Switzerland is packed with so many winter getaways, you’ll be hard pressed to pick just one. Here you’ll find some of the top locations that have everything you’d want from a great Swiss winter adventure; good slopes, great local food and sprawling Christmas markets.
The chalet-dominated resort of Gstaad has a high reputation, being the winter destination of a flock of A-list celebrities over the years (like Julie Andrews and Madonna to name a few). To cater to these lofty names you can expect plenty of high-end restaurants and accommodation, but don’t fret as budget options are also available. Gstaad and its nearby villages also happen to be one of the best spots for skiing.
With so many small villages dotted across the country, Bern may not seem like an obvious choice for a winter getaway. But basing yourself in the Swiss capital opens doors to explore the Bernese Oberland, a playground for everyone whether you’re a history buff, snow lover or winter walker. The city itself is beautiful with a dusting of snow, particularly from the nearby Gurten park.
Tucked along the banks of Lac Léman, Montreux is one of the best choices for a winter getaway that you’ll find. During November and December, the town plays host to arguably the most beautiful Christmas market in the entire country as dozens of stalls lines its streets. Also, visit the ramparts of nearby Chillon Castle, which is straight out of a fairytale, for the perfect spot to admire the snow-capped mountain peaks.
Simply put, the car-free resort of Zermatt should lie near the top of your list. Aside from its vantage point near the ever-photogenic Matterhorn, the iconic mountain of Switzerland, there are also world class ski slopes, a great range of accommodation and plenty of places to relax after a day on the slopes to enjoy a revitalising meal or drink. Zermatt for many is picture perfect, particularly in winter.
The name of St. Moritz goes hand in hand with winter, with the town having hosted the Winter Olympics twice and boasting a long history as a getaway for the rich and famous. It’s a resort that’s at the top of its game when the snow starts to fall. The slopes are crisp and reliably covered throughout the season, meaning you can slide down the same slopes as James Bond without a worry. Take a look at some of our guides on where to stay, eat and what to do when you get there.
Another of the big ones, Davos is the highest town in the Swiss Alps and the biggest holiday complex. That comes with its perks as you won’t go without anything at its top of the line hotels. Head to nearby Klosters to be closer to the slopes. Be sure to take a look at the World Economic Forum’s schedule as they often hold their annual meeting here. This comes with added security and protests.
If you prefer things a little low-key, then Villars may be for you. Picturesque would be the usual way to describe Villars, what with its traditionally Swiss chalets, but comfortable would perhaps be more fitting. There’re plenty of good and gradual slopes nearby that are well suited for beginners and intermediates. All together, Villars is great for a family retreat to relax and enjoy the winter months.
Grindelwald should be the destination of choice for those who want to experience the best skiing in the Bernese Oberland. Taking a walk from the town is the best way to bask in the shadow of the spectacular north face of the Eiger, Grindelwald’s local mountain. From here you can also jump on the railway to the Jungfraujoch, the ‘top of Europe’ and one of the natural wonders of Switzerland.