Summertime in the Swiss Alps

Post-IMG_3462If you are looking for something a bit different in a summer vacation, and are a little bit lost for inspiration- you might want to consider the abundance of activities which are on offer in the St Moritz region of Switzerland.

Winter sports enthusiasts will probably be aware of the perfect white snow season, but imagine those mountains without snow, and hey presto, you have the ideal location for an adrenaline junkies summer break.

Getting there by Swiss Air is a dream, and if you leave early enough, you can be out on the lakes as soon as you have checked in! The easiest way to arrive is to Zurich airport, and the extremely reliable train system will then transport you to St Moritz within four hours. Take some beverages though as even though there is a loo on the train, one part of the journey is sans drinks trolley!

Summer time starts in St Moritz in June, and even though there is still snow capping the very tops of the mountain range, the lakes come into a life of their own.  With four lakes around the valley of Engadin, you can imagine there are a vast range of watersports available- for the novice and professionals alike.

Biking is equally popular with the cable car running up the ski slopes- which are a haven for enthusiasts who come and off-road all the way down! But for those who like to keep their feet on terra firma, kite surfing is a must! It might not sound like a land-based activity, but such an extreme sport needs several land based lessons to get you in to the swing of things, and be able to control your wings. With the local Maloja wind, picking up after lunch, a few lessons on the lakeside are a must. Even with a three-hour lesson, I made it to the land based harness stage, and was flying my own nine- footer! Apparently most students are ready after a three-day intro course and are able to hit the water, literally flying after that!

If all that sounds too energetic, the sailing club welcomes visitors (and does an extremely tasty lunch). You can also book an afternoon out on the water with an old hand and weave your boat across the lake in a group of four. The sensation of steering your own boat is really rather liberating.

But if you fancy burning off some calories, join the cool crew and have a dabble at stand up paddle boarding. It is literally what is says on the tin- with the aim to stand up on a board and paddle, however it is easier said than done! But fear not, lessons for beginners (and more advanced) are available and I took a morning lesson from one of the numerous SUP schools. Donning a wet suit, I felt my cool points slowly diminishing- but better safe than sorry! And the water was very “fresh”. However, I managed to get up on the board without any mishaps, and with lots of going round in circles, managed to paddle downstream and back up again. The time flew by, and I was feeling a tad smug as I was only one of three out of the group, who didn’t tumble in- and that is something for me to shout about! With this being quite an addictive activity, I can see the appeal, and once mastered, I can’t see how this couldn’t be classed as the most pleasant way to while away an afternoon. Apparently doing yoga on a SUP is a big trend, but that is a different kettle of fish…

Speaking of fish, fishing is a major past-time. Not only with the locals who frequent the lakeside, but visitors are welcomed to try their luck, and guides, rod hire and information is widely available. Some places are restricted though, so be sure to check it out. And don’t forget to purchase a fishing licence, which allows you to fish in the lakes and rivers in the area. The season starts in May and goes through until mid-September. Even though I didn’t catch anything, one of my group did, and it was prepared at the hotel in the evening for dinner.

St Moritz itself, might be the playground for the rich and famous, with Liz Hurley, Heidi Klum and Sylvester Stallone all regularly spotted, but the town accommodates all budgets for food, drinks and shopping. If you look beyond the impressive five star hotels in the city, you can find more pocket-friendly lodgings if you venture further afield; There are plenty of boutique hotels and B & B’s within a ten-minute drive, each with their own character and nightlife. But if you are feeling flush, the luxury hotels are always happy to cater for non- residents in the bar and restaurants, and do a great afternoon tea, and are the perfect pit stop after an afternoon perusing the designer shops which are dotted around the pretty (hilly) town.

With tourism such a big pull for Swiss Alps, it is no wonder that guests come from far and wide, and even though the local language Romansh, practically everyone speaks English and/or German/Italian, which makes it a very popular destination with the Brits.

I can’t wait to go back- the watersports are definitely addictive, and I fell in love with the 19th Parkhotel Margna Hotel in Sils. A four-star superior hotel, it was a short drive to the lakes, and very Swiss. The traditional fittings and furniture (think wood and carvings) added a homely touch to the hotel; And the Alpine views from the bedroom were divine.

With a beautiful garden, spa (offering a range of massage treatments, hot tub, a steam bath, sauna and mini gym) and three restaurants, there really is no reason for you to leave the village. And the three restaurants and very capable cocktail waiter mean that your nights are taken care of, should you wish!

St Moritz is definitely not just for winter. In fact, I am plotting a return for the Jazz Festival at the end of the month!


Switzerland Tourism

For more information on Switzerland visit

Swiss International Air Lines

SWISS operates more than 170 weekly flights to Switzerland from London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh. The all-inclusive fares start from £71 one-way, including all airport taxes, one piece hold luggage and hand luggage, meals and drinks. For reservations call 0845 6010956 or visit:

Swiss Travel System

The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and your destination. Prices are £99 in second class and £160 in first class.

Contact the Swiss Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit for full information on road, rail and waterway transport throughout Switzerland.

Hotel Margna Sils

Double rooms in summer season from CHF 350. (for two people) including breakfast, and from the second night- free use of public transport and all mountain railways/gondolas in upper Engadin.

Stand Up Paddling

Basic SUP Board & Paddle hire: CHF 20. for one hour (CHF 10. for any additional hours)

Kite surfing

Beginners course: 2 days (2×3 hours Saturday/Sunday)

CHF 350.


Cruise on a yacht (blu26) with skipper (max. 5 people)

CHF 125.


Day permit for fishers not resident in the Canton of Graubünden

CHF 46.

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