We recently read an article saying how Switzerland was often a preferred destination for overseas travelers as it assembled the whole of Europe into one country: you have the alps, the lakes, the cities, the gastronomy (it is after all, the country with the most Michelin star restaurants in Europe), the history, the many traditions and its four languages. But one of the things Switzerland does unquestionably well, is its nature.
We’ve travelled to many parts of the world, but never have we seen nature so varied as it is here, especially for such a small country. From one canton to the next, the landscape changes dramatically, offering something new and unique each and every time. This was a tricky exercise, but here are our five favorite summer destinations for nature-lovers:
Ebenalp, AI, Switzerland
Appenzell, the country’s smallest canton, is basically what everyone imagines Switzerland to be: picturesque town houses and chalets decorated with frescoes, perfect green rolling hills, friendly locals and of course, the alps. Not much goes on around here (there are only 7’000 inhabitants after all!), but it’s the perfect getaway for those who just want to relax and enjoy the scenery… or tick the very famous “Ebenalp” off their bucket list. For those looking for a bit more activity, walk down the beautiful car-free village of Appenzell and get a glimpse of its many customs and local delicacies.
Caumasee, GR, Switzerland
Welcome to Graubunden, the country’s largest, wildest and most varied canton. Here, it’s all about raw, natural beauty. You’ll almost feel like you’re crossing the borders as you reach this region known for some of the world’s most scenic train rides and mountain passes. Take a dip in the idyllic Caumasee, look out for wildlife in the Ela National Park, hike one of the many mountain peaks, kitesurf on the Silvaplana Lake or take one too many pictures in the beautiful villages of Bergun and Guarda.
Zermatt, VS, Switzerland
Millions of travelers flock to the world-renowned Matterhorn each year, and rightly so – it is one of the most fascinating mountain peaks you will ever encounter. But Zermatt has so much more to offer than that: countless hiking trails, a myriad of biking options, turquoise-colored lakes, and exceptional wildlife sightings. Our favorite part is the reward after the effort: wherever you go you’ll find some of the most delicious mountain food in the country. And yes, it is very much possible to escape the crowds… as long as you know where to go!
4. Val d’Anniviers
Val d’Anniviers, VS, Switzerland
Nestled amidst the Canton of Valais you’ll find one of our favorite hidden treasures, still steeped in its rich cultural tradition. The historic “Mayens” make up the chocolate box villages, while overlooking five 4’000 meter peaks: Dent-Blanche, Ober Gabelhorn, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn and Bishorn. Whether you do the scenic “Hike of the Planets”, visit the remarkable Moiry Dam, or just enjoy the “dolce vita” off the tourist map, you won’t be able to help but fall in love with this gem.
5. Berner Oberland
Berner Oberland, BE, Switzerland
Another classic, true. But we believe that if you had only one destination to see in Switzerland, this would be it – but only if you go to the places where the locals. Think a hidden valley of rolling hills, surrounded by peaks and flowers with an abundance of hiking. Or perhaps, your happiness will be found in one of the regions’ many mountain top lakes. And if you’re looking to mix culture and nature, you’ll also find your happiness here: visit one of the last local alphorn makers, enjoy an exclusive visit of a cow bell workshop, stop by a remote alpine hut to watch a cheesemaker make… cheese, or walk through Switzerland’s culture and tradition in the country’s biggest open air museum.
If you’re looking for a private itinerary around Switzerland made up only gems like these, contact us at email@example.com.