DESTINATION OF THE MONTH
WEEK 4 OF 4
When it comes to visiting a country that is quite unquestionably Mother Nature’s pièce de résistance, it is only natural for visitors to want to see everything. Question is, where does one start? What is the best possible way to take in all of Switzerland’s spectacular highlights and still enjoy an enriching and immersive experience?
Here are some suggestions …
The Grand Tour of Switzerland
A largely self-drive route that covers more than 1,600km around the country, the Grand Tour of Switzerland exposes travellers to the many different and unique sides of the country. These include the four language regions, 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 22 magnificent lakes, the highest point of 2,429m (Furka Pass), the lowest point of 193m (Lake Maggiore) and five alpine passes.
While there are about 45 key attractions to take in on this Tour, the abundance of lesser-known places listed in the Federal Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites should not be missed as well. Boasting enchanting fairytale-like qualities that is also often steeped in history, these magical destinations are all conveniently dotted along the Grand Tour of Switzerland.
For self-drive plans with an electric car, the Entire Tesla Grand Tour offers an exceptional driving experience with the sleek Tesla Model 3 rental car. And for a tour that is more targeted to specific interests, then exploring this collection of top attractions is the perfect starting point.
Thanks to the continuous and healthy rise in female travellers (both in groups and independently), Switzerland’s offer of women-friendly activities around the country continues to grow and gain popularity.
With more than 200 offers and events that are 100% created by women for women, all of the tours are also always led by female guides; where fun, relevance and sisterhood are assured.
From nature adventures and creative art workshops to wellness pampering sessions and a range of winter sports (including the 100% Women Peak Challenge), the list of experiences continues to grow. While the outdoor experiences are for women only, men are most welcome to participate in many of the other activities.
Take it slow
Switzerland is the perfect destination for slow travel. From gentle walks and hikes across mountain passes or glaciers to swimming in the many crystal clear lakes and rivers, there are many ways one can relax, connect and invigorate in Switzerland.
Other immersive activities for consideration include stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, twilight kayaking, forest bathing, joining local food tours, visiting farms, and even wellness and yoga retreats.
Should weather not be conducive for outdoor activities, then consider visiting some of the many museums around the country. After all, this is easy and free with the Swiss Travel Pass. Additionally, one can also sign up to locally run workshops to learn more about Swiss artistry, cooking, and more.
When it comes to accommodation options, Switzerland offers experiences for every taste, requirement and desire. From novelty stays in pop-up locations and traditional country chalets to ultra-luxurious spa resorts and city options, the choices are endless.
For something out of the ordinary, the Million Stars Hotel offers nights with obstructed views of the starry night sky. With 50 unusual “rooms” dotted around the country, 33 of which can be found along the Grand Tour of Switzerland, the privacy and visual access to some of the country’s finest natural landscapes and cityscapes in the most unusual places cannot be beaten.
Foodies will be pleased that as the gastronomic scene in Switzerland continues to evolve, many hotels are also playing a crucial role in hero-ing talented chefs and their specialties. Newly opened in Basel and conveniently located next to the train station is the Hotel Mövenpick. A stone’s throw away from the cruise port, the hotel features 264 tastefully furnished rooms; city views; and most excitingly for the adventurous palate, its PURO restaurant which serves up delectable Latin-American and Asian fusion flavours.
A long-awaited re-opening in 2022 is the Mandarin Oriental Palace in Luzern. Once the iconic Hotel Palace Luzern, which first opened its doors in 1906, a multi-million-dollar revamp will see it transform into a modern-day address furnished with the finest stylish interiors to match today’s luxury seeker. Offering 146 rooms and suites looking out to the lake and mountains, the hotel will also feature a restaurant, bar, a spa and fitness facility as well as several social areas.
Finally, spa lovers will be happy to learn of the impending 2022 opening of the luxurious Six Senses Crans-Montana in the Valais region. A short two-hour journey by car or train from Geneva, winter guests can also enjoy easy access to some of the top ski areas in the country during their stay. A boutique and lavish property featuring only 47 guestrooms and suites alongside residential units, Alpine treatments at the spa will no doubt be a big hit.