Switzerland is well known as a land of cheese and chocolate, and often conjures up an array of cliched images, from yodelling goatherds to cows with large cowbells. However, In Switzerland adventure travel will reveal some of Europe’s greatest vistas. Outdoor activities in Switzerland are understandable dominated by Alpine adventures. Switzerland is the best place for winter sports in ... +Switzerland is well known as a land of cheese and chocolate, and often conjures up an array of cliched images, from yodelling goatherds to cows with large cowbells. However, In Switzerland adventure travel will reveal some of Europe’s greatest vistas. Outdoor activities in Switzerland are understandable dominated by Alpine adventures. Switzerland is the best place for winter sports in the world. Why? Because in the 19th century, almost 150 years ago, this is where they were invented!
It covers an area roughly the size of Wales, is landlocked in the Alps, and surrounded by France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy. This goes some way to explain the country’s four linguistic regions German, French (called Suisse Romande), Italian and Romansh. Until national reconciliation in 1848, Switzerland was the most consistently turbulent, war-torn area of Europe.
Although two centuries of tourism have left their mark, and the Swiss are content to abide by a quaint stereotype. To explore Switzerland requires patience and time, but is infinitely more rewarding than accepting the chocolate-box, alpine stereotypes.
Across Switzerland adventure travel journeys take you through a land divided into three geographical areas: the Jura Mountains, Mittelland (Middle Land) and the Alps. During the Ice Age, the land was grafted by glaciations blessing Switzerland with many beautiful lakes, which together with the mountains, form spectacular scenery. The mountains are the nation’s heart and soul - and focal point for outdoor activities in Switzerland.
Stretching from Slovenia in the east to France in the west, they form one of the world’s largest collections of snow-capped peaks. The Swiss Alps represent roughly 20 per cent of the entire range and have been carefully protected and developed to support mountaineering, hiking, skiing and other adventure sports.
The weather is temperate but varies with altitude. Switzerland boasts cool to warm humid summers with occasional showers and cold, snowy winters. This is the perfect climate for those seeking an adventure with stunning views and unrivalled scenery, at any time of year.
Travellers are always spoiled for choice when visiting Switzerland. Zurich is hard to beat for sightseeing, shopping and nightlife; it is easy to discover on foot and the Old Town (Altstadt) is perfect for exploratory wonderings. Taste the world’s finest chocolates at Sprungli in Paradeplatz, but don’t forget to also indulge in a cheese tasting exercise. Some cheese dairies are open to visitors, as with Appenzeller Schaukaserei in Stein and La Maison du Gruyere, at Pringy.
If a city break doesn’t appeal, maybe just let your Switzerland adventure travel journey take you to Appenzellerland, where you’ll find the picture perfect, postcard Swiss photo opportunity. In this beautiful canton you will find locals dressed in traditional costume, meadows of wild flowers, cows with giant cowbells, and you may even hear yodelling! In winter months outdoor activities in Switzerland are dominated by skiing and snowboarding, either head to Zermatt for the Matterhorn or Bernese Oberland and its magnificent scenery.
The classic Swiss sport is Hornussen, where one person launches a puck (hornuss) in the air by hitting it along a curved track with a long cane; the other players then try to knock it aside with large wooden bats before it hits the ground. Sledging is the oldest of the outdoor activities in Switzerland and is still one of the most popular with Swiss families.
Grindelwald has a sledge run 15km long. Variations on traditional sledging include snowtubing, where oversized inner tubes are used, and snow rafting, where a rubber boat slides down a prepared piste. Snowshoeing has become a popular sport, with many utilising snowshoes to participate in some great backcountry hikes! -