Over the years and with every excuse possible, we’ve made dozens of trips to visit Switzerland. Whether those trips were for business and included just short sprints to the countryside or for pleasure with the kids causing bedlam in the back seats or for a romantic long weekend away, Switzerland never fails to deliver on great experiences. So after some vigorous debate amongst friends and family, we’ve taken our many, many trips and whittled them down to just a few of our favourites. These destinations were chosen for being unique, off-the-beaten-track and not typically seen by the hordes of tourists passing through, yet still remarkably beautiful, fun and thrilling. Happy journeys and for goodness sake don’t forget the tablet for the kids!
Located on Switzerland’s northern edge and in a short drive from Basel is the simply spectacular archeological site of the Augusta Raurica, an ancient Roman colony founded over 2, 000 years ago. This remarkable site is considered by many historians to be the best preserved Roman town north of the Alps. Guests are given every opportunity to wander through the ancient town’s houses, taverns and temples. There is also every opportunity to live like the Romans once did back in 44 BC where you can bake bread in wood fired ovens, make pottery or take a picnic lunch break on the steps of the amphitheatre. Take your part in a real archeological excavation and in the process learn a lot about this ancient city’s history, where in its heydey it was home to over 20,000 people.
While Switzerland may be well known for its lush green and beautiful forests, you haven’t seen nothing until you have taken a visit to the Seven Springs. The water from these springs swells into the Simme, a 55km long river bed that trails its way through the Bernese Oberland eventually feeding into Lake Thun. These beautiful waterfalls are found at Wimmis, in the canton of Berne and are purely mesmerising to watch as the water cascades over rocks several meters high. The Simmen waterfall is famous for its bubbles that are formed out of the water smashing against an immense limestone wall creating a spectacle that is simply amazing no matter the age of every member in your clan.
An endless source of wonder and fascination, make sure to take a day trip to the Castles of Bellinzona to see the fortified walls, towers, battlements and gates of this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Bellinzona’s medieval castles are believed to date as far back as 590 AD, and include the Castelgrande, Castello Montebello and Castello Sasso Corbaro. Indeed, while today they are mere remnants beautifully adorning this ancient world, many moons ago these great fortifications once protected the city of Bellinzona, as they comprised a critical line of defense. Today, the Castelgrande houses the Archeological Museum and the Museum of Art, the Castello Montebello and the Corbaro Sasso are considered to be the best preserved medieval castles in Switzerland, which makes them all the more remarkable as you venture inside their cavernous halls.
For my kids, it was the Gornergrat Railway that took the status of favourite destination and to be fair, I can absolutely understand why. The highly endearing and romantic train ride takes you on a ride 4,000 meters high and surrounded by the rocky ridge of glaciers. The train starts out from Zermatt station and in around half an hour concludes in Gornergrat. Having made this journey to and fro for more than a century, the Gornergrat Railway is rightly a national treasure. It offers some spectacular sweeping views of snow capped peaks from the Gorner Glacier to the Matterhorn. Better yet, take a ride at sunset, as the views of the sun setting on the snow is simply from another world.
Whether you choose the Evoque SE or the Sport HSE, hire the perfect Range Rover rental to set across Switzerland. With the ultimate list for you to decide where to go, discover these great destinations for yourself and of course all within the confines of a fabulous SUV.