Discover the soaring Swiss Alps in summer

Discover the soaring Swiss Alps in summerThis article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info

Sometimes you are offered an opportunity to go to places you may never dreamed of visiting. Recently some good friends invited us to their mountaintop wedding in Switzerland and we discovered how incredible the Swiss Alps in summer can be.

The Swiss Alps – Chablais Alps region

What do you think of when you imagine the countryside of Switzerland? Growing up, one of my favourite stories was Heidi. It is the tale of a little girl from the alps and her friendship with a sick child from the city.

Through Heidi I learnt about Switzerland’s lush green pastures, soaring mountains and picturesque villages and often dreamt of visiting.

mountain huts and chalets in the swiss alps

Our destination was the Chablais Alps in the Valais region of Switzerland most famous for the ski resort of Zermatt and the Matterhorn peak. We headed a little off the beaten track to Portes du Soleil perched high above the pretty village of Champéry.

This region lies between Mont Blanc to the west and Lake Leman (Geneva) to the east. From our vantage point just below the peak of Croix de Culet we had panoramic views across the Val-d’Illiez to the Dents du Midi mountain range whose seven peaks rise to over 3,000m elevation.

Summertime activities in the Swiss Alps

We stayed at the cosy En Plein Ciel chalet style hotel where the wedding was held. Access to the hotel is by cable car or a steep, winding and narrow road 1,000 metres up the mountain.

As we made our ascent we passed chalets and mountain huts overlooking the valley. Herds of cows with typical bells around their necks munched on the greenest grass you ever saw. Groups of hikers and mountain bikers waved to us and I could not help but think we had stumbled upon a perfect picture of the Swiss countryside.

swiss cows wearing traditional bell

For some reason I expected the alps to be a destination just for very serious hikers and walkers. But that is not the case. For those of us who prefer a more leisurely stroll amongst spectacular scenery you can choose smaller day walks or even easier overnight hikes.

Other popular alpine summer activities include trout fishing, horseback riding and canyoning. The weather in Swiss Alps in summer is around 25-28°C during the day, perfect for enjoying outdoor pursuits.

champery church clock tower

We headed down the mountain by cable car for lunch one day and strolled around picture perfect Champéry. Pretty wooden chalet style buildings were adorned with bright red geraniums. The little church bell tower was flanked by Swiss flags and we felt like we had arrived in the ideal Swiss village.

We had to have fondue for lunch despite our waiter’s disapproval. Apparently it was really too hot for fondue! In any case, the fondue and local charcuterie was delicious. After lunch we strolled through the village some more and browsed the boutiques before heading back to the cable car for the brisk 10 minute ride up the mountain.

cheese fondue in the swiss alps

Staying in a chalet style hotel in the Swiss Alps

Back up at En Plein Ciel we enjoyed an aperitif watching the sun stream in through the panoramic windows and on the rooftop terrace. The view of the valley and Dents du Midi ranges is one I will never forget.

At the restaurant we were treated to some wonderful meals featuring local produce by the in-house chef. You can expect hearty Swiss French style cuisine such as coq au vin in the restaurant which also boasts a large central open fire, comfortable couches and a billiard table.

dining room at en plein ciel

Rooms at En Plein Ciel are large, clean and cosy and are decorated in a simple chalet style. The staff at the family run hotel are extremely friendly and accommodating. Nothing was too much trouble and they made sure all the guests at the wedding had a comfortable stay. Check availability and prices at En Plein Ciel

Is it expensive to visit the Swiss Alps in summer?

But what about the cost? Switzerland is considered to be extremely expensive and many travellers avoid visiting for this reason. We drove from the UK in our own car stopping a couple of nights on the way and saved heavily on transport costs this way.

lush green pastures to walk across in the swiss alps

Accommodation costs in Switzerland are also considered to be out of reach of many however I found the prices at En Plein Ciel reasonable at around £140/€160 per night for our family of four. Doubles start at £72/€86.

Food costs can easily blow your travel budget. You can access two small supermarkets in Champéry where you can buy snacks and lunches to help reduce costs.

The Swiss Alps are a dream destination for many in winter but there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the alpine regions in summer. From hiking, sightseeing and enjoying the local cuisine and wine it is possible to completely unwind and relax in the fresh mountain air.

Having visited Switzerland in both winter and summer time I think there is definitely more value to be had during the summer.

Related  Postcard from Switzerland - things to do in Lucerne

A wedding to remember

wedding in the swiss alps

You might like to know about the wedding. It was a wonderful celebration of two cultures – Australian and French – in the most beautiful alpine setting.

The bride and groom fittingly set off on the first part of their honeymoon hiking the Dents du Midi circuit before a more relaxing break in Italy.

Resources for planning a summer visit to Champéry in the Swiss alps

Champéry tourism website
En Plein Ciel hotel
Dents du Midi walking and hiking trail guide and information


Have you visited Switzerland in summertime? What were your favourite places and activities?


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Alps region | Switzerland. Read this article for things to do in the Swiss Alps in summer. Stay in the mountains and enjoy spectacular views, walking trails, local produce and more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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19 Comments

  1. 8th September 2016 / 1:53 AM

    Ah… that cottage on the hill-top looks like how I have always imagined Heidi’s grandfather’s cottage to be. I have only visited Lausanne but I loved what I saw – the picture post card perfect natural beauty of the place.

    • 8th September 2016 / 7:28 PM

      I thought the same thing about the cottage too Ahila. Just how I imagined it. I went and reread the stories last week because I remember them fondly.

  2. 8th September 2016 / 10:13 AM

    I love this post! I’m not a fan of the cold and love sunshine, hot weather and blue skies. With that in mind, I’ve never been to the Alps in ski season but we did go to the Vosges Mountains near Strasbourg last summer and I loved it!

    • 8th September 2016 / 7:25 PM

      Thanks Mandy – I think you would enjoy a trip to the Swiss alps in summer. Lots of warm sunshiney days

  3. 8th September 2016 / 2:34 PM

    looks perfect!

  4. 8th September 2016 / 2:45 PM

    I can’t get over how beautiful this scenery is! Gorgeous post, I’m about to send it to my boyfriend to say we’re getting married there 😉

    • 8th September 2016 / 7:22 PM

      Ooh good luck with that Jamie, let me know how it goes!

  5. 8th September 2016 / 2:49 PM

    Of course you had to have cheese fondue! We’d have been the exact same. Either that or a mountaintop picnic with some goat’s cheese and bread wrapped up in a checked cloth. It’s amazing how it all looks exactly like the Switzerland you picture in the Heidi books. I’ve been skiing in Switzerland but only visited once outside winter – when my husband decided it would be ‘fun’ to run the Jungfrau mountain marathon.

    • 8th September 2016 / 7:21 PM

      Oh wow – you did the marathon? Amazing Clare! We have visited in the region in winter too but it is a completely different experience but equally as beautiful

  6. Anisa
    9th September 2016 / 12:39 AM

    I agree with you, I would much rather go to the Alps in the summer. Its nice that your friends gave you a reason to go (what a spectacular setting for a wedding!). I would love to do some hiking there.

  7. 13th September 2016 / 7:52 AM

    How amazing that you got to attend a wedding there! I can’t even imagine how beautiful it must have been. I’ve never thought of the Alps as a summer spot but after seeing your photos, I’m definitely reconsidering that notion!

    • 13th September 2016 / 8:27 PM

      The wedding was so beautiful Sally. Like you I would not have thought of visiting in summer but the area is really very pretty. I also liked the nearby Vaud region and its beautiful vineyards overlooking Lac Leman.

  8. thewordhermit
    13th September 2016 / 2:32 PM

    I would much prefer visiting the Alps in the summer when I could spend more time outside. I was enamored by Heidi when I was a kid as well, but I always assumed the Alps would be too expensive for our family. Well, we’re almost empty-nesters and I can’t wait to visit! Thanks for sharing your tips.

    • 13th September 2016 / 8:26 PM

      Ah yes, there are so many different opportunities to explore once the kids are no longer part of the travel equation. We are just starting our family travel journey and managed to keep things within a reasonable budget traveling to the Swiss Alps

  9. 13th September 2016 / 3:03 PM

    Heidi was one of my favorite childhood books and I actually still own it! I’ve seen the Alps in the spring while in southern Germany, and they were gorg! I definitely want to visit Switzerland to see them in the summer!

    • 13th September 2016 / 8:24 PM

      Ooh yes Star, springtime would be an amazing time to visit. I can imagine the wildflowers are in full bloom then. Divine

  10. 13th September 2016 / 6:33 PM

    Beautiful imagery of the alps – well done! I’ve yet to visit and am definitely liking how you described it as also a walker’s paradise.

    • 13th September 2016 / 8:23 PM

      Thanks so much Monica, I would definitely like to return one day and check out some of the walks. The scenery is so spectacular

  11. 14th September 2016 / 1:18 AM

    This just looks so unbelievably dreamy! I went to Switzerland in the early spring, but didn’t really get up to the alps, just in Lucerne. It looks like I really missed out though and I cannot wait to get up there. That hotel you stayed in looks really beautiful!

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