10 of the best new summer activity holidays in the Alps | Travel


Les Arcs bike trail, Mont Blanc, France

Car-free family ski resort and outdoor activity base Arc 1950 has opened another bike route for the summer, one that goes through the centre of the village – so if staying in the resort, you can pedal right back to your apartment. Buying a mountain bike pass provides access to 180km of marked trails for all levels; that’s 23 trails with nine downhill runs and two cross-country circuits among the count. A short drive from Chamonix, the village enjoys spectacular views of Mont Blanc.
Half-day mountain bike pass €15 adult, €12 children, arc1950.com

Underground via ferrata in southern France



Photograph: Alamy

On 1 July, a dramatic underground via ferrata will open in the Dévoluy massif cave system in the southern French Alps. Usually associated with mountaintop trails, via ferrata allow you to safely traverse dramatic paths with the help of ladders, hand holds and wires to clip a harness to. The 300-metre route leads adventure-seekers along an intense subterranean journey, illuminated by headlamps.
Free, ledevoluy.com

Thermal swimming, Gastein valley, Austria

Alpentherme Gastein, Thermalwasserbadesee, Sandra Lahnsteiner (c) Alpentherme Bad Hofgastein, Wolkersdorfer (14)


Alpentherme Gastein, a spa in Austria’s Gastein valley, near Salzburg, has an impressive new addition planned for this summer: two new thermal swimming lakes. The lakes have taken two years to complete and cost £3.8m. The spring-fed lakes (1,300 and 370 square metres) are refreshed daily from the Hohe Tauern mountains and are kept clean by an organic cleansing system, meaning no chlorine or stinging eyes. The family area of the resort has also seen fun new additions, including a four-lane, 28-metre wave slide and a new toddler-and-babies pool. All this can be enjoyed with the Alpine peaks of Salzburgerland adorning the skyline.
Day ticket €33.50 adult, €19 children, family €81, alpentherme.com. For accommodation ranging from budget to five-star hotels, self-catering apartments and farm-stays visit gastein.com

Introduction to mountaineering, Aosta, Italy

Gran Paradiso Climb weekend in Italy


KE Adventure Travel has launched a package designed for “novice alpinists” and suitable for anyone with a decent level of fitness and, importantly, a head for heights. The five-day trip, incorporating a weekend, will see you summit the 4,000m Gran Paradiso, as well as trek across the Vallee Blanche to the Aiguille du Midi. Participants will learn mountaineering skills, with support and tuition from accredited guides (and a ratio of one guide to four for the whole weekend). Once the trip is completed, the final night is spent soaking in a sauna in a chalet in Chamonix.
£795pp, excluding flights, keadventure.com

Ziplining, Jungfrau, Switzerland

Grindelwald, Switzerland. from heavenpublicity.co.uk


Few things get the heart racing quite like flying through the mountain air on a zipline; make that an 800-metre zipline that reaches speeds of more than 50mph and you have an attraction that should draw thrill seekers from far and wide. Opening on 1 August, the new line is from the summit of Grindelwald-First to Schreckfeld. And that’s just the start: from there, hop on a mountain cart and race along a track to Bort, before switching to a “Trottibike scooter” – part bike, part scooter – all the way to Grindewald.
Tickets from £23 (£42 including cable car ride and Trottbike scooter), jungfrau.ch

Hiking in the Belledonne, France

Hiking in the Belledonne


A new route has been added to the Grande Randonnée (long-distance footpath) this year: a route along the fairly unspoilt Belledonne range on the edge of the main Alpine ridge. La Haute Traversée de Belledonne (the High Crossing) follows the routes shepherds take in search of greener grass, and will provide walkers with views across the French countryside (mountain pastures, lakes and forests, with wildlife including alpine marmottes, chamois and ibex). The 11-stage route has plenty of accommodation options, such as mountain refuges, gîtes and yurts. It’s never been easier (or cheaper) to visit the region: from 3 July, Ryanair will operate a new flight from Stansted to the airport at Grenoble, starting from £12.99 each way.
For further information visit hautetraverseedebelledonne.com

Gstaad’s first Glacier 3000 marathon, Switzerland

Gstaad’s First Marathon on Glacier 3000



Photograph: Pascal Mieville

This is one of the most remarkable racing landscapes, taking runners from asphalt and forest trails to alpine ice and snow. And to celebrate a decade of the Glacier 3000 run – a 26km odyssey from Gstaad to the Glacier 3000 summit – this year will see the launch of a new challenge for long-distance runners: the first Glacier 3000 marathon. The epic challenge traverses mountain trails and passes streams, a dam and the lakeshore before a gruelling climb to Alp Seeberg, at 1,712 metres above sea level.
Registration deadline is 24 July. Race fees start at £88pp including clothing, transport to the finish line, transportation on the Glacier 3000 mountain railways, shuttle bus to Gstaad and food and drink coupon. For more information visit glacier3000.run.ch

Mountain walking in Piedmont, Italy

Mountain walking in Piedmont with Inntravel


Inntravel has launched a new walking route, a challenging eight-night trek through Piedmont’s remote Valle Maira in Italy’s Cottian Alps close to the French border. The “forgotten valley”, where locals still speak the Occitan language, is dotted with lavender-clad hillsides, second world war relics and villages that are being revived thanks to the renovation of a network of ancient paths throughout the valley – and a rediscovery of its artistic and architectural heritage. The self-guided walk includes accommodation at a variety of places, including a farm stay, a guesthouse and a hotel.
£995pp based on two sharing, including eight nights’ half-board accommodation and six picnics, luggage transfers between accommodation, and walking route maps and notes, innntravel.co.uk

Les 2 Alpes Outdoor Festival, France

Les 2 Alpes Outdoor Festival


Les 2 Alpes resort has launched a new outdoor festival giving visitors the chance to watch and try a range of activities. This includes 100km of mountain bike tracks, three trail running competitions and an obstacle race. It will also be a chance to witness some of the world’s best slackliners. Slacklining is walking across a length of flat webbing, but unlike a tightrope, the line flexes as you cross it. While beginners will be able to practise the skill on a line suspended over a crash mat, the pros can be seen walking above the lake, and attempting to break the highline world record. The Paragliding Pre World Cup will also take place during the festival, meaning even more aerial action to witness.
Festival from 22-25 June. A weekend pass (Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June) is €45 and provides access to all the activities and competitions, ete.les2alpes.com

Spend the night in a tree tent, France

Undiscovered Mountains overnight tree top adventure in the southern French alps


Among the alpine activities available from Undiscovered Mountains is an overnight tree-top adventure in the southern French Alps. With the help of guides, spend the day climbing trees up high up into the canopies, before spending the night sleeping in specialised tree hammocks. This year tree tents are also available, so the whole family can cosy up in a tent hanging within the trees. The outdoor specialist is also launching other activities this year, including a new 16km kayak descent on the Durance river and fat-biking for kids.
Seven night multi-activity holiday from €395 adults, €330 children, depending on accommodation choice (ranges from camping to hotel), undiscoveredmountains.com



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