Majestic Alpine peaks, charming mountain villages and plenty of snow are all the ingredients you need for a perfect winter holiday. And where better to find these than in Switzerland? In winter the green pastures and rugged mountains of the Swiss Alps are transformed into a winter wonderland that offers some of the best skiing in the world.
Gone are the days where skiing in Switzerland was only for the rich and famous. The wide range of self-catering ski chalets and apartments in Switzerland, as well as competitive pricing due to the sheer number of ski resorts, means that Swiss ski holidays are great value for money even if you’re on a tight budget.
Spoilt for choice
You’ll find some of the best skiing in Switzerland in the “4 Valleys” ski area in the Swiss Canton of Valais. The four ski resorts that make up the “4 Valleys” are: Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon. Verbier has a reputation as one of the best ski resorts in Europe with an outstanding variety of slopes, from challenging black runs and advanced pistes to gentle slopes for beginners. Families might prefer the more relaxed atmosphere of Veysonnaz or Nendaz. Nendaz even offers winter walking trails that are accessible with pushchairs. With 100 ski lifts and over 400km of pistes in the area you might not find time for anything other than skiing, but if you do want to squeeze a few other activities into your itinerary you can try Nordic walking, snowtubing, and ice climbing. 4 Valleys is also renowned for great après-skiing, particularly Verbier which has plenty of vibrant bars and nightclubs.
Arosa is another resort town that is popular with families. The delightful village is built around Lake Obersee, and offers 60kms of marked pistes, including 6 beginner runs. The peaceful atmosphere, reasonable prices and variety of holiday rentals in Arosa make it the perfect choice if you want a great family skiing holiday without paying a fortune.
If you’re lucky enough not to be on a tight budget and are looking for something more exclusive there is always Zermatt, overlooked by the iconic Matterhorn, or St. Moritz, located in the Engadine Valley and renowned as the playground of multi-millionaire jet-setters. You might even bump into a celebrity! The resort is popular in winter with sports enthusiasts who come to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and the famous Crest Run toboggan course. St. Moritz also offers an excellent selection of high-class restaurants, boutiques and a casino. If you choose a holiday rental in Engadine-St. Moritz you might even get to witness the “White Turf” horse race on the frozen Lake St. Moritz.
Don’t forget to go sightseeing
It might be hard to tear yourself away from the slopes, but you won’t regret taking some time out from skiing to enjoy some of Switzerland’s best attractions.
In Geneva you’ll find the UN headquarters, Jet d’Eau – the world’s tallest fountain and St. Pierre Cathedral. On the shores of Lake Geneva is the beautiful 13th century Chateau de Chillon. If your holiday rental is closer to Lucerne you can walk the cobbled streets of this charming town, stopping by at Lion’s Memorial, Glacier Garden and the Watchtowers. Switzerland’s capital, Berne, is a must-see for chocoholics. It’s the birthplace of Toblerone! The city is also home to Gothic Münster-Cathedral, the Clock Tower, the House of Parliament, Einstein House, and the Berne Museum of Fine Arts.
Wherever you choose to stay in Switzerland, you’ll find yourself surrounded by imposing mountain peaks, beautiful lakes, charming villages and plenty of activities and attractions for those who want a memorable winter vacation.