Sample some of the world's best wines as you circle around Mont Blanc from Switzerland to Italy to France. Visit vineyards nestled in the idyllic countryside in the foothills of the Alps, where ancient grape varieties still produce rare and high-quality wines. Taste local wines in the terraced hills of Lavaux, Switzerland, and toast to the breathtaking views from Pointe Helbronner in France with a glass of Cuvée des Guides — moments and wines to be remembered!
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Switzerland is all about quintessential Alpine scenery, perfectly preserved medieval towns, and international cities that run on a famously precise schedule. This central European nation is small but surprisingly diverse—shared borders with France, Italy, and Germany have produced distinct regional cultures. One unifying factor is the Alps: the mountain range takes up a whopping 65% of Switzerland’s total area, making this an ideal destination for active fun (and iconic views) all year.
When is the best time to visit?
Snowy Switzerland is a skier's paradise, and it's no surprise that January and February are peak tourist months. This goes for the Alps of course, but applies to the cities too—Bern, for example, looks great under a layer of winter white, and its Christmas markets are a must-visit (for the delectable Swiss chocolates alone).
The country is also idyllic in summer, as travelers trade ski lifts for hiking boots and hit the Alpine trails. You can enjoy great outdoor excursions during the slower spring and fall seasons, too—September is a particularly great “off” month to visit, as the summer crowds are gone yet the weather is still pleasant, and the scenery ever-wonderful.
Where should you go?
Certainly, you’ll want to visit Switzerland’s picture-perfect capital of Bern, whose medieval Old Town is home to the towering Zytglogge clock tower. And of course, you’ll want to experience the Alps. There are many hiking trails in these world-famous mountains, all signposted and easy to follow. Head to St. Moritz and Zermatt for some of the best skiing in Europe.
Zurich is a beautifully kept city, and this is where serious shoppers will want to spend time. It's also a nice stop on your way to or from Germany by train. See much of the Swiss countryside in a short time on the GoldenPass railway line from Montreux to Lucerne and takes about 5.5 hours (switching trains at Interlaken). It runs through three mountain passes with spectacular views of lakes, waterfalls, and Swiss chalets.
How many days do you need?
If you simply want to travel through the Swiss countryside and visit a few postcard-worthy cities and towns, you can do so in well under a week. To properly take advantage of Switzerland’s winter sports and excursions, two weeks is ideal. In this timeframe, you could embark on a number of great day-long or even multi-day hikes—or ski at multiple resorts—with time to relax at a few chalets along the way.
Take a classic Swiss hut-to-hut hike through the Bernese Oberland mountains on this week-long trek. You'll go from scenic valley to scenic valley as you traverse past the bases of some of the best-known mountains in the Alps, such as Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, making your way through waterfalls, cliff faces, and dairy pastures.
Hike from hut to hut under the snowy facades of some of the most famous peaks in the Swiss Alps with this five-day itinerary. As you hike past the iconic peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, you'll make your way through Alpine pastures, glacial lakes, and rushing waterfalls, with stops on mountaintop tramways and charming villages in between.
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