The Italian Alps get a lot of attention in winter; with stupendous snowy mountains, picturesque alpine villages, and fantastic ski resorts, the destination is one of Europe's most popular wintertime hotspots. However, what many travelers don't realize is that the Italian Alps are indeed an amazing summertime retreat, offering incredible activities during the warmer months that aren't always available in the ski season.

Ranging from relaxing to adrenaline-pumping, summertime in the Italian Alps opens up a wealth of adventures and promises an escapade that's completely different from that in winter. Whether it's stunning hiking trails, action-packed river activities, biking by glorious scenery, rock climbing, or even summer skiing, these are some of the most memorable and popular summer activities to get up to in the Italian Alps, when the warm weather and long daylight hours transform the landscapes and bring it to life in an extraordinary way.

8 Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata means "iron path" and is a unique alpine sport popular in the Italian Alps, especially in the Domolites mountains. It's notoriously challenging, but immense fun, and gives a sense of freedom that many other activities cannot. The sport involves using ropes, lanyards, and cables to vertically scale mountain routes equipped with fixed ladders, bridges, and cables to make them accessible to climbers and walkers.

Interestingly, a lot of the alpine via ferrata trails are the result of pathways created by the Austro-Hungarian armies during the First World War, which is the reason why they're very protected, safe, and properly equipped for climbers - even today.

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7 Paragliding

Forget road-tripping - does flying high through the sky over mighty mountains, lush forests, glistening alpine lakes, and scenic hills sound like heaven? Then paragliding in the Italian Alps may just be the perfect activity. For those who're not familiar with the extreme sport, a paraglider is a lightweight aircraft launched by foot, in which the flier is safely strapped in with a harness.

A professional instructor also accompanies the flier and guides them through the skies to enjoy some of the most breathtaking birds-eye view scenes available only to those who indulge in this incredible activity. There are numerous paragliding opportunities and schools all around the Italian Alps, with some of the best being located in the Dolomites mountains.

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6 Canyoning

Canyoning is considered a fairly new sport and involves exploring canyons whilst applying various techniques to get from A to B, including abseiling, climbing, walking, jumping, and swimming. It's an exciting activity to engage in anywhere, but especially in the Italian Alps thanks to the region's diverse terrain and adventurous landscapes.

There are many areas where visitors can enjoy canyoning, but some of the most beautiful canyon spots are said to be those near the Lombardy Lakes, including Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda. The sport may require some stamina and isn't for the faint of heart, but those who do give it a try - especially with local guides and operators whose experience and expertise are second to none - will be rewarded with unbeatable vistas and intimacy with the region's stunning mountains, lakes, and canyons that no other can brag about.

5 Mountain Biking

Mountains are everywhere in the Italian Alps, which means mountain biking fanatics will be in their element. There are plenty of places to bike, but one of the best spots is said to be near the well-reputed Aprica resort, which is a popular area for mountain bikers and leisurely cyclers.

Bikers love the area because of its diverse routes, including mountain pastures, alpine landscapes, and a number of dirt roads that are a lot of fun to bike along. If mountain biking is a little too strenuous, then e-biking in the Italian Alps is also a great option; cyclers get all the perks of regular biking, except with an extra helping hand from an engine.

Related: 10 Amazing Mountain Biking Trails For True Adventurers

4 Summer Skiing

Skiing in the Italian Alps isn't just reserved for the wintertime; there are some areas perfect for slope sliding, even during the warmer months. A particular noteworthy spot is in the Rhaetian Alps region, where the Tonale Pass with its ski lifts makes for excellent skiing and marvelous vistas of the Adamello mountains - even throughout the summer season.

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3 Rafting

Anywhere in the world, the alps usually mean powerful rivers - which means one sure-fire thing: awesome rafting. In the Italian Alps, it's not just dry activities available to excite adrenaline junkies; there are tons of wet sports to tempt too, and one of those is white water rafting. For those that don't know, white water rafting is a fast-paced sport in which people use an inflatable raft to navigate along a moving river - and often a very fast, powerful one.

It's the ideal sport for the most adventurous of travelers whose desire is to get the heart pumping, and the Italian Alps deliver many an action-packed river to give it a try, as well as some remarkable mountain scenery as one glides through the water. One of the most popular places to try one's hand at this supersport is the Aosta Valley situated in the Western Alps - an area famous for its legendary snowy-capped peaks, namely Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Gran Paradiso.

2 Swimming

Undoubtedly, swimming is a top pastime no matter where one takes a summer vacation, and the Italian Alps are no exception. In this stunning region, there are inviting alpine lakes as blue as the sky, where visitors can kick back, relax by the shore, and take a dip in glistening waters encompassed by lush green mountains. Many lake spots also offer boating, kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding in summer - notably at many lovely lakes in the Dolomites.

Other well-known favorite spots for swimmers, in particular, are the lakes of Trentino, including Levico Lake and Lake Caldonazzo, and also the lovely lido near Levico Terme named Lido di Levico Buena Onda. Here, guests can pay a small fee to enter the lake area, which offers umbrellas, sunbeds, changing rooms, and restrooms. Plus, there's even a lakeside pier here perfect for diving and jumping off.

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1 Vineyards, Villages, And Sensational Summer Scenery

Food, wine, pretty villages and towns, and enchanting European scenery abound in summer - and especially in the Italian Alps. Many areas within the region are transformed in the summertime - as the weather changes, daylight hours extend, and the warm temperatures bring out the fauna and flora. For photographers and travelers scoping out magical views, summer is the time to visit the Italian Alps, when the landscapes' vibrancy is at full intensity, the wildlife out and about, and the flora, in bloom.

Wherever one visits the Italian Alps, it's guaranteed to deliver amazing summer panoramas that cannot be compared to that of winter. It's the feel-good season in which the region's charming towns' restaurants are all open, with fresh pizzas and authentic pasta being served on chic bistro terraces, and exquisite red wine from nearby vineyards flowing non-stop.

Sprawling vineyards also decorate the landscapes, with luscious greenery all adding to the serene summer scenery. One of the most memorable and relaxing summer activities in the Italian Alps is wine-tasting at said vineyards, most of which are open for tours during this time. So, if the idea of warm, long summer days and evenings, colorful scenery, care-free strolls through picturesque towns, hearty Italian restaurant culture, and wine-tasting at lush vineyards all sounds divine, then it seems that adding this extraordinary destination to the summer holiday checklist is the right thing to do.

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