With more and more travellers heading over to Switzerland for a white Christmas and plenty of snow action, Switzerland Tourism has put together a list of must-dos to help visitors make the most of their time while not missing out on the country’s top highlights for the season.
It’s no secret that some of the most vibrant and colourful Christmas markets are found in Switzerland. Unlike other fairs around Europe, most of which tend to be supersized, Christmas markets in Switzerland are more boutique, offering a cozier setting and the feeling of closeness and warmth.
The most spectacular of these Christmas markets can be experienced at Zurich’s central train station where the majestic Swarovski donned Christmas tree takes centre stage; the charming and historic old town of Lucerne; on the medieval streets of Bern; the old town square in Basel; and on the lakeside shores of Montreux.
It goes without saying that a typical Swiss winter experience cannot be had without a typical Swiss winter stay. From the unmistakable traditional Swiss wooden chalets to the more modern resorts, options abound in both popular ski resorts, cities and even the lesser-known villages.
Visitors can pick based on their priorities during their stays. Ski-in, ski-out spa resorts are abundant near the slopes and may be more suited to those who enjoy a bit of adventure and wellness indulgence, while apartments and chalets might be more ideal for groups and families. A smorgasbord of options can be found here.
Winter activities aren’t limited to the slopes and powered snow, it’s also about the ice. One such spectacular ice-skating experience is in the region of Savognin Bivio Albula, where the cold months see the three-kilometre footpath between Alvaneu and Surava transform from a regular footpath to an ice track.
The brainchild of Georgio Bossi, skaters can embark on this route through the snow-capped alpine forests along the Albula River. As the previous cross-country ski trails were always icy and difficult to navigate with skis, they were promptly transformed into a three-kilometre-long ice-skating trail.
Learn to Ski
Newbies to skiing need not miss out on the action and thrills when visiting Switzerland for a winter experience. As the origin of winter tourism, winter resorts all over the country are well equipped with the best instructors, slopes and equipment for ski lessons.
The First Ski Experience package was specifically designed for snow lovers looking to learn the skill. Available in all of the most popular ski resorts including Zermatt, St Moritz, the Jungfrau Region, Interlaken, Engelberg-Titlis and others, newbies will not only gain a new skill, but also get to take in the iconic Swiss alpine panoramas and indulge in the local ski culture.
Railing through the Snow
The best (and most efficient) way to go visit and enjoy these winter experiences and excursions around Switzerland is with a Swiss Travel Pass. With children under the age of 16 years travelling for free, the pass offers amazing value for money for families, groups and FITs alike.
The pass can also be used to enjoy Switzerland’s many panoramic rail journeys including the Glacier Express which links St Moritz to Montreux; the Bernina Express which traverses across the UNESCO World Heritage listed Albula Line of viaducts and helical tunnels; the Gotthard Panoramic Express which links Lucerne to Lugano; and the GoldenPass Line which travels between Montreux and Interlaken.