Switzerland’s nature and heritage remains largely pristine and un-touched, and the opportunities to discover, explore and enjoy it are as vast and varied as the landscapes themselves.
In celebration of Switzerland Tourism’s 100th anniversary this year, Switzerland is highlighting its unique natural assets and inviting travellers and visitors to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and get ‘Back to Nature’.
On myswitzerland.com, you’ll find more than 700 experiences and suggestions on how to get back to nature, all of which are searchable via categories such as interests, regions and seasons, so you can create your own bespoke itinerary.
But to get you started, we’ve rounded up the top five must-do nature experiences in Switzerland.
1. Watch the wildlife
Animal lovers will be thrilled to know they can experience a range of encounters with Switzerland’s unique wildlife. From walking with goats, to spotting and photographing the ibex, there are more than 100 day tours, ranging from one to seven hours, where professional guides will take you to some of the best wildlife hot spots and beautiful protected conservation areas. You’ll get to see and learn about the behaviours of the likes of ibexes, chamois, vultures, beavers, marmots, and many other species in their natural habitat, and best of all, all tours are committed to the protection of the wildlife and environment.
2. Stay in an authentic Alpine Hut
For complete nature immersion, stay a night (or more!) at one of the many Alpine Huts dotted through the country side, in the forest, and on the mountains. The traditional huts are privately owned, used for generations as summer residences by local cheese makers or shepherds and their animals. While some huts have been luxuriously refurbished, most remain in their original form without all the mod-cons, thus encouraging visitors to truly detach from their tech-heavy, every-day modern life and reconnect with each other and their natural surrounds. This truly unique experience has never before been available to the public until now.
3. Bliss out in spa and wellness
Whether you’re into active relaxation, a health-boosting physical and mental detox, or a spot of indulgent pampering, Switzerland offers something for everyone with a range of incredible wellness destinations. Leukerbad is the largest spa resort in the Alps where more than four million litres of mineral-rich thermal water up to 51 degrees Celsius gush forth from 65 springs into its thermal pools, allowing you to reap its healing benefits. If getting away from it all is what you’re after, look no further than wellness resort Gstaad where you can enjoy yoga and meditation against a backdrop of pristine natural beauty to your heart’s content.
4. Hike though national parks
Besides the stunning natural landscapes, Switzerland’s parks stand out with their living culture and the people who want to protect their valuable heritage. The diversity of the parks is incredible, with a wide range of forests, waterways, wetlands and grasslands, canyons, valleys, rich plant- and wild-life, and even UNESCO World Heritage sites, each park is a totally different and unique experience in itself. The best way to explore these natural gems is on foot and there is an array of hiking trails and tours to suit all ages and fitness levels, as well as interests. Discover the pre-historic limestone cave steeped in legend in Toggenburg, climb the Barrhorn in Valais, stroll across the pretty stone bridge over a running river through the Gorge de l’Areuse, and marvel at the view from the ridge trail from Monte Lema to Monte Tamaro.
5. Taste nature’s food
With its pristine nature, rolling green hills, lush forests and un-spoilt waters, it should come as no surprise that Switzerland’s local produce is as fresh and wholesome as they come. From local farmers markets to internationally renowned Michellin-starred restaurants headed up by some of the world’s top Chefs, foodies will be spoilt for choice in their Swiss gastronomy pursuits. For something different yet authentic, try a Swiss Tavolata – be hosted in the home of a female farmer or rural woman who will prepare a traditional Swiss cuisine for you, using local products from the farm or surrounding region. Or get fancy at Restaurant Focus at Park Hotel Vitznau. At the helm is Gault-Millau Chef of the Year 2016 Nenad Mlinarevic, who takes great pride in sourcing and using local Swiss ingredients in a nature-focused menu featuring organic vegetables, super-fresh fish and sustainably farmed meat, served in an exquisitely designed setting inspired inspired by water, nature and the views across the lake towards the mountains of Central Switzerland.