Alternative holidays: adventure in the Alps

Having taken many trips to Calais, France when I was much younger, I’ve never been particularly fussed about going back to France apart from my city trips to Paris or Nice. However, a couple of summers ago I went on a trip to the Alps resorts of Les Gets and Morzine for an active holiday and extreme sports. Boy was I glad I decided to go, and here’s why you should too.

In the summer months, the mountain resorts are very warm (great if you’re a fair weather traveller like me!) the ski slopes are transformed into mountain bike trails and the hiking trails are endless!

Even for just a walking holiday I can wholeheartedly recommend this destination. The views are spectacular of the mountains and valleys, with the stunning Mount Blanc being the main attraction. The ski lifts are still running so you can use those to reach the trails further up the mountain.

But the extreme sports were my favourite – canyoning, paragliding, white water rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking on red or black slopes. Being a closet adrenaline junkie, I had to try everything and I loved it!

1.Canyoning – starts by abseiling off a suspension bridge down into the riverbed of the valley below. In a protective wetsuit, you follow the river through the rocky riverbed, over waterfalls, jumping off ledges and waterfalls, down rocky rapids which have been smoothed into fast-flowing slides by the water, jumping into plunge pools and caves until you reach the final huge waterfall and abseil down the final waterfall 100ft into the pool below. Definitely best to do in France because there seems to be very little health and safety, it’s not for the fainthearted though: convincing yourself to jump off and out over a 3 metre ledge to reach the pool below is a real mind-over-matter game!

2.Paragliding – again not for the fainthearted, it takes a lot of mind-over matter to make yourself run off the edge of a mountain attached to a partially inflated parachute. But I imagine it’s a nice in between before jumping out of a plane! Best done in the afternoon when the thermals are best so the hot air takes you higher and gives you more air time. But the views of Mount Blanc opposite and the valley below are simply breathtaking.

3. White water rafting – a classic adventure sport that never gets old. Again there is less health and safety and the currents are extremely strong so if you’re not a strong swimmer it’s bet to pick a calmer river route or at least try to stay in the boat!

4. Mountain biking – this is the easiest sports to do while you’re in the resort as it can be adapted for any level of sport enthusiast. A lot of the trails follow the winter ski slopes and trails, so follow a green or blue route for an easier cycle. Red slopes are more of a challenge, be wary of the steep edges and sharp corners – we saw a few broken arms in the week I was there! I wouldn’t recommend black slopes or the specially cut mountain bike slaloms unless you know what you’re doing.

All in all, I really underestimated what else there was to offer for alternative trips in France. I’m sure Les Gets and Morzine are beautiful in the winter season, but in summer there was so much to offer than I could keep you busy and active out in the fresh air and sun for a week or two – great if you’re like me and get bored sitting by the pool and sun-worshipping for a week!

Have you been on any alterative or adventure trips? Let me know!

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