Switzerland has a reputation as an expensive holiday destination… sumptuous lakeside hotels, exclusive ski resorts, designer spas and luxury-label shopping. But tourism in our alpine nation doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. Our reporters have traveled the country to find the best ways to enjoy the summer in Switzerland without breaking the bank.
A magical, underground mystery tour Tuesday, 4 August, 2009Deep under the earth in Saint Léonard, a small town just east of Sion in the canton of Valais, ferrymen await their passengers. Fear not, this isn’t the River Styx, but the largest underground lake in Europe—and your guides are cheery. We sent Lucas Chambers down to take the tour.
Who needs the sea when you have the Aare Friday, 31 July, 2009Landlocked Switzerland loves its waterways, and perhaps nowhere moreso than in Bern where the River Aare—with its distinctive clear green waters—cuts and winds its way through the city. In summertime, it’s filled with swimmers who happily brave those chilly waters. Stand on a bridge or along the shore and you’ll see dozens of them floating past, carried downstream and literally around the town centre by the strong current. Vincent Landon takes us down to the river:
Winegrowers create a new variety of B&B Thursday, 30 July, 2009If you travel to the village of Trasadingen in Canton Schaffhausen, B&B takes on a rather unusual accommodation connotation: Barrel & Breakfast. One enterprising family in this traditional winegrowing village offers you the chance to sleep in a wine barrel—for only 28 CHF. Vincent Landon took his family along for a sleep tasting.
Summer turns some farmers into hoteliers Wednesday, 29 July, 2009When summer comes, more than 200 Swiss farmers boot the cows out of the barn and open up space to tourists. Reporter Alex Helmick went to Lungern, just outside Interlaken, for a night down on the farm.
Wine with a view Tuesday, 28 July, 2009For just CHF20, you get a two-hour tour and a chance to sample wines squeezed from the sun-soaked grapes which decorate the shores of Lake Geneva. Lucas Chambers takes us on a ride through Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage site prized for its cascading vineyards and stunning views:
Youth hostels are growing up Monday, 27 July, 2009Youth hostelling, it seems, is not all about youth anymore. It’s growing in popularity for all ages. The Swiss Youth Hostels Association says backpackers spent more than 986,000 nights in the country’s 59 hostels last year and turnover rose to more than CHF 40 million. But in the face of growing competition from other budget accommodation, hostels are having to move with the times. Our Zurich correspondent Vincent Landon has the story: