Travel agent Lyn Anderson shares the highlights of her favourite European destination, Switzerland…
Switzerland offers an abundance of exhilarating outdoor activities from scenic walks through the Lavaux Vineyard terraces on The Swiss Wine Route, to cycling across Graubuden and rock climbing in the Hasli Valley. For a more relaxed break, take in the sights via cable car, hop on the Glacier Express, cruise across picturesque lakes and sample some of local delicacies in Michelin starred restaurants, ski lodges or laid back cafes.
If it’s your first time, the meticulously punctual trains may come as a shock, but Switzerland enjoys one of the most efficient and comprehensive rail networks in Europe. Sit back and enjoy the iconic alpine scenery on the journey from Zurich to Davos. Travel in comfort through magnificent green meadows and breath-taking mountain valleys to the canton of Graubunden in the east of the country.
Davos is a chic resort that’s the perfect base for summer adventure with over 700km hiking trails, a huge array of activities, a bustling nightlife and an international vibe. The sparkling Lake Davos is accentuated by its stunning mountain backdrop – a delight for any budding photographers.
Stay in the InterContinental Davos, opened in December 2013, with 216 well appointed and spacious rooms boasting mountain and valley views. A modern, warm alpine feel is reflected in the interiors open fires are welcoming after a day on the Alps. Recharge in the spa and experience pure relaxation with two pools, a sauna and a steam room. Then finish the evening on the top floor restaurant Studio Grigio.
Head to neighbouring St Moritz before continuing your voyage through the sparkling glaciers and shimmering lakes of the Engadine Valley, en route to Maloja. If you cross the Castasegna municipality border into Italy, don’t miss the Chiavenna Market, before cruising past the glimmering waters of Lakes Como and Mezzola.
Next stop is Lugano, the largest town in the region of Ticino. The picturesque town is dotted with parks, villas and church buildings imbued with a strong Mediterranean feel – the perfect place to meander the streets picking up local delicacies at the weekly market, such as fragrant polenta with porcini mushrooms, tangy sausages or a velvety chestnut cake all washed down with a lovely white Merlot which is unique to the region.
From the centre of Lugano, take the century old funicular railway to the unspoiled environment of Monte Bre, before exploring the breath-taking landscapes, hiking or mountain biking through areas of natural interest, and tiny villages.
On your return journey back towards Zurich, you can enjoy the splendour of boat and train on this unique scenic route. The Whilhelm Tell Express offers luxury train carriages with panoramic windows, the nine mile Gouthard Tunnel, and a downhill trip before arriving in Fluien at Lake Lucerne. Here, you can board a historic paddle steamer for a memorable three hour lake crossing, dining in the onboard restaurant and spotting Swiss landmarks such as Rutli, the Schellier Stone and Tell’s Chapel.
Finally as you sail into the old town of Lucerne you can take in the sights of the medieval Mill Bridge and the 14th Century Chapel Bridge before disembarking to board your final train to return to the airport.
Switzerland really has something to offer for everyone in every season, I can’t wait to return!