As Europe’s ski season gradually melts away, it’s time for powdered pistes to give way to green meadows and Alpine forests, and for the Ski & Snow section of our site to become the home of Lakes & Mountains holidays.
How often do you return from a holiday fitter and healthier than when you left? Not too frequently, if sun loungers and all-inclusive buffets have their way. For an invigorating break that’s not only good for the waistline, but also feels like a real escape from everyday life, it’s time to hit the hills.
The Alps are normally the preserve of winter sports enthusiasts, but in the summer the mountains of Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany are open to everyone. They’re home to well-marked hiking and mountain-biking trails for people of all abilities, many with chairlifts and cable cars running all year round. If you’ve got children in tow or are after something gentler, pack up a picnic and take an easy ramble through meadows, with dairy farms, cheese sampling, traditional villages and even spas along the way.
Trips to the Italian lakes have traditionally come with a reputation for exclusivity and a price tag to match, but we’ve already seen some seriously affordable (and seriously tempting) deals this month to Lake Como. Along with Garda and Maggiore, these lake regions in Italy’s far north offer winding roads, picture-perfect towns and lakeside relaxation against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. So, in case George Clooney doesn’t invite you to his palatial Como villa this year, we’ll be hunting down the best bargains to get you there.
And you don’t even have to leave these fair isles to enjoy some mountain action -- why not get in the car or on a train and spend a long weekend exploring Snowdonia, Dartmoor or the Scottish Highlands? But as an entirely biased Northerner, the fells and cream teas of the Lake District will always get my vote.
So this spring and summer, keep an eye on the new section of our site, breathe in the fresh air, and be prepared to have it taken away again by some stunning lakes and mountains scenery.
Click here to see the deals currently available in our Lakes & Mountains section.