If you think a ski resort in summer isn’t a wise holiday choice, think again. Imagine fresh mountain air, plenty of sunshine, and having a charming French mountain village almost completely to yourself.
Once the snow melts, these resorts host a whole new range of activities, from hiking and cycling to paragliding and white water rafting. Even if you prefer a lazier, more relaxing escape, the mountains make the perfect setting for sunbathing and swimming in mountain springs.
The following destinations are the best ski resorts, according to Booking.com travellers, to head to during the summer months.*
A lot of Obertauern’s popularity is down to its impeccable snow record. But when the slopes aren’t coated in deep powder, summer turns the resort into an adventure sports hub in its spectacular Salzburger mountain setting, with everything from mountain biking to fishing available. Mountain lakes, waterfalls, and springs provide the opportunity for a refreshing dip while exploring the 100km of hiking trails.
Meribel is the epitome of the classic French alpine resort, with its chalet-style architecture, village feel, and views out over the Trois Vallées ski area. Come summer, this region blossoms with wildflower meadows and is just as suitable for relaxing as it is for paragliding, white water rafting, and other adrenaline-filled activities. There’s also a huge sports centre, a legacy of the 1992 Winter Olympics, featuring an ice rink, climbing wall, and trampolines.
The pine-covered slopes around Ischgl in the Tyrolean Alps have 300km of hiking trails, accessible via cable car, gondola, and chairlift. There is also an abundance of characterful mountain inns, serving local sausages, cheeses, rye breads, and hearty stews or soups. All far quieter and thus calmer in summer than during peak ski season.
At the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, high-altitude resort Breuil-Cervinia offers all the mountain sports thrills you could need in summer. And more. Thanks to the Plateau Rosà, a glacier sitting at 3,500m above sea level, it also also allows you the opportunity to enjoy actual snow skiing in the middle of summer.
One of Japan’s most popular resorts in winter, on account of its constantly fresh powder, Niseko is just as thrilling during the summer season. A small town on Japan’s Hokkaido Island, the scenery is sublime. In the shadow of dormant volcano, Mount Yotei, sunflower fields and emerald green forests sweep the landscape. Everywhere you go you’ll find hot springs, known as onsens. One of the most popular summer activities is paddling down the remarkably clear waters of Shiribetsu River.
Alpe d’Huez, France
One of the Alps’ most celebrated resorts, Alpe d’Huez sits on a sunny mountain pasture with extensive views of the surrounding valley. Active holiday goers will be spoilt for choice here, with cycling, hiking, and adventures sports a big thing. The resort is also a stage of the Tour de France but not all the cycle paths are that level of challenging.
St. Anton, Austria
St Anton is one of Austria’s foremost ski resorts, with lively apres-ski, challenging pistes, and an important role in the history of skiing. But when the ski season subsides, you’ll find an irresistible, authentic Tyrolean mountain village. Everything has been tastefully developed, with luxury hotels housed in old timber and stone farmhouses and a little 17th-century domed church in the middle of town. But while the crowds may have died down, the range of activities on offer doesn’t.
*The Booking.com data analysts found the destinations most highly-endorsed for downhill skiing during the summer months of June, July, and August.