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Switzerland luxury and adventure: the top spots to visit

This is a guest post by Anna Timbrook of Expert World Travel

If you’re a world traveler who chases extreme outdoor adventures, you’re likely used to camping and “roughing it.” But why not blend your passion for conquering the wilderness with a little luxury?

Switzerland offers the best of both worlds combining extreme activities like glacier hiking, canyoning, and paragliding with luxury accommodations, spas, and dining. 

Here’s what to expect in Switzerland’s top spots for luxury and adventure.

St. Moritz

St. Moritz is the crown jewel of Swiss resort towns, and that’s saying a lot in a country like Switzerland. A playground for the rich and famous in the Engadin Valley, the town is filled with five-star hotels, high-end shopping, and swanky dining.

The scenic Lake St. Moritz is an easy walk away from the posh hotels, and the surrounding valleys and slopes offer all-day summer hikes through peaceful meadows past picturesque farmhouses.  Or you can opt to ride the Corviglia tramway to the top of 10,000-foot peaks with breathtaking views.

Photo by Alberto Bianchini 

St. Moritz is home to exciting winter sports such as ice cricket and skijoring, a sport in which you’re pulled on skis by horse, dog, or vehicle, and of course, some of the world’s best skiing. From December through January, the town hosts the Cresta Run, a skeleton course for sledding with white-knuckle curves and dips. Beginners are given a lower starting point.

St. Moritz has exquisite dining all year long, and every January the town hosts the Gourmet Festival. Chefs from around the world converge to demonstrate their impressive culinary skills in various hotels and locations.

Lucerne

In Lucerne, you can get spoiled in luxury at the Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa amid breathtaking views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains. It features 102 lavishly appointed rooms, a gourmet terrace restaurant, and unlimited access to Bürgenstock Alpine Spa.

The spa is a deeply relaxing experience with a sauna, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and treatment rooms as well as an infinity-edge pool and spa garden.

Bürgenstock Alpine Spa, Lucerne, Switzerland

The hotel is near an Alpine golf course and the towering Hammetschwand Elevator, Europe’s tallest outdoor lift.

From an underground boarding station, passengers are shot to the top of Mt. Bürgenstock in a glass-walled elevator in just under a minute. It’s a hair-raising ride with some of Switzerland’s most spectacular views from  3,700 feet above sea level

Read: A Switzerland mountains cheese and chocolate tour review

For more thrills in Lucerne head to Pilatus Rope Park featuring 10 different environmental obstacles to test your skills and bring a rush of adrenaline. It’s safe for adventurers of all ages as they climb, balance, and dash on zip lines. No specialized knowledge is needed, and the staff instructs you and looks out for your safety.

Lucerne, Switzerland
Photo by Jovana Askrabic

In the village of Stans, you can take the funicular and a cable car to the top of the Stanserhorn, an 1850-metre tall mountain with hiking opportunities and a restaurant with a revolving floor and 360-degree views of the Pilatus, Lake Lucerne, and the Bernese Alps. While the extreme adventurist can book a hang gliding tandem flight to fly like a bird for up to an hour before landing in the valley.

Interlaken

Interlaken is known as the Adventure Capital of Switzerland with extreme sports like paragliding and canyoning.

Experience the thrill of paragliding in all seasons. A driver takes you and a professional paragliding pilot and all the necessary equipment up the mountain for a tandem glide. You’ll get a briefing that includes a safety talk. The spectacular views of the Jungfrau Mountain and the Interlaken region begin at the take-off site.

Paragliding at Interlaken, the Adventure Capital of Switzerland
Image by Rodrigo Curi

Marvel at a masterpiece of nature at Interlaken’s Glacier Canyon. The canyon was carved by the lower Grindelwald glacier which disappeared and left a canyon with a sensory walk through tunnels and exposed rock galleries. Water cascading into the Lütschine River below periodically sends a rush of wind and the temperature fluctuates as rays of light reflect off the canyon walls.

For the true adrenaline junkie, a net platform called the Spiderweb spans the canyon for walking or crawling seven metres above the river.

Read: Why you should drink water straight out of Zurich’s fountains

For luxurious dining, book a table at the rotating Piz Gloria Restaurant atop a 2,970-m. peak in the Bernese Alps. A cable car takes you to the restaurant with an outdoor viewing deck for impressive scenery.  Culinary delights range from snacks to regional dishes. 

Zermatt

Located in southern Switzerland at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn peak, the resort town of Zermatt is unbeatable for luxury plus adventure.

Image by Victor He

It has an outstanding snow record for superb skiing in winter and the trails can be hiked in summer. It’s a pedestrian town with taxis and buses that connect to all the main lift stations in the valley.

For luxury, you’ll find charming hotels and romantic luxury chalets. There are horse-drawn sleigh rides, a fantastic nightlife, and exclusive spas. A ring of 38 peaks towering around 4,000 metres high provides spectacular scenery.

Anna Timbrook was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

And thank you to Joshua Earle for the Matterhorn image used at the top of this post.

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