Switzerland is best known as a winter destination, as it’s home to some of the best ski slopes and resorts in the world. If that’s not enough to lure you, here are 25 beautiful pictures that showcase the best of the Swiss winter experience.
Some of the most beautiful moments in Switzerland come when you least expect them. The Gurnigel Pass is a high mountain pass connecting the towns of Riggisberg and Zollhaus. This photo snapped at night turns a rather bleak Alpine landscape into something a little more magical.
The medieval town of Gruyères is even more beautiful come wintertime when Christmas trees illuminate its cobbled streets. The town is also the undisputed cheese capital of Switzerland, so fondue tasting is a must.
If you love glitz and glamour, or if you are just mad for great ski slopes, then you shouldn’t look any further than St. Moritz, one of Switzerland’s premier ski resorts.
The Glacier Express
The Glacier Express runs between the ski resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt. On this day-long journey through the Alps, you’ll see plenty of sights that’ll take your breath away.
Lac de Joux, Vaud
The Lac de Joux, in the Swiss canton of Vaud, is a water sports hub during the summer and a massive, natural ice rink during the winter. It’s incredibly popular with locals, and the Vallée de Joux in which it sits is perfect for a winter stroll.
The Great Aletsch Glacier
The Great Aletsch Glacier is Europe’s largest glacier at a whopping 23 kilometers (14.3 miles) long. Best seen by walking along the ridge that runs along its side, you’ll be in awe at the sheer size of this natural monster.
Sunsets to die for
Sunsets in Switzerland during winter are simply magical, as the sky turns a mottled yellow against the white of the Alps. Check out this list of places where you can catch the most beautiful sunsets.
Did we mention that Switzerland gets cold? During the winter months, the usually placid Lac Léman can be whipped up so much by ferocious winds that it resembles an ocean rather than a lake. Afterward, the deep freeze leaves everything – trees, benches and cars – coated in ice, similar to this waterfront in Versoix.
Zurich isn’t quite the capital of Switzerland, but it certainly feels like it. It’s also livelier than Bern and more Swiss than Geneva. In winter, it’s one of the best places to try out typical Swiss food, such as fondue and raclette, and the city comes alive at night. It is one of the country’s top nightlife destinations, after all.
The Swiss Alps
Wherever you go in the Swiss Alps, and you should go, you are treated to spectacular backdrops, dramatic mountain views and, of course, snow. Strap on your skis or snowshoes and explore this veritable wilderness.
Nobody does Christmas decorations better
Christmas is when Switzerland really kicks into gear. Town centres around the country glow, and even the lakes don some decorations, like Lac Léman in the picture above during the Montreux Noël winter festival.
St. Gallen: Feel the deep freeze
A snowy coat drapes over the trees; lakes freeze over, and the ground crunches beneath your feet. That’s what a winter wander offers you in Switzerland, as well as a canvas for pretty awesome photos like this one snapped in the countryside near St. Gallen.
Watching the sun disappear over the distant Alps never gets old. This photo was taken near Binii in the canton of Valais, a chalet that’s a little off the tourist trail.
The winding streets of Bern’s old town, Switzerland’s capital city, make it feel more like a town than a city. From the nearby Gurten Hill, you can watch as the sun goes down over the snow-covered rooftops, and then head back into town for a warm glass of gluhwein to ease off the winter chill.
The Goms Valley
When winter descends on the Goms Valley in Valais, which is a top summer destination for wine, all the traditional chalet-type houses disappear beneath thick blankets of snow. On the Glacier Express, you’ll pass through this quiet valley in the shadow of its three mountain peaks.
Lucerne, the heart of central Switzerland, is beautiful at the best of times, but a crisp coating of snow brings out a little more. The famous Chapel Bridge, Europe’s oldest covered bridge, is the city’s landmark.
The beauty of the jagged, tooth-like Matterhorn never fades, no matter how many times, nor from which angle, you see it. You’ll quickly see why it’s known as the world’s most photographed mountain. Head to the car-free ski resort of Zermatt to reach it.
Slopes with a view
Skiing in Switzerland is challenging. Keeping your eyes on the slopes can be difficult when you’re faced with clear views of snow-capped mountain tops such as the Matterhorn. It’s a real trial.
Adventure sports in Interlaken
Interlaken is the adventure capital of Switzerland. If you strap on a Go-Pro and take to the skies, you could be enjoying sights like this with your own eyes – if you’ve got the stomach that is.
Kandersteg is a resort in the Blausee Nature Park in the Bernese Oberland, one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland. Hiking in the area in winter is recommended as you can follow mountain trails that skirt past some of the most spectacular lakes in Switzerland – the Oeschinensee and the Blausee.
Eggli is the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad’s local mountain. Gstaad is known best for its A-list visitors, but if autograph hunting isn’t your sort of thing, you should set out for Eggli, sit back and enjoy the celebrity-free peace and quiet.
On clear days, snow-covered Mount Titlis glows in the winter sun. The 3,000-plus-metre (9,842 feet) mountain is where you’ll find the infamously jaw-rattling Titlis Cliff Walk. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Reaching Mount Pilatus, Lucerne’s local mountain is an adventure all by itself. You can set off by boat, climb up the mountainside via a cogwheel train and then enjoy beautiful panoramic views from the gondolas.
Davos is where the world’s economic bigwigs go every year to discuss how to make more money. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time (on the contrary). There’s so much to do in, and outside, this gem of a town that you’ll wish you could stay longer.
The plane ride in
One of the best things about Switzerland, unless you suffer from aerophobia, is the flight across the Alps. In winter, the Alps stretch beneath you like an endless sea of rock, ice and snow. Needless to say, you should opt for a window seat.
By: Sean Mowbray