DESTINATION OF THE MONTH
WEEK 2 OF 4
No other country, whose name at the slightest of mentions, conjures up more images of pristine landscapes depicting majestic mountains reflected on mirror-like lakes, soft dreamy meadows and charming fairytale-like villages than Switzerland.
Indeed, this mini but mighty landlocked nation of Switzerland has long been synonymous with Mother Nature’s finest works. Welcoming around 12 million overnight visitors each year (pre-COVID), and much more when considering day visits, keeping the country in its flawless and unspoiled condition involves enormous effort from everyone including the locals and visitors. This effort has become a lifestyle fittingly referred to as Swisstainable.
A new approach to travel
A term that fully captures the essence of embracing the purity and richness of Switzerland in the cleanest possible yet most enjoyable way, Swisstainable travel presents the best way for visitors and residents to experience and appreciate the country.
Given the approach aims to create greater awareness of the many climate-friendly ways one can explore and experience the country, its offerings, people and cultures – being Swisstainable encourages visitors to garner deeper understandings and connections with Switzerland.
Some basic experiences would include immersing in the untouched natural surrounds; enjoying locally grown and made produce; taking an interest in the diverse local customs, traditions and ways of life; and where possible, allowing more time to delve deeper.
One ticket, one country
Unique to Switzerland is the Swiss Travel System and its all-encompassing Swiss Travel Pass. An expansive network of public trains, boats, buses and cableways across the entire country accessible with just the one Pass, holders can also enjoy free entry to most museums, as well as discounts of up to 50% on cable-car rides.
There is no surprise here then that this one-of-a-kind public transportation system is one of the most environmentally friendly and low-carbon ways to get around Switzerland.
More than just a thoroughly impressive network, the Swiss Travel System truly is a system that keeps on giving. Other benefits include the following:
- Guaranteed jaw-dropping panoramic moments, especially on scenic train journeys such as the 8hr Glacier Express linking St Moritz in the east and Zermatt in west, and the 4hr Bernina Express between Chur in the north and Tirano in the south;
- Endless spectacular bird’s eye views when jumping onto any of the 1,000+ mountain cable cars, cog railways and funiculars to ascend a mountain;
- Seamless connections on any route, thanks to the highly sophisticated and very well synchronised system throughout;
- Regular and remarkably punctual services, with live timetable updates accessible via the SBB mobile phone app;
- The presence of food carts and/or restaurants on most trains and boats so nobody goes thirsty or hungry;
- The ability for Pass holders to travel by train to and from neighbouring countries including Austria, Germany, France, Italy and Liechtenstein;
- The feature of kids carriages on some trains to help keep families with young children entertained throughout their journey;
- Free travel for children under 16 years of age when accompanied by a guardian who is an adult Pass holder; and
- The availability of free Wifi at most major train stations.
Grand Train Tour of Switzerland
A combined eight panoramic journeys covering 1,280km of sheer beauty around the country, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is possibly one of the most breathtaking train travel experiences in the world.
Encompassing the country’s most spectacular highlights including mountains, lakes, bridges, quaint towns and villages, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and more, the Tour travels through all of Switzerland’s four language regions.
There are many ways to experience the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. While the Original Tour takes eight or more days and covers all the major highlights and natural assets around the country, shorter itineraries are also available for those who are time poor.
Travel advisors can offer a range of tour options to help their clients plan according to their timeframe and interests. Suggestions include the Stunning Water or Hidden Treasures Tour that requires at least three days of exploration; the minimum four-day Glaciers and Palm Trees Tour; the minimum five-day Top Attractions route; and the seven-day Classic Tour. There is also an eight-day Winter Magic Tour available during the colder months.
Best of all, the entire Grand Train Tour can be experienced using the Swiss Travel Pass. However, advanced seat and meal bookings are required.
Travel advisors are reminded that Swiss Travel Passes are available through Rail Europe’s easy rail access portal.
For an all-encompassing Grand Train Tour of Switzerland that includes side tours, excursions and accommodation, Entire Travel has put together an immersive and relaxing 14-day experience.
Finally, to stay updated on the Swiss Travel System and its product news and offerings, advisors are encouraged to sign-up to the Swiss Travel System Excellence Program. Learnings from this program builds on and complements the modules in the Switzerland Travel Academy.