As someone who loves the mountains but grew up in California, the majority of my mountain experience was at Lake Tahoe – a beautiful area of mountains rising up around the crystal-clear Lake Tahoe. What this mountainous area lacked in size it made up for in beauty. All that to say I grew up going to “mountains,” but after going to the Alps, Lake Tahoe was no longer my definition of mountains.
This is a personal favorite of mine and is specific to the French Alps more so than any other part of these mountains. Raclette is the name of the dish but also the name of the cheese itself that’s warmed to the point of meltiness using various differing contraptions. Melty raclette cheese that you spread over anything you want, ham, potatoes, cornichons, the list goes on. If you want a hardy mountain meal that will be sure to warm and fill you up, raclette is a delicious option.
No matter where and when you are in the Alps, you’re sure to be treated to incredible views. The mountains go on for as far as the eye can see. The sheer grandeur of this mountain range is awe inspiring making it a perfect place to reflect on how lucky you are to be able to experience something so special.
3. The weather
Definitely something to keep an eye on as you plan your trip is when you decide to visit the Alps because depending on the season, you’re going to get one of two options. Do you love the snow, sledding, and snow sports? Head to the Alps in the Winter (approx. Oct. – May) and get your fill of every snow activity you could imagine. What about hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, or wildflowers? The Alps in the Spring (approx. June – Sept.) is full of life and activity of both flora and fauna alike.
The mountains come alive in the most beautiful way with wildflowers scattering the mountains, in some places you’d never expect to find flowers. One of the most famous wildflowers of the Alps is called “Génépi.” Used to distill one of the more popular liqueurs in the Savoie region of France, this flower is known to grow at staggering altitudes and harvesting it is known to have serious consequences without proper preparation.
4. Mont Blanc!
Easily the most famous peak in this incredible mountain range. You can actually drive through it as there is a tunnel that links France to Italy that was bored right under the mountain! Standing at 15,777 ft. it towers over the Alps. Keep an eye out for it wearing it’s “chapeau” or “hat” of clouds that get stuck over the peak every once in a while.
5. Check some countries off your list!
The Alps extend so far and wide that they actually cross into France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Each part of the mountains has a twist on the food, the language, and more based on the country in which you find yourself. You can find interesting blends of cultures as well where the border of countries evaporates into the mountains.