For an all encompassing European holiday, few countries can compare to Switzerland. The attractive travel destination counts France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Lichtenstein as neighbours and comprises a unique cultural blend of all five, in addition to its own traditions. From picturesque scenery to scrumptious food and charming culture, Switzerland has got it all and then some. But where to start in the country that put skiing on the map? Here are five suggestions to help you embrace your inner Swiss.
Go hiking in the hills
With hills that roll on for miles, Switzerland is a hiker's heaven if ever there was one. Even if you struggle to lift your legs at the best of times, all that fresh Alpine air, meadow greenery and snow capped views is sure to put pep in your step. For numerous hiking trails across a range of landscapes, head to the Swiss National Park in Graubunden, the only national park in Switzerland.
Take on the Matterhorn at Zermatt
The Matterhorn is one of Switzerland’s most famous attractions and for good reason. Not only is it located close by to the popular tourist town of Zermatt, but the mountain reaches an impressive 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. Feeling brave? Ride the Klein Matterhorn lift, the highest cable car in the world, and ski Zermatt’s longest ski run. Not for the faint hearted!
Explore the Chillon Castle
Don't leave Switzerland without visiting the Chillon Castle, a breathtaking 12th century castle located on the shore of Lake Geneva in Montreux. The enchanting castle was the inspiration for Lord Byron's The Prisoner Of Chillon and is beloved for its surreal location. Take a tour of the castle or consider a cruise along the glacial waters of Lake Geneva.
Calling all cheese fiends; get your tastebuds ready because Switzerland is affectionately known as cheese country. Thanks to a healthy population of cows, Switzerland is responsible for producing approximately 450 types of cheeses. No wonder cheese tourism is a lucrative market here! Make like a local and enjoy a cheese fondue dinner or let your tastebuds do the travelling on a cheese tour where you can sample local specialities such as Appenzeller, Schabzige and Vacherin-Fribourgeois.
Ride the Glacial Express
In addition to hiking and skiing, train travel is an ideal way to see Switzerland. Though there are 46 companies to choose from, few can compare to the beauty you’ll see onboard The Glacial Express. Travelling between St. Moritz and Zermatt, The Glacial Express makes for a magnificent journey, crossing a total of 291 bridges and passing through the Rhaetian Railway, a World Heritage Site.