Switzerland is notorious around the globe for its world-class ski resorts and has thus been a favorite winter destination for decades and decades. Non-skiiers also find their joy with our cozy chalet villages, jaw-dropping vistas over the snow-capped mountain peaks, romantic horse carriage rides through the winter wonderland… and did we mention the exquisite hot chocolate and fondue at pretty much any time of the day?
For all of these reasons, we were convinced when we started Chantal & Max, that we would be busiest in the winter. To our surprise, it turns out that many travellers are more and more leaving behind the Mediterranean and turning to Switzerland for their once-in-a-lifetime summer adventures. Are you thinking of doing the same? Here are 10 ideas to inspire you or let’s go straight to the planning.
You know how the saying “go take a hike” has a negative meaning to it? Well, in Switzerland it’s anything but that! With over 66’000 km (41’135 miles) of marked trails, Switzerland is a truly exceptional hiking paradise. We’ve been lucky to have travelled to many places around the world, but never have we come across the impressive diversity of landscapes and hiking possibilities that the Swiss outdoors offer for all levels, at all altitudes. You could do a hike every day for a month, and never see the same landscapes twice.
And if you want to admire the views, but you’re not up for a hike, just enjoy our efficient cable car system which will take you up to pretty much any peak.
Not an avid hiker? No problem! How about mountain biking? Paragliding? Sailing? Canyoning? Tobogganing? Speleology? Summer skiing? Zip-lining? E-biking? Mountain scooters? Wild-life spotting? Off-roading through the alps? Surely we can manage to find something for you, no matter the degree of adventure you’re looking for!
Sure, we don’t have the Mediterranean or the ocean on our door step. But instead, we have no less than 7’000 lakes around the country to make up for that… and they don’t contain any jellyfish or scary creatures! J In the summer time, you’ll find all the locals by the lake, taking a dip, fishing, cruising on their boats, or just enjoying their tranquility aboard their paddle board. You’ll also find a lake in close proximity to most alpine destinations… There’s nothing quite like taking a hike in the alps, and then jumping into the lake to cool off afterwards!
Often, Switzerland is synonymous with cheese… and to be fair, our cheese is pretty darn good. Whether you have a full on tasting of it, enjoy it as a fondue or perhaps a raclette, it tends to be a part of most travelers’ journeys. But many of our travelers ask us to meet the magical hands behind it all – they want to meet the cheese-makers themselves, and see how it’s all done behind the scenes.
In the summer, many farmer families move from their home up to their alpine farms set in the pastures with their cows to make cheese! The cheese-making period is typically from June to around August, and is usually carried out in the early morning. Don’t miss the chance of visiting one of our local cheese-making families by enjoying a custom private day tour with Max! Click here for a glimpse of what’s to come.
Did you know that Switzerland is home to its very own wine? Don’t worry if you didn’t, it’s still a secret many people discover when they arrive, as only 2% is exported worldwide. Seems like we like to keep our wine to ourselves! The summer is an excellent time of the year to meet our local wine-makers, visit their wineries, see the growing grapes, and enjoy the views too. While you’ll find vineyards in many places around the country, the unmissable region is really the UNESCO-protected Lavaux wine country, facing Lake Geneva and the French Alps. Even if you’re not a fan of wine, you’ll love spending time here taking one too many pictures, wandering through the tiny streets, and enjoying the views that are classified amongst the most beautiful in the world.
CITIES, TOWNS & VILLAGES
Obviously, nature is a big part of Switzerland, and one that will surely put it high on the bucket list in a post-covid travel world, as people look to escape the hustle and bustle. But if nature is not particularly your thing, don’t look past our beautifully-preserved historic cities and romantic villages, each boasting their own style, history and architecture. They’re home to an impressive amount of museums and expos, depending on your interests. While you can visit them at pretty much anytime of the year, we do really feel like they truly come to life in the summer. Enjoy an “apéro” on the terraces by the river or the lake, taste our local specialties on our rooftops, visit our markets boasting local crafts and treats, or just get lost wandering through the picturesque cobbled streets!
If you like to drive and love a good scenic route, one of the most remarkable things you can experience in Switzerland is a tour through our mountain road passes. Each of our road passes exudes its own charm and unique scenery. You can even make a day trip out of it aboard your very own old-timer car, as you gain 3’500m in altitude and cruise through the Furka, thee Grimsel and the Susten (to name a few). Most alpine passes are only open in the summer, so this is your time to shine and enjoy the most unbelievable roadtrip! But do check the conditions first… they have been known to be subject to snow fall even in the summer! For a list of our favorite scenic routes in Switzerland, click here.
BACK TO THE ROOTS
As we increasingly yearn to go back to the roots in an all too digitalized world, we believe that sometimes, it’s the simplest of experiences that can be the most life-changing. And the warm weather of the summer months is the perfect time for this much-needed deconnection. So how about you enjoy a camping experience in the great outdoors, while being fully pampered and taken care of by Max? Or perhaps let’s set up a campfire lost in the pastures to make a raclette, grill your favourite meats or roast some marshmallows? Or maybe, just maybe, we can prepare fondue amidst the vineyards, just for you and your loved ones? Join us as we take you back to the roots!
We often get questions about Switzerland’s climate, and we get it – you do want to make sure you get to enjoy the warm weather and sun in the summer! That’s the great thing about Switzerland: we tend to have beautiful summer seasons with warm temperatures just like many of our European neighbors. But the cherry on the cake is that when occasionally it gets too warm, you can easily escape the heat by going up to the alps. Last year we even had a family who enjoyed a dip in the lake in the morning, and then had fun in the snow in the afternoon! So you can pretty much have your cake and eat it too.
BALLENBERG OPEN AIR MUSEUM
One of our favorite activities for those truly interested in Switzerland traditions and culture is the Ballenberg Open Air Museum, open only from May to November. It is an extensive exhibition, in the form of a large “park” that you can walk through, of over 100 residential and agricultural historic buildings from all over Switzerland. While some of these architectural marvels are just for show, others are home to traditional handicrafts that are being kept alive here: basket-weaving, spinning, carving, forging, etc… The museum is also home to indigenous plants and crops that are cultivated here, as well as over 250 native livestock species. Max and I went to visit the museum a year ago, and fell in love with the place – a “must” for families and couples alike! But make sure you have enough time ahead of you to make the most of it.
Because your holidays are too precious not to be extraordinary, we at Chantal & Max Switzerland Travel Design save you the time and stress of internet research, and seamlessly connect you to the heart of Switzerland with our bespoke private tours, unbiased local insight and uniquely-crafted experiences. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here for your custom-designed luxury vacation to Switzerland that you will never forget!