Where stories begin
Book a holiday to Switzerland and prepare to discover a beautiful land of dramatic snow-capped peaks, shimmering mountain-framed lakes and enchanting towns and villages.
At once romantic, charming, picture-perfect and thoroughly modern, Switzerland a land of four languages with much more to offer than (undeniably delicious) chocolate, cheese and cuckoo-clocks.
A holiday to Switzerland guarantees stunning scenery that has inspired writers from Byron to le Carre (who studied German in Bern), and that offers the energetic a chance to explore the great outdoors at its very best. And while it's the wintertime opportunities to ski at Alpine resorts like Zermatt, St Moritz and Verbier that spring to the forefront of many minds, summer is really the best time to explore. Some 60,000 kilometres of trails criss-cross the country, clearly marked by the yellow "Wangerweg" signs of the Swiss Hiking Association, and attract walkers and cyclists of all levels every year.
With its pretty, medieval houses, great churches and wonderful covered shopping arcades all huddled together above a sweeping meander in the River Aare, the historic Swiss capital, Bern, is a city of great beauty. And it's just one of the country's fascinating and diverse urban centres. Due north of Bern, on the German border, you'll find the unofficial cultural capital Basel, while cosmopolitan, lakeside Geneva lies tucked into a tiny spike of Switzerland that protrudes into the French Alps. Lively Lausanne, Zug (its low tax rates tempting multinational head offices to its streets) and Zurich are all well worth a visit during your Swiss holiday.
From cheese making in Gruyeres to lakeside, jazz-city Montreux to the spectacular sight of the Eiger rising above the Alpine village of Grindelwald, you'll find a country filled with fascination on a Newmarket holiday to Switzerland.
Remarkable mountainous scenery and almost limitless opportunities to explore the great outdoors; medieval towns and Alpine villages; tranquil lakes and cities that blend ancient and modern with ease. For such a small country, Switzerland has plenty to offer.
There's so much more to Swiss food than fondue and raclette, though both these cheese dishes must be sampled at least once during your holiday in Switzerland.
Swiss cuisine – especially in the French-speaking cantons – is heavily influenced by Gallic flair. But its place as an internationally acclaimed destination means that Switzerland has a range of different dishes to offer, taking influences from a host of different cuisines, and boasts dining options to suit all tastes and pockets.
Despite the country's reputation, dining need not be expensive. Many places offer all-you-can-eat buffets (try the department stores or supermarket restaurants for great value and high standards, for example). Soups are plentiful, as are cold meats (including air-cured beef) and a whole variety of salads. Switzerland is also home to the rösti – grated waxy potatoes pressed together and fried to form a crispy cake. Try this filling dish with a bratwurst or a plain fried egg.
Swiss beers are excellent, and the local wines – from grapes grown on the sun-blessed slopes of the Rhone Valley above Lake Geneva – are one of the country’s best-kept secrets (very little is exported). Dry, fruity Fendant white and full-bodied red Dôle, in particular, deserve to be appreciated. And, in the land which all but invented chocolate, desserts are a passion, perhaps followed by a local Schnapps. Try Gentiane, made from the delicate purple Alpine flower of the same name, or a pear Williamse, another favourite from the Valais wine region.