Where to go when - Winter
May 21, 2020 · By Sukie Chapman
Discover the world in winter and step into a snow-globe world of seasonal beauty.Read more
Spectacular scenery and beautiful architecture await you in Switzerland, as you explore the high alpine regions and the historical cities that make up this country. Visit the glamorous resort of St Moritz, which claims one of the first towns in Europe to popularise winter sports and is the preferred destination of wealthy tourists from around the world in both summer and winter. Chur, Switzerland's oldest town, is a delight to behold, featuring a stunning 12th century cathedral that combines Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles, and a lovely Rathaus (Town Hall) that dates back to 1464.
Switzerland is famed for its amazing views. Lake Lucerne bears a striking similarity to the fjords of Norway, being of an unusual shape and surrounded by towering mountains. Sat on the border between Italy and Switzerland is the Matterhorn.
Identifiable for its unusual, almost symmetrical, peak, this mountain was first successfully climbed in 1865, after many failed attempts.
Switzerland is famous for its folk culture. Yodelling, originally used by livestock herders on mountains to call out to one another, is said to have originated in Switzerland, and has since become celebrated all around the world, most famously being used by 'Tarzan' in various films and television shows.
Thanks to the Alps, which inhabits most of the country, mountain sports are extremely popular here. Every winter, hundreds of thousands of tourists descend upon Switzerland to take part in some of the fantastic skiing that can be found here. In the summer, after the snow melts away, the lush green meadows are revealed, and hiking becomes a popular pastime.
From tradition to science, this country is also the home of some of the most important scientific innovations in the world. Lying underground near Geneva sits the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle collider in the world, and the motors currently powering the Mars Rover are Swiss made.
Swiss cuisine is heavily influenced by the countries that surround it, taking inspiration from France in the meringues, Italy and polenta, and Germany in the wide variety of sausages. Some things, however, are purely Swiss, including the delicious melted cheese dish of fondue. This mouthwatering meal is a sauce made with cheese, wine, and garlic, and is served in a communal pot. Using long forks, diners can dip various pieces of bread or vegetables into the dish.
If you're not wanting to share the pot, but are still craving melted cheese, then a raclette is perfect. This wheel of cheese is cut into wedges, heated, and then scraped onto a plate, where it can be enjoyed with various meats, potatoes, and gherkins.
Cheese isn't the only famous dairy product to emerge from this country. Switzerland is one of the finest producers of luxury chocolate, and is the home of high quality brands such as Lindt and Nestlé.
The rail travel in Switzerland is efficient, easy to use, and connects the entire country. On our tours, we travel on a few of the most spectacularly scenic journeys in Switzerland: the Glacier Express, the Jungfrau Express, and the GoldenPass.
The Glacier Express is ironically named, and is often called 'the slowest express train in the world'. Travel in panoramic carriages as you luxuriate in the surrounding beauty of Switzerland, traveling along the Rhine Valley and up and over the steep Oberalp Pass, and passing small villages and towering snow-capped peaks.
You also travel to the 'top of Europe' on the Jungfrau Express, a line that climbs up to a height of over 11,000 feet, through the Eiger Mountain tunnel and up Jungfraujoch, where you find the summit station and the Ice Palace, looking out over the Aletsch Glacier, the longest ice stream in the Alps at 13.7 miles.
The glittering GoldenPass line travels 118 miles between Montreux and Lucerne. The light and spacious carriages and armchair-style seats mean you can travel in luxury, absorbing the view through the panoramic windows that look over spectacular lakes and pristine forests.
Like most European countries, the climate in Switzerland is fairly moderate, with not extreme temparatures. The summers are warm, with temperatures ranging between 65° F and 82° F, however there is always the chance for rain, so always bring along an umbrella or a light waterproof, and prepared for a sudden change in the weather.
Switzerland is synonymous with skiing and snow, so in the winter make sure that you have sturdy shoes and a warm coat. The temperatures are not extreme, and are usually between 28° F and 45° F, but the nights can be bitterly cold, so warm evening wear is a must.
Switzerland has four national languages: German, French Italian and Romansh. A few useful phrases to know are:
Hello - in French 'bonjour' (bon-zhaw), in German 'guten tag' (gooten tahg), and in Italian 'buongiorno' (bon-jor-no)
Goodbye - in French 'au revoir' (or rev-wa), in German 'auf wiedersehen' (owf vee-der-zehn), and in Italian 'arrivederci' (ah-ree-ver-der-chi)
Thank you - in French 'merci' (mercy), in German 'danke' (dan-kah), and in Italian 'grazie' (grat-zie)
Please - in French 's'il vous plaît' (sih vous play), in German, 'bitte' (bitter), and in Italian 'per favore' (per fa-vor-ay)
Switzerland's bill system usually includes a tip, so tipping isn't strictly necessary, however if you wish to leave something extra, rounding up the bill to the nearest 5 or 10 usually suffices. The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc.
Helping you plan your vacation to Switzerland