5 ways to enjoy summer in the Alps

The fun doesn’t stop in Europe's greatest mountain range when the snow melts, says Ben Ross

You visit the Alps to dress up in lurid ski wear, slug gluhwein and gorge yourself on hot cheese, right? Well, think again. The Alpine summer is the perfect time to enjoy the best of the great outdoors in a setting that comes alive once that coating of white powder has dissolved. And if you must ski? Well, you can do that too – in glorious sunshine.

Walk from Switzerland to Italy

For centuries the 65km Via Spluga was used to transport people and goods between the town of Thusis in Switzerland and the Italian town of Chiavenna, over the dramatic Splügen Pass. A new self-guided package allows you to hike this spectacular route, with your luggage transported ahead of you and the final 48 hours spent splashing about on Lake Como.

Inntravel (01653 617000; inntravel.co.uk) offers the nine-night trip for £1,235pp including B&B, six dinners and five picnics. Flights extra.

Learn to yodel

Yodelling has long been part of Alpine culture. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it involves “a rapid alternation between the normal voice and falsetto”; it was originally used by shepherds calling in their flocks.

Of course you want to try it yourself. New this summer is Austria’s first guided yodel hiking trail, in Mayrhofen. Along the route you stop at eight “designated yodel stations”, in an attempt to perfect your “yodel-ee-ii-ooos!” The trail costs £35 per person and runs on Wednesdays until 31 August. Inghams (01483 791114; inghams.co.uk) offers a week’s half board at the Sporthotel Manni’s in Mayrhofen from £699pp, with  flights from Gatwick and transfers.

Enjoy a musical interlude

The Montreux Jazz Festival (montreuxjazz.com) runs from Friday to 19 July, with a wealth of concerts (many free) to choose from. Between the jazz flute solos you can visit the Queen Studio Experience, which opened last December (queenstudioexperience.com) and is housed in the Mountain Studios once owned by the band (free admission). Or head to nearby Gruyères, where the HR Giger Museum celebrates the surreal work of the Swiss painter and set-designer responsible for Alien, who died earlier this year (hrgigermuseum.com; CHF12.50/£8.50).

Thomson Lakes (020 8939 0740; thomsonlakes.co.uk) offers a week’s half-board at the four-star Hotel Vila Toscan in Montreux from £1,035pp, with flights from Luton to Geneva and rail transfers, departing 12 July.

Attempt an unseasonal sport

Yes, there’s still skiing to be had. France’s Les Deux Alpes resort provides access to the largest European glacier used for summer skiing via the Jandri Express gondola. The glacier is open from 7am to 12.30pm daily until 30 August. Peak Retreats (0844 576 0123; peakretreats.co.uk) has a week’s self-catering at the new Au Coeur des Ours residence, which sleeps five. The price of £281pp also includes ferry crossings and six-day glacier ski passes. The pass also allows you to fill your afternoons with other activities, including daily access to the resort’s pool and ice rink, summer toboggan run and lifts at Alpe d’Huez, Serre Chevalier, Montgenèvre or Puy-St-Vincent.

Go electric

E-bikes are readily available in Alpine resorts, providing powered assistance for those keen to pedal over all that undulating scenery. However, the luxury Tschuggen Grand Hotel (00 41 81 378 99 99;  tschuggen.ch) in Arosa, Switzerland, is increasing the voltage by offering test drives in the all-electric Tesla Model S, which can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds.

The car is available from 1 August to 21 September and there is, ahem, no charge for guests. A three-night break at the Tschuggen Grand, including breakfast, two gourmet picnics, costs from CHF1,590 (£1,090) per double.

sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor