DESTINATION OF THE MONTH
WEEK 3 OF 4
Switzerland is the birthplace of winter tourism. What began as a mini getaway in 1864 for a handful of English tourists now attracts a host of international visitors from every corner of the world in search of all sorts of wonderful wintry experiences.
From high adventure heli-skiing and other adrenaline-inducing ski slope activities to luxurious indulgences at the spa resorts or traditional chalets and scenic escapades, one cannot say they have experienced true winter magic until they have experienced winter in Switzerland.
New Winter Magic Tour
As with any visit to Switzerland, panoramic rail journeys are a major highlight and a must-do experience. This is also true during winter stays. For snow enthusiasts heading over, the new Winter Magic Tour is the best way to take in all of the seasonal and picturesque highlights.
An eight-day tour which takes visitors on board the thoroughly scenic Lucerne-Interlaken Express, Visp-Zermatt link, Glacier Express and Bernina Express rail journeys, whimsical wintry landscapes of frozen lakes, soft powdery snow and rugged glaciers are guaranteed to impress even the most fastidious traveller.
Express to Jungfraujoch
Mountain excursions to Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe are now much faster and easier thanks to the new Eiger Express tricable gondola. With the journey from Grindelwald to the Eiger Glacier station taking only 15 minutes, this direct transfer option shaves off more than 45 minutes required on the regular panoramic train route.
Newly opened for service in August this year, the state-of-the-art Grindelwald terminal is the heart of the V-Cableway. This is the starting point for the Eiger Express to the Eiger Glacier and the 10-person gondola to Männlichen.
Designed with style, comfort and convenience in mind, the terminal also offers a generous ski storage area; a 1,000-space car park facility; a Platinum Club where VIP members can enjoy the lounge facility and other features; as well as a shopping centre housing premium international brands and Swiss products.
Up on Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, the highest train station in Europe sitting at 3,454m asl, visitors can enjoy a multitude of activities. These include the Ice Palace; watching the Alpine Sensation (which tells the story of the Jungfrau Railway); dining at the restaurant; hiking across the glacier; enjoying snow activities at the Snow Fun Park; and indulging in some chocolate at the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven.
Glide over paradise
The story of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is an exciting and ongoing one as new features are continuously added to enhance the experience and increase “wow” moments.
With the aerial cable way «Alpine X» in its final stages of construction, visitors will very soon be able enjoy the thoroughly scenic crossing between Zermatt and Italy, with the glorious Matterhorn in full view at all times. The journey will take around an hour, where passengers will travel between two cable-car connections with the highest altitude difference in Europe – a staggering 4,000m.
First 5-star hotel for Engelberg
Kempinski Palace Engelberg – Titlis Swiss Alp opened in mid-2021 as the first internationally recognised luxury hotel brand in the region.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the train station in Engelberg, the Kempinski Palace Engelberg – Titlis Swiss Alp building consists of a historic part (built in 1904) reminiscent of a Grand Hotel, which, in combination with a modern new building, forms an exciting unit. There is an infinity pool on the roof, a fitness and wellness area, a bar, a restaurant and a kid’s club.
Two other hotels on Frutt in Melchsee-Frutt, will also benefit from the international management know-how and worldwide distribution network of Kempinski Hotels and be managed by Kempinski from this winter season.
The properties are located in the middle of Central Switzerland, close to Lucerne. Since 2011 and 2016 respectively guests have been welcomed in the two modern hotel buildings on Lake Melchsee; Frutt Lodge & Spa and the neighbouring Frutt Family Lodge. While the main building scores with a unique spa landscape and offers 63 rooms, one junior suite and three suites in an authentic lodge ambience, the more family-oriented hotel building impresses with alpine cosiness and features 33 rooms, four junior suites and ten suites. An underground passageway provides a comfortable connection between the hotel buildings.
Ski Test at the Matterhorn
Following the closure of the test centres in Sölden and Saas-Fee, ski enthusiasts can now look forward to testing their skis at the new Matterhorn Test Centre on Zermatt’s Theodul Glacier.
Offering a next level ski-in, ski-out experience in a modern and spacious setting, the newly opened centre in October 2021 is one of the last remaining places for skiers to test their latest equipment directly on Alpine pistes.
St Moritz Goes Green
As one of the most prestigious and oldest winter sports resorts in the world, and where winter tourism first started, St Moritz continues to lead with different winter adventures, sports and sustainability efforts.
With its current sustainability focus on Vision 2025, the resort is on its way to becoming the very first ski resort in the world to only use recycled water for its snowmakers on its slopes.
With the success of its first water reservoir in operation, a second one is in the pipeline to be completed within the next four years. Consequently, pumping stations used to transport water from the valley to the mountain will be a thing of the past.
A monumental project for the team of 260+ experts, the benefits of storing meltwater at 2,500m asl will result in significant savings, including enough electricity to power 400 four-person households; 280 million litres of water (or 500 swimming pools); and yearly operational costs of CHF700k.
Furthermore, advanced technology of today will allow snow production to be powered conveniently from a smartphone. With all of the necessary information and deciding factors in the palm of their hands, snow groomers will not only be able to quickly determine if water is required to make snow, but also in which direction the snow needs to fall. And provided all of the snow machines are positioned correctly, the only thing required for snow production is the pressing of the start button.