A man standing at the top of a hill, looking down towards Interlaken, into a valley of meadows and mountains.
Joshua Earle

12 top tips for an amazing Swiss summer

Handle summer like a pro this year with our guide to making the most of Switzerland

Written by Time Out. Paid for in partnership with Switzerland Tourism.
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It’s official: the time to start planning your summer has arrived. And while this is always a wonderful thing to do, considering all that Switzerland has to offer, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve got you covered when it comes to crafting the ultimate Swiss summer.

Below are our tips for 12 fantastic experiences that you can enjoy across the country. Whether you’re looking to get active, kick back and relax, enjoy the great outdoors or simply indulge in some culinary excellence, there’s a quintessential Swiss activity with your name on it. We’ve picked out biking, hiking, train-riding, wine-making, city-chilling and lots more, so start mapping out your itinerary and get ready to witness Switzerland in all its summer glory.

And remember that’s all just a taster of what you can do in Switzerland. Find tons more great tips for summer activities, events and holidays of all shapes and sizes, plucked from all over the country, at myswitzerland.com/expats.

You’ll discover all kinds of fascinating sights and oddities while hiking around Herznach. Look out for a mine, numerous fossils and various exciting playgrounds that children will love. The picnic you’ve packed will be another big highlight of the day, and you can enjoy your feast on a well-deserved break at lots of different points: at a barbecue area, next to a forest hut, in the pine forest or any other spot that takes your fancy.

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Embark on a gourmet hike with serious treats for the tastebuds, walking to a different part of the trail between each course. During the hike you’ll see glacier lakes, blooming Alpine meadows, idyllic valleys and wildly romantic gorges. You can even choose your own route, as the three restaurants you’ll be eating at are the only fixed points along the way.

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Immerse yourself in fascinating historical stories, impressive landscapes and delicious local food on a guided tour through the beautiful canton of Uri. You’ll experience a journey through time at the famous Gotthard Pass, discovering more about the railway’s construction and the lives of those who worked on it, and you’ll even get to try some local culinary specialties during the course of the tour, giving you a true taste of life in the past.

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Anyone and everyone can easily undertake this fantastic cycle tour thanks to the powerful e-bike you’ll be riding, meaning that it’s suitable for all levels of experience and fitness. You’ll zip past castles and other dramatic buildings dating back to the 19th century, stopping off to savour a packed lunch crammed full of regional foods – plus a generous aperitif at the end of the trip, which you’ll definitely have earned by that point.

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The people of Val d’Hérens in Valais are proud of three things: their local dialect, the peak of the Dent Blanche mountain and their Hérens cows. In summer, high up on Alp Mandelon and enclosed in the wild mountain environment, you’ll find four of these magnificent cows belonging to Morgane Seppey. She and her family keep a herd of Hérens cows, thus continuing to preserve a hundred-year-old tradition.

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Valais may be a skiing paradise in winter, but it’s also famous for the amount of sun it receives, which helps produce some excellent local wines. You’ll find some of these in the wine-growing village of Salgesch, in the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park, where Luc Mounir and his family grow top-quality wines. They primarily work with traditional grape varieties and follow principles based on nature – an approach which is appreciated by both future generations of wine-lovers and visitors to the nature park.

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Do you ascend a mountain peak, hike through lush meadows or explore a vast forest? It’s a tough choice, but whatever you pick will be a great option, because you’re in Switzerland! Thanks to over 65,000 kilometres of waymarked trails, virtually every corner of the country is waiting to be discovered. Paths are well-marked and as varied as the scenery, leaving you free to simply enjoy the journey.

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Are you ready for 11 large lakes, four official languages, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 1,280 kilometres of magnificent views in-between? On the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, you’ll see all the highlights and sights in Switzerland via unrivalled panoramic views, year-round. Hop on-board, lean back and enjoy the ride – to wherever you like.

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We all need a break from the day-to-day routine once in a while, and Switzerland has numerous settings that are perfect for that exact occasion. Boutique Swiss towns and cities offer a wealth of entertainment, culture, dining and drinking, sightseeing and lots more, all in a compact space. You’ll soon feel like a local – and then you’ll realise that seeing your chosen boutique town through a local’s eyes is an unforgettable experience for visitors.

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