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Switzerland

Switzerland

The cows and goats really do wear bells in Switzerland, you really can feast on chocolate and fondue (or chocolate fondue!) and best of all if you’ve over-indulged you can still reach the summit of a Swiss alp with no effort at all.

Switzerland is synonymous with mountains, and although you can get to the top the hard way, part of the charm of this landlocked nation is to reach the summit by other means. The world’s steepest cog railway will take you all the way to the peak of Mt Pilatus, or watch awe-inspiring scenery slip by on a train journey between Zermatt and St Moritz. In Zermatt board one of the highest cable car rides in Europe to the summit of Klein Matterhorn where you can get one of the best views of the famous Matterhorn - and on a clear day you can see more than 40 peaks over 4000 metres high. Then there’s the Jungfrau Railway in the spectacular Bernese Oberland and the incredible trip to the highest train station in the world at 3454 metres – a journey of tunnels, glaciers and icy grottos.

Back closer to sea level, its cities too are distinctively different – lakeside Lucerne has its iconic covered bridge; cosmopolitan Geneva has the United Nations in residence; Zurich, famed for its bankers, is surprisingly trendy, and of course where could be more fashionable than Montreux and St Moritz? Cheese lovers will make a pilgrimage to Gruyère perhaps, but there are many other villages to explore too, such as picture postcard perfect Appenzell and Andermatt, or Morcote on the shores of Lake Lugano.

 



OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EXPLORE IN SWITZERLAND



Zurich
Zurich

Set at the picturesque northern end of Lake Zürich with the Limmat River running through the heart of the Old Town. Jump on a free rental bike to explore at your own pace, reward your efforts at the world-famous Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate factory. You’re in the wealthiest city in Europe, so take a stroll down Bahnhofstrasse where you’ll find boutiques touting everything from porcelain to furs, but it’s more fun to imagine what lies beneath the street in the city’s bank vaults. On a fine day take a ferry ride on Lake Zürich to see the city from a different perspective.

Lucerne
Lucerne

Complete with gable paintings, the covered medieval wooden Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest in Europe. Historic houses decorated with frescoes and spired churches line the picturesque town squares. The figure of a dying lion, hewn from the face of a rock, is one of the best-known monuments in Switzerland. Lucerne is the ideal starting point for many excursions to the highlights of this stunning mountain region. A trip up the Pilatus mountain is a must, but a steamship cruise on Lake Lucerne is certainly no less worthy.

Geneva
Geneva

Lying at the southern tip of expansive Lake Geneva, surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, with dramatic views of Mont Blanc. On the French border the French influence is widespread, from the language to gastronomy and bohemian districts like Carouge. Home to watchmaking, make sure to check out the Flower Clock and the watchmakers’ shops, and pick up some Swiss Chocolates here as this is where you’ll find the greatest Swiss chocolate makers.

Interlaken
Interlaken

In the Bernese Oberland between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and presided over by the three mighty mountains of Eiger, Mounch and Jungfrau, Interlaken is the starting point for many activities and excursions. Historic paddle steamers glide around the lakes, there are over 45 mountain railways, cable cars, chair lifts and ski lifts that take you straight onto snowy pistes, hiking trails and up the impressive mountains.

 



SOME THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN SWITZERLAND




Zurich Old Town Walking Tour ZURICH OLD TOWN WALKING TOUR

Delve into Switzerland’s colourful past on a walking tour of Zurich. Head towards Lindenhof and discover landmarks including the City Hall, St Peter Church and Limmat River. Gain insight into Zurich’s 16th century silk industry in Schipfe.

Mountains, Cheese and Chocolate MOUNTAINS, CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE
 

Start with a tour of Zurich, then pass by the beautiful Limmatquai and the Fraumunster Church, before reaching the outlet shop of the famous Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate. Visit the cheese factory at Stein where the famous Appenzeller cheese is made. 

Rhine Falls Tour RHINE FALLS TOUR FROM ZURICH
 

Travel through the Northern Switzerland wine growing region past charming villages and landscapes to admire the medieval Laufen Castle and majestic Rhine Falls. Take a thrilling optional boat ride to get a closer look.

A walk around Lucerne A WALK AROUND LUCERNE
 

Being a compact city makes Lucerne ideal for touring on foot. Enjoy the wealth of historic sights like Chapel Bridge with its gabled paintings of old battles, the majestic Water Tower, the treasures of its many churches, the quaint maze of cobbled lanes and the waterfront promenade.  

Titlis TITLIS - ETERNAL SNOW AT 3020 METRES
 

This trip to one of the highest vantage points in central Switzerland is not for the faint-hearted! Start with a pleasant ride by deluxe motor coach to the mountain resort of Engelberg. From here, board the aerial cable way for a 45 minute journey for stunning 360 degree views of the Alps. 

Lake Lucerne Panoramic Cruise LAKE LUCERNE PANORAMIC CRUISE

View the snowy Swiss Alps from the water on a 1 hour cruise. With the fresh breeze in your face, listen to the audio guide to learn about historical places of interest, passing forested hillsides and meadows.
Jungfrau JUNFRAU
 

The mountainous Jungfrau region is a wonderful holiday destination, and a highlight of every visit to Switzerland is a trip to the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. This is Europe’s highest-altitude railway station with the cogwheel railway travelling through rock tunnels to reach the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch, a world of eternal ice and snow at 3454 metres above sea level. The Jungfrau Travel Pass lets you explore the area for 3-8 days or purchase a return day ticket from Interlaken, Grindelwald or Wengen.

Mount Schilthorn MOUNT SCHILTHORN
 

The Schilthorn was transformed into the “Piz Gloria” for the filming of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” The modern aerial cableway gliding to the summit lets you follow in James Bond’s footsteps where you can visit the interactive adventure exhibition “Bond World 007” or the new “007 Walk of Fame”. Over 200 mountain peaks in a spectacular landscape are revealed as the world’s first revolving mountaintop restaurant slowly turns. Unusual and truly bottomless perspectives open up on the “Skyline Walk” and the “Thrill Walk” at Birg.

Mt Pilatus MT PILATUS
 

Mt. Pilatus offers a unique excursion with the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, spectacular Dragon Ride cableway, and modern panorama gondolas. The highlight is the magnificent view from 2132 metres above sea level. As you arrive at the Pilatus summit, you’ll be surrounded by a 360 degree view of 73 Alpine peaks, 5 lakes and the Midlands. Your ticket entitles you to a round-trip to Mount Pilatus from Alpnachstad by cogwheel railway (operates from mid-May to mid-Nov) or from Kriens by panorama gondola and aerial cableway.

Panoramic Trains PANORAMIC TRAINS
 

Glacier Express crosses 291 bridges, 91 tunnels, and climbs the 2045 metre high Oberalp Pass between Zermatt and St. Moritz; the Chocolate Train is a 1951 vintage Pullman car from Montreux to Gruyeres to the cheese factory and castle then onto Broc and the Nestle chocolate factory; Golden Pass Line winds along the Swiss Riviera past vineyards, grazing cows and quaint chalets to climb onto the Brunig Pass.

Visit the Mountain Villages VISIT THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGES
 

Leave the beautiful cities behind and head into the Alpine villages for a taste of “Heidi”. Covered in a layer of snow in the winter with many activities like tobogganing, skiing, ice skating and in summer, gentle rolling meadows perched on and around the mountains have hiking trails for all levels of fitness. Grindelwald is a popular holiday spot with easy to reach activities; the sheer beauty of picture-perfect Guarda cannot be underestimated; Grimmelwald is halfway up a mountain in the Bernese Oberland, a car-free village with mountain and waterfall views and an idyllic retreat.




SWITZERLAND ACCOMMODATION



Here's a taste of some of our favourite hotels and lodges in Switzerland.
Come in-store or send us an enquiry to help us find the best accommodation for you.

Sorell Hotel Rutli
SORELL HOTEL RUTLI, ZURICH
★★★

At the top of the Right Bank and a 10 minute walk to the eastern part of the Old Town. A mustdo is a walk along the Quays of Zurich, they have great promenades and lovely gardens. The most famous is Limmatquai, just by the hotel.
Waldstaetterhof Hotel
WALDSTAETTERHOF HOTEL, LUCERNE
★★★
Just a short walk from the train station, the ferry pier, the famous Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) and the Lake – it’s really central. This nostalgic and stylishly renovated Belle Epoque building originates from the turn of the 20th century and features traditionally furnished rooms and suites.
Art Deco Hotel Montana
ART DECO HOTEL MONTANA, LUCERNE
★★★★half star
Overlooking the city from a superb hilltop spot, this hotel is linked to Lake Lucerne by a funicular. It’s Art Deco in style, rooms are spacious and stylish, and some rooms have balconies with views to the lake and mountains. The famous Louis Bar has a large collection of Scottish whisky and is a meeting point for Lucerne’s stylish locals.
Lindner Grand Hotel
LINDNER GRAND HOTEL BEAU RIVAGE, INTERLAKEN
★★★★★
With spectacular views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the imposing Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage captivates with a gorgeous backdrop. Enjoy staying in an historic Swiss Grand Hotel without sacrificing modern comforts including an exquisite spa and wellness menu, fantastic (winter) sports facilities and excellent cuisine in the restaurant.





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Switzerland holiday planning articles



Are you planning your next trip to Switzerland? Want to learn more about this destination? Or looking for ideas and inspiration for your next holiday? Here is where you can find our featured articles on Switzerland.

 




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