Few countries pack in so much as Switzerland. It is less than two thirds the size of Tasmania, yet full of lakes, rivers, historic towns, spectacular mountains and 4 distinct cultures. Alpine tourism was born here in the mid-19th century, and still nowhere does it better. Being compact makes it easy to do a lot apart from your skiing and boarding.
The Swiss invented modern winter holidays back in 1864, and they just keep making them better. We had out first experience of Switzerland exactly one hundred years later, on a family camping trip back in 1964 – looking back, it was probably experiencing the St Gothard Pass and the mountains and lakes then that got us hooked on mountains for life.
Our My Switzerland section has heaps of great info, features, ideas and links to help you check it out for yourselves. For starters:
• Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald / Wengen / MÜrren)
• Villars / Gryon / Les Diablerets / Glacier 3000
• Verbier / 4-Vallées
• Ride the glacier express
Who hasn’t dreamt of skiing beneath the Matterhorn at Zermatt, watched Xtreme Verbier on Red Bull TV, or pictured themselves inside the artwork on Swiss chocolate bars?
If you know anything about Switzerland you expect some of World’s best ski resorts, amazing scenery, great food and wine, and those funky mountain railways.
But you may not be aware of the great value that makes Swiss skiing 100% competitive with any major snow destination.
Like ski passes are around half major American resort rates. Dining runs from authentic pizza to 5 star (with no 20% tips expected!). Family specials include kids ski & stay free.
If, like us, you hadn’t been for a while, you’ll be amazed at state of the art lift systems. Swiss snow investment has been huge in recent years, with express 6 pac bubble lifts the new normal, and high tech gondolas and cable cars to reach the most jagged peaks. There’s even a new rack railway with a gradient of 110%! The new Stoosbahn is the world’s steepest funicular railway, and it’s due to open in December 2017 in the Canton of Schwyz. Running 28 times a day between 7am and 9pm, it will operate on a completely new line from the valley station near Schwyz at 562masl into the centre of the mountain village of Stoos at 1,306masl. More on that at www.stoos.ch
Ease of travel, whether self driving or with a Swiss Travel Pass on the superb trains, is another plus, with short distances and jaw-dropping feats of engineering. So many tunnels, even spiral ones, how do they do that?
Getting there has never been easier with great flight options. Swiss International Airlines exceptional service (real cutlery, real cheese, real butter and nice food in economy, or one of the top business classes in the skies) is best. Connect via Singapore, Bangkok or Hong Kong. On SWISS you can pre-check in at the train station from resorts like Zermatt for the flight home, a great advantage.
Swiss Tourism are a great source of info, follow the links here for the latest news.