Fondue, waterfalls accessible via lifts, and plenty of whimsical pockets—Switzerland has it all. By Anita Rao Kashi
Certainly not for the faint-hearted, Switzerland’s Via Ferrata Mürren-Gimmelwald on Mount Schilthorn is a trail involving a series of jaw-dropping, heart-stopping parallel and downward climbs hugging sheer rock faces and cliffs and traversing rope bridges suspended high above gorges. Although just over two kilometres long, the trail takes over three hours to complete and involves a fair bit of stamina and strength, but also offers an adrenaline-high experience as well as stunning views.
Rösti, or large hash-browns with fried sausages, are ubiquitous, but have them at Rheinfelder Bierhalle in Zurich, and the fondue is superb at Restaurant Taverne in Interlaken. Some other dishes to sample are the unique Älplermagronen (Alpine macaroni with potatoes, fried onions and apple sauce) on Mount Stanserhorn in Nidwalden. For gourmands, the 10-course tasting menu at Regina Montium, a Michelin-star restaurant in Kräuterhotel Edelweiss on Mount Rigi ticks all boxes.
Located in the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley, the Trummelbach Waterfalls are both surreal and intriguing. Situated almost entirely in a system of caves and caverns inside a mountain, they are considered to be the only glacier waterfalls in world that are accessible via lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms. What makes them phenomenal is that they carry upwards of 20,000 litres of water a second, as well as up to 18,144 tonnes of rubble and boulders a year which give it a dramatic thundering noise.
Halfway up the tip of Mount Rigi is Rigi Kaltbad, a mineral hot-spring spa with a history that goes back 600 years. A series of mineral baths with differing temperatures and pressures, and comfortable tiled benches inside the baths, make for a fabulous session. But the outdoor section is probably most preferred for its stunning views of the Swiss Alps. There is also a spa area as well as steam baths, a herbal bath, a crystal bath and a sauna.
For stunning views of Lake Lucerne, Bürgenstock is ideal. In Interlaken, Victoria Jungfrau offers unimpeded views of Jungfrau as well as Harder Kulm. For its Alpine hut ambience and seamless luxury, the HUUS Gstaad is the answer. Hotel d’Angleterre in Geneva has a long and rich history of playing host to royalty and celebrities from across the world. Step back in time amid traditional décor and a bit of fairytale whimsy at the Suvretta House at St Moritz.