- (c) Muu Karhu
Winter activities in Switzerland eh ? Hmm, let us think about that for approximately a nano-second before deciding if there are plenty of things to do...
...There are, of course, plenty of things to do! And we're not just talking about the obvious skiing and snowboarding.
Whilst skiing is undoubtedly the bread and butter for Switzerland when it comes to winter tourism, there are other activities on offer for those who might not feel like they're up to the challenge of hurtling down the slopes on two long planks. For starters, many Swiss ski resorts are well equipped with other sporting facilities, be it sports centres, swimming pools, ice-skating rinks, wellness centres. Then there are other activities to try on the snow that don't involve skiing - hiking trails and snow-walking are becoming increasingly popular in the winter, with dedicated routes to compliment resort's ski pistes. If you fancy a rush of speed then tobogganing remains as popular as ever, with some incredibly long runs to test your steering on, or smaller, dedicated centres, such as the fantastic facility at Leysin, not lengthy runs like some of the traditional tobogganing slopes, but fantastically-designed short runs that will really get the adrenaline pumping.
For those visitors wanting a much slower-paced visit to Switzerland, then trips to Switzerland's major cities can be beautiful in winter, and you can still take a cable car or train trip up into the surrounding mountains to get a good look at the country's fabulous winter sports, even if you don't want to take part.
Switzerland has some incredible annual events to base a holiday around, and non more so than some of those taking place in the winter. The Chateau d'Oex Balloon festival for instance, is one of the most beautiful sights imaginable on a clear winter's day, a graceful show of man working alongside nature. This is in stark contrast to the sheer energy of some of the other annual events that take place in Switzerland's mountains - the major ski racing events (such as the Lauberhorn Races at Wengen) that attract thousands of spectators every year to see the world's top skiers tackle the brutal terrain of some of the sport's most famous ski slopes.
Many of Switzerland's top excursions are still possible during the winter too - this is certainly not a country that shuts down just because there's been a hard frost or a dusting of snow ! And for a real treat, head there in December and take a look at some of the wonderful Christmas Markets that pop up in some of the major towns and cities across Switzerland.