While Switzerland shines in the scenery department, there’s so much more to the country than its show-stopping looks.
While it’s a relatively less popular destination than some of its more tourist-rammed European country counterparts (i.e. Italy, Greece, Croatia, France, or Spain) and isn’t without a major price tag, Switzerland offers experiences to cater to every type of traveller – in addition, of course, to a guaranteed feast for the eyes and camera lens.
Everyone from the discerning foodies and the high-fashion shoppers to the active adventure seekers will find something in Switzerland that makes a visit a trip to remember – and worth every precious penny.
Here are nine reasons why…
The Comforting Cuisine
When it comes to cuisine, Switzerland offers up much more than its famous cheeses (the country produces over 400 cheeses) and fondue – though both are incredible and not to miss. The country’s food scene is a product of its geography, featuring regional dishes that reflect the Canton’s French, Italian, or Germanic roots. Furthermore, for a quintessential Swiss experience, the county offers up rustic Alpine classics (root veggies, raclette, etc.). The restaurant scene bustling and diverse in Switzerland, whether you’re partial to Michelin-starred restaurants or casual fare.
The Dreamy Train Rides
The scenic and peaceful train rides offered in Switzerland are seemingly straight from a storybook. Here, a train journey – often a more affordable and environmentally friendly way to travel than by plane – is complete with stunning mountain views, waterfalls, fishing villages, and pristine lakes. One of the most scenic train rides takes riders on a dreamy journey from Zurich to Lugano, Switzerland, a vacation town near the Italian border. Meanwhile, the mountain-lovers will want to make sure to book a seat on the Glacier Express Train; the narrow-gauge line runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz ski resorts.
The Adventurous Outdoor Activities
Switzerland’s sweeping natural beauty offers no shortage of activities year-round. Most notably, the country is known for its unmatched skiing and snowboarding opportunities housed within its world-renowned mountains. The famous resort of St. Moritz has hosted the winter Olympics twice, and 217 miles of ski runs, the Cresta run skeleton track, and the oldest bob run in the world, which is constructed each year. Naturally, Switzerland also draws hiking enthusiasts from around the world with its countless well-maintained and well-marked trails.
The Photo-Worthy Mountains
Those with a soft spot for dramatic mountains will get their fix in Switzerland. In fact, there really isn’t anywhere in the country where you can’t take in the picture-perfect peaks. The magnificent Matterhorn is arguably the crown jewel of the Swiss Alps. The unmistakable mountain features a distinctive near-symmetric pyramidal peak and has been called the most photographed mountain in the world. Meanwhile, the towering peaks of Jungfraujoch are known as “The Top of Europe.”
The Soul-Soothing Wellness Offerings
Switzerland is filled with all of the trappings of a wellness-filled vacation that leaves you feeling rejuvenated long after the plane touches down upon your arrival home. The country is home to both swanky spas at five-star hotels – like the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, or the Grand Hotel Quellenhof,Bad Ragaz – pristine hammam spas, and historic hot springs. For example, the Pfäfers hot springs in the romantic Tamina gorge near the Bad Ragaz canton has been known for its healing abilities for centuries.
Nothing satisfies the sweet tooth for chocolate lovers than a visit to Switzerland, where they can sample some of the world’s best chocolate straight from the source. The country has a rich history of producing mouth-watering chocolates (like Callier, Suchard, and Chocolat Villars) and is home to over two dozen chocolate factories, including the 150-year-old Maestrani Chocolate Factory at St Gallen. In Switzerland, a chocolate tasting is just as common as wine tastings.
The Pristine Wine Country
While Switzerland’s wine country may be overshadowed by those of some of its neighbouring countries like Italy, the country’s wine region shines in its own completely scenic way. The Alpine county of Switzerland boasts a stunning wine country along the shores of Lake Geneva. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the country’s pristine wine country stretches along almost 32 kilometres of lakeshore, sitting steeply above the waters of the lake in terraced vineyards.
The Bumping Nightlife
Those looking to let loose and party like they may not get tomorrow (or may go back into lockdown) will find no shortage of spots to do so in Switzerland’s urban areas. Zurich in particular is a popular place for party-seekers, thanks to its high density of nightclubs and bars that cater to a range of music genres and clientele – including those who want to party until the sun comes up. The nightclub experience in Zurich can be sophisticated and splashy, or more underground and gritty.
The Storied History
The history buffs will find plenty of things to discover throughout Switzerland that have withstood the test of time. Like most European countries, Switzerland houses storied old towns complete with narrow streets and cobblestone roads, and beautiful historic architecture. For those who prefer their accommodations come with a solid backstory, the country is also home to some of the oldest grand dame hotels in the world, like the celeb-worthy Gstaad Palace in the Bernese Alps, or the Dolder Grand in Zurich.