"Summer in the alps - so what d'you do if you can't go skiing?"

I've been asked this question a few times when I say I'm off to the Alps for the summer. It's probably better to turn it round and say what don't (or rather can't) you do...


Snow has typically disappeared from the valley in late Spring, with the higher trails being mostly clear by late June - just in time for the Ultra-trail du Haut-Giffre weekend,, although some years there is enough snow remaining to make the longer courses even more challenging..


The alpine meadows spring into life as soon as the snow starts to disappear and by early summer are alive with fresh green grass, brightly coloured flowers and the sound of cow bells.

The weather


Daytime temperatures average mid - high 20's in July and August cooling down at night to around 13' which is perfect for a good night's sleep.


If it gets really hot for more than a few days, the weather can generally be relied upon to produce a late afternoon / early evening thunderstorm of truly biblical proportions to cool things back down again. The covered verandah is a great place to sit, G&T in hand, and watch the clouds roll in.


Swimming, beaches and watersports


And whilst we may not have the sea, or extensive beaches, we do have lovely mountain lakes. the closest of which, Lac Bleu, has a beach, with lifeguards on duty every day in July and August, and is less than five minutes walk from the chalet. We love going paddle-boarding early morning followed by a refreshing swim.


There's also an open air swimming complex set in parkland in Samoëns with a water slide, and three other pools including a 25m swimming pool and toddler pool. There's lots of space to spread out on the grass with a picnic, including some lovely shady areas and there's also a café. It's an easy bike ride along the river from the chalet.


The river Giffre is only a couple of minutes walk from the chalet and is brilliant for whitewater rafting. Rafting trips generally start the far side of Sixt but the rafting companies all take you to the start point by bus. There are a couple of rafting outfits within walking distance of the chalet, one of which runs trips all the way back down river to their base.



Activities on two wheels

The Grand Massif is perfect for cycling whether you're a roadie keen to bag some cols, a mountain biker looking for downhill action, a family looking for some fresh air adventures, or somewhere in between.


The start of the Col de Joux Plane is 2 km from the chalet and the Col de Ramaz / Col de l'Encranaz around 10 km. Slightly further afield, but easily rideable on a day out is the Col de Columbière.


Mountain bikers are equally well catered for with fantastic natural, technically challenging single track in the valley itself. In peak summer season, the ski lifts are open daily - out of season one of the local mountain bike shops runs minibus uplifts to key points and there are some great guides based locally, although they do get booked up quite quickly.


There's also a lovely loop from the chalet up to the Six nature reserve that takes in some of the hamlets in the valley.

For young families, there's a lovely route along the river in both directions, which, if you head towards Samoëns, could easily be combined with a visit to the swimming pool.


If you don't want to bring bikes with you then there are lots of hire shops with options ranging from basic to top range bikes, including e-versions and trailers and seats for children..


Adjacent to Lac Bleu there's a new pump track, which is very popular.


And if all this isn't enough, you can even rent fat scooters, e-scooters and segways!


Adventure parks and playgrounds


Next to Lac Bleu you'll also find crazy golf, an assault course, highropes / zipwire adventure courses, an airbag, a bouncy castle / water fun park and crazy golf.


Adjacent to the Lac aux Dames in Samoëns there's a large playground, airbag and bouncy castle, basketball and tennis courts and a golf driving range across the lake.


Walks


There are so many lovely walks in the area, ranging from the gentle stroll along the river taking in the sculpture trail to multi day adventures at altitude; see the separate blog posts on some of our favourite walks, By using the ski lifts, it's possible to get up to 2100 m above Samoëns and it's then a lovely ridge walk back and down to Morillon 1100 via l'Igloo - one of our favourite restaurants summer and winter, and then down Marvel - one of the best green runs in the Alps, which is surprisingly steep in places without snow!.


Another highlight is the CIrque du Fer à Cheval at the end of the valley, around ten minutes drive past Sixt. There's an easy loop circuit along the valley floor that takes a couple of hours, with a café (Buvette du Prazon) part way around - their home made blueberry tart is delicious.

A little way past the café you'll come to one of the many waterfalls, the pool at the bottom makes for a chilly paddle and it's a popular picnic spot When you reach the far end of the loop (le Bout du monde (or the end of the world)), it's worth continuing uphill for a little way for stunning views back towards Sixt. Alternatively you can take the steep climb from behind the Buvette du Prazon, which rewards you with amazing views before descending to rejoin the main loop.



And if all this isn't enough...


How about rock climbing, caving, parapenting, via ferrata, horse riding, waterskiing, fishing, or even just ambling around a produce market and then relaxing with a cold drink at any one of the lovely café bars? The Alps in Summer are a perfect destination for families, who want fresh air and activities, but want to be able to organise things themselves.


#summerinthealps #morillon #samoens #giffrevalley #summeractivities #summerholidays #freshair #mountains #familyholiday #activityholiday #alpinesummer

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