Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Switzerland

With towering, snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, quaint little villages, medieval towns, rolling hills and lots of cheese and mouthwatering chocolate – Switzerland has it all.

If you’re an adrenaline seeker, then the Swiss Alps are the place for you – you can ski, snowboard, paraglide, white-water raft, mountaineer, toboggan along the longest run in Europe or go hiking and biking in the Swiss National Park.

If you want to admire the Alpine views from the safety of the medieval cobbled streets of a nearby town or city – you can! You can do this whilst taking in some of the country’s amazing architecture and world-class art or whilst going on food tours and learning how Swiss cheese and chocolate are made. The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless. Keep reading to find out more about some of Switzerland’s best bits.

Let’s start off in the capital city, Bern. The beautifully preserved Old Town of Bern has been dedicated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as, amazingly, much of the city has remained unchanged since its founding in 1191. You can explore the medieval cobbled streets of the Old Town and go on a 16th century fountain hunt. Known as the ‘City of Fountains’, there have been folk figures prettily frolicking on top of 11 fountains across the Old Town since the 16th century. These fascinating figures depict characters in Swiss folklore.

From here go to Interlaken, one of the most visually stunning cities in the world. There is no shortage of experiences to have here, both above and below the mountain tops. One of the best and most exhilarating things to do here is to run off the top of a mountain at full speed and fly over snow-capped trees, shimmering lakes and the beautiful Swiss city.

In Interlaken, you can also go on Swiss food tours where you can try different types of chocolate and also learn how it is made. There are even chocolate-making classes where you can make your own chocolate bar to take home!

Next stop is the longest toboggan run in Europe, the “Big Pintenfritz”. The sledge run from Faulhorn to Grindelwald Oberäll covers a total of around 11 kilometres and more than 1,350 metres in depth – and you do it all on the back of an old-fashioned sledge!

From the longest toboggan run in Europe to the continent’s highest railway station at Jungfraujoch. You can ride the train up to the station which is sat at 3,454 metres, is nicknamed the “Top of Europe” and has the most breathtaking views from the top!

Go to Zürich, thought to be one of the most expensive cities in the world, and prepare your eyes to absorb the rainbow of buildings that is Augustinergasse. In the 17th century, store owners competed with each other for the best façade, which resulted in the vivid colours and intricate wood carvings which adorn the buildings to this day.

Next stop is the Swiss National Park. Go on the hiking or biking trails in this high-altitude national park and admire the flower-strewn meadows, rocky outcrops, piercing blue lakes and traditional Alpine huts along the way.

From here, go to one of Europe’s most desirable Alpine resorts, Zermatt, for the best views of the incredibly iconic peak, the Matterhorn. From here, you can go skiing, climbing and hiking in the Matterhorn’s shadow whilst taking in the most spectacular scenery.

Our final stop is Lake Geneva. Experience Europe’s largest lake from the “city of peace”, Geneva. Surrounded by the Alps and Jura Mountains, this hidden gem has fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the lake. From Geneva, you can go paddle-boarding on the lake and also admire the Water Jet (Jet d’Eau) – a 140-metre-high water fountain which is iconic to the city.