It’s often tricky when you’re on holiday with children to find something that everyone wants to do. “I don’t want to go on another walk”, “I’m bored of climbing mountains”, “why can’t we go on the luge AGAIN?” It’s hard to please everyone. So when the family suggested taking a trip over the mountains to Switzerland, I was reticent. Surely it wouldn’t be that fun for the little ones? How wrong I was.
The trip involves short rocky walks, exciting cable car journeys, hot chocolate in the clouds and a huge adventure trying to find lunch…(I’ll get to that bit later)
So the trip starts out in the village of Lindarets, which is a great way to get the children on side from the beginning. We arrived at around 10.30am and already the road was heaving with hungry goats. It’s a hilarious experience, especially when one of your party decides to buy a bag of feed for each child resulting in enough food to feed an army of goats. We were extremely popular with the animals, which swarmed around us – much to the amusement of the children. It was a fun and easy way to start the adventure!
From here you head up to the Lindarets bowl to start the first part of the journey. You walk for about half an hour towards Lac Verte. The path rises steadily up hill so with youngsters in tow it can take a little longer, heading for the Mossettes lift, which is the first lift of the day. It can be found by a little stream (ideal for paddling) and also a little café (ideal for ice creams). It carries you all the way to the Cookie Café, which is the highest altitude restaurant in the Portes du Soleil. It’s a very long lift ride but the children loved it. It climbs and dips over the mountains for about 15 minutes before reaching the peak. The 9 year old I was with loved spotting all of the items of clothing dropped accidentally by people - I think we found 17 caps, 2 ski poles and 2 lift passes in total!
Sadly, the Cookie Café was shut on the day we were there, much to the disappointment of the hungry group. However, from here, it wasn't a huge journey to the next available restaurant. You go down the mountain on the second Mossettes lift, which is actually quite scary! The drop is quite fast and felt like a bit of a ride for the children especially as we passed through dense cloud, meaning that we couldn’t see anything!
When you get to the bottom you immediately embark on another lift (which seats 8 people) to head up the other side of the Valley. Here you reach a restaurant, which boasts panoramic views of both Switzerland and France. We all had a delicious hot chocolate whilst we waited for the lift down into the Swiss village of Champery. You’d think that an order of 13 hot drinks might annoy the staff but they were extremely friendly. Even the people enjoying a quiet glass of wine didn’t seem to mind us being there. It was a really welcoming stop off. The issue with the lift from this point is that it only runs every half an hour so you really have to keep track of time to make sure you don’t miss it!
This lift is the only bubble lift of the day and offers incredible views of the dramatic landscape, which surrounds Champery. One of the children said “some of the mountains look like the ones out of Lord of The Rings” and she was right. Spikey, rocky peaks with huge glaciers tower above the more rolling green hills of the Swiss countryside.
By this time it was getting close to 2pm and we had some very hungry children. However, when we tried to order food for 13 people at the only open restaurant they decided to tell us that the kitchen was closed. This caused carnage amongst the already famished group. However some quick thinking saved the day. We grabbed a picnic lunch from the Co-op in the village and had sandwiches in a car park. It doesn’t sound very glamorous but with the incredible views surrounding us, and some very warm alpine sun, it was actually brilliant.
From here we headed back the way we came, conscious of the closing times of some of the lifts. We had to be back at the first one by 16:40 at the latest. We arrived there in plenty of time, which meant we were able to hike up a little hill, which gives you an amazing view of Mont Blanc in the distance. A small group of people felt inspired to give us a full rendition of songs from the Sound of Music at the top of the hill, which added to the fun!
We arrived at the bottom of the first lift in time for the children to grab an ice cream to finish off the day before walking the short way back to the car park at the Lindarets bowl. There were no tantrums. There was plenty of laughter and above all everyone, adults and children alike, had fun. It’s a great way to see the stunning landscape that makes up the Portes du Soleil whilst also getting the children out in the fresh air and having a day that’s memorable for all the right reasons.
My only bit of advice…. take some food with you in case you find yourself in a similar predicament to us!
Find details for all summer lift passes here.
- Hiking / Walking
- Mountain Walking