Don’t ski? Don’t worry! The pioneer of winter tourism, Switzerland has all sorts of winter activities for non-skiers. Here, Switzerland Tourism shares six experiences travellers should consider during their visit over the colder months.
From Zurich (home to Europe’s largest indoor Christmas market), to Basel (where fairy-tale dollars are used as legal tender in the markets), and Montreux (the gateway to Santa Claus’ Swiss abode atop Rochers-de-Naye), these seasonal markets never fail to impress. The intoxicating atmosphere and magical setting along with live entertainment, traditional food, art and craft, beverages and cheer create an incredibly nostalgic experience.
Stay in an Igloo
For a stay with a difference, visitors can experience life in an igloo – either by building it themselves or checking in to one that’s already built. The Swiss igloo experience usually comes with a range of activities including cheese fondue and gluhwein nights, snowshoe hiking and even spa time under the stars!
Dog sledding is a relaxing way to enjoy sliding across the snow with no balancing act involved, while taking in the spectacular alpine scenery. In Appenzell (east of Zurich), snow lovers can even earn to handle the team of sled dogs themselves and tour at their preferred pace!
For a bit or a lot more speed, adrenaline seekers can even learn to handcraft their very own “Rolls Royce” toboggan before rocketing down the slopes like they would in a go-cart race! One place where toboggans take over in winter is Col de la Croix, which connects Les Diablerets and Villars in the Vaud region. With the snow-covered paths, cyclists and motorists are forced to take a winter break and this is when the real fun begins!
Elite Sports Events
There are sports events and there are elite sports events that are popular among the well-heeled polite society. These include Snow Polo, White Turf (horseracing) and Cricket on Ice which take place every January and February respectively on the frozen lake in the winter resort of St Moritz. Established in 1985, the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz is the only high goal polo tournament played on snow; while White Turf has a history dating back to 1907. Cricket on Ice will be in its 32nd year in 2019. All three events not only see the gathering of sports lovers, but also a string of rich, royal and famous personalities.
Panoramic Rail Journeys
Journeying through the unmistakable Swiss scenery by train is an absolute must! And while the lush verdant meadows and fairytale-like villages are some definite highlights no visitor should miss, so is the equally captivating snow-capped landscape. The Glacier Express (from Zermatt to St Moritz) and Bernina Express (from Chur to Tirano) and the GoldenPass Line (from Interlaken to Montreux) are three panoramic rail journeys that take their passengers through some of the country’s most spectacular snowscapes.
Traditional Alpine Chalets
No Swiss winter experience is complete without experiencing the comforts and surrounds of a traditional Swiss alpine chalet. With many cosy winter hideaways on offer, guests are spoiled for choice with a number of ski-in ski-out, ski-in spa-out and cross-country hotels. It all depends on the location and type of snowcation planned!