With Switzerland holidays you can discover the epitome of alpine beauty with the majestic Swiss Alps and ride the world-famous Glacier Express train. Nestled in the heart of Europe, it’s a dream destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. There’s charming historic cities for you to explore too. These include Lausanne and Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva, and Zurich overlooking its own lake. Geneva is home to many international organisations, including the UN, the Red Cross and CERN (where the world wide web was invented in 1989).
History & Culture:
On your Switzerland holiday, you’ll discover history and culture as diverse as the breathtaking landscapes. With a heritage deeply rooted in a blend of German, French, Italian and Romansh influences, the country boasts a rich tapestry of traditions, art and cuisine. From the historic Old Towns in Zurich and Lucerne to the celebrated Swiss watches and mouth-watering chocolate, you’ll experience a fascinating glimpse into a nation that seamlessly marries its past with its progressive present.
Things To Do:
In Geneva you can discover more about the international organisations based there. Take a look around the visitor centre at CERN. If you’re lucky you may also get the chance to go on a tour too - places are limited and there’s high demand. It’s also possible to visit the Palais des Nations, home to the UN. On selected dates there’s three tours per day, on other dates it’s closed to the public, so keep an eye on the UN Geneva website and book in advance. The International Red Cross Museum offers you a poignant journey through the history of humanitarianism, using immersive exhibits and interactive displays. Geneva isn’t just home to international organisations though - there’s the famous 140m water jet to see, botanical gardens to explore, boat trips to join and interesting sculptures and architecture to look out for.
Montreux gives you the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities. Stroll along the flower-lined promenade, admire the stunning scenery and explore the charming Chillon Castle, with its fairytale appearance. If you're feeling adventurous take the cog railway up to Rochers-de-Naye. In summer this transports you up to hiking trails with altitudes of up to 2,000m, boasting some of the best views you’ll have ever seen. As the temperature drops in autumn the area is transformed into a winter ski resort.
Basel is a haven for art lovers, with world-class museums like the Fondation Beyeler and the annual Art Basel every June. The charming Old Town with its well-preserved architecture is perfect for a leisurely stroll. Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, is a financial and cultural hub. Here, history lovers can explore the Swiss National Museum and football fanatics won't want to miss out on a trip to the FIFA Museum.
Places To Stay:
For a luxury stay in Switzerland you may choose to stay at the 5 star Hotel D Angleterre Geneva. It offers a view of the Jet d’Eau and on clear days you may even be able to see Mont Blanc. Past guests have included Winston Churchill and Celine Dion. They also welcome Very Important Pets.
In a country where lower cost hotels are rare, B&B Hotel Zurich Airport Rumlang provides an exception. Thanks to the excellent transport links, staying in a hotel near the airport isn’t an issue. It’s 850m from the S-Bahn station, from where the train can whisk you into central Zurich in just 15 minutes.
Food and Drink:
Cheese lovers will already be familiar with Emmental and Gruyère, but there are 475 varieties made in Switzerland, so plenty of options for trying something new. If you’re visiting in winter you won’t want to miss out on sampling a fondue. Cheese is used in a number of Swiss favourites including as a topping for rösti (similar to a potato cake) and raclette (a heated cheese dish, typically served with potatoes and vegetables).
Looking for lactose free options? Don’t worry the Swiss don’t add cheese to everything! Maybe you’ll choose polenta and braised beef, Zurich-style ragout of veal and mushroom or Papet Vaudois (leeks with potatoes and sausage).
If you like muesli for breakfast, then don’t miss out on the chance to try the original Swiss recipe on your Switzerland holiday. And of course, it’s not a question of whether you should try some Swiss chocolate, you must try. Lindt may be a brand you see in the supermarket at home, but in Switzerland there are so many more varieties on sale. If you want high quality chocolate, but aren’t bothered about the price, visit the Sprüngli store in Zurich or any Läderach shop and choose from the gorgeous selection of individual chocolates out on display.
Luxury boutiques line Geneva's Rue du Rhône and Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse, making them havens for high-end shopping. There's the world-famous Swiss watches, exquisite jewellery, and top-tier fashion brands. With the high price tags you may prefer to window shop, rather than actually buy anything. In Montreux you'll find everything from local handicrafts to exquisite chocolates and wines.