The beautiful Swiss winter is abounding: spectacular views, wonderful walks, blissful breaks, and fresh mountain air. Switzerland is an excellent winter destination. Apart from the glamorous snow sports, the cities sparkle with ice rinks and Christmas markets, jaw dropping vistas, and immaculate pistes. Embrace the cold weather with memorable adventures that will stay in your mind for a lifetime. For starters, the country is world-famous for skiing and enthusiasts can enjoy a full day skiing across the snowy mountains. Many of the ski destinations have restaurants that serve tasty meals and hot chocolate! But there is more to Switzerland than the high peak Alps.
Here are five of the best winter snow experiences in Switzerland.
1. Glacier skiing
Glacier skiing in Switzerland is one of the best ways to beat the post season blues. It is fun and a great option for a family getaway. Excellent destinations include:
Although it is located near Lucerne and Zurich, Engelberg is not very popular. However, it is fantastic in its own right, offering excellent facilities and sports opportunities. Here, you will get to take the first rotating gondola in the world on to the Titlis glacier, from which you can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the central Alps on your way to the top of the 3028m high Klein Titlis. Once you reach here, you can ski down the gorgeous slopes into the underlying valley or board the Ice Flyer chairlift.
If you are looking for excellent snow conditions and unparalleled views of the mountains, then you will love skiing on the Theodul Glacier. Zermatt offers 36 sq. kilometers of snowfield with beautiful snow, a wide range of cable cars and ski lifts, and 21 kilometers of secured pistes. The glacier runs are wide and well-maintained, and are particularly useful for beginner and novice skiers.
2. Mountain Music Festivals
Switzerland is a paradise of quirky and colorful Swiss festivals. The annual festivals offer a spectacular avenue to interact with people with the same interests of performing arts, film, and music. Events include theatre, opera, classical music, jazz, and rock. The top Swiss festivals this winter include:
International Film and Television Festival, Geneva
This festival is organized in Geneva and is internationally renowned for paying tribute to some of the most innovative works made for cinema or television. It also includes a film market, film previews, and a Children’s Day. Events are held in 6 days at Cinéma Tout Ecran, Maison des Arts du Gruetli.
Zibelemärit onion festival, Bern
The Zibelemärit onion festival is a traditional folk event that draws farmers from the neighboring areas into the town of Bern. It starts at around 5am and gathers up to 50tons of onions woven artistically into braids. Foods, traditional pottery, and mulled wine (glühwein) is sold at the stalls as youngsters daub confetti into the streets.
Fête de L’Escalade, Geneva
Fête de L’Escalade is arguably the most celebrated event in Geneva. It memorializes the Duke of Savoy’s failed attempt to seize the city by a surprise attack on the night of 11-12 December, 1602. The celebrations involve locals dressing up in costumes and parading the streets with drums and torchlights. Folk music, country markets, and brigades on horseback combine with torch-lit marches, fife-&-drum parads, and Rabelaisian banquets.
Enjoy the extensive landscape and wonder through glistening glaciers in the dreamy winter scenery at Zermatt, which offers a variety of snowshoe trails for authentic, natural experiences. Your journey will take you to the Gornergrat Bahn railway-line, and then down to Rotenboden, where there’s plenty of sunshine, sparkling snow, and a spectacular mountain view. Zermat is renowned for its sophisticated downhill skiing with more than 360km of piste.
It has excellent facilities for transporting skiers during winter, including an underground funicular railway, a vast overland railway line, gondolas, and cable cars. You can even ski to and fro Italy using interconnecting lifts and pistes. Once you are done with the downhill skiing, you can proceed to enjoy some winter hking trails and cross country skiing. Additionally, there are a number of designated snowshoe routes with maps and information boards for hikers. These trails have pink hole marks after every 100m to make travelling easier.
4. Dog sledding
Winter is also an excellent time to experience the charm of the Swiss mountains on a dog sled across Grisons, Eastern, Bernese Oberland, Engadin, or Valais. A dog sled tour is one of the most precious outdoor experiences in Switzerland. Discover the winter on a memorable tour with huskies on one of the several professional providers in the country. The best part is that you don’t need any special skills or training: just the dogs, a bit of exercise, and your love of nature.
If you can walk, then most of the time, you can travel by dog sled. One noteworthy dog sled trip in Switzerland is Muotathal. The tour begins in the Husky Lodge, where the guide will welcome and prepare you for your trip before helping harness the sled dogs to the sled runners. Now you are ready for the round trip with your very own harnessed team. Once you get back, you can feed the huskies and accompany them back to their sled dog shelter.
5. Thermal bath in Switzerland’s natural springs
Your stay in Switzerland is not complete without some fun in the Swiss countryside. A steam bath can be pleasantly rejuvenating during the winter season, and the best way to enjoy this is at any of the country’s natural springs, for example the Kaltbad mineral spring in central Switzerland. This place also offers brilliant hiking and walking trails, another great pass-time during winter, or you can ride on the oldest railway service in the country – The Rigi Railways. There are several thermal baths and spas in Switzerland, most of which offer a nice winter experience. Majority of these establishments also have massage facilities and other services. The pools in many of these locations are meticulously designed and beautiful to look at, where you can have a nice swim after some exercise.