For most travelers, Switzerland is the quintessential wintertime destination. Its scenic alps offer some of the world’s best skiing conditions, and other wintertime sports, from sledding to skating, are also available during the coldest months. Beautiful chalets, quaint mountain towns, and a host of holiday markets have earned Switzerland its image as one of the world’s best winter wonderlands. However, this is not a destination that is only worthwhile after the snow starts flying. Summer in the Swiss Alps can be equally appealing to those travelers who know where to go. Cool mountain breezes, wonderful hiking and biking opportunities, and the cosmopolitan vibe of area cities make this famous Central European nation a wonderful place to spend a summer week.
Visiting Switzerland during the warmest months of the year? Here is what to do and where to go.
Heidi’s Switzerland in St. Moritz
This sunny, alpine landscape draws visitors year-round with its mix of quaint rural beauty and classiness. St. Moritz has plenty of five star hotels and a lively, glamourous shopping district. It also has hundreds of miles of trails and quaint mountain villages, including one where the first film version of the famous Swiss story Heidi was shot. Some of the area’s historic buildings add to the overall ambiance. Many have been renovated and are now used as hotels, restaurants, bars or shops.
This is a unique sightseeing experience available in alpine Switzerland. A classic steam train, the Brienz-Rothorn makes its way to more than 7,000 feet above sea level. The tracks pass amazing alpine scenery, including green, treeless valleys and towering mountain peaks. People who want to appreciate the panoramas without straining themselves can sit back and enjoy the ride. Those who want to get out and walk can take on some of the trails that pass through the same landscapes as the train.
This classic Swiss ville is reachable only by cable car or hiking trail. A lot of tourists come for the quaintness of Gimmelwald’s pedestrian-only streets, but the scenery is amazing as well. A massive mountain face sits within eyeshot of the town. This is a small village, so most people can explore it in depth in an hour or two. However, the laid-back ambiance and natural beauty make Gimmelwald a worthwhile place to spend and entire summer day.
Shopping in Interlaken
Interlaken is a small city in the Bernese Highlands region of Switzerland. Despite it size, this is an very interesting and surprisingly cosmopolitan place. It boasts a number of world-class shops and amazing restaurants featuring a variety of cuisines. The classically attractive Swiss Alps ambiance is still tangible in Interlaken during the summer. Aside from the buildings and shopping, people can enjoy the surroundings by doing things like hiking the mountain trails and even cruising on nearby Lake Thun in a sailboat or rowboat.
Swimming in the Aare River
Berne is a mid-sized city that is the political capital of Switzerland. Its classic architecture (that some people call fairy-tale-like) and quiet, laid-back vibe make it a nice place to spend a few days. The Aare River is the major geographic feature in Berne. Certain sections of this rather-fast-moving river can be swam. It is best to take the plunge with locals, as some currents can be quite strong. Swimmers can basically be swept through parts of the city by the current without having to take a single stroke. On especially hot days, a Aare swim is a great way yo cool down.
Museums of Lucerne
Lucerne, the unofficial cultural capital of Francophone Switzerland, is filled with interesting museums. The train-filled Swiss Transportation Museum is always a favorite for visiting families, while the Lucerne Art Museum and the Rosengart Collection, a impressive exhibit space featuring modernist works by the likes of Picasso, will be of interest for those in search of Switzerland’s artistic side. The city’s nicely preserved Old Town draws lots of tourists as well.