With its majestic landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, breathtaking summits, fairytale castles, chocolate-box villages and incredible mountain railways, Switzerland is quite unlike any other holiday destination.
Shaped by glaciations, the Swiss countryside is a nature lover’s delight and provides countless opportunities for walking and hiking – as well as scenic drives that will quite literally leave you feeling as though you are on top of the world! In the summer months, temperatures typically settle in the mid-twenties. Yet even with such a pleasant summertime climate, the opportunity to ski still exists for those who are prepared to travel high enough, with glacier skiing also being available at several resorts, including Zermatt.
The mountains of Switzerland are Europe’s spectacular showpiece. The towering snow-capped peaks reflect in sparkling lakes. And flower-strewn meadows are dotted with ruined castles, churches and pretty villages with windows boxes ablaze with colour. The mountains can be explored by car, on foot or by the mountain railways and cable cars which provide unforgettable rides to the summits.
Switzerland, however, is also a country of carnivals, stylish resorts, sophisticated cities and grand waterfront promenades. Fishing is an exceptionally popular pastime (you’d expect as much in a country with around 20,000 miles of rivers and all those lakes). Cycling is a great way to see the countryside and there is a well-organised network of cycle routes. While balloon rides provide an unequalled way to take in the views.
When it comes to dining out, you’ll find that Swiss cuisine in influenced heavily by the flavours of France, Germany and Italy. Rosti potatoes are immensely popular, spicy German-style sausages are in abundance, veal is a much-loved delicacy, fresh fish can be found on most menus and muesli was created here. Cheeses include Emmental and Gruyére, and the fondue dish remains an obligatory centrepiece at many social gatherings.
Using Swiss Motorways to get to your destination or during your holiday?
All vehicles using Swiss motorways must pay an annual tax of around 40 Swiss francs. There is an additional fee of around 40 Swiss francs for trailers and caravans. Vehicles must display a special sticker (‘vignette’) which can be bought at the Swiss border crossings, or can be purchased in advance from Switzerland Tourism in London. It is advisable to obtain one in advance to avoid delays at the border. The ‘vignette’ is valid for a whole calendar year and enables you to drive on any motorway and exit and re-enter the country as often as you like during this time without further charge. Credit cards are not accepted for payment of a vignette.
One of Switzerland’s best-known holiday resorts, the pretty mountain village of Zermatt sits in a picturesque valley that is overlooked by perhaps the most famous peak of the Alps, the Matterhorn. The village is free of cars. Instead, electric vehicles and horse-drawn carriages are used here.
A charming village, known as ‘The Pearl of the Alps’, Saas Fee is in a neighbouring valley to Zermatt. Offering a true alpine feel, Saas Fee enjoys views over to numerous peaks and glaciers. A map of summer hikes is available locally and the Saaser Museum provides detailed information about the village and its history.
If you’re ready for a little pampering after all that walking and sightseeing, head over to Leukerbad. Originally a Roman settlement, Leukerbad is today one of Europe’s premier thermal resorts and offers no less than ten different spa venues. Some of the larger spas have a whole range of hydrotherapy treatments to leave you wonderfully soothed and relaxed. The area around Leukerbad is popular with walkers and sightseers, many of whom use the cable car to make the most of the mountain scenery. If you are travelling with younger holidaymakers, look out for the clown festival in July.
Chic and stylish, this popular resort in the heart of the Alps is set on a sunny plateau that is dotted with lakes and enjoys sweeping views across the Rhône Valley. The resort, which is actually made up of three villages, is also well known for hosting the European Masters golf tournament each September.
The stunning scenery of Switzerland provides the ideal setting for a holiday spent walking or hiking. For that reason, detailed walking notes are available to help you make the very most of the picturesque countryside
Zermatt is a superb centre for walking and cycling. The local cable cars and gondolas provide a unique way to see the vistas, as does the cog railway to Gornergrat, offering breathtaking views of the Matterhorn as it climbs to over 3000 metres. Summer skiing and snowboarding are available on the glaciers.
Every August, Zermatt holds a colourful folklore festival, when the village showcases its cultures and traditions. The procession begins at the train station before meandering through the village.
Dominated by two rocky outcrops, the old town of Sion simply has to be seen to be believed. One outcrop is bedecked with a ruined castle, while upon the other you will find a fortress-church.
A stunning alpine setting on the slopes of the Rhône Valley.
Located on the shores of lovely Lake Thun, you will find Manor Farm. An immaculate parc, with popular activities such as lake swimming, cycling and hiking.
Located in a most spectacular place, surrounded by lush meadows and snowy peaks, Camping Jungfrau is a perfect parc to discover Switzerland's beauty.
The perfect opportunity to have a second Keycamp holiday!
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