The Alps is the perfect European destination for a lakes and mountain family holiday, with majestic mountains, beautiful vineyard-laden valleys, green pastures and glacier-fed lakes, both big and small to explore. Verbier, a sunny mountain town in a south-facing bowl soaks up much of the summer sun, and faces the Grand Combin Massif, meaning you get to soak up beautiful views and mountain air each day, with fantastic hiking opportunities on your doorstep.

The perfect escape

Switzerland is renowned for its beautiful, crystal clear mountain lakes, some of which are located at high altitude and can be accessed only by hiking or biking, others are accessible by car or located in towns and villages, and replace beaches for the Swiss and tourists alike. Many of the high altitude lakes are fed by glacial or mountain meltwater meaning they can stay very cold even into the summer months, which makes for a refreshing stop on a hike for a dip! There are many lakes designated for swimming and other water activities, especially the vast shores of Lake Geneva or Lac Leman as it is known in French.

Lake activities

A relaxing day at the lake can be a highlight of the holiday, and best of all there’s no sand, saltwater or tides to worry about! Swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, pedalos or kayaking are just some of the popular activities on the shores of Lake Geneva. Our favourite areas to hang out closest to Verbier are in the town of Villeneuve; the outdoor pool here has an entrance fee which keeps crowd numbers lower, and there are diving boards to use, a snack bar, a pool for the younger ones and paddleboards to rent by the hour. Champex Lac is also a short and very scenic 45 minute drive away, a family-friendly lake in a small mountain resort, offering pedalos, rowing boats, and paddleboards, wonderful for cooling off on a hot day with some great restaurants for lunch. Girl in pedalo at Champex Lac

Wakeboarding and surfing

For those looking for something a bit more special, watersports on the lake on offer include wakeboarding, wake surfing or water skiing. With a group or your family, you head out on the boat for a great experience, whether you’re an expert or it’s something you’ve never tried before! The companies have everything you need, just bring your camera and swimmers! The water is warm enough to not need wetsuits in the summer, but early or late in the season you can borrow these too. Man surfing wake, lake Geneva

Lake and Dam hikes

We don’t know about you, but there’s nothing better than a hike to a beautiful glacial lake, rewarded at the top by a dip to cool off and a couple of hours of swimming and picnicking before beginning your descent. It’s always best to check if swimming is possible at your destination lake, as some are in protected areas and others are dams with hydroelectric systems where it isn’t possible to swim, but the views are still well worth the trip. In Verbier, our most accessible mountain lake is Lac de Vaux, an uphill hike and relatively steep descent in part, it is best to allow for a 4 hour round trip including a stop off for photos, a picnic and a dip. Some of our other favourites include Mauvoisin Dam, Emosson Dam and Lac Taney (the hike up is pretty steep though a taxi service also runs up the road). Children standing at side of mountain lake   The Swiss Alps in the summertime is a dream destination for a family mountain bike holidays, no matter what your level of experience. For those looking for the perfect base for a family bike holiday, whether you’re interested in road biking, e-biking or mountain biking, Verbier is a great option for the whole family.

Travelling with your bike

Many people choosing to visit Switzerland for a biking holiday may wish to bring their own bikes with them and choose to self-drive, which can be a good option when it comes to the extra luggage travelling with children. Switzerland is very accessible by road from most parts of mainland Europe including France, Northern Italy, Germany, Austria or the UK. If you prefer to fly, there are lots of bike rental services in town where you can hire road, mountain or e-bikes on arrival, and lighten the luggage load a little! Trains in Switzerland are very bike-friendly too, with areas to put your bike throughout the train, whether you’re arriving or jumping on a train during a biking trip. If you need a hand planning your train journey, is the Swiss train website with an excellent route planner, or just give us a shout and we’d be happy to help.

Try out eBiking

A new sport that is just finding its feet as technology in e-bikes has really jumped ahead in recent years, the Alps is a terrific place to e-bike. Making the tough ascents much easier, e-bikes are available to hire during the summer in Verbier and a network of trails is ready to explore, from family friendly to day-long e-biking adventures. The ‘Tour du Mont Fort’ route is a fantastic one to try which begins and ends in Verbier and travels through La Tzoumas, Nendaz and Siviez before descending from the Gentianes areas of Verbier, one for the adults to try while the younger kids are in camp for the day! The e-biking festival is also hosted in Verbier every year, giving people the chance to test out different models for a set fee, and explore the nearby trails, or to see which ones suits your needs if you’re thinking of investing in your own model.

Mountain biking

One of Verbier’s biggest summer draws is its bike park, open from the spring through until Autumn every year. Bikers come from near and far to explore the trails, ranging from blue tracks (easy/moderate) for beginners to red (advanced) and black (difficult/very difficult). The expanse of mountain roads and some pedestrian paths are also shared with bikers for those looking for endurance biking, or simply to explore the area on two wheels under your own steam. Bikes can be rented in Verbier, or you can bring your own and simply buy a lift pass for access. For those who are just starting out, are unfamiliar with the area or want to work on their skills, there are some brilliant mountain bike guides and coaches in town too for kids and adults. Altitude Summer Camps - kids biking up on a mountain track

Road biking

A very popular sport in Switzerland and Europe-wide, the Alps is perfect for long days in the saddle of a road bike. The surrounding mountain passes and well-kept roads make for a huge draw for road bikers. No need to be an expert though, as long as you can ride a bike there are some dedicated bike paths and flat stretches too for those simply wanting to get out and explore Switzerland’s beautiful landscape. Again, guides are available for those of all abilities. Some fantastic destinations can be reached by road bike from Verbier, even into nearby Italy and France, and you can soak up the incredible views and explore the vineyards, mountains, towns and villages in the process.