Wonder why everyone flocks to Switzerland? Easy. It’s a country that’s overflowing with food, activity and reasons to visit for every kind of tourist possible
This city appeals to children, without the need for massive amusement-parks. For old-school charm, head to The Puppenhausmuseum (Doll’s House) and check out bears dressed in the traditional costumes from countries across the world. The doll’s houses open up to reveal rooms, which are intricate in detail. The Basel Zoo houses rare animals like the Somali wild ass and pygmy hippopotamus. For nature trails without enclosures, head to the Swiss National Park (June to October).
Step into the heart of a mountain to watch the cascade of the Trummelbach Falls. At 974 feet, the Staubbach Falls are so high that strong winds make half the waterfall disappear through its freefall. Aim your camera from the centre of Lauterbrunnen where the perspective looks like the water’s falling on to the houses in the town. The glacier waterfalls of Trummelbach are illuminated, and make for a beautiful, if overwhelming, sight.
The Swiss Alps breed several gorgeous lakes. Lake Geneva is among the largest in Western Europe, and is fringed by some lovely vineyards near the town of Montreux. The other lakes — Lake urich ake ucerne ake euch tel, Lake Brienz and Lake St. Moritz — are all beautiful in their own way. Lake Thun is great for windsurfing. Lake Lugano is surrounded by Renaissance architecture, while Lake Maggiore channels a Mediterranean vibe with good food and weather.
Tour the Lindt and pr ngli chocolate factory, or travel the vintage elle po ue Pullman cars of the Swiss Chocolate Train that runs from Montreux to Broc, to the Cailler-Nestle factory which conducts weekly courses on chocolate making. Drive past heritage vineyards on the Wine Road from Bourdigny to Dardagny. At Affoltern village, the Emmentaler dairy shows you how this cheese is made, and a stop at Castle Gruyeres makes for a decadently cheesy adventure.
Try a toboggan ride down Big Pintenfritz, a vertical drop of 5,250 ft. An unusual ride is the cog-wheel train ride to Pilatus – Switzerland has the steepest incline on a track that works on toothed rail-racks and cogwheels. Kids will also enjoy husky rides, while you sign up for glacier hikes along the versatile terrain of the Grindelwald glacier. For a relaxed evening, look for the closest ice skating rink around your hotel.
In Kerzers, the Pailiorama Park is an idyllic tropical zone buzzing with butterflies, mangroves and orchid ponds. The park has a unique Nocturama, where patrons can view tropical animals in artificial moonlight. Drive from Zurich to the Piz Gloria, a revolving restaurant where the Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was shot. Or take the train up to the Sphinx observatory at Jungfraujoch, from where you can often see all the wa up to erman ’s lack Forest.
Head to Maienfeld, the village where Johanna p ri’s classic Heidi was set. Check out the Montreux Jazz Festival on the banks of Lake Geneva, the second-largest annual musical event, held every July. Rock fans pay tribute to the statue of Freddie Mercury on the banks of the lake. The Rapperswil Blues n Jazz festival is held in June in the open air squares of the Old Town.
Did you know you can play cricket in Switzerland on the frozen Lake St Moritz in February? Log on to the website to find out how to participate. Try ice climbing, similar to rock climbing except that ou’ll be scaling frozen waterfalls and glaciers in Leycin in the Western Alps. Try fly-fishing in Switzerland’s freshwater streams between Ma and August in Bregenzer. Hop on to a hot-air balloon ride for an incredible view of the Alps from Gstaad.
Even if you cannot ski, St Moritz should feature on your itinerary. There are hordes of schools to turn you into a ski bunny. Zermatt is a very popular ski destination, not only for its slopes, but also its schools. The Les Elfes International Verbier has winter camps (two weeks), and the Swiss Snowsports School also has classes for children under six. Zermatt’s location allows ou to ski into Italy, literally, with staggering views of 38 peaks.
Ice climbing, mountain biking, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, paragliding – Interlaken is where it all happens. Raft down the white-waters of the Lütschine River, or paraglide across the Alps for an aerial thrill. In Brambrüesch, Graubünden, try a new sport – bike boarding (June-September), a combination of a skateboard and a bike that hurls you past scenic Alpine routes. The Verzasca Dam in Ticino is the best spot for bungee-jumping.