Climb every mountain: The Swiss Alps delivers one of Europe’s peak holiday experiences
The Swiss Alps are about active recovery and wellness in a pristine natural environment
If there’s one thing the world needs right now, it’s space to breathe and room to move, and the mountains of Switzerland offer just the tonic. With its panoramic snow-covered peaks, dense forests, alpine meadows and more than 65,000 kilometres of marked walking trails, the Swiss Alps region is a gateway to health and vitality.
During summer or winter, bathed in sunshine or blanketed with snow, Switzerland’s high-altitude hikes and vertiginous ski slopes offer dramatic vistas of mountains, valleys and lakes – but that’s merely the visual. Tap into the more sensual elements of this pristine natural environment and you’ll find your spirits lifted beyond measure.
The heady combination of crisp, fresh air, flavourful regional cuisine that extends far beyond Switzerland’s world-famous chocolates and cheeses, luxe accommodations and feel-good experiences makes for one of the most memorable health and wellness holiday options in Europe.
Whether you choose to stay in iconic alpine settings like Buergenstock, Zermatt, Vals and Wengen, or do day trips from boutique cities such as Basel, Geneva, Lausanne or Lucerne, Switzerland’s mountains are a powerful and magnetic drawcard.
And if you’re imagining sweaty vests, blisters on your feet and frugal picnic baskets, think again. Switzerland’s great outdoors comes with a comfy bed, gourmet cuisines, fine wines and a welcome as warm as a roaring log fire at the end of a day’s heart-racing hike.
Luxury accommodations abound across the Swiss Alps: Hotel Villa Honegg in Buergenstock is set high above Lake Lucerne and offers 23 elegant rooms and suites (the hotel can be booked for exclusive use for corporate events or family celebrations), an exquisite terrace restaurant, fireside lounge, a spa with indoor and outdoor pools, a cinema and jaw-dropping views. The area is crisscrossed by footpaths suitable for all ages and the Hammetschwand Lift delivers visitors to the summit.
Riffelalp Resort 2222m is one of Zermatt’s finest lodgings featuring 65 deluxe rooms and five suites, many with balconies offering views of the Matterhorn. The spa boasts Europe’s highest outdoor pool and a trio of excellent restaurants serve Swiss, Italian and international dishes. The resort offers guests an array of hiking, biking and ski trails making it a year-round destination.
Graubunden’s new 7132 Hotel in Vals has been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for innovative architecture, a striking combination of luxury accommodations, its cutting-edge Therme rock spa, and three gourmet dining options. Famous for its hot springs, hiking trails and ski slopes, Vals is an idyllic place to decelerate and reconnect with nature.
If you’re looking for Swiss alpine charm personified, Hotel Schoenegg in the centre of Wengen has delivered on every level since 1903. With its breathtaking views of the Jungfrau massif, the hotel combines classic hospitality with contemporary service and attention to detail. Dining by candlelight in the award-winning main restaurant or cosy Restaurant Stubli is a highlight, but the alpine views are hard to beat.
Outstanding food and wine are foundation stones of the Switzerland experience and 15 of the finest gourmet restaurants for 2020 are profiled here, each confirmed by the Michelin Guide, GaultMillau and the renowned Swiss Guild of Gastronomes.
Switzerland adopts strict health and safety protocols
Switzerland has long been considered a paragon of wellbeing and its legion of tourism operators are taking special measures to protect all citizens and visitors during the global pandemic.
Supported by Switzerland Tourism, the Clean & Safe campaign has implemented advanced health and safety protocols across the country, especially in the accommodation and transport sectors.
The wearing of face masks is currently mandatory across the entire Swiss public transport system. All travellers are asked to adopt required social distancing measures and, where possible, all paid services during a journey should be cashless.
Transport companies are intensifying their deep cleaning, health and safety routines; travellers are requested to avoid peak travel times and buy advance tickets online, and staff are supporting customers to help them choose seats or finding alternative free seats. For further health details, visit MySwitzerland.com.