Les Arcs bike trail, Mont Blanc, France
Car-free family ski resort and outdoor activity base Arc 1950 has opened another bike route for the summer, one that goes through the centre of the village - so if staying in the resort, you can pedal right back to your apartment. Buying a mountain bike pass provides access to 180km of marked trails for all levels; that’s 23 trails with nine downhill runs and two cross-country circuits among the count. A short drive from Chamonix, the village enjoys spectacular views of Mont Blanc.
Half-day mountain bike pass EUR15 adult, EUR12 children, arc1950.com
Underground via ferrata in southern France
On July 1, a dramatic underground via ferrata will open in the Devoluy massif cave system in the southern French Alps. Usually associated with mountaintop trails, via ferrata allow you to safely traverse dramatic paths with the help of ladders, hand holds and wires to clip a harness to. The 300-metre route leads adventure-seekers along an intense subterranean journey, illuminated by headlamps.
Thermal swimming, Gastein valley, Austria
Alpentherme Gastein, a spa in Austria’s Gastein valley, near Salzburg, has an impressive new addition planned for this summer: two new thermal swimming lakes. The lakes have taken two years to complete and cost GBP3.8m. The spring-fed lakes (1,300 and 370 square metres) are refreshed daily from the Hohe Tauern mountains and are kept clean by an organic cleansing system, meaning no chlorine or stinging eyes. The family area of the resort has also seen fun new additions, including a four-lane, 28-metre wave slide and a new toddler-and-babies pool. All this can be enjoyed with the Alpine peaks of Salzburgerland adorning the skyline.
Day ticket EUR33.50 adult, EUR19 children, family EUR81, alpentherme.com . For accommodation ranging from budget to five-star hotels, self-catering apartments and farm-stays visit gastein.com
Introduction to mountaineering, Aosta, Italy
KE Adventure Travel has launched a package designed for “novice alpinists” and suitable for anyone with a decent level of fitness and, importantly, a head for heights. The five-day trip, incorporating a weekend, will see you summit the 4,000m Gran Paradiso, as well as trek across the Vallee Blanche to the Aiguille du Midi. Participants will learn mountaineering skills, with support and tuition from accredited guides (and a ratio of one guide to four for the whole weekend). Once the trip is completed, the final night is spent soaking in a sauna in a chalet in Chamonix.
GBP795pp, excluding flights, keadventure.com
Ziplining, Jungfrau, Switzerland
Few things get the heart racing quite like flying through the mountain air on a zipline; make that an 800-metre zipline that reaches speeds of more than 50mph and you have an attraction that should draw thrill seekers from far and wide. Opening on August 1, the new line is from the summit of Grindelwald-First to Schreckfeld. And that’s just the start: from there, hop on a mountain cart and race along a track to Bort, before switching to a “Trottibike scooter” - part bike, part scooter - all the way to Grindewald.
Tickets from GBP23 (GBP42 including cable car ride and Trottbike scooter), jungfrau.ch
Hiking in the Belledonne, France
A new route has been added to the Grande Randonnee (long-distance footpath) this year: a route along the fairly unspoilt Belledonne range on the edge of the main Alpine ridge. La Haute Traversee de Belledonne (the High Crossing) follows the routes shepherds take in search of greener grass, and will provide walkers with views across the French countryside (mountain pastures, lakes and forests, with wildlife including alpine marmottes, chamois and ibex). The 11-stage route has plenty of accommodation options, such as mountain refuges, gites and yurts. It’s never been easier (or cheaper) to visit the region: from July 3, Ryanair will operate a new flight from Stansted to the airport at Grenoble, starting from GBP12.99 each way.
For further information visit hautetraverseedebelledonne.com
Gstaad’s first Glacier 3000 marathon, Switzerland
This is one of the most remarkable racing landscapes, taking runners from asphalt and forest trails to alpine ice and snow. And to celebrate a decade of the Glacier 3000 run - a 26km odyssey from Gstaad to the Glacier 3000 summit - this year will see the launch of a new challenge for long-distance runners: the first Glacier 3000 marathon. The epic challenge traverses mountain trails and passes streams, a dam and the lakeshore before a gruelling climb to Alp Seeberg, at 1,712 metres above sea level. Registration deadline is 24 July.
Race fees start at GBP88pp including clothing, transport to the finish line, transportation on the Glacier 3000 mountain railways, shuttle bus to Gstaad and food and drink coupon. For more information visit glacier3000.run.ch
Mountain walking in Piedmont, Italy
Inntravel has launched a new walking route, a challenging eight-night trek through Piedmont’s remote Valle Maira in Italy’s Cottian Alps close to the French border. The “forgotten valley”, where locals still speak the Occitan language, is dotted with lavender-clad hillsides, second world war relics and villages that are being revived thanks to the renovation of a network of ancient paths throughout the valley - and a rediscovery of its artistic and architectural heritage. The self-guided walk includes accommodation at a variety of places, including a farm stay, a guesthouse and a hotel.
GBP995pp based on two sharing, including eight nights’ half-board accommodation and six picnics, luggage transfers between accommodation, and walking route maps and notes, innntravel.co.uk
Yoga and yodelling, Zell am See, Austria
If you thought this quiet town hibernates through summer and comes alive only when the avid skiers descend, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Come July, and this town of less than 100,000 people hosts thousands of tourists who are attracted to its unique charms. And there is no dearth of it. From heart-pumping ones to lung-expanding and thigh-burning ones, Zell am See’s event calendar is so packed with activities that there’s a great chance of you and your family extending your stay to catch it all. One of the most exciting is performing yoga while stand-up paddling on picturesque Lake Zell: Try to concentrate on your asanas while trying to stay on top of your surfboard. The water is crystal-clear – and refreshing – so don’t worry if you do fall in. If this is too extreme for you, then exercise your lungs while mountain yodelling. Every Thursday until August, Thomas Reitsamer, a yodelling instructor, takes a group of people on a hike up the scenic Schmittenhöhe mountain for an hour and a half of breathing exercises and some serious ho-lo-di-yo-ing. After such an action-packed day, catch the legendary Magical Lake Zell show, which is a combination of water, light, music and laser elements. This 20-minute long spectacle takes place at 10pm every night until August.
Yoga on water takes place every Sunday in July and August from 10am to 11.30am during which qualified yoga teachers will take you through your wobbly workout. Go to zellamsee-kaprun.com.
Spend the night in a tree tent, France
Among the alpine activities available from Undiscovered Mountains is an overnight tree-top adventure in the southern French Alps. With the help of guides, spend the day climbing trees up high up into the canopies, before spending the night sleeping in specialised tree hammocks. This year tree tents are also available, so the whole family can cosy up in a tent hanging within the trees. The outdoor specialist is also launching other activities this year, including a new 16km kayak descent on the Durance river and fat-biking for kids.
Seven night multi-activity holiday from EUR395 adults, EUR330 children, depending on accommodation choice (ranges from camping to hotel), undiscoveredmountains.com