ list but here are 6 reasons why summer holidays in the Alps are just unbeatable…
1) Swimming in Lakes
There’s something really special about swimming in Alpine lakes; the bright colours, the crystal clear water and of course the stunning views of the mountains.
We’re lucky enough to have two gorgeous lakes in the local area; Lake Montriond (1300m) which is framed by impressive mountains and Les Gets lake which is slightly smaller (250m) but just as beautiful.
There’s an abundance of things to keep you entertained lakeside, and for that reason it is the perfect summer picnic spot. You could choose from hiring a kayak or paddle board, poney walks, mini golf or not to mention a long lunch in one of the fabulous restaurants overlooking the lake.
Lake Montriond has a fantastic flat walking trail that winds around the edge of the water and consequently is popular with runners, families and everyone in between. Les Gets Lake, although slightly smaller, offers just as much to keep you entertained. There’s a great waterslide into the lake, nearby high ropes course and of course the infamous Wibit (a giant inflatable water playground with slides, water climbing wall and a hilarious human catapult you can fling your friends off).
Les Gets Wibit
*Access to Les Gets lake is included in the multipass and Lake Montriond is free access.*
2) Al fresco breakfasts
We’re big on food at Jack & Jill and there is nothing better than a typically French breakfast enjoyed outside with the sunshine beating down on your face. For the most delicious croissants and pain au chocolats we’d recommend heading to the Bonbonniere in the centre of Morzine and of course you’ll have to treat yourself to some of their freshly squeezed orange juice.
If you would prefer to get someone to do the cooking for you, then head down the Rue de Bourg to Satellite Coffee. They have a delicious menu featuring sausage and bacon baps to vegetarian and vegan delights… oh and arguably the best coffee around. Check them out here Satellite Coffee. Some exciting news for summer 2021 is the opening of a new venue ‘Le Local’ from the guys at Spoonycooks. We’re looking forward to tasting their incredible food in a cafe/ restaurant setting. Their style will be Gastropub/ Brasserie and will feature breakfasts and brunches in a newly renovated space Le Local.
After the winter snow has melted, the flora and fauna takes over, bringing a wealth of colours and sounds…and you don’t have to travel far to see the local wildlife. Firstly, it will be hard to visit the Alps and not see an Alpine cow, complete with a huge traditional bell hanging around it’s neck. You will feel like you’ve been transported to ‘The Sound of Music’ as you wake up to the ringing of the cow bells.
As you venture further up into the mountains and off the beaten track, you will find the majestic Ibex, Chamois and Bouquetin (types of mountain goat) who favour the rocky, steep terrain. These animals are excellent climbers and can be shy so it’s a real honour to get close to one!
Bird watching is just as enjoyable in the Alps with a huge variety of birdlife. A couple of our favourite birds to spot locally are Griffon Vultures with a wingspan of up to 2.8m – we were once circled by around 20 at the summit of Nyon mountain! Secondly would be the Golden Eagle which is another protected species. They have incredible sight and can see their prey over 1km away, if you manage to catch one diving for a marmotte then you’d be ticking off the top must-see Alpine animals in one go!
4) Awesome day trips on your doorstep
Unlike winter where you only really see the local resort, the summer months open up a much bigger area to explore.
Annecy is a favourite day trip and is only 1h 15minutes away. With the windling canals and pretty flower-lined cobbled streets, it is easy to see why it’s been called the ‘Venice of France’.
Morillon is another great hub of summer activity, with a fabulous pump track next to a ice-blue coloured lake. You can cycle along a treelined path to Samoëns and do everything from acro-branching and climbing inflatables, to horse riding and tennis.
On the edge of lake Leman is a small medieval town called Yvoire. The town is well known for its beautiful buildings and summer floral displays, as well as the Jardin des Cinq Sens, a sensory garden in the centre of the town. Whilst wandering through the quaint cobbled streets of this old fishing town, you must visit one of the restaurants to sample the local freshwater fish… it is absolutely delicious!
5) Whizzing up and down on the chairlifts
If you’ve been on a ski and snowboard holiday you’ll know how great the lift networks are. These magical machines give you easy access to the highest peaks in a matter of minutes. Like the winter, the summer offers the same great access but you can also travel back DOWN on a chairlift! It is worth a mention that if you’ve never descended on a chairlift it can feel exposing and exhilerating in equal measures.
Not only are the lifts used to get mountain bikers to the start of the trails, but they open up a huge area to walkers that would otherwise be inaccessible by foot (or take double the amount of time). Some of our favourite hikes using the lifts are…
- The 45-minute trail from the top of the Mont Chery gondola to Mont Caly (a classic walk in Les Gets). There are stunning views of Mont Blanc and you can also refuel at the infamous Mont Caly restaurant Les Chevrelles, which is not only known for the delicious food but also the incredible views.
- The Mossettes chairlift takes you up to “Pointe des Mossettes” and provides access to Les Crosets in Switzerland which you can either do on foot or by taking Les Crosets chairlift. There’s a fabulous panoramic view of the Vallée d’Aulps mountains, as well as Swiss peaks and the Mont Blanc range…from the highest point in the Portes du Soleil!
- The Chaux Fleurie chairlift takes you to the Rochasson crest, which is an ideal starting point to explore the Portes du Soleil, with direct access to Chatel (France) and Swiss resorts too. Most importantly, the Chaux Fleurie chairlift arrives at the FANTASTICABLE – a zipwire flying at 60mph, 240m above the valley floor. It’s a must do activity for thrill seekers and is open to anyone weighing between 35kg – 120kg.
You can find lots of other Hiking and walking trails around Morzine and Les Gets here.
6) Activities in an unbeatable mountain setting
There are so many activities to do in the Alps during the summer, it can be difficult deciding how to fill your day. Holidaying in the mountains you may think you have to be an adrenaline junkie, but that is simply not the case. Firstly, with the amount of activities, you can choose between a more sedate and gentle pastime, or explore one of the more extreme sports on offer.
One thing that you can be certain of is, however you choose to fill your day, you will do it with a stunning backdrop that looks like an advert for Evian water (which is coincidently just down the road from us by lake Geneva!)
It’s hard to put into words exactly why the Alps are so special in the summer time; however it is the scenery that undoubtably leaves a lasting impression with visitors.
Firstly, let’s talk about the mountains. Huge impressive peaks that rise up into the clear blue skies. They are host to so many of our favourite activities; a take-off spot for paragliding, sunrise ridge climbs and not forgetting the world-class bike trails that wind down the mountainside. What’s more, we have not one, but TWO fabulous golf courses in the most jaw-dropping of settings, with views of the neighbouring mountains (namely Mont Blanc!)
Les Gets Golf
Secondly, we have to mention the free flowing streams and rivers. The river Dranse winds through the heart of the valley, eventually emptying out into Lake Geneva. The friendly guys at Frogs Rafting offer all the best water activities from hydospeeding and canyoning, to white water rafting and airboating. It’s one of the best ways to see the river and you can really appreciate the natural beauty and wildlife from a different angle.
Last to highlight, are the Lakes. We touched upon two earlier but these are just the tip of the iceberg. Within a short driving, hiking or biking distance, there are a myriad of colourful pools to discover. Famous for their brilliant shades of turquoise blues and emerald greens, some are glacier-fed lakes that will remain nice and cool for you to enjoy a dip under the summer sun. Others may be hidden between moutain tops or framed by lush trees. Lac des Mines d’Or is a gorgeous fishing lake and definitely worth a visit. There are great hiking and biking routes that go past it and a charming restaurant with stunning views.
Restaurant des Mines d’Or
So there you have it, the 6 best things about summer in the Alps. An unforgettable holiday packed with activities, gorgeous scenery, exciting wildlife and calming views… add in the fantastic french wine and delicious food and you definitely won’t want to leave!