THE DAREDEVILS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND

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Thrillseekers head to Switzerland in winter for its perfect powder and apres ski, however there is just as much fun to be had before the snow settles.

Fly to Zurich and take undeniably the world’s most reliable and easy to use trains to Interlaken. The route will take in Switzerland’s pretty scenery, passing through sunny valleys, natural waterfalls, glacial mountains and snow capped peaks. Change trains at Interlaken, the area’s biggest (and busiest city) and head over to the minaturee town of Murren- car free and stunning views, and perfect place to relax.

Take your time to explore this region- weather in the mountains will normally dictate your plans, and it’s well worth waiting for a clear day to see them in their full glory. From Murren, you can catch a cable car up to the Schilthorn mountain, which is a must for any Bond fans as the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was set and filmed in the area. With a 007 Museum to celebrate all things Bond, there is an open air walk of fame. You can even enjoy a brunch, lunch or dinner in the restaurant at the top of Piz Gloria in the 360 degree rotating restaurant. Overlooking the top of the valleys at 9748 feet (2971m) is quite an experience to start any holiday-and very romantic.

A popular hot spot for skiing in the winter, this pretty area is a blaze of colour in the summer, with every chalet boasting a riot of blooms in its window box. With the meadows in the surrounding mountains offering inviting scenery to explore, cable cars are on standby to take you to the top of the mountain- you just won’t be skiing down.

For adventure seekers, head on over to the Harry Potter-sounding Grindelwald. This is the perfect base for all sorts of hair-raising summer activities. Buying a pre-paid ticket at base level cable car (CHF 99) allows participation in any four exhilarating pursuits. Biking is a hugely popular sport in the mountains, and the Summer Gemel bike is the latest craze. Based on a toboggan, with three wheels and a brake, the Gemel can get up some speed- but once you have the hang of using your body weight to manoeuvre it, the 6km journey downhill will fly by! For further thrills, Mountain Carts and Trotti bike scooters are also available….

Or if flying is more your thing, Mount First is the dream for zipliners. The First Flyer allows you to soak up the scenery and feel the air on your cheeks as you glide over jagged edges of glaciers. Firmly strapped into a parachute seat and attached to 800 metres of steel cable, you are almost paragliding, but not quite! Not for the faint hearted, as the vertical drop takes you from the very top of First, to the next cable car station at Schreckfeld at speeds of nearly 90 kph. But the birds eye view of the tree tops, 50 metres above the ground make this an unmissable experience and fun way to get down!

If this has whet your appetite, you will love the the mountain’s newest zipwire, the First Glider, which is built to resemble a giant eagle. Four thrillseekers at a time are strapped into harnesses beneath the “wings” of the glider with a platform 2,166-metres above ground level. Helmets on and legs fastened in, expect to scream as you soar face down, in reverse the 800 metres to Schreckfeld and back! Soaring like a bird between Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, if you can overcome your fear-factor, the view is quite remarkable!

After all that exhilaration, there is plenty to do to stabilise your heart rate! Chill out in many of the delightful restaurants or bars in the chocolate box pretty Grindelwald town, and plan another day when your legs have de-jellied themselves!  A mountain cable car to will whisk you up to Lake Bachal, in Bachalpsee. If you’re not whizzing above it on a zip wire, the First mountain range is perfect for exploring by foot. and provides an otherworldly view of the impressive peaks of the Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn mountains. Appreciate some time on terra firma to ground yourself, and soak up the beautiful wildlife and alpine meadows on the hike to Lake Bachal. Known as the pearl of mountain lakes, this is a great spot to appreciate the simple things, and on a clear day, you can spend hours mesmerised by the reflection of the surrounding Bernese Alps; If this sounds too tame, go on the Thrill Walk at the Schilthorn. A mixture of steel and glass walkways, including an 8-metre-long steel tunnel which you’ll have to crawl through, should get your heart-rate back up, but make sure to check what time the last cable car is to get you home!

Whether you want to test your nerves on a high-altitude cliff walk, posing for a picture on the edge of a vertiginous viewing platform, or by jumping into a canyon, there is so much to get your adrenaline pumping in the Jungfrau Region, but remember the cheese, chocolate and wine that you can reward yourself with afterwards and it will all be worth it.  Whatever floats your boat, Switzerland is addictive! Each time you visit, there is something new to tempt you…come in winter to enjoy the guaranteed snow activities, but come in summer for so much more!

FACT BOX                                         

  • Jungfrau Travel Pass – (from 180 CHF for 3 days).
  • First Mountain Activities – (CHF 99 for four activities and unlimited gondola rides on the First Mountain)
  • Swiss International Air Lines – SWISS operates up to 180 weekly flights to Switzerland from London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh (seasonal during summer) and Dublin.
  • Swiss Travel System – The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and destination. Prices are £116 in second class and £188 in first class. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the rail, bus and boat Swiss Travel System network. This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in around 90 towns and cities. The Swiss Travel Pass also includes the Swiss Museum Pass, allowing you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Prices from £197 in second class. For the ultimate Swiss rail specialist call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit www.swisstravelsystem.co.uk

For more information on Switzerland visit www.MySwitzerland.com or call our Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information info.uk@myswitzerland.com; for packages, trains and air tickets sales@stc.co.uk.

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