Travel Guide to Swiss Alps

Best things to do and see in Swiss Alps

Swiss Alps: Why go

Skiers and snowboarders are in heaven here: stunning mountainous scenery, excellent schools and superb runs for all abilities. The Triftji mogul in Zermatt is regarded as one of the world’s toughest and longest runs, while the famous Gravity Park for snowboarders includes a 200m super pipe. You can ski year-round on the Theodul Glacier. Base yourself at the spectacular Omnia mountain hotel and make your off-slopes holiday as memorable as the snowsports. Other famous slopes include Glacier 3000 at Les Diablerets near Gstaad - you can ski here from October to May.

Not a fan of skiing? Try ice skating, cross-country skiing or show-shoeing (free at Whitepod); go sledging with husky dogs (especially lovely at night with flares to light the way). Or spend a night sleeping inside a room made of ice at Iglu-Dorf Zermatt - the hotel is rebuilt annually but always has breathtaking views of the Matterhorn.

Come in summer for spectacular Alpine hiking, not least because of the efficient Swiss transport (post buses, cable cars) to help you with the climbs, and of course the glorious views when you get there! Even though you've seen it pictured a thousand times, the Matterhorn's majestic splendour is breathtaking in reality, and it's well worth making the ascent to one of its summits - on foot, by cable car (to Klein Matterhorn - at 3,883m the highest transport system in Europe!) or even by train (to Gornergrat at just over 3,000m).

Mountain biking in summer is also a big draw - strap your bike to the side of a cable car, then rattle back down marked trails. At The Cambrian in Adelboden, there's over 80km of signposted MTB trails - you can even bike down the FIS World Cup course, or have family fun on scooters!

But it's not just about the great outdoors. Glitzy Gstaad has one of Switzerland's most popular and expensive shopping streets (a perfect place to treat yourself to a Swiss watch?), while pretty Zermatt is a good place to stock up on kitsch souvenirs (t-shirts with Matterhorn graphics, cuckoo clocks, perhaps suspenders with an Edelweiss motif...).

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