Switzerland Travel Guide
It is the country that fashioned tourism, so it's no surprise that Switzerland caters to visitors all year round. In spring and summer it offers lakeside chalets, mountain trails and spa resorts. In the sunny southern region of Ticino, near the Italian border, visitors will find palm-fringed Riviera-style resorts offering a variety of water sports. Those keen on hiking and mountaineering will find over 31,000 miles (50,000km) of mountain and forest trails throughout the country.
In November the country's ski resorts begin opening, and visitors pour in throughout the Christmas season and the crowds do not abate until the snow begins to melt with the onset of spring. With the highest pistes in Europe, Switzerland's ski runs offer reliable snow and breathtaking views. Most resorts also have plenty to do for those not so keen on skiing, making Switzerland the perfect destination for a winter fantasy of log fires, fondues and glistening snow.
Switzerland's cities are pristine and beautifully laid out with famous Swiss precision. Zurich is widely regarded as the intellectual and artistic centre of the country, sporting incredible architecture and more than a thousand fountains, with many museums and galleries to boot. Geneva is the principal city for the international community, and is home to hundreds of world organisations. Its setting on the shores of Lake Geneva gives it a romantic atmosphere, and the city has an exciting, if rather expensive, nightlife.
Address: Am Münsterhofplatz Zurich
Of the church spires that characterise Zurich's skyline, the
thin blue spire of Fraumünster is the most graceful. Overlooking
the historic old square of Münsterhof, the former pig market, the
church was founded in 853 and its convent inhabited by German
noblewomen until the 13th century.
Important architectural features include the Romanesque choir and the enormous elaborate organ, but its chief attractions are the five beautiful stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall in 1970.
Swiss National Museum
Address: Museumstrausse 2 Zurich
A fascinating exploration of Swiss national history, the Swiss
National Museum has an impressive and varied collection of ancient
artefacts, providing visitors with a richer understanding of Swiss
life and consciousness through the centuries. Housed in an
exquisite castle-like building, with a distinctive tower, the
permanent collection contains a comprehensive anthology of
artefacts from the Stone Age to modern times.
First stop is the archaeology exhibit where tools and articles dating back to before 800BC are on display. Highlights at the museum include the Celestial globe of Jost Bürg (1594), a groundbreaking symbol of European thought, religious reliquaries from the 13th to 16th centuries and ancient wheels, considered to be among the earliest ever found. Another major drawcard is the Armoury, where historic Swiss weaponry used in combat between 800 and 1800BC can be found. Expect to see crossbows, swords and suits of armour.
Address: Bernese Oberland
Interlaken, meaning 'between the lakes', is the tourist capital
of the Bernese Oberland. As a popular holiday spot it is superbly
situated between the lakes of Thun and Brienz, offering a variety
of water-based activities during summer, and access to an endless
amount of winter sports in the surrounding mountains of the Bernese
Alps and its valleys.
Linked to numerous holiday resorts and villages by a series of mountain railways and cablecars, Interlaken has a myriad of slopes and trails in many different areas offering skiing, snowboarding and hiking, as well as connecting to the famous cog railway leading to the plateau of the Jungfrau Mountain. During winter, skiers can take advantage of the town's low prices, avoiding the in-season costs of higher altitude ski resorts.
With its many fine hotels, nightlife and dining opportunities, numerous excursion possibilities and first class transport connections, Interlaken is an ideal all-round holiday destination for both winter and summer, for skiers and non-skiers alike.
An excellent day trip from Zurich and close to the town of
Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) is the largest and most
powerful waterfall in Europe, impressive not so much for its height
of 75ft (23m), but more for the volume of water thundering over its
broad breadth. This natural wonder is especially remarkable during
spring, when the snowmelt adds to its volume. On the hill above the
falls is a medieval castle, Schloss Laufen, housing a restaurant,
shops and a hostel.
Rainbow-coloured mists rising from the forest and encircling the castle create an enchanting atmosphere. In summer one of the highlights of a visit to the falls is a boat trip across the white-water of the cataracts to the Centre Rock, with a short climb up some stairs to the top for an exhilarating view of the rushing water. Breathtaking views can also be enjoyed from three different lookout platforms along a path leading from the castle. The Känzeli Lookout, with a protruding platform at the base of the falls, is the most spectacular. The Rhine Falls is host to the fantastic fireworks display held on Swiss National Day (1 August) that attracts thousands of spectators every year.
Address: Swiss Alps
Claiming to occupy the sunniest plateau in the Swiss Alps, the
twin villages of Crans and Montana are perched 4920 feet (1,500m)
above the Rhone Valley. Crans-Montana provides the best of both a
mountain village and modern Swiss ski resort, offering an Alpine
shopping paradise, and easy access to nearby attractions like the
museums of Sierra, the underground lake near St-Léonard, and the
glacier at Plaine Morte.
The resort has a glitzy reputation and enjoys a fashionable nightlife. Crans-Montana offers many summer activities, including water skiing, swimming, mountain climbing, hiking, and a championship golf course.
Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)
The largest lake in central Europe that is shared by both
Switzerland and France, Lake Geneva (Lac Léman to its
French-speaking inhabitants) has for decades drawn visitors to its
shores. Attracted by the alpine panorama, quaint wooden chalet
villages, vineyard-covered slopes and sailboats skimming across the
blue waters, many famous writers, musical composers, actors and
poets came to settle and the area has become something of an
inspiration to the arts.
Situated in the westernmost district of Vaud, the region contains a diversity of attractions and activities, from wine-growing villages and mountain ski resorts, picturesque castles, and magnificent cathedrals, to low-key lakeside resorts, boat cruises, and cosy fireside pots of fondue. Sophisticated shopping and cultural life can be found in the cities of Geneva and Lausanne, with sweeping views across the sparkling lake to the Alps and the distinctive pinnacle of Mont Blanc. Among the vineyards and affluent villas clinging to the slopes lie the lakeside towns of Vevey and Montreux, the pearls of the Swiss Riviera.
Scenic winding roads stretch along the shores, and train trips offers outstanding views, while below steamers crisscross the waters of Lake Geneva, offering a variety of ways to experience the splendour of its location.
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the energetic city of
Lausanne is built above the lake on a sequence of tiers connected
by a small metro. The upper or Old Town contains the grand Gothic
cathedral, Notre-Dame; its turreted towers a well-known symbol of
the city. The lower town on the lakeshore was once the small
fishing village of Ouchy and is now the prime waterfront area with
outdoor dining and cafés, promenades and sporting activities.
The gardens around the Quay d'Ouchy are home to the city's foremost attraction, the Olympic Museum, containing a wealth of sporting memories and a collection of unique objects pertaining to the Olympic Games from its beginning until the present. Lausanne relishes its importance as the Olympic World Capital and headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.
Château de Chillon
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21 Geneva
One of the best-maintained medieval castles in Europe, the
13th-century Château de Chillon is the most visited historical
building in Switzerland. With its stunning lakeside location near
the chic town of Montreux, jutting out into the water and framed by
mountains, it is one of the most photographed castles in Europe. An
important fortress in the Middle Ages, it was positioned to control
the narrow passage between mountains and lake, protecting the major
It was also the favourite summer residence of the Counts of Savoy; while later, it served as a state prison. Visitors can tour the dungeons where the castle's most famous prisoner was chained for four years, the priest François Bonivard, a supporter of the Reformation. The fortress became famous when Lord Byron wrote about Bonivard's fate in an inspired poem entitled . Besides the dungeons, visitors can wander round the towers and courtyards, discover narrow secret passages, and see the grand knight's halls, frescoed chapel, luxurious bedchambers and rooms containing medieval weapons, furniture and paintings.
Address: Bernese Oberland
According to legend, Bern was named when its founder, Berchtold,
was advised to go on a hunt and to name the town after the first
beast that he caught. The bear has remained the symbol of the
capital city ever since. One of the most charming cities in Europe,
its Old Town centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for
the preservation of its cobbled medieval street plan, with many
fountains, towers and a massive astronomical clock.
With its relaxed atmosphere, farmers' markets and friendly people, it is easy to forget that this is the Swiss capital, an important city of politicians and international meetings. And with its interesting museums, theatres, long-standing monuments and landmarks, Bern is a popular base from which to explore the mountains and lakes of the nearby Bernese Oberland.
Kunsthaus Zurich (Fine Arts Museum)
Address: Heimplatz 1 Zurich
Devoted for the most part to 19th and 20th century artwork, the
Kunsthaus Zurich (Zurich Fine Arts Museum) is a cultural drawcard
for any art lover. Holding one of the largest collections of works
by Edvard Munch outside Norway, as well as works by renowned modern
artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Monet, Rothko and the
Expressionists, Kokoschka, Beckmann and Corinth to name a few,
there is a whole host of quality artwork at which the visitor can
Visitors can also view the creative talents of cutting edge Swiss artists such as the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti, and well-known Swiss duo Fischli/Weiss. Situated in a sophisticated building with contemporary exhibitions, a trip to the Kunsthaus Zurich makes for a very rewarding cultural day out.
Polybahn and Rigiblick Funiculars
Address: Polybahn: Central station (Hauptbahnhof). Rigiblick: Seilbahn Zurich
Trains, buses, trams and bikes are common ways of getting around
Zurich. To get above the bustling streets and cobbled walkways, hop
onto either the Polybahn or Rigiblick Funicular for panoramic views
of the city and Lake Zurich. The traditional Polybahn was first
opened in 1889 to solve the transport problem of students
travelling from central Zurich to the University of Technology,
which is situated on the towering Zürichberg hill.
Recently renovated, the Polybahn has maintained its classic Swiss appearance and continues to haul students and tourists to the Polyterasse viewpoint. Serving an attractive neighbourhood north of Zurich, the Rigiblick Funicular rewards travellers with a sweeping panoramic view of the city and the unmistakable Mount Rigi (1797m).
Museum of Design Zurich
Address: Ausstellungsstrasse 60 Zurich
Known for sophisticated designs such as the internationally
recognised symbol of the Red Cross, it is no wonder that
Switzerland has a museum dedicated solely to design. With three
separate collections, visitors can indulge in the designs of the
Poster Collection, Design Collection and Graphic Collection,
spanning the past century or visit one of the temporary exhibits
where works of acclaimed industrial designers, photographers,
graphic artists and architects are regularly shown.
Designed by the progressive Swiss architects Adolf Steger and Karl Egender as a Functionalist manifesto, the Museum of Design Zurich is a great example of modern architecture in Switzerland and is a gallery not to be missed.
Address: Niederdorfstrasse Zurich
Situated in the old town, across from central station, the
narrow lanes of Niederdorf wind through towering 14th century
buildings revealing small plazas where restaurants spill onto
cobbled streets and buskers entertain diners and passers-by with
miscellaneous music. This charming district has an interesting
array of fashion stores, bookshops and antique dealers as well as
superb independent cheese, wine and pastry shops.
In the evening the area transforms into one of Zurich's buzzing nightlife venues with a wide selection of bars, restaurants and clubs to be explored.
Address: Zurichbergstrasse 221 Zurich
Unlike the dubious reputation of zoos worldwide, the Zurich Zoo
is refreshingly dedicated to nature conservation, maintaining
ecosystems and protecting animal species, with many projects of
reintroduction into the wild. Offering guided tours and in depth
information tools, the Zurich Zoo does its best to educate the
public. With over 260 different species and 2200 animals, visitors
will get the unique chance to view endangered animal species such
as snow leopards and red pandas.
Recreating ecosystems from exotic Madagascar to the rugged Ethiopian Highlands and housing the various animals in spacious enclosures, a visit to the diverse Zurich Zoo is a pleasurable and invigorating excursion. Visit the website to see feeding times and which new pups have been born.
Centre Le Corbusier
Address: Hoeschgasse 8 Zurich
The final work of the renowned Swiss architect who pioneered
modernism and laid the foundation for Bauhaus, the Centre Le
Corbusier in Zurichhorn Park is the epitome of modern design. A
conglomeration of his life's work, the Centre Le Corbusier and
Heidi Weber Museum unify Le Corbusier's architecture, paintings,
furniture, sculpture and writings, all in one space.
Created in the 1960s, the contemporary building strong references to Mondrian and is a jumble of cubic structures made of coloured panels, glass and steel, protected by a detached angular roof. Initially designed as a private house, the many spaces of the Centre Le Corbusier have fared well as an exhibition and learning centre. On your way to this illuminating masterpiece, take a stroll alongside the Limmat River in picturesque Zurichhorn Park and keep a look out for the sculptures of Jean Tinguely and Henry Moore.
Address: Quai du Général-Guisan Geneva
The tallest fountain in the world, the Jet d'Eau is a Geneva
attraction that cannot be missed. Projecting 460 feet (140m) into
the air at a speed of 124 miles per hour (200km/h) and pumping 132
gallons (500 litres) of water per second, the fountain was
initially established to release pressure for hydropower generation
on the Rhone River, but was so loved by the populace that in 1891
the city created a permanent fountain.
As Paris has the Eiffel Tower and New York has the Empire State Building, Geneva has the Jet d'Eau. For a breathtaking and romantic sight, visit at night, when the fountain is lit up.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
Address: 17 Avenue de la Paix Geneva
One of the most creative and thought provoking museums in
Europe, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum brings
together sculpture, installation, photography and film to highlight
the importance of human rights, the history of conflict in the 20th
century and the humanitarian work the Red Cross has done in
providing aid to combatants and civilians caught up in both war and
Funded entirely by outside donors, the museum is appropriately situated on the hillside opposite the United Nations, within the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross. A significant stopover on a visit to Geneva, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum provides insight into the gross implications of war and the tragedy that surrounds but also the committed work of the volunteers and Red Cross representatives alike. All the exhibits have an English language option.
Address: Swiss Alps
Leysin has a reputation as one of the most family-friendly ski
resorts in Switzerland, offering children's activities year-round
at more affordable rates than its fashionable neighbours in the
Rhone Valley. There are a number of off-piste diversions, including
excursions to Lake Geneva, the museums and castles in Aigle, and
the igloos in Teepee Village. The mountain provides a spectacular
setting for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and rock
climbing in summer. There are a number of good restaurants,
including the glass revolving Le Kuklos, which has a panoramic view
of the region, and a few bars in town.
While the village is removed from the larger skiing areas, skiing in Leysin's 37 miles (60km) of pistes provides challenges ranging from nursery areas to two black runs for experts, and 24 miles (39km) of cross country trails. There is a ski school that arranges heli-skiing trips, and the glacier at Les Diablerets is included in the ski pass. Leysin is a major snowboarding destination, with a snowboard park and half pipe that have hosted many professional competitions.
St Peters Cathedral
Address: Cour Saint-Pierre Geneva
With initial construction commencing in 1160 and lasting nearly
a century, St Peter's Cathedral has over the years become a
hotchpotch of architectural styles with Romanesque, Gothic and
Neoclassical features. A former Catholic cathedral, St Peter's
became a Protestant church in 1536 at the advent of the Reformation
and was cleared of its ornate fittings such as altars, statues,
paintings and furniture, but the stained glass windows
Prominent theologian John Calvin preached at St Peter's Church from 1536 to 1564 and the church soon became the centre of Protestantism. For a breathtaking panoramic view of Geneva and Lac Leman, climb the 157 steps that lead to the summit of the cathedral's north tower.
Public parks cover over one quarter of Geneva providing the
populous with a quiet haven of rolling lawns and tree lined
walkways. Dotted with many curious sculptures and attractions,
there are a few parks worthwhile visiting. Bastion Park houses the
328-foot (100m) Reformation Wall, a monument commemorating the
major figures and events of the Protestant Reformation, as well as
life size chess boards at the north end of the park.
To view the famous flower clock, a symbol of the Swiss watch industry, head to the English Garden close to the water fountain and for outstanding views of Mont Blanc and the lake, Park Moynier is a firm favourite, with the History of Science Museum situated in the centre. Twenty hectares of woodland and hiking trails is what you will find at Batie Woods on the outskirts of the city.
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Address: 10 rue des Vieux-Grenadiers Geneva
Opened in 1994, the cutting edge Museum of Modern and
Contemporary Art refuses to conform and as museum director
Christian Bernard says, the museum 'is not here to present the
acceptable face of contemporary art'. With modern works dating from
the 1960s to the present day, exhibited in a turn of the century
factory, visitors to MAMCO will spend hours marvelling at the range
of contemporary art that covers three floors.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art constantly reinvents itself, changing its exhibits and interior construction three times a year. The works of famous Dadaist Marcel Duchamp are on display all year round.
Palais des Nations (United Nations)
Address: Pregny Gate, 14 avenue de la Paix Geneva
Built between 1929 and 1937 to host the League of Nations, the
Palais des Nations now houses the United Nations Office at Geneva,
which was inaugurated in 1966 after the dissolution of the League
of Nations. The biggest United Nations station outside of the
headquarters in New York, the office at Geneva provides critical
support to the organization.
Situated in 45-hectare Ariana Park, the extensive Palais des Nations is bordered by century old trees, and it is not uncommon to see peacocks darting around, the result of a request by the former owner of the land who bequeathed it to the City of Geneva on condition that peacocks may run freely on its grounds. Tours include the council room with frescoes by José Maria Sert and the Assembly Hall. Identity documents are required.
Address: 10 Rue Jean-Calvin Geneva
Featuring a comprehensive collection of 7,000 artworks and
artefacts from civilisations around the world, the Barbier-Mueller
Museum in Geneva is the outcome of the tireless accumulations of
Josef Mueller, whose collection began in 1907 and is continued to
this day by his heirs. Founded in 1977, the museum wanted to
preserve and study the sculptures, fabrics and ornaments brought
from "primitive" civilisations that were once isolated
Lookout for the megalithic monuments from Indonesia, the statues and items of worship from Oceania, pre-Columbian art from the Americas and ancient masks and shields from Africa.
The cultural hub of Geneva, Place Neuve sits just outside the
former ramparts and is a great access point for the Old Town, which
lies on the other side of the high retaining walls. Home to three
of Geneva's regal performance and exhibition halls, the Grand
Theatre (opera house), Conservatory of Music and Rath Museum, the
Place Neuve is worth visiting to witness the architectural
aesthetic of these buildings.
In the centre of the square is the emblematic statue of Swiss general Henri Dufour, who was the first person to establish a map of Switzerland and also presided over the First Geneva Convention. The highest mountain in Switzerland, Dufourspitze, is named after him.
Museum of Art and History
Address: Rue Charles-Galland 2 Geneva
Comprising of three sections, the captivating Museum of Art and
History explores the passage of western culture and international
civilizations with over 7,000 pieces covering archaeology (Roman,
Greek, Egyptian and Etruscan), fine arts (paintings from the
Renaissance to modern times) and applied arts (found objects from
the Middle Ages to the 20th century).
One of Geneva's largest museums, the colossal Museum of Art and History was built at the beginning of the 20th century, between 1903 and 1910. When visiting lookout for paintings by legendary artists Van Gogh and Renoir.
Patek Philippe Museum
Address: Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7 Geneva
A fascinating presentation of Genevese, Swiss and European
watches and enamels dating from the 16th to the early 19th century,
including a great number of masterpieces that have left their mark
on the history of horology. Audiovisual multilingual presentations
of selected masterpieces animate the exhibit.
Explore the roots of time-measurement through a visual timeline which details the key events in watchmaking evolution from the Antique creations of the 1500's, through to the founding of Patek Philippe in 1839, up to the present day. The intricate details and designs, moving parts and beautiful colours of the collection will provide hours of fascination.
Address: Swiss Alps
The holiday destination of Grindelwald is a picturesque,
traditional mountain settlement at the foot of the Eiger Mountain,
surrounded by spectacular alpine landscapes. Popular as both a
summer and winter holiday spot, it offers miles of slopes and
hiking trails across the Alps, and for non-skiers there are a huge
variety of winter activities, from tobogganing to groomed winter
hiking tracks. For skiers there are three distinct areas to choose
from, with slopes for beginners, intermediates and the challenges
of the Eiger glacier for the experienced; as well as lift links to
Wengen and Mürren, making this one of the best holiday resorts from
which to explore the Jungfrau region. Skiing in Grindelwald is best
suited to intermediates, and there are plenty of long, gentle runs
to keep them busy. There are plenty of options for true beginners
as well at the Bodmi Nursery slopes. While advanced skiers won't
find much, Grindelwald boasts the famous Lauberhorn World Cup
downhill run, as well as the near-vertical Kanonenrohr. The resort
is part of the Jungfrau region, and shares mountain space with
Wengen. There are roughly 12 miles (20km) of cross-country
The Alps contain some of Switzerland's most dramatic landscapes,
in a country already well endowed with spectacular scenery and
fabulous alpine vistas. Situated at the heart of the Alps,
Switzerland shares the mountain range with France, Italy and
Austria and provides winter and summer time enjoyment for skiers,
snowboarders, walkers and climbers. Switzerland boasts the first
ever ski resort, and since then over 200 first class resorts have
attracted thousands of Swiss and international downhill and
cross-country skiers as well as snowboarders. The tradition of
skiing goes back two centuries. Today, with more than 1,700
mountain railways and ski lifts, renowned ski schools and
instructors, the best ski equipment in the world, and outstanding
slopes and facilities catering for all levels of ability, it
deserves to be called 'Europe's winter playground'. The ideal
resort for beginners or families is Grindelwald in the Jungfrau
region, while intermediates and snowboarders head for the twin
resorts of Davos and Klosters, with miles of excellent ski terrain
and acclaimed to be one of the top snowboarding destinations
worldwide. Expert skiers can enjoy the challenge of 7,200 ft
(2,700m) vertical drops on the Klein Matterhorn at Zermatt, and the
ski valley of Verbier is ideal for shoulder-season skiing as its
location provides early snow that lingers late into the spring. The
stylish resort of St Moritz offers the most energetic and varied
nightlife out of all the Swiss resorts. The ideal ski season runs
from January to late March, but is most crowded during the
Christmas holidays and the month of February. Climbers and walkers
head to the Alps between June and September when the weather is
warmer and more settled. There are more than 40,390 miles
(65,000km) of well-marked and maintained hiking trails as well as
longer treks across the country that will reveal miles and miles of
unspoiled beauty. Grindelwald has long been the capital of summer
hiking in the Bernese Alps, and more recently added a network of
groomed trails for winter hikers. Climbers have long been lured by
the challenges of the Matterhorn and there are some memorable hikes
up to the cliffs below the summit. The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) is
the best source of information on mountaineering. The most
accessible and visited alpine area is the magnificent Bernese
Oberland region in the centre of the country with classic Swiss
scenery - picturesque peaks, quaint wooden chalets and charming
mountain villages, green pastures, lakes and the tinkle of cow
bells. This is a fabulous area for walking and provides exceptional
Musée dHistorie Naturelle
Address: 1 Malagnou road Geneva
When people in Geneva say they go to Museum, they mean The
Natural History Museum. This museum presents an educational look at
the world of nature with special emphasis on the ecological history
of Switzerland. Included is a life size model menagerie of bears,
foxes, alligators, aardvarks and other animals from around the
globe, as well as a complete collection of every mineral and plant
indigenous to Switzerland. There is also a special children's
A great place to bring the kids, the Musée d'Historie Naturelle contains numerous historical collections left to the museum by world-renowned scientists, such as Lunel, Saussure and Fatio. Children will be amazed by displays of animals and specimens including a leatherback turtle, giant spider crabs, tiger sharks and even a coelacanth.
Address: 1987 Le Bouveret Geneva
A visit to Aquaparc is a must for families on holiday in Geneva,
especially with children. This water park caters to children of all
ages and features indoor and outdoor swimming and water adventure
rides and slides in a tropical theme. Brave children will love
rides such as the Devil's Fall and Morgan's Thrill, while parents
can indulge in a massage with thousands of bubbles in the hot
The water and the air are heated to 28°C and all attractions are open all year round. Regardless of weather, if it's raining, if it's windy or if it's snowing -your Aquaparc is open.
Address: Bernese Oberland
Advertised as the 'slowest express train in the world', the
Glacier Express is also the most panoramic, and is a breathtaking
way to experience the magnificence of the Swiss Alps. The seven and
a half hour journey begins daily from Zermatt. The red mountain
train crosses more than 291 bridges, winds its way through 91
tunnels and seven valleys and over the 6,670ft (2,033m) Oberalp
Pass to the resort of St Moritz, in a spectacular feat of mountain
The train is equipped with large windows for clear viewing and the scenery, including mountain panoramas, quaint villages and wooden chalets, forests and alpine pastures, is stunning. A dining car provides lunch and the mini-bar contains tilted wine glasses to counter the lean of the carriages along the steep mountainous route. The train can be taken in either direction, and if time is short it is possible to travel along a short section of the route, but either way it is advisable to make advance bookings as the train is very popular. There are several departures a day during summer and one a day in winter.
Address: Swiss Alps
With panoramic views of the Rhone Valley, Veysonnaz forms a part
of the Four Valleys ski area together with Nandez, Verbier, Thyon
and La Tzoumaz. A more affordable alternative to fashionable
resorts like Verbier, the pretty town of Veysonnaz has managed to
retain its Alpine charm with traditional architecture and events
like the June Cow Processions. There are a range of activities for
non-skiers in both summer and winter, including attractions like
the pyramids of Euseigne and the Grande Dixence dam. The town
itself has a number of restaurants and bars, as well as a few shops
and a recreation centre. The Four Valleys ski area has over 250
miles (400km) of runs, which provide ample off piste opportunities
for experts, including the Tortin snow bowl. There are also runs
for intermediates and beginners, and the runs in general range from
1,640 feet (500m) to 9,842 feet (3,000m) in elevation, though
heli-skiing is available to the Pigne d'Arolla at 12,467 feet
(3,800m). The 1936 Neypark at La Choux is a haven for snowboarding
in Veysonnaz, featuring a skate-style pyramid and a good selection
Address: Seestrasse 160, Küsnacht Zurich
Food Type: French
Widely considered to be one of the finest restaurants in
Switzerland, even perhaps the whole of Europe, maestro chef and
owner Horst Petermann's award-winning reputation attracts the
wealthy gourmets of Zurich and boasts a celebrity list that
includes the Swiss president, singer Tina Turner (who lives nearby)
and the emperor of Japan. The restaurant is in the lakeside town of
Kusnacht, about 15 minutes from the city, housed in an elegantly
decorated building that was once an art gallery. The menu changes
regularly, and can include outstanding speciality lobster dishes or
a number of other inventive dishes such as Tuscan dove, scampi
lasagne in lemongrass sauce or stuffed squid with a fennel confit.
All entrées, desserts and cheeses are of exceptional quality, as is
the wine cellar. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
Advance booking essential.
Address: Rämistrasse 4 (Right Bank) Zurich
Food Type: Local
One of Zurich's most famous restaurants, Kronenhalle is the
place to see and be seen, and over the years has attracted
celebrity greats such as James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Richard
Strauss and Yves Saint-Laurent. The interior is decorated with
original works of famous 20th-century artists including Picasso,
Matisse and Miró. The fare is traditional Swiss and includes huge
portions of rösti, a delicious herring in double cream, veal steak
and duck liver. Reservations are essential.
Zunfthaus Zur Zimmerleuten
Address: Limmatquai 40 (Right Bank) Zurich
Food Type: Local
Originally the carpenter's guildhall, Zunfthaus Zur Zimmerleuten
is one of the architectural showpieces of Zurich. Up a flight of
Baroque stairs, the elegant dining room serves up dishes that
combine Zurich specialities with chef innovations, including the
Lake Zurich fish soup with garlic rouille or the triple fillet
accompanied with rösti and cream sauce. Reservations recommended.
Address: Bahnhofstrasse 28a, Paradeplatz (Left Bank) Zurich
Food Type: Local
The huge dining hall built in 1487, with thick stone pillars,
wooden beams and a decorative ceiling, was originally the city's
armoury, and the medieval character of the restaurant is
highlighted by the décor, with weapons and paintings from the
Middle Ages, and waitresses in old-fashioned costume. Known for its
tasty traditional Swiss meals, the portions are hearty and served
with local beer. Classic speciality dishes include the Zurich-style
sliced veal and mushrooms and rösti potatoes. Zeughauskeller also
offers a wide variety of different types of sausage. Open daily
from 11.30am. Reservations recommended.
Address: Seefeldstrasse 223 Zurich
Food Type: Modern Eclectic
Situated on the site of a 300-year old mill, this slick modern
restaurant draws trendsetters from the advertising and arts scene
who are attracted by the modern approach to fresh ingredients and
light cuisine. Duck ('blaue ente' means 'blue duck') is the house
speciality and comes in various forms. Other dishes include fish
and crustaceans, loin of lamb, vegetarian curry and pastas.
Address: Schlüsselgasse 8 Zurich
Food Type: Local
Established in 1325 as a wine cellar and a restaurant in 1551,
Veltliner Keller evokes a sense of history and charm in its
detailed wooden panelling. Orginally used to store Italian-Swiss
wines that were transported to Zurich over the Alps, this
delightful restaurant offers wholesome, heart cuisine that will not
disappoint. The seasonal menu includes Swiss and Italian dishes as
well as the traditional Zurich dish, kalbsgeschnetzeltes (sliced
veal and mushrooms in a white wine sauce).
Address: Hotel St Gotthard, Bahnhofstrasse 87 Zurich
Food Type: Seafood
Located in the St Gotthard Hotel, the Hummerbar (Lobster Bar) is
one of Zurich's top dining spots. The rich scarlet décor and dark
wood creates the perfect setting for a romantic dinner. Fresh
caviar, oysters and shellfish are flown in daily from Iran, and
woven into the menu of classical French cuisine with a
Mediterranean flair. Open Monday to Thursday for dinner and
breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends.
Café Bar Odéon
Address: Limmatquai 2 Zurich
Food Type: Café
This trendy cafe and bar, formerly a coffeehouse where the
pre-revolutionary Lenin met intellectuals, has been transformed
into a art-noveau eatery frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Other celebrities to have dines here include the likes of Joyce,
Einstein, Mata Hari and Mussolini. Nowadays it is the bourgeois
chic crowd who like to dine on fine pasta dishes and other
delicious dishes. This eatery remains open late so expect an
eventful evening! Reservations recommended.
Address: Florastrasse 22, Kusnacht Zurich
Food Type: Local
A trip to Switzerland would be incomplete without sampling
traditional Swiss fare. A country famous for cheese, most notably
the tasty Gruyere variety, communal dishes such as Raclette and
Fondue are commonplace in both Swiss homes and upmarket
restaurants. Ideal for a wintery treat, head to Chez Crettol where
these particular dishes are the speciality. With a selection of
Fondues to choose from, patrons can while away the time dipping,
twirling and eating and finishing off with a zesty local white
wine. For those who can't handle more than a few mouthfuls of
bread, opt for Raclette, which is a combination of boilt potatoes,
pickled onions and gherkins, drizzled with melted cheese, which is
scraped off a melting block. For a heart-warming Swiss evening, a
warm crackling fireplace and an understated environment that looks
characteristically similar to a Swiss dining room, Chez Crettol is
the place. Open daily for dinner.
Address: Seestrasse 493 Zurich
Food Type: International
With one of the best locations in Zurich, the Seerose offers a
romantic element to Zurich dining. Situated on the vast lake,
guests are surrounded by water, quaint boats, city lights and
majestic snow-capped mountains. Whether you are looking for a sunny
and crisp lunchtime venue or an evening out, with a European flair,
the Seerose will fulfil your expectations. Reminiscent of a yacht
on the Mediterranean with elegant beachhouse trimmings, the Seerose
serves up fresh cuisine ranging from seafood to curry. Start with
goat's cheese and honey on a salad bouquet or a Salade Noel, with
chicory, nuts, fresh fruits and an Indian sauce. Popular mains
include moule et frites and duck l'orange or for the more
adventurous, a red beef curry. Open daily for lunch and dinner,
Address: 1 Rue Puits-St-Pierre Geneva
Food Type: Local
Those in search of authentic Swiss cuisine prepared to
perfection need look no further than the Les Armures. This renowned
eatery located in the 5-star Hotel Les Armures features three
dining rooms for patrons to choose between, namely the Terrace,
Salle des Artistes and Carnozet and serves Swiss favourites with a
French flair and elegance. Try the wild mushroom soup, sliced
breaded veal or the roasted duck breast served in a raspberry
vinegar sauce. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations
Café des Bains
Address: Rue des Bains 26 Geneva
Food Type: Café
A warm and friendly bistro situated opposite the Museum of
Modern and Contemporary Art in the trendy Plainpalais district,
Café des Bains serves fresh innovative dishes from all over the
world. With a varying daily lunch menu, patrons can expect
mouth-watering quality dishes, prepared with only the finest
ingredients, which are creatively presented. Take lunch at the new
bar area where you can access free wifi or just sit back and enjoy
a freshly brewed coffee. In the evenings patrons can choose from an
attractive a la carte menu that is accompanied by a good winelist.
For a relaxed dining experience in Geneva head to Café de Bains.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
La Perle du Lac
Address: Rue de Lausanne 126 Geneva
Food Type: French
Popular with tourists and locals alike, La Perle du Lac is the
only restaurant in Geneva that is situated directly on Lac Leman.
Known for its large flowered terrace overlooking the Alps mountain
range and the tranquil lake, guests at La Perle du Lac easily
unwind whilst relishing the flavours of their pan fried escalope of
duck liver with apple or the much loved slow-cooked lamb shanks.
Situated in pretty Mon Repos Park, La Perle du Lac has been serving
five star French cuisine to diplomats and businessmen for over 30
years. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.
Café du Soleil
Address: Place du Petit-Saconnex 6, Petit-Saconnex Geneva
Food Type: Local
Situated about three miles (five kilometres) outside of central
Geneva, city slickers and tourists alike cannot help but gravitate
towards Café du Soleil. With a leafy outside sitting area dotted
with blood red tables and a simple interior with antique wooden
chairs and elaborate framed mirrors adorning the bare white walls,
the frank décor of Café du Soleil only highlights the scrumptious
cuisine. Regarded as one of the oldest restaurants in Geneva and
one of the best fondue restaurants to boot, there is no uncertainty
over what to order. For a light lunch try their brochettes or
freshly prepared salads otherwise the sirloin and rump steaks are a
good bet. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Auberge de Floris
Address: Route dHermance 287 Geneva
Food Type: French
Ideal for a business lunch or gastronomic night out, Auberge de
Floris is a sophisticated terrace restaurant overlooking the lake
in the picturesque village of Anières, 15 minutes southwest of the
city. Claude and Inès Legras warmly welcome patrons to this
Michelin star restaurant known for its delectable seafood. Try the
tuna carpaccio starter drizzled with orange zest and olive oil and
follow with pecorino-stuffed calamari in octopus ink sauce with
chorizo potatoes and steam courgette flowers. Next door is the
bistro, offering less complex but still inventive dishes at
slightly cheaper prices. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and
Les Papilles de Lavinia
Address: Rue de Coutance 3bis Geneva
Food Type: Spanish
A haven for wine lovers, Les Papilles de Lavinia is a new wine
and tapas bar that combines the sweet and savoury dishes created by
chef Stephan Sanial with a wonderful selection of wines from
leading producers around the world. Sit intimately at a table for
two or join a larger group around the heavy wooden tables. With
tasteful décor and a trendy wine bar atmosphere, Les Papilles de
Lavinia is ideal for a sophisticated lunch or after-work drink.
Open for lunch and early dinner from Monday to Saturday.
Parc des Eaux-Vives
Address: Quai Gustave-Ador 82 Geneva
Food Type: French
The elegant Restaurant du Parc des Eaux-Vives is situated in a
historic mansion dating back to the 18th century in the picturesque
Parc des Eaux-Vives along the lake. The gourmet restaurant,
decorated with two Michelin stars, is overseen by talented chef de
cuisine Olivier Samson whose refined menu is composed according to
the produce of the season. The art deco dining room is complimented
with world-class wines and outstanding service. In summer, the Parc
des Eaux-Vives terrace is one of the most beautiful settings in
Geneva. Ideal for business or leisure, the Parc des Eaux-Vives is
open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Rue Phillippe-Plantamour 25 Geneva
Food Type: Modern Eclectic
A non-smoking bar and restaurant, Heaven Lounge serves up
provincial Mediterranean and French fusion dishes in an ubercool
and trendy environment. Owned by Australian chef of Italian
parentage, Chef Yvette ensures that what's on your plate emanates
the chic standard set by your surroundings. With modern furnishings
and carefully considered lighting, patrons will never want to
leave. A great place to kickstart a night out in Geneva, Heaven
Lounge also hosts performances by musicians and DJ's. Open Monday
to Saturday for dinner.
Address: 10 boulevard George-Favon Geneva
Food Type: Moroccan
Met by an ornate fountain in the entrance way and draped in rich
ochre, red and orange décor, this cosy Moroccan restaurant features
rugs, cushions, tapestries and belly dancers on Friday and Saturday
nights. A popular eatery with locals and almost always bustling, La
Mamounia serves traditional Moroccan dishes and delicious tagines.
Rooms with different colours and décor can be booked for private
parties and large tables. The flagship dish, the chicken 'Mamounia'
with toasted almond sauce is not to be missed. Reservations
accepted. Open daily.
Address: Quai du Mont-Blanc 13 Geneva
Food Type: French
Serving some of Geneva's finest French cuisine, Le Chat-Botte
boasts renowned chef, Dominique Gauthier, who prepares innovative
and delicious gourmet food night after night. Located in the Hotel
Beau Rivage, this stylish and sophisticated restaurant is
tastefully decorated and boasts one of Switzerland's finest
selections of wines. Try the tartar of slipper lobster with lime
and ginger, coco milk and citronella gaspacho, or the Pyrenean
spring lamb and polenta fries served with a delicious light cream.
Whatever you choose to eat, Le Chat-Botte does not disappoint. Open
daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended.
Address: 13 Rue Rousseau Geneva
Food Type: Italian
A popular Italian eatery with locals and tourists, Locanda
Ticinese offers guests a flawless evening of casual, yet elegant
dining. The attentive and helpful staff will make your dining
experience a memorable one, and delicately prepared dishes will
linger on the tastebuds bringing visitors back time and time again.
Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturday dinner only.
LAnge des Dix Vins
Address: 29 Rue Jacques-Dalphin Geneva
Food Type: French
Located in the leafy green suburbs of Carouge, this bustling
classic restaurant has fast become one of Geneva's favourites. The
ever-changing art adorning the walls and wine list allows patrons
to sample some exciting new additions while dining on traditional
French fare. Open Monday to Friday from January through August and
Monday to Saturday September through December. Reservations