How about a vacation in the mountains this summer? What to see? What to do? We help you discover five must-see destinations in Europe and explore unique activities in each.

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1. Kandersteg region, Canton of Bern, Switzerland

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Kandersteg is a small village about an hour drive from Bern. Once there, you’ll be beckoned by Lake Oeschienen, one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Switzerland. Numerous hiking and running trails will delight you. Discover picturesque landscapes with waterfalls, meadows, forests, and fields full of grazing cows. Marvel at the majestic mountain vistas and the breathtaking turquoise color of the lake. For the less athletic, you can also get there by cable car.

Unique activity: If you are a thrill-seeker, try out tube sliding. Go to the Swisscom Nordic Arena, or propel down a ski jump slope at a speed of 90km/h in an exceptional setting.

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2.The Dolomites, Italy

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The Dolomites range, located in the northeast of Italy, is a must-see region for a mountain vacation in winter and summer. The landscape is often considered one of the most beautiful mountain panoramas in the world. These mountains are a paradise for skiers, hikers, and nature lovers. You will find magical blue lakes, pastures, coniferous forests, and small wooden huts lost in the middle of the meadows. While venturing there, do not miss the three peaks. Its pointed mountains are emblematic of the Dolomites.

Unique activity: A small farm in the village of Warf is accessible from the Croda Rossa cable car station. While visiting the farm you can feed a herd of reindeer and learn more about this unique  deer species.

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3. Meteora, Greece

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A visit to  Meteora, with its monasteries perched on top of imposing cliffs in the north of Greece, should be on everyone’s bucket list. Of the twenty or so monasteries built, only six are still in operation today and open to visitors. You can get there on foot by climbing the steps, carved into the rock. When you reach the top, you will discover a splendid landscape, with an exceptional view of the valley as well as other monasteries.

Unique activity: if you are around Meteora, Kalambaka, or Grevena, don’t miss rafting the Aliakmonas River on an inflatable boat. You will not be disappointed with this adventure with its twists and turns. Two hours of pure pleasure await you! Meet at the center of the base in the village of Felli, and from there you will be taken to the starting point for your rafting adventure.

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4. La Gavarnie, France

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In the Pyrénées, Gavarnie is an ideal destination during the summer. Don’t forget to put on some good walking shoes for hiking to the Cirque de Gavarnie and its splendid waterfall. With children or with friends, the stunning vistas will leave you speechless.

Unique activity: about forty minutes from the Cirque de Gavarnie, get your thrills on one of 16  ziplines surrounded by cliffs, turquoise water, and waterfalls.

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5. Tennen mountains, Austria

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Located in the province of Salzburg, this mountain range is well known for its numerous hiking, climbing and skiing trails. You’ll be impressed by its idyllic landscapes, rugged mountains, flowery meadows, and waterfalls such as the gorgeous Gollings Falls.

Unique activity: Visit the Eisriesenwelt cave, the largest ice cave in the world. It is located near the village of Werfen in the province of Salzburg. To access this incredible ice maze, you can take a bus from the village of Werfen, then take a cable car, and finally walk 20 minutes to reach the cave. Don't miss this adventure, but be prepared for it’s 700 steps!

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Go on vacation in the mountains with HomeExchange

If you want to go on a mountain vacation this summer, home swapping is a great alternative to expensive vacation rentals. This is an opportunity to explore new horizons and to experience an authentic vacation. By being hosted by a member of the HomeExchange community, you will  benefit from your host’s recommendations on where to go and what to do, allowing you to visit the region like a local.

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Would you like to go on vacation in the mountains every year? Discover our selection of must-see mountain vacation destinations in Canada and in France!