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.
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.
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.
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) .