Switzerland – it’s a name that conjures up images straight out of The Sound of Music: dramatic, snow-peaked mountains, charming little villages, dinky red mountain trains winding their way through spectacular valleys and pale brown cows with vast bells dangling round their necks. Fortunately, for the most part the immense wealth reaped from their international banking and watchmaking industries hasn't resulted in an excess of flamboyant ski resorts that cater exclusively for the über-wealthy. Instead, Switzerland boasts some of the most diverse, accessible and exciting resorts in the world.
Visitors to this tiny country in the heart of the Alps will discover that the superlatives used so frequently to describe it are well deserved – it is breathtakingly beautiful. They also find reliable public transport and excellent hotels, food and service. For skiers, there are even more plus points: Swiss resorts are easily accessible by plane, train and automobile; they're high – you'll find Europe's largest glaciers and more mountains over 4000 m than in any other European country; and they're attractive, family-friendly and offer a wide range of accommodation. While its reputation for being wildly expensive is partly deserved, particularly in glitzy resorts such as St Moritz and Klosters, on the whole accommodation, food and lift passes are competitive with major French and Austrian resorts.
Some of the world's most iconic mountains are found in Switzerland (the Eiger, Jungfrau and Matterhorn) and skiing is very much about long descents reached from lofty cable cars rather than short runs accessed from chairlifts like those in Spain and Italy. In keeping with the Swiss stereotype for efficiency, lift systems are reliable, if somewhat dated in some resorts. Furthermore, environmentalists will be impressed by the green credentials of most Swiss ski resorts – several are car-free, many run their ski lifts on biogas and virtually all have expanded both the village and ski area in accordance with strict environmental regulations.
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|Currency||Swiss Franc (CHF)|
|Time zone||GMT +1|