Whether you’re an avid explorer or nature novice, getting out and about in the great outdoors is good for the mind, body and soul. That’s why lake and mountain holidays have such a timeless appeal for the over 50s. With fresh, crisp, clean air and stunning scenery at every turn, you’re guaranteed a truly unforgettable trip.
From gentle walking tours to active skiing breaks, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite ideas to help you choose your next outdoor adventure. Just pick the one that best suits your skills and ability.
Delightful in both summer and winter, Lech is the perfect place if you love exploring by foot. The ultimate Austrian chalet village, when the cold clears the mountains erupt with the kaleidoscopic colours of wildflowers and greenery. There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting and various walks, from steep alpine hikes or flatter river routes.
Found in the mountains of Slovenia, Lake Bled is a scene of exquisite deep blues and emerald green waters, wrapped around a fairytale castle and medieval town. The lake acts as the perfect backdrop for the relaxed 6km walking tour around its banks and you can even cool off with a dip in the warm thermal springs. The picturesque town is beautiful from every angle, and less active travellers can always explore it by boat or take a day coach trip to the pretty villages of Mlino, Selo and Ribno.
With the great Lake Garda lapping on Malcesine’s shores, this sleepy Italian town is nestled under the vast ridge of the Monte Baldo and makes for truly incredible viewing. There is a cable car 400m from the town centre that leads to some beautiful high-altitude routes. Want an easier route? Check out Lake Garda’s coastline for picturesque views without the effort.
For those wishing to travel further afield, between Tokyo and Kyoto, you can find the Japanese Alps. The treks here range from shorter trips through the meandering river valley to more adrenaline pumping routes the higher up you venture. You’ll feel like you’re going back in time, thanks to the traditional houses and quintessential Japanese lanterns.
Elsewhere in Asia, Chiang-Mai trekking routes are popular with all ages and nationalities. Other departure points include Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Tha Ton, but Chiang-Mai remains the best for brushing shoulders with amazing wildlife and breaking bread with local hill tribes.
The Austrian town of Alpbach is home to a scenic ski resort perfect for all levels, but especially for beginner or intermediate skiers. Its quiet atmosphere and cosy feel has attracted travellers for decades. Rather than being swamped with tourists, the resort has retained its tranquil reputation and its slopes remain well maintained and well connected. While you’re there, get a taste of the region’s traditional cuisine.
Zermatt is Switzerland’s stunning ski resort, popular with celebrities from Brad and Angelina to Winston Churchill. Its famous Matterhorn peak resembles the Lonely Mountain in shape, scale and haunting beauty. Many have scaled it and its surrounding sister peaks, but this Lord of the Rings lookalike is not for the faint hearted. You need to be an advanced climber to attempt it and the summer months of July and August hold the best chance for a successful ascent.
Ski lovers will find a good range of slopes in Zermatt, along with an extensive lift system and expert instructors. When it comes to après ski, head to the distinguished piano bars of Zermatterhof or Mont Cervin for a relaxing bedtime tipple.
The extensive museums, bars and boutiques – not to mention the spas in the old quarter – make this an adventurous and romantic getaway in equal parts.
For those not wanting to ski, the Gornergratbahn cogwheel railway has been the most relaxing way to enjoy the picture-postcard scenery since 1898. Tickets allow you to hop on and off to enjoy the local restaurants and for the best views of the Matterhorn in all her glory, sit on the right-hand side at sunrise or sunset.
If you’re heading for an active break in the lakes and mountains this year, remember to protect yourself with the right level of travel insurance. Why not get an online quote today?