Melted chocolate drizzled over fresh, crusty bread. Snow glinting on the treetops as the train whisks you ever higher into the mountains. The chime as the clock strikes noon and it’s time for yet another delectable lunch of the finest French cuisine. And knowing that in a few hours you will be tucking into Italian-inspired fare before heading out for drinks in the old town.
The mountainous scenery in Switzerland is characterized by its variety and depth. The hills curve around crystal blue lakes in summer, while in winter a coating of snow covers the rolling landscape. The fields stay fresh and green while the forests thrive with regular precipitation. Luckily it is not often subject to fog, clouds, or pollution, unlike other places in Europe. It can be terribly disappointing to miss a stunning sunset due to inclement weather. Here in Switzerland you can climb up tall peaks or march to the top of a cathedral tower to see for miles around. Search online or look at a book and you will glimpse just a few of the striking scenes that are commonplace in the country.
Switzerland is well known as being home to a large portion of the Alps mountain range, which also runs through France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Austria. But there are more mountain ranges other than the Alps. The Jura Mountain range in the northwest is not far from the Swiss town Neuchâtel, and the border with France. The Matterhorn range in the south of the country lies right on the edge between Switzerland and Italy, serving as a natural borderline. Within the center of the country are the Jungfrau and Eiger mountains, which are full of charming resorts that cater to those on a relaxing holiday.
With all of these mountains Switzerland is famously idyllic as a skiing destination for both Europeans and Americans. Many dream of swishing down the white slopes during the day and drinking Swiss hot chocolate by a fire at night, roasting your toes over an open fire. There is winter climbing and mountaineering, snowshoeing and many other activities to keep you active in the cold, as well as plenty of luxurious, indoor treats to enjoy too when you need to defrost.
In spring and summer the ice melts and Switzerland blooms with color. The flowers are well tended in the city parks and the fields turn a spring green. The countryside holds terrific beauty and a great way to experience it is a simple walk through the hills. There is more daylight than in winter so you can get a later start on the day and still have plenty of time for walking along the lakeside promenade of Zurich before the sun goes down. In good weather the outdoor cafes fill up as people watchers stake out their seats for an afternoon of observing locals going about their day. A strong cup of coffee is the perfect pick-me-up after spending a few hours shopping for a wristwatch, and try the pastries drizzled with rich chocolate.
If cold weather is your nemesis, you can still see snow all year round. Switzerland has the longest glacier in Europe called the Aletsch Glacier, located near the Jungfrau peaks. Switzerland also has the biggest waterfall in Europe by volume of water, the Rhine Falls not far from Zurich. These remarkable sights are easily accessible with a tour group or on your own, so bring a camera and good walking shoes.