Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Top Attractions in Switzerland

The Jungfrau Region

The Jungfrau region, lying south of Interlaken, offers the most spectacular scenery in Switzerland. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the three towering mountains - Jungfrau (4158m), Monch (4099m) and Eiger (3970m). Their white peaks contrast beautifully with the greens, golds and browns of the valleys and meadows in between. Breathe the fresh mountain air and lose yourself in this magical Alpine wonderland.

Chateau de Chillon, Montreux

The town of Montreux lies at the very heart of the Swiss Riviera. Long an attraction Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the town offers beautiful lakeside walks and the stunning Chillon Castle. Artists and writers such as Lord Byron and Mary Shelley flocked here. Chillon Castle receives more visitors than any other historical building in Switzerland. Dating from the 11th century, the castle is in good condition. Check out its tower, dungeons, courtyards and numerous rooms filled with frescoes, weaponry and furniture. It is said that Lord Byron scratched his initials on the third pillar in the dungeon when writing about the fate of Francois de Bonivard who was chained to a pillar in the dungeons for four years in the 16th century. You can reach the castle by walking along the lakefront from Montreux or by taking a train or trolley bus No 1.

Fasnacht Spring Carnival, Basel

Head for Switzerland’s second largest city, Basel, to experience its world-famous Fasnacht spring carnival. The three-day carnival kicks off on the Monday after Ash Wednesday at 4am when the street lights are suddenly extinguished and a parade makes its way through the city centre. Participants wear brightly coloured costumes and masks and carry lanterns. Bars and caf├ęs stay open all night and flowers, confetti and sweets are thrown into the crowd.

Swiss National Park, Zernez

The Swiss National Park takes up 169 square kilometres of woodland and mountains in the east of the country. A strictly protected natural environment, a wide variety of wild animals such as ibexes, chamois, marmots and large red deer roam free. The park offers beautiful walking trails and magnificent views.

Geneva

Switzerland’s third-largest city, Geneva enjoys a fine location on the shores of Lake Geneva and is home to the world’s tallest fountain, fine museums, excellent restaurants and a thriving alternative arts scene. A stay here is a richly rewarding one.

The Matterhorn, Zermatt

Zermatt is different to other ski resorts in that it boasts one of the most famous peaks in the Alps, the Matterhorn. Standing at 4478 metres high, it dominates the valley in which it lies. Mountaineers flock here in their thousands attempting to conquer it. To climb it you will need some climbing experience and a good guide. As an alternative to braving the mighty Matterhorn, the town of Zermatt offers year-round skiing and awe-inspiring views.

St Moritz

One of the world’s most famous playgrounds of the wealthy, St. Moritz has been a winter resort for more than a century. Chic and glamorous, it offers the best cross-country skiing in the Alps as well as diverse downhill skiing and a large variety of summer and winter sports. Enjoy a health treatment in the Health Spa Centre in St. Moritz Bad or indulge in some caviar and truffles at some of the resort’s ultra chic restaurants.

Mt Pilatus

The hulking outline of Mount Pilatus lords it over the lakeside city of Lucerne and is one of Switzerland’s most thrilling attractions. Take a cable-car to the top of this 2120 metre high granite mountain and enjoy one of the most awe-inspiring vistas imaginable. The views from the summit extend over the whole range of the Swiss Alps, as far south as Italy and north to the great Bavarian plain. Walk the numerous trails, enjoying spectacular scenery as you go. Descend the other side of the mountain by cog-railway - the steepest such track in the world!

St Gallen

Founded in 612 AD by an Irish monk called Gallus, St Gallen evolved and developed into an important medieval cultural center and is the seventh largest city in Switzerland today. Walk around its distinctive old town which is full of interesting buildings with colourful murals, carved balconies and relief statues. Visit the city’s twin-tower cathedral Large and impressive, it boasts beautiful ceiling frescoes and stucco embellishments by the Gigi brothers.

Bern

Check out our guide to the top ten things to do while in Bern.

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