Summer is truly on its way and what better time to start thinking about your alpine break? The mountains offer an abundance of activities during the summer months to keep you and the family active and entertained throughout your stay. I am taking a look at the Swiss Alps to showcase some must-do’s for your Swiss mountain holiday so that you can fully enjoy what the mountains in the summer have to offer.
The Golden Pass – Scenic Train Journey
From Lake Lucerne through to Lake Geneva, the Golden Pass train travels through some of Switzerland’s most beautiful and iconic places including Lake Brienz, Interlaken, Zweisimmen, Gstaad and Montreaux. The line travels a total distance of 191km taking approximately 5 ½ hours. It is a beautifully scenic route all year round with the fresh green and flora spring colours along the valleys, all the way through the summer months until the autumnal trees warm the fall, and then developing into the beautifully snowy landscape during the winter months.
This unforgettable journey will take you through 6 Swiss Cantons, 2 language regions and you bypass 8 lakes from the comfort of the carriage seat. For the keen foodies, make sure you take the cheese and chocolate train along the way! You can also plan to visit some of the top attractions including spotting marmots at Rochers-de-Naye, the James Bond revolving restaurant at the Schilthorn, the famous Jungfraujoch and much more – it really is not one to be missed.
The Glacier Express – Scenic Train Journey
Sit back and relax on the Glacier Express which journeys between Zermatt and St Moritz or Davos (in the summer only), passing through 3 Swiss Cantons, 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges within approximately 8 hours. You won’t need any extra on-board entertainment for this journey as the scenery is spectacular with incredible rock formations, fast-flowing streams, charming villages and many snowy mountains; large panoramic side windows and skylights mean you don’t miss anything! The leg shown in the picture between Sedrun and Andermatt is still covered in snow in Spring.
You can make a special reservation in advance to enjoy three-course luxury dining on-board with traditional dishes and culinary specialities served with local mountain wines and mountain scenery on the side. Something to get your taste-buds tingling…
Climb the Matterhorn
There is nothing like a good summer hike in the Swiss mountains amongst the fresh alpine air, beautifully colourful flowers and of course the panoramic scenery. However, to say you have climbed the Matterhorn would take this to a totally different level – it is not for the faint hearted.
There are 4 routes up, all of which take strength, endurance and technique. You need to be physically and mentally fit to tackle the complicated ascent and be fully equipped with crampons, ropes, helmets and a guide. The summit day is said to take 9-12 hours but it won’t be difficult to believe that the view is worth the struggle… well, maybe. The Matterhorn, one of the most iconic peaks in Europe, brand face of Toblerone chocolate and the most photographed mountain in the world – if you’re up for the challenge, it’s a good one for the bucket list!
Show Jumping in Verbier
A renowned gathering for the best of the best Swiss and European horse-riders, this show-jumping event in Verbier unites specialists and novices to compete in one of Switzerland most prestigious resorts. This summer the event takes place for 10 days from 16th August 2018.
Golf in Crans Montana
The Crans Montana Golf Club is home to the OMEGA European Masters (see Lauren’s blog for more details) and is one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. With a total of four courses, the beautifully kept grounds are surrounded by picturesque mountains of the Crans Montana Plateau overlooking the Rhone Valley. The two most famous courses are 18-hole, 72 par, Parcours de Golf Severiano Ballesteros (often referred to as the most beautiful course in the world) and the 9-hole Jack Nicklaus for view stretching over the Valais Alps.
The course lends itself well to the more advanced golfer for the challenges and technical demands. There is also an Indoor Golf Academy featuring a swing-analysis computer and launch monitors. Whether you want to take a swing on the driving range or you want up your experience to a new level, take a trip to the green paradise – its more than par!
Cow Fighting, Le Chable (Verbier)
This may not sit so comfortably with you on the outset, it didn’t with me, but since doing my research I have learnt that the Heren cows instinctively fight to determine the herd hierarchy. It happens up in the mountain pastures during the summer, as well as at organised events.
The normal cow fighting etiquette consists of kicking, pushing and head-butting and in the event of a cow fight, each cow is matched by weight and age. The Heren’s wrestle until they have proven the strongest cow and will be “crowned” Queen. Injuries are very rare and the competition through to the finale is broadcasted live on a Swiss national television.
Ropes will be set to mark the spectators area and keep you safe whilst you can track each cow with a number and see if you are in with a winning bet. You can go and watch cow fighting events all over Switzerland and catch the early events in Le Chable just down from Verbier on 29th April 2018. Go ahead and experience one of Switzerland’s most cultural events – and it wouldn’t be totally Swiss without a large spread of local cheese and wines!
Does summer in the Swiss Alps sound good to you? Plan your trip to find the true beauty in Switzerland during the summer and make your list of your top activities! We would love to hear from you and discuss the best places for you to stay and make the most out of the mountains. Send us an email or give us a call on +44 01202 203659 and one of our Alps In Luxury team members will happily assist.