Switzerland is home to beautiful valleys and hilltops that are always green and flowery during summer. When winter comes, they get all magical and white. Furthermore, the lakes have frozen and the winter markets are in full swing. There are lots of fun activities that you can do here during the winter period. Here are some of them.
Experience World-Class Skiing
One of the best reasons to take a trip to Switzerland this winter is to discover amazing skiing. There are countless trails for both experienced players and amateurs in the game. One of the most popular places is St. Moritz, which houses 87 pistes and has hosted two Winter Olympic Games. Visitors come to the location for both snowboarding and skiing. There is also Zermatt, which is the highest skiing location in the country and offers over 360 kilometres of runs.
For those looking for gentler runs and beginners, you can head to Davos, the largest European sports arena. It is home to several ski resorts and varying runs for different experience levels. Other popular places include Arosa Lenzerheide and Saas-Fee.
Take a Ride with Bernina Express
Take the Glacier Express train between St. Moritz and Zermatt. The winter train takes eight hours, passing through over 291 bridges, narrow valleys, glacier lakes and the magical snow-covered Alps. Enjoy all of these incredible locations while sipping a cup of hot chocolate by the window.
There are other relaxing train rides, including one between Tirano and Chur, which passes so high up that you will be covered by clouds. You can also take a night time train excursion between St. Moritz and Alp Grüm and enjoy some classical music as you move up the alps and enjoy all the splendour that comes with the full moon.
Shop at a Christmas Market
Switzerland’s Christmas markets are some of the best in Europe. You will find several amazing markets across the country, offering everything from clothing to decorations, gifts and souvenirs.
One of the largest holiday markets is in Zurich. It has several smaller markets, including the Christkindlmarket, which is the largest indoor market in the city and is inside a train station. There is another one at Basel, which attracts over 200 merchants with everything from traditional wares to wooden chalets.
Away from Zurich, you can visit Geneva, where you will find an old-school carrousel and live carolling. On the other hand, if you wish to get a feel of the medieval market, visit Chateau de Chillon Castle in Montreux. While shopping, be sure to taste some tasty traditional dishes, such as potato pancakes and cheese fondue.
Skate on a Frozen Lake
There are several ice-skating rinks across Swiss cities. However, you will get the best experience when you visit a natural rink. These natural rinks are surrounded by deep valleys and forests. Some can only be accessed by a chairlift ride. One of the largest is found at Davos and covers a whopping 18,999 square meters. It welcomes both professionals and beginners alike for some fun.
Another popular location for ice skating is the Jura area in Switzerland. It is home to several lakes that freeze over during winter. The largest of them is Lac de Joux, which stands at a mind-bending 1,004 meters.
Visit the Alpine Fair-Tale Cities
The winter charm spreads across Switzerland, no matter the town you visit. However, smaller towns have a better feel than larger ones. Locals recommend that you try smaller towns such as St. Moritz and Zermatt, which are at the downslopes of the skiing location. Other equally stunning towns include Gstaad and Grindelwald. They have smaller crowds, allowing you to enjoy much of the space alone.
You can also go high up in the Alps to Davos and join the sports enthusiasts who flock there every winter. Here, you can enjoy dining at the peaks of several mountains, a fantastic shopping experience and several sights.
St. Gallen offers a traditional feel for winter. It is home to century-old buildings, the historical Abbey of St. Gallen and a car-free old town centre. Carry a camera to capture the magical experiences here.
Switzerland is a fantastic year-round vacation destination. However, its true magic is evident in winter. Experience the cold temperatures in style by exploring various sights and doing the activities discussed above.
Written by Bernard de Laguiche