Switzerland is one of the most developed nations in the world, with excellent living standards, and quality of life. Much of the country is taken up by mountains, with the Jura Mountains and Swiss Alps dominating the landscape. This beautiful landscape helps to make it such a popular destination for holidays in Switzerland, with its dramatic scenery, historic towns, and contemporary cities. Experience this incredible country from a unique perspective with one of our Switzerland river cruises, or choose your perfect destination from our collection of guided tours in Switzerland.
In addition to its mountains, Switzerland is well-known for its produce, particularly cheese, chocolate and clocks, which are renowned across the world. The country is an interesting cultural mix, with four official languages spoken in Switzerland – German, French, Italian and Romansh.
For most who visit Switzerland, it is the natural scenery that is the main attraction, particularly the unspoiled countryside bliss of the Bernese Oberland and the Swiss Alps.
Switzerland balances sophisticated cities and rugged landscapes better than anywhere in the world, with our range of holidays in Switzerland offering a little bit of everything.
Switzerland may be six-times smaller than the UK, but the country still packs a punch when it comes to things to do and places to see. You’ll discover dramatic landscapes, historic towns and absorbing cities – all easy to visit on a Switzerland escorted tour or river cruise.
The calming atmosphere surrounding Interlaken is a welcome breath of fresh air for any traveller, acting as a brilliant base from which to explore the surrounding mountainous landscape. From here, you can get an intimate look at the world famous trio of snow-capped peaks – the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. Interlaken is a gateway to the beauty of the Swiss Alps, with two gorgeous azure lakes – Lake Brienz to the east and Lake Thun to the west – which you can gaze out over as you savour the mountainous views. If you feel like getting up a little higher, the Harderkulm observation platform provides a fantastic vantage point where you can watch the evening sun settle into the valleys and illuminate the peaks with golden light.
If you’re looking to change gears and low the pace down then Zermatt is the perfect place to settle in and get comfy. The whole town is essentially pedestrian only, meaning you can escape the traffic and bask in the quiet, tranquil streets as you explore Zermatt. With enviable views of the Matterhorn peak, this classic Swiss mountain town offers a little romance among the peaks. Zermatt is a year-round favourite with skiers and hikers looking to make the most of the mountainous surroundings and the bounty of panoramic views on offer.
Within the shadows of the Rigi and Pilatus mountains, Lucerne is a particular highlight of the region. The mountain views and lake which shares the city’s name contribute massively to the appeal of Lucerne, considered to be one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities. The wooden walkway of the Chapel Bridge provides wonderful lakeside views out over the mountains as the centrepiece of the city. Taking a stroll along the walkway with its vibrant floral window boxes is a fantastic way to get a sense of the peace and quiet afforded by the surrounding mountains.
The Glacier Express is arguably the most spectacular train journey in the world, winding through the Swiss Alps and taking in some truly breath-taking scenery through the large panoramic windows. Visit Switzerland for this amazing journey, which offers incredible views of the iconic Matterhorn, perhaps the most recognisable peak on the planet. The Glacier Express travels across impressively high viaducts, winding around the mountains and through spiral tunnels past cascading waterfalls and forested hillsides. Other highlights of the trip include views of Rhine Gorge, ‘the ‘Grand Canyon of Switzerland’, and passing through the Oberalp mountain pass at 6,700 feet, which connects the cantons of Graubünden and Uri.
The pristine waters of Lake Oeschinen are truly a marvel to behold, sat at an elevation of over 1,500 metres above the resort of Kandersteg. By taking a journey up towards the mountain lake via cable car, you have the opportunity to look out over the valleys and mountains for miles on end before reaching a point near the lake itself. A short 30 minutes stroll through pine forests and pastures will carry you to the edge of the crystal clear waters which are bordered by the snowy peaks of the mountains around it.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Aletsch Glacier is the longest in the European Alps, stretching for 23 kilometres, and is one of the most incredible things to do in Switzerland. The Aletsch Glacier can be viewed from its head at Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Oberlans, or from the peaks of the Eggishorn, Bettmerhorn and Moosfluh mountains in Valais. Take a trip on scenic cable cars, and enjoy incomparable hikes above the glacier.
Switzerland is renowned for cheese and chocolate, although not usually at the same time! Swiss cheese is famed around the world, and fondue is probably the most famous Swiss delicacy, made from gruyere, emmentaler, white wine and garlic, and served traditionally with bread cubes. Rösti is also a favourite in Switzerland, a fried potato dish served alongside fried eggs or sausage meat called fleischkäse.
Lovers of baked goods should seek out the bűndnernusstorte, a caramelised nut-filled pastry from the canton of Graubűnden, which is served with tea and coffee, and zopf – a plaited enriched loaf similar to the Jewish bread challah. Visitors to the canton of Bern should sample the Berner platte, a feast of meats and sausages, including smoked beef, pork tongue, spare ribs, pork loin and sauerkraut. Bündnerfleisch is another famous Swiss delicacy hailing from the city of Chur. Air dried prime beef is dried in the eaves of a barn or open attic and then carved into wafer thin slices – a must try when visiting the area.
Switzerland has an excellent selection of white wines, most of which are from the Lake Geneva area, and unlike French wines, are best when new. In the German-speaking regions, beer is extremely popular, while the national drink is the potent cherry liqueur kirsch.
Fran and John Goodwin
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