When it comes to Switzerland, it all starts with the Alps. While the European nation boasts tons of assets—ranging from culinary delights such as chocolate and cheese to an uber-efficient transportation system—the natural beauty found in its rugged mountainous landscape never fails to delight.
According to Martin Oester, sales and marketing manager–North America for Switzerland Tourism, there are many local spots where travelers can experience the Swiss Alps.
“My favorite place to hang out is Mürren,” he says. “This car-free resort village, set high up among towering cliffs, is only reachable via cable car or a challenging climb.”
And what a cable car ride it is. Passengers can soak in the views as they are whisked in a gondola from Stechelberg up to the 9,744-foot summit of Schilthorn in 32 minutes. While in that area, visitors can channel their inner spy, thanks to two interactive exhibitions: “Bond World” and the new “007 Walk of Fame.”
Switzerland is also a country that takes train travel to new heights, both literally and figuratively, and Oester considers riding the rails a must-do.
“I love the Gotthard Panorama Express,” he says. “This is the only one of the panoramic train excursions that combines boat and train into one journey.”
And, for visitors with a high level of fitness, Oester recommends doing a hike along at least one section of Via Alpina and the Alpine Passes Trail. These two long-haul routes offer unparalleled access to the scenic mountain landscapes.
Via Alpina runs north of the Swiss Alps, goes from Vaduz to Montreux and is broken into 20 daily stages. The Griesalp-Kandersteg leg, which Oester calls the “King’s Stage,” is particularly noteworthy. As for Alpine Passes, which includes 20 sections taking trekkers through the northern Alps, he raves about the hike from Gruben to Zinal.
“Zinal is a ski resort town one valley west of famous Zermatt, and you are up amidst spectacular Alpine scenery and surrounded by Switzerland’s highest peaks,” he says. “Here, you literally hike from German-speaking territory right into French.”
Top photo: Switzerland’s Schilthorn is home to two interactive James Bond exhibits.
Photos by Markus Zimmermann/Switzerland Tourism
Support for Courier articles provided by:
Terra Lu Travel & Consult GmbH