Switzerland is more than a land of chocolate and luxury shopping. The destination is known for its melting pot of culture, easy-to-use public transportation system and an endless amount of outdoor activities. Here are four highlights that feature the best of Switzerland, a country your clients will visit again and again.
“Geneva is the most international city in Switzerland,” says Philippe Vignon, managing director, Geneva Tourism & Conventions. “Geneva is known for the spread of its culture with over 40 museums, theaters and festivals.”
The city is a melting pot of cultures, offering a small-town feel with a variety of cuisine. “That makes it very interesting because just walking around you get the feeling of having the world here,” Vignon says. “We tend to say Geneva is a ‘world of its own.’ You have the feeling that it’s a global place, despite the fact that it’s small.”
While Geneva is home to international organizations like the United Nations Office, it is also host to the largest concentration of five-star hotels in the country and offers visitors a variety of activities from swimming in Lake Geneva to exploring the old town or having a spa experience. It’s also a great base city from which to explore nearby towns.
“Americans can easily land in Geneva and spend two or three days (coming from other regions in France or Italy). It’s the perfect gateway to discover the Alps, visiting Zermatt or Chamonix, and mix up the flair of a small town with a well-preserved countryside,” Vignon says.
“Interlaken, as the name says, is between two lakes, so it’s very famous for outdoor [activities]. You can go up every mountain with a cable car or train; people enjoy being outdoors and we have a lot of adventure sports,” says Annie Neukomm, manager, sales promotion, Interlaken Tourism.
Set between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is a great base for adventure travelers and those seeking the great outdoors. Neukomm says that many North American travelers stay in the area because it is close to a variety of outdoor activities, such as the glacier village of Grindelwald, a 30-minute train ride away, which is a starting point for Alpine glacier tours and climbing. Recommend adventure seekers go paragliding over Interlaken for a truly scenic view, with a landing in the Hohematte meadow.
Hot New Hotels
Switzerland has a few high-end hotel openings this winter, from the first W Hotel in the Alps, W Verbier, opening Dec. 1 to the five-star The Chedi Andermatt, also set to open in December. The 123-room W Verbier is set next to the main gondola and will offer access to the resort’s ski slopes, as well as W’s signature Whatever/Wherever service. This means the concierge can provide your clients with five-star treatment, arranging anything from ski equipment to private jet service. The chalet-style Chedi hotel, meanwhile, is located near the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort in the Urseren valley. Guests can find a wine and cigar room, as well as apres-ski bar, pool and two gourmet restaurants.
Travel Made Easy
Nonstop flights are available to Geneva from New York, Washington, D.C., and Montreal, as well to Zurich from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. In May 2014, Edelweiss Air, part of Swiss International Air Lines, will add twice-weekly nonstop flights from Las Vegas to Zurich.
The train rides from the airports in Geneva and Zurich are both under 10 minutes to the city-centers.
For more on Switzerland, visit myswitzerland.com.