You don’t need us to tell you how wonderful it is to spend winter time in the mountains – shimmering snow-capped peaks, crisp clear mornings full of promise – a perfect antidote to gloomy grey skies and damp, rainy days. What about summer though? Is a dual season resort really as good as they say? We think so.Summer can be just as magical as winter, with long warm nights, spectacular colours - think glowing sunsets against wildflower meadows, and the kind of green that can only come from a lifetime of alpine irrigation.
The range of activities – and relaxation - on offer through all seasons means superb scope for a rental property and the perfect base for a true home from home. Read on to discover the perfect place for your summer and winter base in the mountains.
1. Rafting and wine tasting in the Adige Valley
Now this may sound like a slightly risky combination, but this innovative trip combines the beautiful scenery of the Adige Valley with some of Italy’s most delicious food and wines. Although the region only produces a small amount of Italy’s wine – just 1.2 %- it is extremely high quality and made to meet exacting DOC standards. You’ll enjoy the stunning scenery as you travel, and most tours offer two or three stops for wine tasting.
If rafting and wine tasting sounds like a blend that just won’t work, Bolzano is one of the best places to enjoy a more traditional wine tour. A walking tour of the town will introduce you to the monasteries where the craft began, as well as the skills behind cultivation of the heirloom Lagrein and Santa Maddalena grapes.
2. Mont Blanc like you’ve never seen it before
Exhilaration and sky diving go hand in hand. Add in a unique view of one of the most famous mountain peaks in the world and the thrill goes off the scale. Several companies offer this fabulous experience that sees intrepid free fallers pass Aiguille de Midi, Le Drus, and the Mer de Glace before pulling the parachute cord and floating down to earth.
Too much? How about a helicopter tour? Tours from Courchevel swoop over some of the most stunning alpine scenery, giving you views of Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens from way up above, and taking the trip in summer means the contrast of landscapes is laid out for you to see.
3. Surfing in the mountains
Kite surfing that is. This is a sport that has really – ahem – taken off in the last few years. More and more people are enjoying the fact that the thermal winds which develop as the mountains warm up in the summer sun create perfect kite-surfing conditions.
Where to try kite surfing in the alps?
Silvaplana in the Engadine valley is where it all began and you can take lessons with Swiss Kitesurf to help you hone your skills.
Great ideas travel fast of course and other areas are harnessing the power of the alps' unique weather systems. Lake Achensee in the Austrian Tirol is another superb spot for kitesurfing, buffeted by the Boraischen from Bavaria that builds as fine weather occurs between the Karwendel and Rofan Mountains.
Wakeboarding is another sport that lends itself to summer in the alps and the Area 47 adventure park in the Otztal valley is a great place to indulge.
4. Mountain biking in world famous Les Gets
So many ski resorts have superb mountain bike trails it’s hard to pick just one. Les Gets stands out though. It embraces all disciplines from downhill to cross country, as well as freeriding, freestyle and e-biking. Riders can explore a whopping 128km of marked trails and there are many advernture zones too.
Les Gets hosts world class MTB events too, such as the Downhill World championships and Cross Country world championships – the excitement of seeing absolute experts in their field showing off their skills and endurance is hard to beat. Other than doing it yourself, of course
5. Summer climbing in Chamonix
Regarded as the world capital of climbing, Chamonix is a superb place for climbers of all abilities to hone and develop their skills. Routes like Rébuffat’ route on the Aiguille du Midi and the Piola route ‘Nabot Léon’ on the Aiguille de Blaitière draw climbers from all over the world. There are plenty of more accessible routes too, that will work for those new to the sport and families.
Climbing not your scene? Chamonix has you covered. Cables cars operate through the summer and will whisk you up 3842m to the summit of Aiguille du Midi. Once here you can indulge in lunch at Le 3842, the highest restaurant in the world, or test your nerve and Step into the Void on the Aiguille du Midi skywalk. You can finish your day with a trip down the mountain on the Montenvers train.
6. Golfing in Kitzbuhel
Kitzbuhel has a reputation for being the home of alpine golf, and with four much lauded golf courses within a short drive of each other it’s easy to see why. Choose from a variety of game options including the 18-hole at the golf course Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith, the premium golf course Eichenheim as well as 9-hole facilities at Golf Club Kitzbühel and Rasmushof Country Club. Throw in the stunning backdrop of Wilder Kaiser and Kitzbuheler Horn and the impossibly pretty town centre and it’s hard to imagine a better place for a summer golfing break.
7. Fishing Holidays in the Alps
Fishing in the Alps brings a whole new aspect to the sport. Perhaps it’s the fact that you’re casting into seldom fished streams, or the particular clarity of the glacial water. Perhaps it’s simply the variety of fish you encounter – Grayling, Trout, and Char are all to be found in many alpine fishing spots. Morzine offers superb opportunities on nearby Lake Montriond, all against a backdrop of dense alpine forest.
8. Trail running in the Dolomites
Owning a home in a beautiful dual season resort like Alta Badia opens up the vastness of the Dolomites and its array of ways to enjoy your summer. A home in the Dolomites gives you a chance to really explore and keep your physical skills on point for ski season. Hut to hut itineraries, like the famous 77km Alta Via 1 combine challenging trail runs, breath-taking scenery and wonderfully charming stays in rifugi – Italian mountain huts - complete with delicious food and wine and a much needed comfy bed.
9. Horse Riding in Andorra
There’s something about Andorra that seems a perfect match with horse riding. The feeling of the pioneer, perhaps, or the sheer beauty of the landscape. There’s a sense of connection with your steed, and with the incredible nature that covers every part of this principality. Various riding schools will help beginners learn the reins, and several clubs will take you on what feel like uncharted riding trails though areas like Anyos, or around the hamlet of El Cortals. If you happen to be near Soldeu it’s worth seeking out possibilities for excursions to El Tarter.
August in Andorra brings the opportunity to enjoy the Iron Route in UNESCO Biosphere Ordino, on local Merens horses.
10. Summer skiing in Zermatt
If after all these ideas you’re still thinking “but I just want to ski”, don’t despair. As Europe’s highest summer ski area, Zermatt offers skiing well into the summer months. You’ll need to head up in the morning to get the best chance on the slopes but this is an experience that’s worth an early start. A gondola will take you up all 3883m to the Klein Matterhorn where you can enjoy 21 km of slopes.
Find your perfect dual season property
Snow Only has access to thousands of properties and whether you’re looking for somewhere to maximise on rental potential, or a year round escape for you and your loved ones, a home in a dual season resort makes absolute sense. There are so many ways to enjoy the mountains, from adrenaline fuelled downhill MTB runs, quirky activities like kite surfing through to simple strolls through flower strewn meadows. Alpine towns are rich in history, brimming with superb gastronomy and perfect as a place to fall in love with all year round.
To find out more about your favourite resorts, take a look at our buyers guides and articles. We also have a property alert system that allows you to tailor your search, and stay one step ahead of the dual season property market.