Four languages, 26 states, 16 lakes and 25 percent of the Alps, the traveler to Switzerland must mentally prepare to enjoy some of the world’s most exquisite alpine scenery, able to be appreciated in a variety of ways. The snowy, jagged mountain peaks provide an incredibly scenic backdrop to a myriad of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and boating.
The ingenious Swiss Rail system, a must for visitors, has identified several of the tiny country’s most scenic regional rail trips by naming them. The most famous, of course, is the Glacier Express but there’s also the Chocolate Train, the Golden Pass Line and the William Tell Express. Swiss Rail’s signature fire engine red cars snake their way through tunnels and past villages, glacial lakes and castles, affording passengers a front row seat to the amazing panorama. The famous Swiss chocolate and cheese are produced by cows that dot green pastures, while the gentle clang of their bells adds a delightful touch of alpine atmosphere.
Traditional paddle steamships ply the lakes and superbly maintained walking paths hug the contours of easily scaled hills. The wealth of readily available transportation options for visitors is unsurpassed, and most train and boat trips are included with the purchase of a Swiss Pass.
Accommodations range from chic lakefront palace properties with deluxe rooms and suites receiving just the right mountain exposure to traditional mountain chalets with all the modern comforts, where Heidi and her grandfather would feel incredibly spoiled but right at home.
Jill Jergel, Frontiers’ longtime Destination Specialist, not only lived in Switzerland for two years but has also completed the Swiss Tourist Office’s program as a Destination Specialist. Contact her to discuss your travels to Switzerland.
Photos Courtesy of: Bürgenstock Hotels AG, Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, Palace Luzern and the Switzerland Image Library