10 Fun Things You Have To Try In The Swiss Alps

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The Alps are the biggest mountain range in Europe. The stretch over 750 miles across eight countries, including France, Italy, and Switzerland. The Swiss Alps are the beating heart of Switzerland. Images of soaring mountains, Alpine villages, and magical lakes are so intrinsically linked to Switzerland that most people assume the entire country is one big mountainous region (it isn’t).

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There are several regions within the Swiss Alps. Many tourists head straight to the Bernese Oberland, with the majestic Jungfrau mountain at its center, but there are other alpine regions, including Zermatt and the Matterhorn, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen.

If you have a vacation in the Swiss Alps to look forward to, the following 10 activities should whet your appetite. Book your Swiss cabin, sort out some flights, and then you can look forward to an amazing time in stunning surroundings!

1. Visit the Jungfraujoch

Take the Jungfrau railway right up to the top of the Jungfrau mountain. This is the highest altitude railway anywhere in Europe, with the final station – Eigergletscher – sitting at 3,454 m. The train passes through a seven km tunnel dug out of the mountain. It stops en route so passengers can view the Aletsch glacier. When you step out of the train at the top, you are greeted by a glittering world of ice and snow. The Aletsch glacier spreads out below the viewing platforms. You can also explore the Ice Palace. The easiest way to make this trip is via a tour, which will book the various tickets on your behalf – all you have to do is show up at the allotted time and place.

2. Go Skiing

You can’t visit the Swiss Alps without going skiing! In winter, you have your pick of resorts. The most popular include Zermatt, St. Moritz, Jungfrau, Saas-Fee, and Davos-Klosters. Pick the resort that suits your budget and book some ski lessons.  You can have private lessons if you want some 1:1 tuition from a professional ski instructor, or you can join a group session. There are lessons available for adults and children of all abilities, from complete novices to intermediate skiers. If skiing doesn’t float your boat, try snowboarding instead. Equipment can be hired, so you don’t need to invest in skis before you travel.

3. Drive through the Furka Pass

The Furka Pass is a stunning road winding through the Alps. You can begin your trip at St. Moritz and follow the pass all the way to the Rhone Glacier. Some sections of the road are quite narrow at times, so be careful. You will also be distracted by the stunning views, so try to keep your eyes on the road during tricky sections. The road snakes through the mountains and is very steep at times, but there are numerous stopping places for photo opportunities. Hop out of your car, take some photos, and listen to the cow bells jingling in the distance. Pay close attention to cyclists and motorcyclists, as this route is very popular with both.

4. Visit the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Catch the mountain railway from Zermatt to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. The cableway takes you up to an altitude of 3,882 m. At the top, there is a mountain viewing platform with 360-degree views across the Alps. Your ticket includes admission to the Glacier Palace, an amazing place carved out beneath the glacier. You can walk through ice tunnels, view ice sculptures, and try the ice slide. There is even a glacier restaurant serving authentic Swiss food. If you want to prolong your experience, book a room in the mountaineer’s hostel. Adrenaline junkies can try snow tubing too.

5. Hike to Lauterbrunnen Valley Trummelbach Falls

The Lauterbrunnen Waterfalls are spectacular day and night. Begin your trek in Lauterbrunnen, which is scenic and well worth a visit. Start walking from the far end of town and keep going. You’ll pass traditional Alpine homes, farms, and grazing animals. The hike is flat and relatively easy, even on a hot day. When you reach the falls, you can cool down in the cave. There is even a restaurant nearby if you need some refreshments.

6. Eat Fondue

Fondue is a classic Swiss dish. OK, so it’s not terribly healthy, but you can’t say no to melted cheese! Look for a restaurant that serves traditional fondue pots. Dip your bread (or meat and vegetables) into a communal pot of melted cheese. Make sure you use the long-stemmed forks, so you don’t burn your fingers.

7. Go Llama Trekking

Llamas are not usually associated with the Swiss Alps, but these sure-footed creatures are just as nimble as mountain goats. There are companies that offer llama hiking treks, ranging from half-day excursions to treks lasting several days. You get to hike while a llama carries your gear. What’s not to like about that?

8. Test Your Nerve on the Trift Bridge

The Trift Bridge is an amazing suspension bridge stretching over the Trift glacier. The original bridge was constructed to allow workers to travel between the nearby hydroelectric plant and a power plant. The original bridge was replaced by a sturdier option and is now open to the public. It’s 560 feet long and hangs 300 feet above the valley floor. The bridge looks horrifically flimsy but is constructed from sturdy steel cables. However, it’s not suitable for anyone with vertigo!

9. Cross the Alps on the Bernina Express

There are many ways to cross the Alps, but the Bernina Express railway is one of the most scenic. The Bernina Express runs from Chur to Tirano in Italy. You can use it to travel between Davos and St. Moritz. It is the highest railway in the Alps, ascending to 2,253 m above sea level, and at times, the train passes by sparkling glaciers in the Bernina Pass. If you want to see some spectacular views, including Lake Como and the Valtellina Valley, without having to negotiate hairpin bends in a car, this is the way to do it. The journey takes a little over three hours, so you can book a return ticket, have lunch in Italy, and head back in the afternoon.

10. Visit the Sasso San Gottardo Museum

If you want a little bit more insight into Switzerland as a nation, make a trip to the Sasso San Gottardo Museum in Airolo. This old Gotthard mountain military fortress and museum offers a fascinating glimpse of how Switzerland planned the defense of the region during WWII. The bunker and tunnels inside the mountain are very cold, so you’ll need to wear warm clothes, even in summer. There is a panoramic terrace with some spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Head to the Gotthard pass and catch the funicular railway up to the fortress museum. Explore the fortress and then visit the museum. English descriptions are available in every room. Visit the museum in the summer, as it is closed in winter.

There are many more attractions and things to do in the Swiss Alps, although your activities will very much depend on when you decide to visit. Take your time planning an itinerary and look for discounted tickets for tours, museums, and other paid-for attractions.

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