As bewitching as it is beautiful, Switzerland is at the top of the heap when it comes to cold-climate escapes. We’ve pulled together 10 Swiss tips to whet your winter appetite
- History meets beauty
Ticino has more than Mediterranean flair to offer: Bosco Gurin, the canton’s highest mountain village at an altitude of 1500 metres, is an inviting destination for winter hikers and cross-country skiers in an idyllic mountain setting. Visitors with an interest in history will also be fascinated as the village traces its origins to emigrants from Valais in the Middle Ages.
- New perspectives above Engadine
Words of wisdom will join visitors on this uniquely beautiful winter hiking trail high above the Engadine lake district. Placards quoting the great thinkers, such as Socrates, Nietzsche and Sartre, line the trail; the combination of food for thought and breathtaking vistas make this winter trail one of the loveliest in Switzerland.
- Christmas romance
On the first weekend of December, an outing to Saint-Ursanne is a must for all romantics and those with a taste for the unusual. At the heart of this gorgeously lit gem of a mediaeval village, 100 stalls offer local products and handicrafts. A visit to the market is sure to be a truly heart-warming experience.
- Up, up & away
At the end of January, Chaˆteau-d’Oex becomes the mecca for a very special passion: ballooning. The international balloon festival takes place above countryside deep in snow – a spellbinding experience for spectators. Air shows, night flights and passenger trips complete the range of attractions.
- A reel icy experience
With its abundant lakes and rivers, Switzerland is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. What is less well-known is that this also holds true for the months when the lakes freeze over in low temperatures. And fishing through the ice is an unforgettable adventure, a contemplative pastime in utter tranquillity amid the most stunning Alpine scenery.
- A breath of fresh air
Winter hiking enthusiasts will find a highly unusual combination on the Jungfraujoch: a prepared winter hiking trail they can stroll comfortably along at an altitude of more than 3000 metres. The destination is the Mo¨nchsjoch (Monk’s Pass) hut at 3657 metres above sea level, the highest attended hut entirely on Swiss soil.
- Snow-clad fairytale forest
The Lower Engadine cooks up an exceptional experience: a healthy portion of skating seasoned with a pinch of winter hiking, both served up in a secluded natural ambience of total tranquillity. The result: the three-kilometre circular skating route from Sur En (Sent) along the banks of the river Inn.
- No cars allowed
An unusual kind of stay awaits visitors to one of Switzerland’s 12 car-free winter resorts. In villages such as Braunwald, Belalp or Stoos, the mood is more serene than in the bustling resorts. Visitors will find serenity here as they are spellbound by the magic of the surrounding mountains with no distraction from background noise.
- A world of ice & light
The palaces of ice sculptor Karl Neuhaus present a surreal spectacle. Visitors can walk through the structures, which are up to 15 metres high, while winter stories come alive in settings such as a hill featuring penguins, caverns and grottoes, a pirate ship and igloos. The flickering fireplace is also an inviting spot for a barbecue.
- From bustle to magic
Zurich offers everything the heart could desire when it comes to culture, nightlife, shopping and fine dining. The pace slows down on Zurich’s “own” mountain, the Uetliberg. The well-lit Laternenweg leads through the winter forest to the peak that houses a hotel, restaurant and viewing tower. Europe’s steepest normal (non-cogwheel) railway carries visitors back down into the valley.
To find out more about visiting Switzerland, visit myswitzerland.com