Take an active holiday in the mountains this summer thanks to home exchange.
Where to spend your summer holiday in the French Alps
Must-sees: Chamonix, Mont-Blanc, Briançon, Mont-Dauphin, Gap, Serre-Ponçon
When to go: June, July, and August are ideal. September brings the potential for rain showers.
Summer temperatures: During the summer the mountains offer pleasant temperatures with highs of 60°F and plenty of sunshine.
What to do & see in the High Alps and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the summer:
In the High Alps:
- The mountains make for great hiking. The High Alps feature several natural parks perfect for admiring the region’s flora and fauna. Make sure to spend some time in Ecrins, the most important national park in France.
- To appreciate the rustic mountain villages, take a walk through Queyras National Park, known for its pine forests, cliffs, and rivers. Should you want more information, guides are available to accompany you and provide insight into the unique surroundings.
- Chamonix: a world-famous destination for a reason, this mountain town is full of activity throughout the summer. From Chamonix you can easily reach the Aiguille du Midi by cable car in 20 minutes. Children may enjoy the “pas dans le vide” (steps in the void): a section of grates that give the impression of walking on air more than 3482m high.
- For cultural enrichment, make your way to Briançon: wander the path through the heart of the town’s history, walk around the forests of Salettes, or explore the castle.
- This region offers a number of picturesque villages. Try Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a town that cultivates an expertise in pottery.
- For fun activities with the family, find your way to the Gorges of Verdon: swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking, the possibilities are endless.
- For cultural visits, the midieval cities of Enreveaux or Colmars will allow your children to discover more about French history.
Type of budget? The main villages of the Alps are accessible by train, however a car will allow you easier access to natural parks. On top of your transportation budget, finding accommodation can also become cumbersome if you wish to avoid camping. However, it might be a good opportunity to try a different type of travel; home exchange is a great low-budget option.
Where to stay in the Alps? With home exchange you stay in the person’s home who will in turn stay in yours. Several websites for exchange exist, however some require subscription fees, while others are free. GuestToGuest is a European home exchange site that offers free exchanges in Europe and across the world. You can stay with another member of the GuestToGuest network anywhere in the world free of charge.
More than 5,000 homes are available for exchange in the French Alps with GuestToGuest.
Eric offers his home for exchange on GuestToGuest where he has already completed more than a dozen successful exchanges. His home is located in the Haute Savoie region in Passy. “There are so many great hikes in the region and we have a spectacular view of Mont Blanc,” he explains. Yannick, one of Eric’s guests, left a note, “Everything went well! The view of Mont-Blanc is simply magnificent. When you spend your vacation in a home like Eric’s you can travel wherever you want, it’s such a unique experience”.
Where to spend your summer holiday
in the French Pyrenees
Must-sees: Pic de Midi, Pic de Vignemal, Luchon, Aix-les-Thermes, Foix
When to go: From June to September, the Pyrenees region enjoys a warm climate thanks to its proximity to Spain.
Summer temperatures: Between 75°F and 85°F
What to do & see in the Pyrenees in the summer:
- The Pic du Midi is situated at an altitude of 3,000m and offers an unbelievable view of the chain of mountains. An evening at the observatory will allow you to take in the panorama over the landscape. The Pic de Vignemal and numerous national parks, such as the Pyrenees National Park or the Pont d’Espagne, are great destinations for hiking and other summer activities, including whitewater rafting.
- The town of Foix is an interesting cultural spot: visit the castle situated on top of a large boulder in the center of the town. The surrounding villages such as Mirepoix are worth a visit as well. Children might have fun at the “Parc des Loups” (Wolf Park) or exploring the Labouiche subterranean river by boat.
- Several hot springs are hidden among the Pyrenees at Luz-Saint-Sauveur, Aix-les-Thermes, and Luchon.
- Further cultural excursions may include the village of Val d’Azun or Luz Saint Sauveur, the Abbey of Saint Savin, or the Donjon des Aigles, a bird show set in a castle.
Type of budget? The Pyrenees are mostly accessible by car and the area can be easily reached from the Toulouse airport which services other towns in France.
Where to stay in the Pyrenees? To find accommodation in the Pyrenees on a budget try home exchange!
Sylvain offers his mountain cottage for exchange for free on GuestToGuest. His home is situated in the heart of nature and will allow you easy access to the Pyrenees National Park and to discover “Chez Pauline,” the best sheep cheese in the area. His guests have found that:”We adored the mountain, the calm, and the neighbor’s sheep farm”. Discover other authentic experiences on our website.
Where to spend your summer holiday
in the mountains of Aragon
Must-sees: the mountains of Aragon, Saragosse, Huesca, Alcaniz
When to go: throughout the summer the region of Aragon boasts quite a warm climate, in July the maximum temperatures are over 85°F.
What to do & see in summer in Aragon:
- For active excursions: Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park in the Pyrenees in the north of Aragon offers majestic landscapes and hiking trails fit for everyone.
- Sierra de Guara Natural Park has all kinds of activities, such as canyoning.
- The valley of Aran is surrounded by high summits and beautiful landscapes of pine forests. The valley is characterized by classic stone architecture with slate roofs and its own unique language, Aranais.
- For cultural activities in Saragosse: the Basilica of Our Lady Pilar of Saragosse was built in 1681 and is a big part of the Spanish cultural heritage of the region. The Aljaferia Palace is another popular attraction in the town. Its fortified architecture and interiors dating from the Al-Muqtadir period are something to marvel at.
- In Alcaniz, visit the Los Calatravos castle for a beautiful view over the surrounding countryside and olive groves.
Where to stay in Aragon? Spain is the second most active country in home exchange, after France, and the region of Aragon is particularly active. Within the GuestToGuest community you will find many Spanish members ready to host you for either a reciprocal exchange or non-reciprocal with GuestPoints. GuestPoints are a way in which hospitality is rewarded on the site. GuestPoints will allow you to complete non-reciprocal exchanges, meaning you do not necessarily have to go to the home of the people who come to yours, but you can exchange the nights for GuestPoints and use those points to go elsewhere.
“My wife and I love to travel and discover other cultures. Our home is available on GuestToGuest and we have already completed 7 home exchanges.” Pablo’s home is one of numerous homes available for exchange in Aragon.