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Mountain biking in the Alps offers something for everyone. From thrill seekers to leisure cyclists there are trails and tracks to suit each, and every, ability. But with so many mountains to climb, where’s best to head for a high-altitude adventure? Susannah Osborne steers you in the right direction

Verbier World bike Park

Paradiski, France

Paradiski has gained a reputation as one of the best summer Alpine MTB destinations. The area, made up of the four Les Arcs ski centres, La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry, is epic with masses of high-altitude riding. With 245km of marked-out routes there’s something for everyone here from cross-country, to freeride and downhill. Above the treeline, at around 1,800m, the landscape is open and undulating, lower down there are steeps and technical descents to contend with. For a gorgeous, through-the-trees ride, climb up from Vallandry (1,600m) on routes 11 and six to the Notre Dame des Vernettes Sanctuary (1,800m), then descend back through Plan Peisey for a well-earned beer at the Bar du Mont Blanc.

Best for: Intermediates to experts

Getting there: Easyjet ( flies from London Gatwick to Geneva. The Cool Bus ( runs transfers plus bikes from Geneva Airport to Peisey-Vallandry

Budget stay: Chalet Arc Riders Hostel

Blow the budget stay: Chalet Myrtille, Nancroix

Need to know: Lifts are open from the end of June to the end of August.


Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier is the home of extreme skiing, but if you’re a fan of two wheels the Swiss resort is equally as epic – there are jaw-dropping descents and heart-in-mouth trails aplenty. With stunning views to Italy’s Grand Combin massif and the French side of Mont Blanc, mountain biking in Verbier is not for the faint-hearted. The legendary Verbier bowl is a perfect starting point for a ride. Take the gondola, then ride out to either end on cruisey wide trails, or, if you’re up for the challenge, on more technical single track. An easy (ish) but long ride (48km) is the Tour du Mont Fort: starting in Verbier (1,500m), take the Télécabines de Médran, Savoleyres and then Tracouet to help your ascent to the Col des Gentianes (2,894m).

Best for: Experts

Getting there: EasyJet and BA ( fly from London Gatwick to Geneva. Trains operate from Geneva airport to Le Chable. Buses operate from Le Chable to Verbier.

Budget stay: Central Hotel Verbier

Blow the budget stay: Hotel Nevaï

Need to know: Lifts are open from June to mid-September.


Zermatt, Switzerland

zermatt switzerland

Zermatt, at the base of Switzerland’s mighty Matterhorn, gives bikers the option to experience riding through pine and larch forest over well maintained and managed trails, at altitudes of up to 3,000m. With a range of routes from the thrilling Gornergrat, with its 1,469m vertical descent (route number 4), to the more leisurely woodland Täsch – Randa – Täsch (route 6), choose from guided or self-led rides with pit stops at mountain restaurants along the way. Many of the resort’s hotels cater for mountain bikers with even the five-star Riffelalp offering a secure area for bike storage, a cleaning area with hose and help with rental and repairs (if your budget is a little more challenged, try the three-star Hotel Bijou).

Best for: Intermediates

Getting there: EasyJet and BA fly from London Gatwick to Zurich. Swiss ( flies from London Heathrow to Zurich. Trains operate from Zurich Airport to Zermatt.

Budget stay: Hotel Bijou

Blow the budget stay: Riffelalp

Need to know: Lifts are open from June to October.


Valais region, Switzerland

The Valais region boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, making it a summer paradise for bikers keen to get a tan. Rising up from the low Rhône Valley, the Valais village lifts allow access to hundreds of kilometres of trails. Beginners and intermediates will love the stunning ascent to view the Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in The Alps. Riding through the UNESCO Jungfrau – Aletsch – Bietschhorn World Natural Heritage Site from the Fiesch, the 40km tour climbs up to Märjelen Lake at the elbow of the glacier. A pit stop at the restaurant Gletscherstube Märjela should refuel you for the descent. Tired legs will appreciate a ride home in the Fiesch-Eggishorn cable car.

Best for: Beginners to intermediates

Getting there: Easyjet and BA fly from London Gatwick to Geneva. Trains operate from Geneva to Brig with connections to Fiesch.

Budget stay: Jugendherberge Sport Ferien Resort (Fiesch Youth Hostel)

Blow the budget stay: Hotel Christania

Need to know: Lifts are open from June until October.


Morzine, France

France’s Portes du Soleil region has become a hub for mountain bikers. First timers will appreciate the 500km of well-marked trails and friendly atmosphere. There really is something for everyone here, with World Cup downhills, taxing singletrack and mellow Alpine trails. With more than 20 linked lifts, much of the riding can be done from your doorstep, which makes the town even more appealing. The Super Morzine gondola opens up a whole world of trails with loops leading back down to the town or leading on towards the neighbouring town of Avoriaz. The Tour du Pleney (route 21) starts from the top of the Pleney lift and winds up through the forest before descending past the Grand Pré restaurant and back through La Mouille into the town.

Best for: Intermediates to experts

Getting there: EasyJet and BA fly from London Gatwick to Geneva. Swiss flies from London Heathrow to Geneva. Ski Lift ( operates transfers with bikes from Geneva Airport to Morzine.

Budget stay: Chalet Le Nantégué

Blow the budget stay: Chalet La Cabine

Need to know: Lifts are open from June until October.


Kitzbühel, Austria

Kizbuhel mountain bike

The Kitzbühel Alps are perfect for a summer mountain biking holiday with more than 800km of cycling paths and trails and unrivalled views across the Tirol region. The town, famous for its downhill ski race, the Hahnenkamm, is host to the summer KitzAlpBike mountain biking festival, featuring an 88-mile mountain bike marathon. Kitzbühel is also the starting point of the 1,000km Tirol Bike Trail – the longest interconnected mountain biking loop trail in the Alps. A short, sharp, leg-zapping ride is the ascent from the village to the Hahnenkamm gondola station and then onto Pengelstein. The record for the ascent is 36 minutes. At a more leisurely pace, the 900m of vertical will take well over an hour!

Best for: Beginners to Intermediates

Getting there: EasyJet and BA fly from London Gatwick to Innsbruck. Trains operate from Innsbruck Airport to Kitzbühel.

Budget stay: Gasthof Hechenmoos

Blow the budget stay: The Tennerhof

Need to know: Lifts open from June until October.


Alpe d’Huez, France

Famous as the toughest climb of the Tour de France, Alpe d’Huez is also a mountain biking Mecca. The Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine VTT has more than 250km of trails, 2,610m of vertical drop, four bike parks and nine cable cars connecting eight villages. It’s an exceptional mountain biking area, certified by the French Cycling Federation, which is a sign that it’s pretty hot. Experts will love the 30km non-stop downhill of the Megavalanche circuit, the longest in the world. Take the Grandes Rousses gondola, known as the DMC, followed by the Pic Blanc cable car to 3,330m, then start the thrilling descent past the Glacier de Sarenne and back to town, or continue to Allemont for the full Megavalanche experience.

Best for: Experts

Getting there: Easyjet flies from London Gatwick to Geneva. The Cool Bus runs transfers with bikes from Geneva Airport to Alpe D’Huez

Budget stay: Hotel Beau Soleil

Blow the budget stay: Au Chamois d’Or

Need to know: Lifts open from end of June until the end of August.


Sauze d’Oulx, Italy

Sauze d’Oulx is part of Italy’s Alpi Bike Resort setup, which includes eight resorts in the Alta Val Susa Alps that are set up for riding in the summer months. The Alpi resort prides itself on meeting the every need of mountain bikers with a network of dedicated services to hand: bike hire, repair shops, MTB schools and Bike Hotels. The Alta Val Susa Mountains are a stunning backdrop for riding the trails and for relaxing afterwards – the area is known for its great food and hospitality, plus lots of sunshine. A leisurely, but still lung-tickling route is the Testa Dell’Assietta track that takes you through the Gran Bosco nature park towards the Colle Blegier-Assietta and onto the high Alpine meadows of the Strada dei Cannoni.

Best for: Intermediates to experts

Getting there: BA and Ryanair ( fly from London Gatwick or London Stanstead to Turin. Trains from Turin (Porta Nuova) station run direct to Oulx buses run to Sauze d’Oulx.

Budget stay: Hotel Stella Alpina

Blow the budget stay: Grand Hotel Besson

Need to know: Alpi Bike Resort lifts are open from mid-June to mid-September.


Schladming, Austria

The old mining town of Schladming in Austria’s Tauern mountains has been host to the Mountain Bike World Cup and is becoming a hot destination for two-wheeled adventures. With a series of mountain bike trails designed by local riders, three downhill runs and a total of 930km of cycling tracks, this is a truly bike-friendly town on and off the bike – many of the hotels are set up to welcome riders. The town itself is a bustling place where medieval architecture meets café society, making it an ideal spot to wind down. For a long (40km) but not-too-taxing ride head out from the base of the Hochwurzen gondola along the valley and then climb up to the Fastenberg, returning through the town and to Rohrmoos.

Best for: Intermediates to experts

Getting there: Easyjet flies from London Gatwick to Salzburg. Ryanair flies from London Stanstead to Salzburg. Trains run from Salzburg to Schladming,

Budget stay: JUFA, Schladming

Blow the budget stay: Hotel Schloss Pichlarn

Need to know: Lifts are open from May to October.

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