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Tips and Advise for visiting Switzerland by Road to Travel Inc.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Discovering the glamorous St. Moritz

With the sun shining an average of 320 days a year, 25 beautiful mountain lakes, glaciers, world-class ski slopes and top-class restaurants Saint Moritz has become the most glamorous and glitzy Alpine winter tourism destination. 

St Moritz
It seems that the town has always been a trendsetter: in the 19th century it became the birthplace of Alpine chic winter holidays, in 1878 it was one of the first in Europe to switch on electric lights for Christmas, it hosted the first golf tournament in the Alps and opened the first ski lift in Switzerland.

Although winter is the peak season here, St. Moritz is an exciting place to visit all year around. In summer, you can go hiking, biking, rowing on the lake, playing golf on its four spectacular courses or skating at the Ludains Ice Arena that is open in all season. For winter sports fans there are over 200 miles of pistes, 100 miles of winter walking trails and extensive tracks for cross-country skiers. Adrenaline junkies can whizz down the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina, the world’s oldest bobsleigh track, in a bob led by an expert instructor at a speed of 80 miles an hour. 

Badrutts Palace Hotel
Prefer more tame activities? Head to Badrutt's Palace Hotel for high tea in the lobby. Snuggle up in a comfy armchair and relax in this grand historic palace’s luxurious atmosphere. For shopping check out Via Serlas studded with high-end designer boutiques. For foodies, St. Moritz is a real heaven as it offers a great choice from trendy haut-cuisine restaurants to small taverns serving hearty local dishes. The Devil’s Place at the Hotel Waldhaus Am See is the largest Whisky Bar in the world that offers a selection of 2,500 kinds of the fiery spirit. In January, there is an annual gourmet festival with international celebrity chefs demonstrating their skills. Also in January, you can watch St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow that attracts 15,000 spectators. The famous international horse races White Turf St. Moritz take place in February.

Photos via Flickr by: Ale Granholm, Matthias Forster.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Riding the Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is one of Switzerland’s most scenic train routes that will take you through 91 tunnels and across 291 impressive bridges, past green meadows, Alpine peaks, picturesque villages, manicured vineyards and stunning fortresses. It is known as Europe's slowest express because it travels at the speed of 24 mph and takes over seven hours to cover 180 miles, however, the joy is in the journey when you board the Glacier Express.

Glacier Express
The train departs from the pretty spa town of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn. Stroll around before boarding the train enjoying the car-free streets and fresh air. From there the train will take you along the beautiful Mattertal valley dotted with picture-perfect villages. Next stop – Brig, a beautiful old town with the stunning Baroque Stockalper Palace. It sits at the foot of the Simplon Pass where in the 19th century Napoleon built a road for his armies, the first one in the Alps.

Alps near Andermatt
After a stop in Andermatt, the train starts ascending up to the Oberalp Pass, the highest point of the trip at 2033 metres above sea level. You can snuggle up in your seat and have a hearty lunch with excellent Swiss wine that is served on the train or pop in to the bar car for a drink or two.

The Express slowly takes you through the spectacular Rhine Gorge where the Rhine River starts and that is often referred to as the 'Swiss Grand Canyon'. In a while the train starts descending towards Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland in a beautiful mountain setting with magnificent historic buildings and charming winding alleys.

Depending on the route, the train’s destination is either elegant Davos or the glamorous holiday resort of St. Moritz. The trains heading to Davos cross the famous Wiesner viaduct built in the beginning of the 20th century. The Glacier Express heading to St. Moritz passes the curved Landwasser viaduct where you can observe the front of the train heading into the Landwasser Tunnel.

Photos by: Kevin Poh/Flickr, Michael Day/Flickr, David Gubler/CC.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Engelberg: fresh air, cosy spas and history

No wonder that the charming village of Engelberg in Central Switzerland, just one hour-derive from Lucerne, is a magnet for tourists all year round. Despite its small size, it has it all: ski slopes, walking trails, cosy spas, and a stunning ancient monastery.

Endelberg Panorama
The Benedictine Monastery of Engelberg is the heart of the village. Founded in the early 12th century it has always played an important part in local life. As the legend has it, the Benedictines were the ones who called the settlement “Mountain of Angels” (“engel” in German means “angel”) because they heard divine voices around. Today there are 30 monks still living and working in the monastery.

Skiing resorts in Engelberg attract many experienced winter sports enthusiasts who enjoy the excellent seven-miles long descent, the longest in the Alps, 19 miles of cross-country tracks, snowboarding tracks and winter hiking trails. In summer, a glacier chairlift takes the curious up to the Mountain Titlis glacial crevices, ice grottos and Europe’s highest suspension bridge for a refreshing thrilling walk. 

Benedictine Monastery
There are many cableways (“Buureb√§hnli”) in the area with some smaller and more traditional ones operated by local farmers. They are open all year around and will take you to various peaks for stunning view of the Alps, walks and skiing. 

After vigorous outdoor activities, many head to pamper themselves at local spas with hot saunas, herbal baths and relaxing massages. During summer months, some spas offer fragrant open-air hay baths with views over the Alps.

Ski Slopes
Engelberg hosts many interesting events throughout the year. The world's best ski jumpers gather here in December for the Ski Jumping World Cup, one of the biggest winter sports even in Switzerland. In March, the town wills up with sounds of music as the ProSieben Mountain Jam Music Festival takes place in Engelberg.

Photos via Flickr by: Joe Dyndale, Timo Kaipiainen, Patrick Nouhailler.