But it’s not all get-up-and-go-go-go. Even if you’re just there for the postcard-perfect views, the sleepy mountain towns dotted through the continent are flourishing at this time of year. Whether you’re hankering high-octane drama or a something a little less sweaty, discover the best mountains in Europe to visit when the slopes turn to green.
1. Puster Valley, South Tyrol, Italy
The Italian Dolomites are the dazzling poster-boy for world-class peaks. With over 90,000 acres of mountainous terrain, rolling green landscapes and thoroughly vibrant culture, they lure nature lovers and adventurers from all over the world. Avoid getting clogged up in tourist traps by going to lands less wandered – Puster Valley is an enchanting mix of fairytale woodlands, cycle paths, paddle-boat-speckled lakes, and, of course, those lovely, looming Dolomites. Rest those trekked-out limbs with a night at the life-restoring Hotel Alte Goste, located in the heart of the valley with a history spanning back to 1142.
2. Caragh Lake, County Kerry, Ireland
Traverse hills enrobed in heather and broom at Caragh Lake, surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Ireland. Hidden away on the shores at the unique Carrig Country House, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh-air exhilaration. There are nearby peaks Seefin and Carrantuohill to explore, as well as the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, Killarney National Park or Skellig Michael. No action-stuffed escape is complete without a squishy king size bed to rest up in – luckily your hosts Frank and Mary have that all sorted. Wake to the sound of the lapping lake and pray you can stay there forever.
3. Oppland, Norway
The quaint resorts and charming valleys of natural Oppland landscapes are a Shangri-La for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in central Norway, the region is home to the holy trinity of mountains: Jotunheimen, Rondane and Dovrefjell. The latter is considered the ‘roof of Norway’ and has a special place in locals’ hearts and souls. It’s even said you should always greet its largest peak, Snøhetta, as you approach it. Whether you’re stomping round the national parks or waving hello to handsome mountains, make sure you snuggle up at Lom-based bolthole Fossheim Hotell. It’s splendorous in its welcome: think age-old log houses, roaring fires and quintessentially Norwegian food taken to new heights.
4. Snowdonia, Wales
Monumental mountains are as plentiful as cotton-bud-white sheep in Wales. Stay at Sychnant Pass Country House and you’re right at the gateway to the most famous region of them all – glorious Snowdonia. The country house has all the ingredients to make it the ultimate home-away-from-home: a luxurious spa, heated pool and even an outdoor hot tub, not to mention all of North Wales on your doorstep. Spend your days foraying into the forests, lakes and mountains in the national park – where everything from gorge-walking to abseiling is possible – before finishing each evening of your mountain holiday nodding off blissfully in a carved four-poster bed.
5. Zermatt, Switzerland
We couldn’t compile a list of the best mountains in Europe to visit without mentioning the mighty Matterhorn. You might recognise it from a particularly famous Swiss chocolate bar – the triangular shape of its iconic peak forms appears on the Toblerone logo. See it for yourself with a stay at Hotel Monte Rosa in Zermatt, which dates back to 1839 and enjoys views of the heart-stopping mountainous pyramid from its guest rooms. You don’t have to be a mountaineer to get up close and personal with the Matterhorn – many have died trying. Instead, jump aboard Europe’s highest cogwheel railway, Gornergratbahn, for intoxicating views of the rugged tuft and its surrounding postcard panorama.