Three of the best trips in Switzerland
Gorge on wine and chocolates or simply enjoy a stroll through the Swiss alps.
For spectacular views
Leaving from the village of Grindelwald in central Switzerland, this Alpine tour takes you all the way to the "top of Europe", says Lonely Planet to Europe's highest railway station, Jungfraujoch. At 3,454 metres, the views are "simply magnificent in this incredible world of eternal snow and ice, and the cogwheel train railway is a fascinating way to get around the mountains".
The ascent begins in the Alpine station of Kleine Scheidegg, where the cogwheel mountain train begins its nine kilometre journey. First stop is Eigerwand, 9,399 feet above sea level, where the train stops to allow passengers five minutes of taking in the view through windows carved into the north face of the Eiger. The final destination, Jungfraujoch itself, looks like a James Bond villain's lair, with tunnels leading off to various attractions. You can trek down a tunnel through the heart of the Aletsch Glacier, or take an express lift 40 feet up to the Sphinx viewing platform at the peak of Jungfraujoch but this is only for those who have a head for heights.
A return train ticket from Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch will cost £122, including entry to all attractions. Accommodation at the Hotel Kirchbuhl in Grindelwald costs from £150 a night. Contact: www.kirchbuehl.ch, 00 41 33 854 40 80.
For wine buffs
Cheese and chocolate are the delicacies most commonly associated with Switzerland, so you might be surprised to learn that the country has a great deal to offer wine buffs. A popular choice for wine-tasting holidays is the Chteau de Villa in the village of Sierre, in the canton of Valais. Set in a 16th-century castle in the foothills of the Alps, tastings are held in the purpose-built Sensorama, where a wide range of courses and seminars are offered for amateurs and professionals alike.
There are more than 650 wines from 110 local producers to choose from, offering the largest choice in the country. An hour-long wine-tasting class covering eight wines will cost around £27 per person and £104 per group for the seminars.
The chteau also has its own restaurant, serving local meat and cheeses. A three-course menu with raclette (a Swiss speciality, involving you guessed it cheese) will cost around £34 per head.
Email email@example.com. The Grichting-Badnerhof hotel in nearby Leukerbad offers double rooms from £167 (www.hotel-grichting.ch).
For a leisurely mountain stroll
From the town of Leukerbad in the canton of Valais, you can see the start of the Gemmi Pass, 7,500 feet above sea level, in the Berner Oberland (Highlands). This is perhaps the most dramatic part of the Alps that can be explored without climbing gear. From Leukerbad, a cable car takes six minutes to reach the pass, at £14.50 for a one-way ticket.
The walk follows an 18th-century pack horse route from Lake Daubensee to Sunnbuel. Along the way you might be lucky enough to see the peak of the Matterhorn in the Pennine Alps.
The 250-year-old Schwarenbach hotel serves a three-course lunch that will cost less than £30 a head. On leaving the comfort of the Schwarenbach, the landscape widens out and the track slowly descends to the cable car station at Sunnbuel, which will take you to Kandersteg for £16. Including a one-hour break for lunch, the path takes up to four hours to complete, or seven to eight hours without using the cable cars.
Accommodation at the Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria in Kandersteg costs from £130 for a double room. For more information, see www.hotel-victoria.ch/en.
Travel in Switzerland
The rail pass for Switzerland gives unlimited access to the Swiss public transport system, including boats and buses. Swisspass is available for four, eight, 15 or 22 days, or for a full month. See Swiss-pass.ch. For more on Switzerland and rail travel, visit: www.MySwitzerland.com. See www.swiss.com for flights to Switzerland.