Witness the glorious views by exploring the Swiss Alps on foot © Shutterstock

The Alps: a hive of holiday activity in summer
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps at your own pace
1 Jul 2023

The warm summer months are now upon us, and with that, a chance to reconnect with the outdoors and ourselves. It is also the perfect opportunity to experience the many offerings of the Alps, where the once snow-clad mountains are a playground of activity, although the option to ski is still possible at places such as the Klein Matterhorn at 3,883m. There are 21km of pistes still open in the mornings and you can even explore the Matterhorn Glacier Palace, 15m inside the glacier.

With impeccable scenery, fresh mountain air and delightful villages to explore, it is the ideal place to escape to this summer. It has many attractions, particularly for those craving adventure or with a desire to witness some of the best alpine views that Europe has to offer.

Stretch your physical boundaries on a hike

One of the key attractions of the Swiss Alps in summer is the numerous hiking trails carved out for hikers with different levels of physical abilities. With more than 400km of trails, you can choose to explore at your own pace. The Daubensee Lake hiking trail offers a dramatic scene of the glaciers, the lake and surrounding summits. If you are lucky enough to be there on the last Sunday in July, you can witness the Shepherd Festival, held to mark the ties between the Bernese Oberland and the Villais region, and the herding of 800 sheep to the lake. On the other hand, the 10km long Fründun 

Hut hike around and above Lake Oeschinen is much more of a physical test. Despite its difficulty, you can see unrivaled views of one of the most beautiful high altitude lakes in Switzerland.

Descend one of the many mountain biking paths the Alps has to offer © Shutterstock

Experience the thrill of VTT

With mountain biking season in full swing, it is the perfect time to dust off the cobwebs on your favorite bike. Or alternatively, learn from the very beginning about how to maneuver the tracks of varying difficulty.

Visit Verbier, with its well-equipped bike park and two trails suiting either beginners or more experienced riders. From here, the Tour de Mont Fort track links the three resorts: Nendaz, Verbier and La Tzoumaz. There are 60km worth of ascents and it is one of the biggest challenges on bike in the Alps.

Notably, Verbier will be hosting the fifth ‘Verbier E-Bike Festival’ for the second year running in Val de Bagnes from the 10th-11th August, with all activities dedicated to e-biking. The beautiful mountainous landscape of the Alps is easily enjoyed with the e-bike powering you up the hills. There is even a race if you wish to participate – either 60km for beginners or 100km for e-bike experts. This year, they are committing themselves to improving sustainability to reduce environmental impact, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Adrenaline-seeking activities for all the family

Some lesser-known activities other than mountain biking and hiking have become wildly popular in the last few years. For example, a Via Ferrata tour which involves a climbing route with ropes, harnesses and ladders. It is certainly not for the fainthearted but allows for a unique experience and insight high above ground level. The Via Ferrata in Flims boasts amazing views of Crestasee, Caumasee and the entire region of Flims. 

An opportunity for thrillseekers to view the picturesque mountain scenes, is through ziplining and paragliding. The Forest Fun Park in Zermatt, boasts 31 ziplines, whilst the Mont 4 Zipline descends over a length of 1,400m from Mont Fort over the Tortin Glacier to Les Gentianes. Prepare to travel through the air at a top speed of 130km/hour as you are fastened to an experience that will enhance your perspective of the Alps.

Paragliding is the closest that humans can get to flying, so why not seize the chance to take flight over the magnificent mountain range that is the Alps. If you paraglide in tandem, you can share the experience, and enjoy the stunning views below you.

The Alaïa Bay Wave Park in Sion, which opened in 2020, has a dedicated wave pool and a host of surf school coaches ready to teach. It is only an hour’s drive from Zermatt, and the adventure park itself has views of Zermatt, Verbier and Crans-Montana.

A more leisurely approach

If sporting activities really aren’t your thing, there are other ways to unwind during the summer in the Alps. Popular pursuits include wine tasting or visiting one of the many spa hotels in just about any ski resort in Switzerland. The country’s biggest wine-producing region in the Valais canton provides some of the country’s finest wine tasting opportunities for tourists. The Martigny-Leuk trail is a 66km wine route with natural paths to walk or cycle along. There is always the bonus of indulging in the finest cheeses to accompany your wine after a long day walking…

Given the abundance of activities on offer, there is something for everyone of any age or ability. All these activities lie at your fingertips within a two-hour driving radius. Whether you want to experience Europe’s largest mountain range through sport or leisure, the Swiss Alps are waiting for your summer adventures.

* Mollie Fraser-Andrews is Editorial Coordinator for UN Today.
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