Famed for its chocolate box villages and breathtaking alpine scenery, the European country of Switzerland has long been a destination of choice for the discerning traveller.
From the picturesque lakeside cities of Zürich and Lucerne to the winter wonderland of Zermatt, Switzerland’s topographical and cultural diversity serve up a fascinating feast for all the senses.
Historically renowned as a winter sports destination, this small, landlocked country with no less than four official languages, is now home to a vibrant cultural scene, a wealth of unforgettable dining experiences and - perhaps the country’s best kept secret - a centuries-old wine industry built on the principle of quality over quantity.
Consistently ranked among the world’s richest countries, it comes as no surprise to learn that the travel sector in Switzerland leans - albeit not exclusively - towards the luxury end of the market. Four and five star hotels are plentiful, with a wide range of styles on offer: from the classical elegance of Bern’s iconic Bellevue Palace to the modern design of Zermatt’s Omnia Mountain Lodge, Switzerland’s first class accommodation is a match for anywhere in the world when it comes to quality and choice. And the same can be said of the country’s culinary scene. Although gourmet food and drink have not always been synonymous with this nation (that is, beyond the reputation of its chocolate!), Switzerland boasts numerous Michelin and Gault Millau listed restaurants serving everything from rustic national fare to French haute cuisine. Two of its cities - Zürich and Geneva - rank in the top five worldwide for Michelin stars per capita, and a number of individual restaurants, including Basel’s three Michelin starred Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl, are regularly featured in lists of the world’s top eateries. Of course, fine dining is most often accompanied by fine wine and the Swiss are no exception to this. Extensive wine lists are a staple of almost all Swiss restaurants, with local grapes such as Chasselas and Petite Arvine championed alongside a host of international varieties.
And since very little of the wine produced in Switzerland ever makes it beyond the national boundary, only a small number of savvy travellers and wine aficionados have discovered this largely hidden gem. So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re looking for traditional Raclette washed down with a crisp, dry Chasselas, or a seven course tasting menu with locally produced wine pairings, Switzerland offers something for every taste... and almost every budget!
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