Conjuring images of snow-capped mountains and glassy, azure lakes, Switzerland is an enchanting land brimming with immaculate scenery and studded with charming, medieval towns. Though it may be small – roughly the size of Wales – Switzerland squeezes in a mind-boggling cornucopia of ravishing land and cityscapes.

For outdoorsy types, Switzerland is quite simply a wonderland. From hiking and biking the mountainous trails around Zermatt in the summer months, to ice-skating on frozen lakes in St Moritz in winter, there’s endless adventure to be had. Beyond the mountains and lakes, the Swiss countryside is punctuated with lush vineyards, rolling grasslands and meandering rivers, best explored by hot-air balloon, parachute or river-raft – and of course a scenic train journey in Switzerland is an unmissable experience. Ride the iconic Glacier Express and peer through panoramic windows to marvel at the shifting landscape unfolding before you, stopping at quaint villages like Andermatt on the way.

Aside from its bucolic treasures, Switzerland’s urban allure is just as enticing, thanks to its array of lively cities that perch lakeside, like Geneva, Zurich and Lucerne, or Zermatt which lies in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn. Drenched in medieval architecture that has remained untouched for centuries, pulsating with vibrant arts and café scenes, and home to world-class shopping, Switzerland’s cities are delightful to visit for a weekend break or as part of a multi-stop holiday.

Take a look at our sample itineraries for inspiration or call our European Expert today on 020 7337 9010 to tailor-make the perfect luxury Switzerland holiday for you.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF SWITZERLAND

Scenic rail journeys. The Swiss take great pride in their railways, and we don’t blame them. The Glacier Express ranks among the best scenic rail journeys in the world, passing no less than 291 bridges, 91 tunnels and beautiful Swiss towns like St Moritz, Zermatt and Andermatt. The panoramic windows afford the best views of Switzerland’s dreamy landscapes over 7.5 hours.

Christmas Markets. Switzerland boasts some of the best on the continent, with romantic cities and towns that make the perfect backdrop for magical Christmas holidays. Stroll along cobbled lanes, past timbered merchants’ houses and ornate churches, and treat yourself to aromatic mulled wines and ginger biscuits from stalls illuminated by twinkling lights. The markets of St Gallen, Basel, Zurich and Lucerne are particularly enchanting.

Zurich’s art scene. The youthful, student-heavy population here thrive on Zurich’s burgeoning arts culture, particularly in the hip Zuri-West neighbourhood, the former industrial district now transformed with cool rooftop bars and clubs. Don’t miss Kunsthaus, where you’ll encounter works by Van Gogh, Monet and Giacometti, or Kunsthalle for cutting-edge art.

Cheese and chocolate. It may be a cliché, but when it comes to producing the world’s best cheese and chocolate, Switzerland makes an excellent case for the crown. It boasts around 450 varieties of cheese and is the birthplace of the mouth-watering fondue - usually made with melted Gruyere and Vacherin Fribourgeois, or Gruyere and Emmental. Heaven. And you’ll likely be familiar with leading chocolatiers Lindt and Teuscher, but there are countless other producers, too, and of course the chocolate tours are educational – and totally tantalising.

Thermal spas. Europe’s most mountainous country, Switzerland cradles countless natural thermal springs blessed with therapeutic properties, so you can combine adventure with wellness in the mountains. One of the most scenic bath complexes is the Walliser Alpentherme & Spa found at the St. Laurent Spring in Leukerbad, encompassing steamy natural baths, chalet-style saunas, stone baths and a dramatic Alpine backdrop.

Types of trip in Switzerland, handpicked by Exsus

PLACES TO STAY IN SWITZERLAND HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

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