Dreaming of Switzerland
Dream away to one of Europe's most spectacular destinations
Thinking of Switzerland brings to mind images of blankets of snow and cosy wooden chalets in winter, contrasted with lush green slopes and mountain paths in summer. For now, it is the perfect destination to dream of and may have you drooling as much as a Swiss fondue. But when it's possible to travel again, you'll want to do much more than gaze at Switzerland from a window, so here are 5 ways to truly experience Switzerland. Get ready to update your bucket list!
Scale a snow-capped mountain
Switzerland is all about the mountains, so this is a must. Whether you're going to hit the ski slopes in winter or test your hiking boots in summer - you are in for a magical experience.
Many of Switzerland’s mountains are rather tall and challenging, so you may also want to climb aboard a cable car or a mountain railway. You can take a cable car to reach the summit of the Schilthorn in Bernese Oberland, and you’ll get a 25% discount with a Eurail or Interrail Pass. Or take the Gornergrat Train from Zermatt for an exhilarating ride with views of the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s iconic pyramid mountain.
Stand on the top of Europe
Once you reach a Swiss summit always make sure to pause and take in the 360-degree panorama, featuring many of Europe’s tallest peaks. For such inhospitable mountains, Swiss summits offer surprisingly sophisticated hospitality. Atop the Schilthorn, you can channel your inner secret-agent by dining at the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant, the setting for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. You could also visit an ice cave where you can view some ice, art or ice-art. Popular caves include Mittelallalin Ice Pavilion at Saas-Fee and Titlis Glacier Cave (above Lucerne).
Descend a mountain in style
It can still be possible to come down a mountain at speed even when the snow is gone. Interlaken is one of the best areas for extreme sports. Adrenaline junkies can go mountain biking, paragliding, or even try a spot of skydiving, all within one of Switzerland’s most beautiful valleys. Those looking for excitement without jumping from heights, should try a rodelbahn. These toboggans can be found throughout Switzerland and will put you in control of your own coaster car as you shoot down the alpine slopes. Rodelbahns and also mountain scooters are a fun way for families to spend a day on the slopes.
Plunge into thousands of alpine lakes
Switzerland doesn’t only have mountains. Its alpine valleys contain thousands of lakes. These lakes are best experienced in summer when they fill with blue meltwater from the mountains, but visiting at any other time of the year will also provide you with beautiful scenery. For those, who are brave enough to embrace a chillier temperature, most of the lakes are perfect for a swim, especially during the warmer months.
Lake Geneva is the most well-known, with over 100 public beaches to relax at. Lake Lugano in the Italian-speaking south will make you feel like you’re at the Med, far away from the snow-capped Alps. In the city of Zurich, you can join the locals at badis, urban swimming areas on the lake or river, with wooden docks and cafes – a unique summer experience in Switzerland to enter your bucket list.
Take a train (of course)
Switzerland’s rail network is impressive, so it’s easy to get around with a Eurail/Interrail Pass. What’s more, your Pass will cover 2 of our favorite scenic train routes, with only a small additional reservation fee. The Bernina Express is a UNESCO World Heritage site and transports you from the hot Italian-speaking town of Poschiavo, up into the Alps at St. Moritz. Then the Glacier Express continues the journey from St. Moritz to Zermatt, for a final view of the Matterhorn. The trains wind their way through mountain passes and tunnels and offer many a view from a bridge. Panoramic windows allow you to marvel both at Switzerland’s natural wonders and their gravity-defying feats of engineering, such as the Landwasser Viaduct. And of course, Switzerland’s central location means it’s the perfect starting point to explore another European country nearby.