10 Fabulous Mountain Getaways

10 Fabulous Mountain Getaways

When you think of Europe and mountains, snow and après ski spring to mind. But for a complete change from a beach or city holiday, the continent’s beautiful peaks also make a great late summer or early autumn escape. With our guide to what to see and do in our favourite high-altitude resorts, you can start dreaming of invigorating alpine air, stunning scenery, activities to suit all levels of fitness, and pure relaxation in some outstanding spas.


Natural Pool At Stanglwirt
Natural Pool At Stanglwirt

Where: Kitzbühel

Fly To: Munich or Salzburg.
The Lowdown: The Austrian Tyrol is at its best (ski season aside) in late summer or early autumn when the stifling heat has passed. Daytime temperatures are pleasant and the evenings remain warm. It’s a magical time to discover Tyrol on foot – you’ll find plenty of easy walking paths, as well as more challenging hikes, all against scenery filled with streams, waterfalls, glacial lakes and the Austrian Alps. It’s also the time of year when you can enjoy local festivals where the cows are brought in from their high alpine pastures, adorned with bells and colourful flowers – it’s quite a spectacle and there are usually markets, music and dance too. A day or two of culture in Salzburg is the perfect way to end your break.
Where To Stay: One of the great joys of the Tyrol’s small mountain villages is that most of the hotels and larger chalets are family owned and have been for generations. One such is Stanglwirt. About 80km from Salzburg and just down the road from Kitzbühel, it sits in the shadow of Wilder Kaiser, a rugged mountain chain that’s famous for its flora and fauna, and loved by walkers for its miles of nature reserves. This 400-year-old hotel is as traditional as it gets – the female staff even wear dirndl dresses – yet five-star luxe. It offers something for everyone: hiking, tennis (including indoor courts), golf, natural swimming lakes, fishing and hunting, as well as an amazing spa and sauna complex. It also has a stud of stunning Lipizzaner horses and its own riding school. Splash out on a suite which comes with a cosy lounge area, open fireplace, walk-in dressing room, bathroom sauna, huge Arolla pine bed and a terrace with outstanding views of the mountains. 
The Details: Rates start from €134 per night including breakfast. Visit Stanglwirt for further information.

Ice Q Restaurant
Ice Q Restaurant

Where: Sölden  

Fly To: Munich (or Innsbruck when BA and EasyJet resume flights).
The Lowdown: Close to the Italian border in Austria’s Ötztal Valley, Sölden and the glass-walled restaurant Ice Q at the top of Gaislachkogl were put on the map after featuring in the Bond movie Spectre. Reached by gondola, Europe’s highest gourmet restaurant offers fabulous panoramic views across the mountains of Austria, Germany and Italy, and by far the best fine dining on the mountain. Again, this area has a range of scenic hiking and biking routes, varying from leisurely walks and rides through idyllic pasturelands and alpine lakes to challenging peak conquests and mountain hut tours. 
Where To Stay: We love the five-star Das Central, a modern alpine escape located, as its name suggests, in the heart of Sölden. The hotel has 125 individually designed rooms, two suites and a lavish presidential suite, as well as an outstanding spa with at least ten different saunas. In the restaurant you’ll get excellent local food, and the hotel also has the largest wine cellar in Austria – 30,000 bottles are stored here.
The Details: Rates start from €170 per night on a half-board basis. Visit Das Central for further information.


Ferme De Marie's Chalet Passy
Ferme De Marie's Chalet Passy

Where: Megève

Fly To: Geneva.
The Lowdown: Megève was put on the map by the Rothschilds. The family skied in St Moritz in Switzerland but wanted somewhere as chic in France – they discovered this little town in Haute Savoie and built a hotel here. After the Second World War, Megève became France’s most fashionable resort, attracting the likes of Brigitte Bardot. Today, it remains an enchanting town which has retained its beautiful medieval centre, narrow cobbled streets, tastefully restored buildings, fountains, a pretty church and horse-drawn sleighs. It has also added a slew of smart designer shops and Michelin-starred restaurants. In the summer months, the wildflowers and green grasses of the town’s surrounding meadows take over, turning the mountains into an endless playground, perfect for hiking, mountain biking and summer tobogganing. There is also a sports centre with ice rink, swimming pools, climbing wall and gym, an adventure park, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding and three golf courses. Throughout the summer there are various traditional shows, festivals and exhibitions to entertain visitors.
Where To Stay: Megève’s iconic hotel Les Fermes de Marie - owned by the Sibuet family – has handpicked ten of the most beautiful chalets in the surrounding area to complete its alpine collection. Each is an individually designed hideaway with its own personality and combines the five-star service of a boutique hotel with the charm and intimacy of a private chalet. You can choose to have meals hand-delivered to your door, including regional Sibuet family favourites such as veal blanquette and truffle shell pasta. For a real treat, a private chef will prepare bespoke menus for up to 12 guests. After a day spent in the great outdoors, enjoy an at-home treatment from a Les Fermes de Marie masseur or enjoy the facilities at the hotel’s Pure Altitude spa, one of the largest in the Alps. The chalets’ private butlers are on hand to arrange a series of unique, curated experiences – from helicopter rides over Mont Blanc to hot-air ballooning across the mountain range. Each chalet can sleep a minimum of ten guests and comes complete with a wellness area – some including heated indoor swimming pools – as well as separate kitchen and dining room.
The Details: Rates start from £7,120 on a seven-day basis. They vary across the collection by chalet and include hotel and concierge services. Visit Chalets des Fermes for further information.  

Refuge De La Traye
Refuge De La Traye
Refuge De La Traye
Refuge De La Traye

Where: Méribel

Fly To: Geneva, Lyon or Grenoble.
The Lowdown: One of the resorts making up the Trois Vallées, Méribel in an increasingly popular holiday destination outside the skiing season. The scenery is magnificent and there’s a plethora of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, archery and rifle shooting. There are many walking routes for all levels of fitness that circle the resort. If cycling is more your speed, there are hundreds of kilometres of trails which are graded like ski runs so you can choose one to suit your ability – of course, an electric bike is always an option too.
Where To Stay: Created in 1982, and fully renovated in 2019, Refuge de la Traye is the superlative Savoyard alpine retreat. In a secluded setting just outside Méribel, this eco-luxury alpine home is designed in the style of a miniature hamlet with characteristic wooden and stone buildings. With six bedrooms and suites, it operates as both a hotel and an exclusive-use property for up to 15 people. After an active day, enjoy spa treatments and use of the sauna, hammam, jacuzzi and traditional milk bath and hay bed.  
The Details: Half-board rates start from €450 per night for two people sharing. Visit Refuge de la Traye for further information.


Where: The Dolomites

Fly To: Venice.
The Lowdown: There are so many diverse landscapes to discover in the majestic Dolomites. Jagged peaks, peaceful valleys and idyllic villages add up to the ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy a late summer mountain break. You’ll find hiking, cycling (try some of the same routes used by the pros in the Giro d’Italia), mountain biking, paragliding and sky running if you’ve got a head for heights, or just gentle walking and picnicking.
Where to Stay: Picturesque San Cassiano is one of six villages that make up the South Tyrolean municipality of Alta Badia. It’s where you’ll find the Rosa Alpina, now an Aman hotel and a perfect haven to return to after a day of high-altitude activities. The luxe spa with floor-to-ceiling windows offers a relaxing massage using mountain herbs to soothe any aches and pains. The 51 rooms and suites have a contemporary elegance with natural materials reflecting the natural surroundings, and living areas furnished with authentic local antiques. Book early if you want to eat in three Michelin-starred restaurant St Hubertus, the domain of legendary chef Norbert Niederkofler and his team. Last year it was also awarded Michelin’s newest distinction of a green star which recognises sustainable gastronomy. 
The Details: Rates start from €590 per night including breakfast. Visit Rosa Alpina for further information.

Rosa Alpina
Rosa Alpina

Where: Courmayeur Mont Blanc

Fly To: Turin.
The Lowdown: On the Italian side of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is a firm favourite with visitors for its car-free cobbled streets, family-run hotels, charming atmosphere, delicious mountain food and fresh air. All ages can embrace the great outdoors with superb hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, sport fishing, golf and tennis, as well as trail running for the super fit. There are also indoor sports at the foot of Mont Blanc which can be enjoyed year-round. 
Where To Stay: The contemporary, five-star Le Massif is in the centre of Courmayeur and has 80 ultra-stylish rooms and suites. The extensive spa offers guests the ideal antidote to a busy day – its range of indulgent and innovative treatments include alpine stone massages, anti-stress massages, hydration treatments with wild fruits, as well as forest bathing in the summer months. 
The Details: Rates start from €350 for a superior room, including breakfast. Visit Le Massif for further information.


Where: The Logar Valley

Fly to: Ljubljana.
The Lowdown: This beautiful alpine valley, tucked in the foothills of Slovenia’s Kamnik-Savinja Alps, is probably one of Europe’s most wonderful hidden gems. Whether you’re after outdoor adventure or simply the chance to relax and unwind in this most picturesque and peaceful of places – think craggy peaks and tumbling waterfalls – you’ll be glad to have the Logar Valley in your little travel black book. 
Where To Stay: The four-star Hotel Plesnik is the only one in this protected landscape (the next hotel is some 45 minutes’ drive away). Once occupied by the Nazis, this charming hotel is run by a family who have been the custodians for almost five centuries. The focus is very much on outdoor wellness and open-air experiences. Guests can be escorted on forest bathing excursions and join a guided half-day walk at an unhurried pace with a local farmer who will identify the herbs on her family farm and talk about their health-bringing properties. Or with a short car journey, you can reach several local walks such as those around Velika Planina, a high-altitude herdsmen’s village, or to tourist farms for lunch made with the finest of home-grown produce. There is also an outdoor natural swimming pool and sauna, or simply relax in front of the panoramic window wall to soak up the views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
The Details: Seven-night B&B stays from £890 per person. Visit Inntravel for further information.


Suvretta House
Suvretta House

Where: St Moritz

Fly To: Zurich.
The Lowdown: Renowned as a playground for the rich and famous during the winter season, St Moritz is in the Upper Engadine region of Switzerland. It made its name thanks to mineral springs that established the town as a summer spa resort, and it should not be overlooked today as a summer destination. Not least because off-peak prices at its uber luxe hotels are definitely more affordable at this time, and its alpine activities are second to none. The area has 580km of hiking trails ranging from leisurely panoramic walks to steeper, more demanding mountain climbs. The mountain railway will take you to the 3,000m peaks – Piz Nair, the Corvatsch and the Diavolezza – where thrilling high-altitude trails offer spectacular views. The Engadine is also the ultimate mountain biking destination, with 400km of biking trails offering exhilarating landscapes and trails to suit all abilities. You can also try your hand at sailing, rowing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, tennis, horse riding and golf, with a choice of four courses in the surrounding area. A carriage ride around the lake, through the Staz forest, or the town is one of the highlights of a stay in St Moritz. 
Where To Stay: Switzerland’s legendary grande dame hotel Suvretta House is straight out of the pages of a fairy tale, with impressive turrets and a Belle Époque exterior standing out against the mountain landscape. In a natural park 2km from the town, this luxury hotel was built in 1911 by Swiss hotel pioneer Anton Bon and remains in the family today. You could spend your days doing very little here –enjoying the views and reading a good book on the terrace – but if you’ve been out and about all day, the excellent spa will provide welcome relief to tired muscles. The 181 rooms vary in size and style, but offer stunning views from every window. Décor is elegant and traditional. There are three restaurants: The Grand Restaurant for fine dining (jacket and tie must be worn); the bistro-style Suvretta Stube; and Chasellas, a chalet a few minutes’ drive away. 
The Details: Rates start from CHF 430 (around £340) for a standard double mountain room on a half-board basis. Visit Suvretta House for further information. 

Pool At Hotel Chetzeron
Pool At Hotel Chetzeron

Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Baumann Photography

Where: Crans-Montana

Fly To: Geneva.
The Lowdown: With its lakes, forests, glacier and vineyards, Crans-Montana in the canton of Valais has something to offer every nature and mountain lover. You’ll find a vast network of hiking trails criss-crossing the region, or you can get an adrenalin hit by careering down the many mountain biking trails. It is also a prime golf destination with two famous courses, the 18-hole Severiano Ballesteros and the nine-hole Jack Nicklaus. The seventh hole on the Ballesteros course is widely considered one of the most beautiful in the world, with 180º views over neighbouring summits. Thanks to its soil and sunny weather, Crans-Montana is an ideal region for growing grapes, and there are several modern and rustic cellars in which to try local wines.
Where To Stay: For something a little different and an isolated location where you’ll experience real moments of tranquillity to recharge your batteries, stay at Hotel Chetzeron. At an altitude of 2,000 metres in the ski area in winter, and on the mountain pastures in summer, this former cable car station was transformed into an eco-friendly hotel in 2014. It’s all about the views here and each of the 16 rooms, all clad in locally sourced oak, has large picture windows, even in the bathrooms. There’s a spa with a sauna and a heated outdoor pool. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the traditional Swiss restaurant. 
The Details: Rates start from CHF350 (around £280) per night. Visit Hotel Chetzeron for further information.


Where: The Pyrenees

Fly To: Bilbao.
The Lowdown: Explore the most beautiful parts of the high Pyrenees, combining inn-to-inn walks with day hikes. This trip is based around the remote Ordesa and Monte Perdido national park, home to the highest limestone mountains in Europe, and the last of the Pyrenean glaciers. Walking along ancient paths, you’ll encounter landscapes of high mountains, narrow gorges, open prairies, Mediterranean forests and crystal blue waters, as well as endemic species of flora and fauna. Along the way you’ll discover the stunning Anisclo Gorge, the isolated Christau Valley, the forests of Pineta, glaciated Monte Perdido and Escuain – considered the deepest canyon in Europe, where it’s possible to catch a glimpse of the bearded vulture in flight. 
Where You’ll Stay: Over the course of your week’s trip, you’ll overnight in small, comfortable and friendly inns, one of which is Los Siete Reyes in Ainsa – a charming boutique hotel located in the heart of the old village. The other inns include a cosy guesthouse that feels like a homestay, a mountain hotel, a converted old farmhouse and a lovely family-run hotel in San Juan de Plan.
The Details: Seven-night B&B trips from £1,179 per person. Visit Pura Aventura for further information. 
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.

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