If you’re like a lot of people, the Alps bring to mind steep ski pistes, snow-covered peaks, and lounging around the fire sipping an après-ski aperitif. But in-the-know travelers know that one of the best times to visit the Alps is summer. Not only is the terrain bursting with natural beauty—an ideal environment for a multitude of activities and warm-weather experiences—but room rates are cheaper at most hotels, meaning some of the world’s best mountain properties can be visited at a resounding bargain. Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite alpine summer escapes.
Huus Gstaad typifies the very best of Alpine life, marrying natural splendor and outdoor adventure with high-style comfort. Summertime outdoor opportunities include river rafting, canyoning, rappelling, climbing lessons with mountain guides, guided bike tours, hot air ballooning, and numerous other adventures.
An outdoor thermal pool hypnotically appears as though flowing over its own edge to lead its occupants straight into the surrounding soaring mountains. Nestled deep in the valley of Adelboden, The Cambrian reinvigorates the Swiss Chalet for the 21st century. Among other fantastic summertime activities, the hotel organizes paragliding, boat trips, and excursions to nearby towns and cities.
In the winter, one of the joys of staying at Nira Alpina, a glass-and-timber-built mountain sanctuary just five kilometers from the popular resort town of St. Moritz, is being able to ski right up to the entrance. But summertime offers its own singular delights, including exceptional hiking and biking trails and a perfect setting for windsurfing, sailing, and canoeing on Silvaplana Lake, situated at the middle of the mountain range.
Nira Montana is a rare contemporary gateway to an authentic Alpine experience in Italy’s Aosta Valley. Set against the majestic grandeur of Mont Blanc, hotelier Puri’s second Alpine property brings the same magic to the mountains as his first, Nira Alpina. In the summer, Nira Montana organizes a special tour, “The Secrets of a Real Woodman,” that offers guests two hours of trekking and barbecuing in a mountain hut. Those who dare have to chance to cross Dora La Thuile River on a 30-meter-high pulley.