Now that summer is over, thoughts inevitably turn to holidays next year. I don’t know about anyone else, but we certainly spend a lot of time thinking about holidays, talking about holidays and researching holidays – at least 90% of which we won’t go on.
We all have different priorities. I like a short flight because I’m a nervous flier, my eldest is looking for adventure. The rest of us like a bit of adventure, but he wants a lot more than we do. None of us want weather that is too hot and none of us want to sit on a beach or by a pool the whole time we’re away. And of course one thing my husband and I think about, but which the kids don’t consider, is the cost. The further away it is, the longer we stay away for, the more hotel rooms we need (you can’t get a room for five anywhere), the more it costs.
One place we have considered that seems to tick a fair few boxes is the Swiss Alps. We could cut out the problem of the two hotel rooms by staying in a Swiss cabin. There’s some lovely, spacious cabins, combining traditional and contemporary decor and, best of all, they have stunning views!
Of course, when you think of the Alps, you tend to think of skiing, because that’s what they’re best known for. My husband has always wanted us to go skiing. He went on a school trip as a teenager and has never forgotten how much he loved it. Then we do what we always do and look at the cost in the school holidays and multiply it by five and think maybe not just yet… Never say never though.
You know me, I like nothing more than being outside and being active. Skiing does look amazing and I would be happy just to go along for the views and the fresh air. I’m not a fan of cold, but I know if I had the right clothing on, I could be very happy indeed in the Alps.
I actually did visit once, many, many years ago. It is so long ago, that my memories are quite hazy. I went on a French exchange to Annecy, which is in the Alps, very close to the Swiss border. It’s so close that we actually flew to Geneva rather than a French airport. One weekend, we drove across the border and I tried cross country skiing. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever had skis on. There’s a photo of me wearing jeans, skis and a big smile. I remember exactly what that photo looked like, but not a lot else. Apart from the sunburn! I had never realised you could get sunburn when there was snow on the ground. It would be lovely to go back there one day and try skiing for longer and wearing the right clothing.
But the Swiss Alps are about so much more than skiing. You can really enjoy the scenery with a trip on a panoramic train or a bus tour (although I’m not sure how my daughter would cope with either of these with her travel sickness). Or you could take a boat trip on Lake Lucerne and enjoy the Alps from a different angle and at a much slower pace.
When I picture the Alps, I picture them with snow on them. But there is no reason why you shouldn’t holiday there in the summer. This is something we have actually looked into before. Prices tend to be lower than in ski season, but there’s still plenty to do. It ticks a lot of our boxes – not too hot, not too far away and plenty of scope for adventure!
My eldest is pretty obsessed with mountains. He’s climbed Snowdon countless times and did the Three Peaks with my husband and some friends last year. So he would LOVE to go hiking or climbing in the Swiss Alps. I know he would like to take a walk in the Jungfrau region. Actually climbing the 4158 metre mountain might be too much, even for him, but we would all enjoy a challenging hike in the area. I think this would definitely fulfil his exciting and challenging criteria for his holiday. But there are also plenty of less challenging hiking routes in the area, some of which don’t even involve going up a steep path.
Regular readers will know we recently went on a massive zip line at Adrenalin Quarry in Cornwall. What about a zip line in the Alps? There’s a new zip line in Jungfrau which is 800 metres long and reaches speeds of over 50mph. The line goes from the summit of Grindelwald-First to Schreckfeld. That’s definitely one for my adrenalin junkie daughter!
If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can take a drive through the mountains and really enjoy the stunning scenery at your own pace. This is only recommended between June and September, due to the snow. Many mountain roads are actually closed in winter. Mountain roads require special driving skills, so you need to be sure you know exactly what you’re doing before you get behind the wheel. But if you’re careful and take regular breaks, what better way could there be to enjoy the sights and capture some beautiful photos of your Alpine holiday?
The more I think about it, the more I think that the Swiss Alps could be the perfect place for our family holiday next year.
What do you think? Have you ever visited the Alps in summer?
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