5 reasons to walk in Switzerland
Rebecca Bruce, 13 February, 2019
"Only five?" exclaimed our alpine expert, Rebecca Bruce, when we asked her to list a few of the main reasons to choose a Swiss walking holiday.
To be fair, it's no easy task selecting just a handful of Swiss highlights – after all, this is a country regularly ranked among the world’s most beautiful, to say nothing of its famously efficient transport system, postcard-perfect villages or irresistibly creamy chocolate.
However, and after much deliberation, here are Rebecca’s ‘top 5’:
1) Scenery, scenery, scenery
I get to visit some stunning places on my travels but nothing compares to the sheer majesty of the Swiss Alps. Getting up high and seeing the snowy mountain peaks rising above and the brilliant blue lakes stretching below always leaves me breathless (and that’s not just from the climb up, I promise!). We are lucky to work closely with Swiss-based photographer, Penny Kendall
, who captures many spectacular shots of the Swiss countryside, but it's never quite the same as seeing it for yourself!
2) A clockwork system
It may be a cliché (more on this later) but everything in Switzerland really does run like clockwork. You may wonder what this has to do with walking, but as well as making it extremely easy to access the country’s best walking areas, the seamless transport system also allows for a great deal of flexibility when out on the trails – you can shorten or extend routes, knowing there will be a reliable bus or train waiting to take you where you need to go. In some cases, the transport can even enhance
the experience, as on our Around Lake Lucerne
holiday, where walks are interspersed with a series of thrilling boat, rail and cable car journeys.
3) Tasty wines
Once you get over the rather hefty price tag, it is definitely worth sampling some of the local wines. Only a tiny percentage of Swiss wines are exported (under 2%, in fact), so don’t miss the opportunity to try something you couldn’t at home.
The country’s premier wine-producing region is the Valais, with many excellent wines also originating from the nearby Vaud canton, whose Lavaux vineyards enjoy UNESCO World Heritage status. You can visit the Valais on our 14-night walking holiday, From the Eiger to the Matterhorn
, which includes a night in Salgesch – a small village with no fewer than 38 wine producers!
4) Spot-on stereotypes
Geranium-bedecked chalets, fresh mountain air, tinkling cowbells… There’s more to Switzerland than this clichéd image, of course, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t exist – or that you can’t enjoy idyllic walks through timeless villages and pristine alpine pastures that seem straight out of the pages of Heidi.
And if you’re wondering whether there is a good selection of restaurants, mountain Hütten and picnic spots along the way, where you can replenish your energy by consuming copious amounts of delicious Swiss cheese and chocolate, then the answer is a resounding yes! Long live the cliché, we say…
5) A wide appeal
And yet, despite all the above, Switzerland still has the capacity to surprise. Who would have thought, for example, that the same country known for its high, impenetrable peaks could also be home to lush, palm-fringed lakes and graceful Italianate towns where you’re more likely to find gelato
on the menu than fondue?
Ticino – the location of our newest Swiss walking holiday
(and aforementioned gelato
) – really does have it all, including an excellent network of ancient footpaths which lead you away from the bustling lakesides and into the region’s tranquil river valleys and chestnut-forested hills, providing the perfect way to escape the crowds and enjoy some truly wonderful walking.
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