Summer in the alps

Treat yourself to a summer in the Alps

Ski buffs might beg to differ, but my favourite time to visit the Alps is in summer. It’s an idyllic scene. The tinkling of cow bells floats on the breeze, the scent of flowers wafts from countless window boxes and cloudless cerulean skies complement the craggy greys of the mountains.  It would be a crime to hide all of that under a thick blanket of snow.  If you’re tempted to head for the Alps this summer, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are several convenient rail routes with ticket prices that won’t break the bank.

Breathtaking beauty in Bourg St Maurice

Via Lyon to the French Alps

Although traditional summer the gateway to the south of France, Lyon is also the connecting point to the stunning French Alps. Once the ski season has past and the snow melted, the mountains take on a new energy for sunny hikes, adrenaline-fueled downhill mountain biking and family picnics. From just  33 euros and with free bike compartments it is very easy to throw yourself into mountain living. At the end of June is the Mountain Festival and that’s not to mention the Tour de France in July – foam fingers at the ready!

Mighty Mountians and lakes near Milan

Hello #lakegarda #toriandthebear have arrived. #firstanniversary @dulacetduparc #happy #love

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Via Milan to the Italian Alps

High speed rail fans will welcome the chance to gobble up the miles on the TGV from Paris to Milan.  With a lead in price of just 29 euros each way, in less than eight hours you could be in Milan, the most stylish of Italian cities.  From there, it’s a short hop to Lake Como.  The Alps form a charming backdrop to the lake, with regular boat services linking quaint villages.  If you can drag yourself away from the enotecas of impossibly quaint Bellagio or George Clooney’s favourite, Laglio, there are plenty of walking routes that will more than satisfy day hikers in need of lofty vantage points and clean mountain air.  The six-day Via dei Monti Lariani might tempt the more ambitious to follow a 125km trail once used by farmers in the area to take their animals to the higher pastures.

Thank you Bellagio for the sunburn, currently praying that I don't peel

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Misty Mountains from Munich

Via Munich to the Austrian Alps

With the Eurostar to Brussels and Germany’s super fast ICE trains making short work of the journey via Frankfurt to Munich, getting to the Austrian Alps in time for dinner is perfectly feasible.  Regular regional trains make the short hop across the border into Austria and with single fares for the 11 hour journey available from under 70 euros, it’s good value too.  Kufstein opens up a wealth of pretty resorts.  Jump off the train at Kitzbühel and hop on a cable car up the infamous Hahnenkamm mountain, site of the daring winter races.  From Kitz, the train winds its way along the valley to the delightful resort of Sankt Johann.  There you’ll find a plethora of easy walking trails to wind your way at a leisurely pace through flower-strewn meadows bisected by clear mountain streams.

hello small austrian town

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Seduce your senses in the Swiss Alps

Via Geneva to the Swiss Alps

One of the quickest ways to reach the Alps is surely the TGV Lyria service from Paris to Geneva.  In around 3 hours and with fares starting from 25 euros, the fabled Swiss Alps are tantalisingly within reach.  From Geneva, board the Chocolate Train.  This day-long excursion takes you along the shores of Lake Geneva before climbing through picture postcard Alpine scenery.  At the village of Gruyères, you’ll be able to sample Switzerland’s most mouth-watering cheese.  Walk it off with a stroll through its cobbled streets lined with wooden chalets festooned with geraniums.  Round off the afternoon at the Cailler chocolate factory in Broc where the rich creamy milk from plump Alpine cows is put to good use.

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