The Northern Alps in a van
The Northern Alps include three departments: Haute-Savoie, Savoie and Isère, extending from Lake Geneva in the north to Col du Lautaret in the south. While primarily known for its winter sports, this is also an excellent area to explore in a rental campervan for your summer holiday adventure.
Its winding roads will make you appreciate your Mercedes Marco Polo or Volkswagen California campervan's comfortable ride. They'll lead you from peak to peak - including some that have become famous during the Tour de France: Galibier, Croix de Fer, Madeleine and Iseran - towards high mountain landscapes that will take your breath away. You'll drive beside magnificent Alpine lakes, such as Lac d'Aiguebelette, Lac du Bourget and Lac d'Annecy. You'll drop down into verdant valleys, dotted with mountain huts, and pass through beautiful Alpine forests, winding your way towards the highest summits in the Alps...and all of Europe! Spend unforgettable evenings in your campervan, parked in the most beautiful parts of Vercors, Bauges, Chartreuse Mountains and Vanoise National Park, which is filled with local plants and wildlife. You might even see some ibex or marmots.
The Northern Alps are also a playground for outdoor sports and leisure activities deep in nature. For those who love whitewater adventures, the many rivers and mountain streams are ideal for rafting and canyoning. Anyone who likes calmer water will enjoy an outing to one of the Northern Alps' mountain lakes for stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking or just a quick dip. Clearly, the Northern Alps region is also a favourite among land-based sports fans. There's a long list of activities you can enjoy: hiking, trekking, climbing, via ferrata, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking and more. And those who want a bird's eye view of the beautiful Alpine panoramas can get some air with a hang glider, paraglider or parachute. Renting a campervan is one of the easiest ways to get as close as possible to all these outdoor adventures.
After expending all that energy, you deserve some time to relax around a nice dinner prepared in your campervan's kitchen with local products like diots and crozets, followed by farm-fresh Reblochon from Aravis and an Alpine tart. And if you aren't heading back out on the road, pair your meal with a Savoie wine and end your feast with a bit of Génépi liqueur. Or if you're really tired, you may want to try out a little local restaurant where you can sample some of the regional dishes, like raclette, tartiflette, Savoie fondue or gratin dauphinois.
Your Alpine trek will take you on to Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, the Alpine king. There, make a long stop to enjoy its many wonders, like the Mer de Glace glacier that you reach via the Montenvers rack rail train, as well as the Aiguille du Midi with its landscaped terraces.
Newer campervans have auxiliary heating so you can use them to visit Northern Alps winter sports resorts for skiing or snowboarding in the winter.