Switzerland Tourism
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Switzerland Tourism
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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Geneva watchmaking

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

The Matterhorn

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Watchmaking

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Swiss Cuisine

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

St Gallen

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Million Star Hotel, Hotel Widder - one of a dozen

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Jungfraujoch: View the top of Europe

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Chocolate making

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Chillon Castle

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Icons and Secrets of Switzerland

Explore the well-known highlights and discover some hidden treasures

Cartlon Hotel, St. Mortiz

Think of Switzerland and what comes to mind? Alpine peaks and exhilarating ski slopes certainly for this is a country with 64 mountains soaring over 3,500 metres. Or perhaps it’s the elegant cities, the wonderfully clean lakes, 1,500 in all, or the famously efficient train system. All are Swiss icons along with finely crafted watches, fondue and a safe, high-quality lifestyle.

Switzerland offers endless variety and these famous icons are more than matched by lesser known treasures, opportunities to lose the crowds and experience once in a lifetime moments in spectacular natural scenery. Come for the well-known highlights and use My Switzerland to discover unique experiences that together reveal the authentic, healthy Swiss lifestyle. This adventure-packed holiday favourite so close to home has never been more needed. Switzerland is waiting for you.

Icon 1. The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

Is the Matterhorn the most famous mountain in the world? Probably. Switzerland’s iconic mountain has transfixed adventurers for generations and even today, 155 years after it was first conquered by British climber Edward Whymper, its reputation is fearsome. The Matterhorn dominates the ski resort of Zermatt on the Swiss-Italian border rising up 4,477 metres in a steep, rocky pyramid.

Visitors keen to experience the Matterhorn magic can trek to Hornli Hut, Base Camp or ride up to Europe’s highest cable car station at 3,820 metres. The Matterhorn is the start of Europe’s longest piste, a sixteen kilometre descent from Klein Matterhorn to Zermatt in the shadow of Switzerland’s most legendary peak.

Icon 2. Chillon Castle

Chillon Castle

Anyone who has landed at Geneva airport to zip around the lake by car or train will have spotted Chillon, a dramatic 12th Century castle near Montreux that appears to float above the water. This is Switzerland’s most visited historic building, an island castle that served as a toll station, home and prison and inspired works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Lord Byron. Visitors can tour the subterranean vaults – spot Byron’s name carved into the stone – and view historic armour, weaponry and furniture. 

Icon 3. Geneva watchmaking

Geneva watchmaking

When the Huguenots sought refuge in Geneva in the sixteenth Century they brought their watchmaking skills to a Calvinist city where ostentatious exhibitions of wealth were banned. Watches were an exception however and the city’s goldsmiths soon created beautiful timepieces that became a symbol of the city.

Today that reputation remains supreme making Geneva a prime destination to study the craft of watchmaking. Sign up for a four hour workshop at Initium to discover your own inner artisan skills.

Icon 4. St Moritz and the Bobsleigh run

St Moritz and the Bobsleigh run

World-class skiing, luxury hotels, summer spas and polo on snow: St Moritz has a unique glamour and sophistication. Striking modern architecture couples with handsome stone houses in the resort that introduced winter sport tourism to the world.

Be your own Olympic champion with an adrenalin-fuelled ride on the St Moritz-Celerina Bob Run, originally created for British guests in 1904. Hang on through nineteen curves at a top speed of 130 kmph to enjoy the ride of your life.

Icon 5. Jungfraujoch: View the top of Europe.

Jungfraujoch: View the top of Europe

Welcome to Europe’s highest altitude train station, a 3,454 metre castle in the sky with an awe-inspiring view of rock, snow and ice. The cog railway climbs steeply up through the seven kilometre tunnel with views on the north face of the Eiger to emerge among blue ice, glaciers and mountain peaks. 

The Jungfraujoch has ice sculptures, exhibitions, an observatory and restaurants but most of all it has those views over the top of Europe, including the UNESCO World Heritage Glacier, a magical landscape of utter splendour. 

Secret 1. St Gallen

St Gallen

St Gallen, seventy minutes from Zürich in northeast Switzerland, is a small city with a huge heart. Its historic buildings include a beautiful UNESCO Heritage Site Baroque Abbey and Library and characterful painted burgher townhouses. Enjoy medieval wine taverns and traditional Swiss food or nearby, hike in the Appenzell and sail on Lake Constance.

Secret 2. Swiss Wine

Swiss Wine

Switzerland produces 148 million bottles of wine each year but you may not have sampled any because the Swiss keep it all for themselves, exporting a paltry 1 per cent. To learn more your only choice is to tour the vineyards. 

Around 1,500 producers are spread throughout six different wine regions. Spend a day with producers of Merlot in sunny Ticino, cycle between vineyards in the Rhine Valley around Chur or hike through the vineyards above Lake Geneva and the Rhone in the Valais, Switzerland’s most prolific wine region.

Secret 3. Andermatt

Andermatt

The Glacier Express train crosses Switzerland from Zermatt to St Moritz stopping midway in Andermatt, a town that has had a complete facelift in recent years. Andermatt’s location at the crossroads of northern and southern Europe has made it a staging post since 1200 but its raw natural beauty with three major Alpine passes (the Gotthard Pass to the south, the Oberalp Pass to the Rhine Valley and the Furka Pass to the Rhone Valley) and the source of the mighty Rhine is what brings visitors today.

Come to play golf, to ski the notorious Gemstock Mountain or to cosy up at your own personal fireplace in a suite at the five-star Chedi Hotel. “Of all places I know, this is the dearest and most interesting to me,” said writer Johann Goethe about Andermatt in the 1770s and once visited, you might well agree.

Secret 4. Swiss Cuisine 

Swiss Cuisine

Switzerland produces some of the best cheese and chocolate in the world but its reputation for high-end dining is equally stellar. It has the highest density of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita of any country, 118 in all, from Basel in the north to Lugano in the south. 

Three Michelin-starred French superstar chef Anne-Sophie Pic oversees the Beau-Rivage Palace restaurant in Lausanne, German Rolf Fliegauf heads up the kitchen at Hotel Giardino Ascona and Chef Laurent Eperon has added a second Michelin star to his 18 Gault Millau points at elegant Le Pavilion in Zürich. Click here for more Swiss hotels with fine dining.

Secret 5. Million Stars Hotel

It’s easy to feel immersed in nature in Switzerland but go one step further with a bed under the stars. Switzerland has some exceptionally romantic rooms that reveal the night sky in all its glory. 

Million Star Hotel, Hotel Widder - one of a dozen

Try Whitepod in southern Switzerland, ninety minutes from Geneva. This offers Heidi-style moments of fresh air, mountain views and outdoor living in handsome and cosy geometrical domes that change colour with the seasons. Pods are widely spread out over the 25 km site, ideal for current times, and guests come to take a step back, relishing peace and back to nature living. 

This is sustainable living at its best: the use of water and energy is strictly controlled, recycling is thorough and food is sourced locally. Each pod has a pellet stove inside and a wonderland of views outside. Social distancing that will leave you re energised.

Essentials

Getting to Switzerland and travelling around is wonderfully straightforward thanks to a fully integrated public transport network. SWISS offers convenient international travel into Zurich and Geneva airports with traditional Swiss style and elegance while the Swiss Travel Pass links 29,000 kms throughout the country on one ticket. Switzerland Travel Center offers you individual packages and Swiss Travel Passes to discover Switzerland.

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