We think “summer” and we tend to think “beaches” and island getaways, and although ski holidays have become a favourite with timeshare owners in recent years, it’s actually the “low season” in the Alps that can be one of the most beautiful times of the year to enjoy the local scenery in a very different way.
So if you’re up for an alternative mountain holiday this season, we’ve shortlisted four different ways to get the most out of Europe’s finest mountains this summer:
Hiking in Austria
Despite the huge range of “off season” activities you can choose from in the Alps, most visitors tend to go for the walks – not surprisingly, as the Austrian Alps are stunning in the warmer months.
Instead of everything grinding to a halt after the snow melts, many of the chairlifts, cable cars and gondolas that shuttle skiers up the slopes continue to run all summer long.
There are some great day walks which start at many main resorts – in Ischgl in Austria, for example, you can access some 300km of hiking trails by cable car, gondola and chairlift and if you prefer the non-indie route, go on one of the free guided tours run by the local tourist board – see www.ischgl.com for details. They put on all sorts of walks, from nature hikes to very early outings to catch the full beautiful of the regions when the sun rises. You’ll need to pay for your lift pass.
Nordic Walking in Italy’s South Tyrol
The snow’s gone but if you love cross-country skiing, Nordic walking is the next best thing in summer. Head to the South Tyrol in Italy where you’ll find various specialist routes, as well as designated Nordic walking parks (check www.suedtirol.info for details).
For France lovers, Meribel is full of scenic Nordic walking trails (www.meribel.net) and serious walkers will enjoy the Mont Blanc Trail which passes through three countries – France, Switzerland and Italy – and you can follow the trail yourself or team up with others.
On two wheels
Bring your own bike – or rent one – and you really get to explore more on two wheels.
Popular biking destinations include Morzine and Les Gets in France as well as Saas Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland.
If you fancy a spot in the saddle while you’re on hols, check out the riding holidays at http://www.tiscover.com/portal/themen/en/summer_holidays-horseriding_in_the_alps . The scenery is absolutely delightful as you trek past larch forests, high meadows, traditional villages and deep blue lakes…
The ability to enjoy a totally different experience in the summer is magnetic, and if you’re the outdoors type, but you prefer sunshine and getting up the mountains to snow and coming down them, then summer timeshare in the Alps can be an intriguing proposition that offer you the chance to enjoy that unique environment every year.