We love summer in the Alps. The warm air (on most days!) is ideal for walking and then cooler in the blissfully mosquito-free evenings. After a long day’s hike, you can stay in one of the many alpine huts or at one of our favourite hotels below. From mid-August, you can pick wild blueberries, raspberries and the last of the wild strawberries. You can also bbq at the sites dotted around the Alps with free wood supplied for the fire and maybe even listen to a distant Alp horn. Life becomes simple, about good conversation with friends and family eating Alp cheese and salami with fresh bread and you’ll sleep blissfully well after a long day’s hike.
Saying good night to the mountains, the sun throws his most beautiful rays to them, that they may not forget him till the morning. Johanna Spyri, Swiss author of Heidi
If you’re yearning after some Alpine food but can’t travel then recreate your own schnitzel and fondues at home with the cookbook, Alpine Cooking, by New York Times contributor Meredith Erickson.
A book for ‘armchair mountaineers’, Jon Krakauer is the epic climber famous for his books Into Thin Air (about climbing Everest) and Into the Wild. This book (particularly good as an audiobook) Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains is a series of essays about the human quest for mountain summits with some fascinating interviews along the way.
Hotel Bella Tola
We’ve stayed here twice, once for a family reunion which this hotel is perfectly suited with it’s many different sleeping options (you can opt for a separate chalet). It was founded in 1859 but it’s been recently renovated, keeping it’s old world charm. The food is delicious and it really is off the beaten path, making it the perfect place for a break away from it all.
If you’re yearning to stay at an Alpine hut, then check out The Swiss Alpine Club which lists over 300 mountain huts in Switzerland. You can search by location and make your reservation directly.
Hotel Rosa Alpina
We spent some of our honeymoon here and loved it. It’s cosy but not too kitsch and we’d definitely go back to stay at one of their two mountain huts which you can hike to and they will deliver a delicious 5 star dinner!
The beauty director of Vogue always used to rave about this hotel and when we visited Megeve recently, we made a bee line for it. Chic, cosy with a great spa, it really was everything she had raved about. Do book up ahead though as it’s very popular with regulars.
Hotel Kindli, Zurich, Pilgrims first stayed at the Guest Haus Kindli over 500 years ago. Small boutique hotel with a delicious breakfast and right in the centre of town.
If you’re yearning for Alpine food in London, then our two top tips are Alpes London, a small shipping container in Pop Brixton which serves up dishes such as wild mushroom tartiflette and fondue savoyarde. It also has a wide selection of vegetarian dishes and a good offering of Alpine wines. Our second go-to is the weinel schnitzel at The Wolseley or the chicken schnitzel at Fischer’s. Crisp, tender and served with a side portion of red berry sauce and potatoes, they are some of the best we’ve found in London.
If you tend to file Swiss Rap under the same music oeuvre as German Pop, then think again. We’re big fans of both Nemo (particularly Himalaya and Du) and the German-born but hugely popular in Switzerland, Mark Forster (Sowieso).
The hiking check-list
These Cloudrock hiking boots by Swiss Company ON shoes are waterproof, lightweight and seriously comfortable.