Summer highs: six greatest mountain escapes

Because there’s no remedy like a dose of mountain air, The Club asked some of our travel experts to uncover the world’s most glorious summer breaks – complete with mountain peaks, adventurous attractions and views that are worth the climb

Yakushima, Japan

Yakushima, Japan

Kate Crockett, writer and Japan expert 
This subtropical island is the country’s first Unesco World Heritage Sitedominated by Miyanoura-dake (1,936m) and swathed in mossy forests of ancient Japanese cedars. Accessible via direct flights from Tokyo, it’s an easy (but busy), day hike up to the oldest tree, the 7,000 years old gnarly Jomon Sugi, where you’ll see glimpses of the shy native yakushika deer. For the Mt Miyanoura summit, book a guide from ecotourism experts Japan Nature Network. Stay at Sankara Hotel & Spa, a tiny off-grid, wellness retreat, and relieve tired limbs with a night-time trip to the seashore hot spring at Hirauchi, revealed twice a day at low tide. 

Saalbach Valley, Austria

Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria

Matt Carroll, travel writer and cycling enthusiast 
All the joys of cycling in the Alps with only half the effort. This is what you’ll find in Austria’s Saalbach Hinterglemm, where you can even hire an e-bike equipped with an electric motor, which takes the effort out of climbing. Take your pick from over 400km of marked trails, graded like ski runs so you can match the terrain to your energy (and scaredy cat) level; then stop for lunch at one of the umpteen authentic mountain huts that pepper the valley where you can sit back and soak up the view while you and your bike recharge your respective batteries for the blast back down.

Bergen, Norway

Bergen, Norway

Ellie Ross, adventure travel writer 
Flanked by seven mountains and mirror-smooth fjords, Norway’s second city is an outdoor paradise, particularly during the long summer days. I love hiking (try the 15km Vidden Trail between Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen) and deep-sea fishing. Panoramic vistas unfurl from Mount Fløyen (walk, or there’s a funicular to the 320-metre summit), while rock climbing and the country’s fastest zip line at Mount Ulriken are also fun ways to enjoy the mountains. Hike, or ride the cable car, to Sky:Skraperen restaurant, at the top of Ulriken, with its epic views and seasonal menu, before descending to the charming Det Hanseatiske Hotel, which has a stellar harbourside location.

St Moritz, Switzerland

St Moritz, Switzerland

Melissa Lawford, editorial assistant at British Airways’ High Life magazine
In the Alpine resort of St Moritz, known for its ‘Champagne climate’ of blue skies and sparkling sunlight, hitch a lift to the turreted Suvretta House for views over Lake Champfèr and Lake Silvaplana, where you can easily access 400km of mountain-bike trails. The Foppettas Flow Trail offers magnificent views over the Bernina mountain range, while the nearby Emerald Trail hike takes you to Lake Marsch for sheltered bathing. Golf lovers can tee off on the Samedan course before catching the chairlift (try the Swiss Travel System for help getting about) up to the lodge-style  Trutz restaurant for Swiss veal bratwurst in the sun. 

Adelaide Hills, Australia

Adelaide, Australia

Nina Caplanwine writer
A 20-minute drive from South Australia’s capital, the cooler Adelaide Hills are perfect for vines and energetic visitors. Finish off a late-afternoon hike with a visit to The Lane vineyard or the Bird in Hand winery, where rose-breasted cockatoos hop between the vines. To offset all that eating and drinking, try the steep walk from Waterfall Gully to the summit of Mount Lofty – a serious workout. Or head to Morialta Conservation Park, where there’s rock climbing and abseiling in beautiful surroundings. Alternatively, just walk round Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, with its beautiful views, then pop next door to Mount Lofty House Hotel, built in 1852, for dinner. 

The Cairngorms, Scotland

The Cairngorms, Scotland

Rebecca Field, co-founder of Scot Mountain Holidays 
This mountainous National Park is perfect for Brits who want adventure on their doorstep. After flying into Aberdeen or Inverness, head to Glenmore Forest Park for centuries-old pines and mountain-backed Loch Morlich, where you can kayak on the glassy waters. Next up, your first climbing challenge – Braeriach, Britain’s third-highest peak, and a post-hike pint at Aviemore's rustic Old Bridge Inn, before bedding down at Fraoch Lodge. Then, while away a day in Scottish style on an award-winning Dalwhinnie Distillery whisky tour, or book at the Rothiemurchus Centre for a Hairy Coo safari, where a ranger will introduce you to the Highlands’ most loveable cows.

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This article has been tagged Adventure, Destination