Switzerland Country Information
From the cosmopolitan offerings of Geneva to the UNESCO heritage site of the Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland is a veritable treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Whether you want to reach the top of the Jungfrau to see the stunning views of the German Black Forest and the French Vosges, visit Lake Geneva's historic lakeside villages like the Olympic city of Lausanne, stroll in the car-free, 7,000-foot atmosphere of Bettmeralp, travel across Lake Lucerne to the alp horn and handoergeli (Swiss accordion) shops in the village of Schwyz, see the Bear Pit in Berne and wonder at the Chillon Castle near Lake Geneva, which is a 12th-century fortress and an inspiration for the works of the poet Lord Byron or chug along in one of the famous Swiss scenic trains: the Golden Pass, the William Tell, the Bernina or Glacier Express as they smoothly snake across Swiss alpine fields, carrying on the breeze, the clanging of cow bells, the faint smell of wood, and the soothing sounds of mountain streams, we are the Swiss travel specialists. Like Swiss master chocolatiers, we at Prathvi will create an exquisite travel confection for you, which will include glacier treks, colourful festivals, local cuisine, historic tours against a backdrop of lush natural beauty and warm Alpine hospitality and have you asking for more.
History & Culture
Switzerland, the peaceful, modern country with a high per capita income and most modern living standards, has had a turbulent history. The country's passageways and mountain passes through the Alps made it a coveted territory for many powerful states in ancient times. The earliest recorded colonizers of Switzerland were the Romans, who brought in the concepts of urban planning to the lake settlements that once characterized Switzerland. In the middle ages, the Swiss Confederation was established and it grew through treaties and forcible seizures of neighbouring territories. After centuries of conflict between Calvinists and Catholics, peasants and nobility, and between the various ruling clans, the Helvetic Republic was created when Napoleon seized the country in early 18th century. In 1848, Switzerland became a federal state. Switzerland's pacifist, neutral position is legendary. In the two world wars, Switzerland refused to join either of the warring sides. This has made Switzerland the centre of many cultural activities. The UN, Red Cross and many important international organizations are based in Switzerland. The people speak French, German, Italian and even Croatian, but linguistic differences have not turned into cultural conflicts in this peace loving nation. Christianity is the dominant religion. But the austere Calvinist past of this country has not hampered the tolerance and broad outlook of the people, who have welcomed people with all religious backgrounds.
At an amazing 3454 metres, Europe's highest altitude railway station awaits you. The trip takes you via Kleine Scheidegg and through the Eiger North Wall up to the scenic splendours of the Jungfraujoch in the heart of a wonderworld of glaciers and eternal ice. Here snow and ice is guaranteed all year round. Attractions include the beautiful Ice Palace, the Sphinx, Observation building overlooking the Aletsch Glacier, husky drawn sledge rides and the Snow Disk Run. Also adventure activities such as Flying Fox, Glacier Trek and Kiss the Glacier are extremely popular.
SCHILTHORN - MAGIC MOUNTAIN - From the top, at almost 3000 mts altitude, you can admire the breathtaking 360 alpine panorama. Over 200 mountain peaks in a spectacular landscape are revealed as the world's first revolving mountain – top restaurant, The Piz Gloria, slowly turns. The unimpeded global view stretches from the Titlis along the Bernese Alps to the Mont Blanc and across the fertile lowland plains to the Black Forest. This restaurant, with 400 seats and a large selection of a-la-carte dishes, takes a full circle within a comfortable 55 minutes. During this time you can admire the wonderful world of the mountains. You can also visit the 'Touristorama'- a multimedia room where you can watch the highlights from the James Bond film ' On Her Majesty's Secret Service ' and multi-vision show on the region. You will also find a Top Shop souvenir kiosk and internet surf station on this magic mountain.
MT. PILATUS - THE HOME MOUNTAIN OF LUCERNE - Pilatus offers a unique excursion with the world's steepest cogwheel train (from mid May to 17 Nov), spectacular cable cars, and modern panorama gondolas. The highlight of this excursion is the magnificent view from 7000 feet above sea level. The cogwheel is the steepest of its kind in the world. It starts at the base of Mount Pilatus in Alpnachstad and runs over uniquely constructed tracks to the summit of the mountain. You can also descend by the aerial tramway and panoramic gondolas back to Lucerne. This unique “Golden Roundtrip” will remain an unforgettable memory.
Titlis - World's First Revolving Cable Car
Travel from Engelberg, an hour away from Lucerne, to Mount Titlis- a unique snow and glacier paradise and the highest mountain excursion in Central Switzerland. The journey over the imposing Titlis glacier is made even more spectacular thanks to Rotair. During the five minute journey the Titlis Rotair cabins revolve once, thereby offering you a fascinating 360 panoramic view. Other highlights at Titlis include The Fun Lift, Ice Flyer Chair Lift, the Glacier Grotto, Panorama and Video room the Toporama, Glacier Path - Stotzig Egg Trail, Nostalgic Photo Studio, Souvenir Shop and of course skiing and snowboarding all year round.
Montreux - Chocolate Train
Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and its railroads. Put them together, and you get the Swiss Chocolate Train-a first-class-only train excursion operating from Montreux. It runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from May to October and every day in July and August. The train runs on tracks of the Montreux-Oberland-Bernois Railway (MOB). It leaves Montreux at 9:00 a.m. and returns at 6:00 p.m. Coffee and croissants are served on the train on its way to the medieval cheese making town of Gruyères. In Gruyères, the train pauses for an excursion by bus to a cheese factory and the local castle. Then you board the train again for the trip to Broc, home of the Cailler- Nestlé chocolate factory, where you can watch a multilingual video, observe chocolate production, sample the finished product, and buy Cailler or Nestlé candy bars at factory prices. The train then returns to Montreux, a pleasant resort town on Lac Léman where you can also visit the Chillon Castle.
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Don't miss the impressive offerings at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, at 3,883 meters above sea level. Europe's highest mountain cable way: The mountain cableway to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest in Europe. The cableway was recently extended, making the trip to Trockener Steg non-stop. From here, Europe's highest aerial cableway carries guests to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise amidst a breathtaking mountain world with glaciers and permanent snow cover. Highest observation platform in the Alps: The lift brings guests to the o highest observation deck in the Alps. The breathtaking 360 panorama with 38 super-colossal peaks astounds every viewer. From here the 4,000-metreplus peaks reveal their full majesty. The world's most fascinating glacier palace: Riding the new elevator, get transported directly into the world's highest glacier palace, about 15 meters beneath the glacier surface. Subtle lighting and ethereal sounds amplify the special mood in this miniature wonder of the glacier world. Largest summer skiing region in the Alps: (snow sports 365 days a year) Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is Europe's highest and largest summer snow sports destination offering snow sports all year.
Gstaad - Glacier 3000
This glacier offers a breathtaking view that sweeps over the famous Matterhorn, Jungfrau and Mont Blanc which makes this trip well worth it. You can do this excursion from Montreux, Interlaken or Gstaad as it is easily accessible by train from any of these Swiss cities. From Gstaad you can take a post bus to the cable car Valley Station of Col du Pillon and from there on, by cable car to the Glacier 3000. Once on top, there are various activities for young and old, the one kilometer Alpine Coaster - the worlds highest bobsleigh track, husky dog sled rides, the snow bus and skiing. There are also 2 restaurants- Botta 3000 and the Oldegg where you can enjoy anything from small snacks to local specialities with the spectacular view thrown in for free.
I personally thank Mr Rajesh for helping us to finalise our Europe Trip this Chritmas. We thank the complete team of Prathvi for all the support and making our vacation a memorable holiday.
- Rita Ghai