I live in the Swiss Alps and it is pretty hard to beat when it comes to summer mountain holidays, but sunny Crans Montana is one of my favourite places to be.
The historic twin towns of ‘Crans’ and ‘Montana’ sit next to each other at an altitude of 1500m on a sun-drenched plateau high above the Rhone Valley in the Valais. What I love about it here is how the village embodies alpine town life with a stunning mountain village setting, combining everything you need on your doorstep with panoramic views of the Valais Alps and plenty of activities to enjoy. Offering something for absolutely everybody, Crans Montana has become a popular destination for summer fun as a result. Obviously, things are quite different at the moment, with not everybody able to travel, but here are some of my summer highlights for when you are able to visit…
Endless cycling options
Whether you’re on a mountain, road or e-bike. Options consist of a 200km network of road cycling routes, 177 impeccably signposted mountain bike tracks, cross-country and enduro tracks, downhill tracks and dedicated e-bike routes – all offering a variety of natural scenery and panoramic views. For more action, you can head to the Crans-Montana Bike Park for their black, red and blue runs in the forest. The cable cars can also take your bikes up the mountain, and in August there is the Tour des Stations which always attracts cycling fans. Look out for the Balade des 5 Étangs too, which is a 10km mild route that links five of Crans Montana’s lakes.
Walking with a view
I love to hike, and often I walk along one of the twelve ‘bisses’ which are ancient irrigation streams in the mountains. The Plaine Morte glacier plateau is ideal for summer hiking, however, there are plenty of relaxed and advanced picturesque routes to choose from, whether running, walking with your stroller or hiking. Highlights include historical villages, forests, vineyards and lakes, and with 330km of these signposted paths, it’s very easy to find your way around whilst enjoying the mountain top views. There’s also thirteen dedicated trail runs with routes ranging from 2km to 55km!
Play golf on a world-famous course
Once the snow melts away, the lush green fairways of the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club appear, which has a fantastic global reputation - particularly for the Jack Nicklaus course (9-hole) and the Severiano Ballesteros course (18-hole), where ‘number 7’ is recognised as one of the most beautiful in the world. It offers golfers exquisite 180 ° views across the mountain peaks as they play, including the Weisshorn which culminates at 4,506 metres above sea level. September is particularly popular with golfing enthusiasts because Crans-Montana hosts one of the most prestigious tournaments on the European tour - the Omega European Masters.
Get swept by the beauty of the mountain lakes
There are five main lakes in Crans Montana which everybody is able to walk, run or cycle around quite easily, including families. They are; Etang-Long which has a Mediterranean style beach and you will find a lot of the watersports and beach activities here; Lake Grenon which offers idyllic mountain views; Icogne See which boasts a very peaceful setting and is popular with walkers and for picnics; Chermignon Lake which provides further peace and tranquillity for walkers and mountain fishing, and Lake Moubra where you will find horse riding, tennis, volleyball as well as more water activities alongside its fine grassy beach.
There are also a few other lakes and ponds such as the peaceful Miriouges Lake which is popular with families due to its charming path along the water’s edge and forest where one can explore, pick wild strawberries and have picnics. Etang d’D’Ycoor is also designed for families, and is where you will find all the children’s entertainment and activities.
Choose from a selection of water activities
Would you believe there is a wake park up in the mountains? I spend a lot of my time here, and you can either wakeboard, water ski or wakeskate. If skiing on the water isn’t your thing however, there are plenty of other lake activities to choose from such as swimming, paddle boarding, canyoning, rafting, an inflatable obstacle course, pedalos, and fishing. There’s also an outdoor pool and children’s slide. My personal favourites are wake boarding at Etang-Long and paddle boarding at Lake Moubra.
During the summer (May – August) there is a real sand beach at the Beach Club on Lake Etang Long. There are plenty of deckchairs to sit on, and a bar serving food and drink. There is a brilliant atmosphere here, offering fun and relaxation with friends and family.
Nature at its very finest
For nature lovers, you won’t be disappointed in what you see in Crans-Montana. There are plenty of places to enjoy a sense of escapism, fresh air and peace and quiet whilst admiring exceptional views. There are also various nature camps here where you can construct cabins, observe wildlife, discover forest walks, enjoy woodwork workshops, and take part in foraging and tasting to name a few. The Grandeur Nature area is a great place to be for these sorts of activities.
Enjoy the resort’s gastronomy scene
There is a huge choice of dining options in Crans-Montana, offering a gourmet world tour from mountain huts and restaurants serving traditional Swiss raclettes or Valais platters, to Japanese, Lebanese and Italian establishments, to two Michelin-starred restaurants – Franck Reynaud’s Hostellerie du Pas de l’Ours and LeMontblanc by Pierre Crepaud.
Crans Montana is also highly regarded for its first-class vineyards, where events are held all year round for visitors to wine taste and explore.
And that’s only a select few… there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the summer such as zip lining, basketball, trampolines, paintball, a skate park, mini golf, museums, galleries, mountain climbing and paragliding. It’s worth having a look at the Crans Montana website as it is a great source for everything Crans Montana has to offer, including route maps.
If you’d like to discuss your property search in the Swiss Alps, please do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or +41 786962259. Meanwhile keep safe and well through these unprecedented times.