Attracting Victorians in their droves, Switzerland did not just pioneer tourism, it invented it. Visitors still flock to its mountains for fresh air and restorative mineral springs, to the small valley villages to witness the country's sublime natural landscape, and to the larger cities for a taste of the livelier culture, artistic heritage, and romantic historical sites. With a wonderful climate and spectacular glaciers and summits, the country today is every bit as beautiful and worth visiting as it was when interest began in the 1800s. If thermal springs were what started it all for Switzerland, the country today is no less a honeypot for those seeking the best in spa retreats, with over 22 mineral springs here, a international reputation for pharmaceutical and cosmetic innovation, and an extensive selection of luxury hotels in staggering Alpine settings. Home to four languages (Swiss German, French, Italiana and Romansch) and a trinity of cultures (French, German and Italian), Switzerland is effectively three holiday destinations in one. You could be enjoying pain au chocolates and cafe au lait for breakfast each day, feasting on bratwurst and beer in a Stubli at lunchtime, and dining on pasta and pinot grigio in a grotto in the evening. Switzerland's Alpine resorts compound this sparkling reputation – Zermatt and St Moritz, Interlaken and Gstaad, are all here – and beyond its après-ski and edelweiss, the cities are equally appealing: Lucerne with its covered bridge, Neuchatel with its fountains, Grimentz with its traditional timber houses, and Lausanne with its ancient universities, vibrant art scene, and spectacular Gothic cathedral. Throw in such cosmopolitan centres as Geneva, Zurich, and Basel, World Heritage sites such as the frescoes of Mustair and the abbey of St Gallen, and it becomes impossible to deny the enduring appeal of the fantastic escape that is Switzerland.Click on the tabs above to find out more about us, our holidays, and the attractions in Switzerland.
Full details about our range of rail holidays to Switzerland and in Switzerland can be found here.
All of our holidays to Switzerland are tailor-made according to your requirements, so can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Spanning the Alps from Austria to Italy, encompassing the sublime lakes, mineral springs, bustling contemporary cities, lush woodland, and quaint historic villages, our selection of Swiss hotels captures the very best of this serene country.
Our options offer exciting possibilities for those looking for short city breaks, long relaxing holidays in the sun beside the waterfront, cultural rail holidays, and self-drive options with the ultimate sense of freedom.We offer the following options for your holiday to Switzerland:Stay in one hotel for as many nights as you wish. You can choose from luxurious and glamorous city hotels, to idyllic rural retreats in traditional Swiss chalets. Explore in-depth your favourite aspect of the Swiss lifestyle and landscape, be it the cosmopolitan, artistic cities, or the stunning, peaceful scenery of the Alps and lakes.A two-centre holiday allows you to explore two of these regions, and therefore combine the city with the country. For example, dip into the cool waters of the lakes, and then into the vibrant night-life of Zurich.A multi-centre touring holiday is an excellent way to get the most out of your visit to Switzerland, with limitless capabilities for country-wide exploration, and combinations of urban, rural, cultural, historic, and Alpine destinations. Rail travel between destinations is recommended, as it offers a fast and convenient connection between hotels, as well as allowing you to sit back and enjoy the scenery without having to navigate the winding roads yourself. We have many suggested touring itineraries available to give you ample inspiration, but our sales advisers are also on-hand to put together a unique tour based on your choice of hotels and destinations.Our hotelsEach of the hotels featured in our Swiss program have been personally selected because of their exceptionally high standards of comfort, service, and cuisine. Most of the hotels we offer are four or five star, though we do offer some smaller three-star options in order to make even the remotest of destinations available to our clients. Use the right-hand navigation tab to cycle through our grand lakeside retreats, our rustic, cosy Alpine chalets, and our strikingly modern hotels.Our travel optionsThough we would recommend travelling by train, a number of options are available, depending on your preferences. Direct flights to Zurich take only around 1 hour 45 minutes, and to Geneva (our airport of choice)it takes only 1 hour 35 minutes. If you choose to embark on a self-drive touring holiday, it is a 10 hour drive from London to Basel, on the border between Switzerland and France. Once in Switzerland, we would always recommend rail travel, though hire cars are available.Holidays by airMost of our holiday samples are based on scheduled flights with British Airways, although we often use low-cost airlines, such as Easyjet, where necessary and appropriate. British Airways and Easyjet operate a regular service from London to Zurich and Geneva, though other airlines offer less direct flights, with stop-off points in Zurich (en route to Geneva) and Barcelona (en route to Zurich).Holidays by railRail travel to and within Switzerland is an increasingly popular option, as well as being highly recommended. Easy and affordable rail journeys are available from London to Paris with the Eurostar, followed by connections with Train A Grand Vitesse or the Inter City Express. Other trains are available, and most of our rail holidays include a Swiss Pass, enabling unlimited travel between destinations with Switzerland, often by boat as well as train. Full details about our holidays by rail to Switzerland and the wide range of train journey holidays we offer in Switzerland can be found here.Holidays with a hire carThough renting a hire car is not essential with such a convenient rail service, you may wish to fly into Switzerland and then make your own way between hotels or out into the surrounding region. As with all of our holidays, hire car remains a very cost-effective, flexible way of enjoying your time in Switzerland.Two centre recommendationsMany of our rail touring holidays combine the Alps and Lakes of Switzerland with countries such as Austria and Italy, allowing you to blend the iconic Swiss way of life with the warm sunshine of Tuscany, or travel through Austria, Switzerland, and Italy on a grand scenic tour of the Alps. Our Swiss hotels can be arranged in any combination to form a holiday that best suits you.
Facts:Capital: BernAirport: Geneva International AirportCurrency: Swiss Francs (£1=1.5 Swiss Francs)Size: 41,285 sq kilometresPopulation: nearly 8 millionAverage temperatures: The weather in Switzerland is influenced by the 4 main European air currents, resulting in a temperate climate on the Central Plateau but which otherwise varies between regions. In July the average temperature is around 23 degrees Centigrade and slightly higher in lakeside areas. In January temperatures average approximately 3 degrees Centigrade.
Local highlightsZermatt is crowned by spectacular peaks in both summer and winter, with the Matterhorn acting as the stunning centrepiece. Hidden glaciers and lakes complete the scenery, and set up the perfect location for skiing and hiking. Around the summit of the Matterhorn cling the 14 buildings of the museum, each designed to resemble the ancient houses of the original mountain villages. A breath-taking train journey takes you from Interlaken to Europe's highest station in Jungfraujoch, at 3,454m, across bridges over gorges of turquoise water, past snowy mountains, to the cavernous station inside the rock. Stand in the shadow of the north face of the Eiger, as it looms above the classic chocolate-box village of Grindelwald and a smattering of green woodland. Visit Rheinfall, Europe’s largest plains waterfall. Perhaps take a boat tour around the calmer nearby waters, or observe from the lookout point, bridge, or the Laufen Castle. Pass more riverside castles on one of the Rhein cruises. Beautiful mountain-clad lakes, such as Geneva, Constance, Lucerne, and Lugano, can be traversed in quaint traditional boats such as the floating restaurant at the Beau Rivage Palace. Swim and fish in these waters to get a feel for the idyllic Swiss lifestyle, or enjoy some surreal water sports. Take in the sights in Lucerne, with its iconic timber bridges that weave their way across the Reuss River, stunning and relaxing lake cruises, and romantic old town with twisting streets.Get a taste for modern Swiss art and the abundance of Gehry architecture in waterside Basel, just on the border between Switzerland and France. Soak up the works of a genius in the prestigious Einstein museum in Bern. The quaint red-roofed houses of the verdant Old Town fit into the narrow meander of the Aare River, connecting to the more modern quarters by stone bridges. Enjoy the atmosphere at the lively and cultural July Jazz festival in Montreux, a town perched on a peninsula, with mountains in every direction. The art galleries of Geneva, the tranquil lakeside footpaths, and the fountain that erupts out of the water, provide a further insight into romantic Swiss culture and heritage.Enjoy the pervading historic air of Neuchatel’s wonderfully traditional castle, with its characterful irregular walls and brown-roofed spires, and the neighbouring Gothic Eglise Collegiale, or relax on a spectacular lake cruise. Wander along the streets of the hilly medieval old town centre of Lausanne, or take in the more contemporary shopping districts, and visit its Olympic museum and the famous lake-front Lavaux vineyards. Spend hours experiencing the country's religious heritage in the cathedral complex and abbey of St Gallen, which dominates the pretty old town of Lausanne. Take in the ambience of the library, complete with spirally staircases and undulating frescoed ceiling. Appreciate the intricate and well-preserved Carolingian and Romanesque frescoes at the Kloster St Johann in Mustair, a sparse village nestled amongst rolling green plains and verdant hills, with the snow-capped mountains in the background. Sample more of Swiss art in Zurich’s Kunsthaus museum and at the Dada exhibitions, before exploring this famous city, passing its colourful waterfront houses, and admiring its fairytale spires and churches. Sit in an elegant cafe in St Moritz, and watch the relaxed Swiss lifestyle unfold. Then, visit the Cresta Run, a natural ice skeleton racing track not for the feint-hearted. Meander around the quaint villages of Gandria and Morcote, both of which have brightly-painted houses that seem to pile on top of one another, right on the shores of Lake Lugano. And finally, take in the sensational views of Lake Lugano from the summit of Monte San Salvatore and Monte Bre, reached by a scenic funicular railway.
Getting out and aboutSwitzerland's fully integrated public transport system is one of the most efficient in the world. The Swiss think nothing of coordinating schedules with only a few minutes' leeway between arrivals and departures. Missing a connection through a late arrival is rare. Swiss Federal Railways runs an excellent, extensive service, and it is even possible to take a train up to Jungfraujoch, at 3,454m, Europe’s highest station. All the larger lakes, including Geneva, Constance, Lucerne, Lugano, Neuchâtel, Biel, Murten, Thun, Brienz and Zug, are serviced by steamers operated by Swiss Federal Railways. Yellow 'postal buses' supplement the rail network, following postal routes and linking towns to the more inaccessible mountain regions. They are extremely regular, and departures tie in with train arrivals. Bus stations are invariably next to train stations.
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