Switzerland is situated on the European continent between Germany, France, Austria and Italy. It´s a country which many of envisage as somewhat staid and conservative, but that´s where you´d be wrong. There are loads of fabulous travel experiences to be had – so raid the bank (well, piggy bank that is) for some Swiss francs and get going to this tiny but exciting Swiss Republic!
Located at the northern end of the country is Neuhausen, famous for its thundering Rhine Falls. The 150-meter-wide waterfall, the largest in Europe with an average water flow of 600 cubic metres of water a second, leads out into the Rhine Falls Basin, where you can enjoy a boat excursion or even canoe, if you wish, out to Wörth Castle. And make sure you don´t miss Zurich, while you are in the northern part of the country. Theatre lovers might like to catch a performance at Zurich Schauspielhaus (or Peacock Theatre!), the city´s famous playhouse on Rämistrasse. This 750-seat theatre has a long tradition and wide repertoire, and stages everything from Greek tragedies to contemporary works. It is one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world. If, however, outdoor pursuits are more to your liking, then why not take a cruise on Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland, which stretches across four Swiss cantons: Uri, Lucerne, Schwyz and Unterwalden. It was here in 1291, in a meadow above the lake, that the Swiss Federation was founded. This area offers the greatest variety of scenery in Switzerland, not to mention countless opportunities to bike, hike, or bathe along its shores. Or why not take a relaxing trip on the lake by steamer, or ascend the mountain slopes by cable car to take in the breath-taking, panoramic views from above. And do save a little time for Lucerne itself, with its charming historic centre and excellent shopping opportunities. We´ve barely started yet!
Southern Switzerland is characterized by the beautiful alps, magical light and, of course, and the Matterhorn – the mountain of all mountains with its profile like a jagged-tooth, 4,478 metres of rock and ice that towers above the surrounding landscape. Part of the Wallis Alps, it was first climbed by Edward Whymper in 1865 and has been a magnet for adventurers ever since. Anyone who has ever eaten a bar of Toblerone chocolate will be familiar with its outline which is featured on the wrapper! Today you can walk in Whymper’s footsteps and reward yourself afterwards with a dinner in one of the many restaurants in the city of Zermatt, where they dish up national dishes such as cheese fondue, rosti and raclette.
In Bex, a small town in south-western Switzerland, you can visit the historical salt mines where they have been mining this “white gold” since the 15th century and still do! In this underground labyrinth, you can even dine in its subterranean restaurant, 400 metres below ground. And, of course, don´t forget to bring home a little piece of salt history, in the form of “Sel des Alpes” salt.
If we are talking about skiing, as we frequently do, then we know that some people might be concerned about the strong Swiss currency in terms of the cost of vacationing here. But one way to look at it is that the currency is finally catching up with the high standard of skiing facilities in switzerland, you´ll find everywhere in this country. It has, after all, some of the most majestic mountains in Europe, in the highest ski region in Europe, and what´s more; the lifts are open 365 days a year! You can ski all day every day if you want to. And that´s got to be worth the money – in any currency!
Here’s a list as well as a brief intro to some of Switzerland’s best ski areas.