Admirers of pure natural beauty, uninterrupted open space, and active holidays should beeline it to Switzerland, where the nature hotels provide the perfect setting for a rejuvenating vacation. Particularly in the Alps of Valais and the Bernese Oberland will you find total bliss, on days spent hiking or skiing through the mountains. If Switzerland’s flora and fauna is of interest, head to a nature hotel in Ticino on Lake Maggiore, or in the Graubünden canton. These hotels are not only characterized by their wonderful locations in the mountains or lakeside, but they also pride themselves on providing a special, rural ambience. Wood, stone, and rustic fabrics dominate the interior, and the in-house dining typically favors organically grown products, making you feel as close to land as possible.
Where to stay at a nature hotel in Switzerland? Top locations at a glance:
Valais: The mighty Matterhorn & all-season Alpine paradise
© Chandolin Boutique Hotel Valais is the definition of natural beauty — nowhere else will you find anything like the mind-boggling Matterhorn mountain, which dominates all views with its unworldly bigness and wobbly-tipped peak. The nature hotels in Valais manage to locate a homey, cabin-like energy, while simultaneously harnessing an almost over-the-top luxury for which Switzerland generally is known and loved. Making up a particularly beautiful chunk of southern Switzerland, Valis is also home to the Aletsch Glacier, crisscrossed by 8,000 kilometers of marked hiking trail, and speckled with lavish ski resorts from which you can zip down past bubbling mountain streams and soak up the 300 days of sun per year. If you’re interested in slower travel through the mountains, take a trip on the 1898 Gornergrat cogwheel railway, Europe’s highest open-air railway, from Zermatt and prepare for views like you’ve never seen. End the day at a traditional Swiss eatery, which will likely include some of the famous raclette cheese, originating in the area. If you’re here to experience the natural landscape in its full, as most are, there’s no better way to stay than at a nature hotel — imagine waking up for breakfast in a grand dining hall with floor-to-ceiling windows and then stepping outside for a dip in the hot tub with views over the still snow-covered Alpine peaks.
Bernese Highlands: Breathtaking scenes at Interlaken & Jungfrau
© Lenkerhof Gourmet Spa Resort Some would say there’s no better landscape than the mountains, other swear by bodies of water — at a nature hotel in the Bernese Highlands, you can have both. The Bernese Highlands are situated south of the Swiss capital and make up the higher canton of Bern, as well as a portion of the Alps including the famous Jungfrau Massif and Interlaken, which is set on a strip of land cutting between the beautiful Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. These two sprawling lakes, tinted blue-green in the sun, are lined with nature hotels that boast spacious rooms, lavish breakfast buffets on patios hemmed in by luscious greenery, and indoor pools with huge windows to keep the summery vibe alive all year long. For those not interested in summery vibes, you can find all the winter you could ask for here in the snow-blanketed paradise of the Alps. Especially impressive in this regard is Jungfrauhoch glacier, which you can access via an unforgettable ride on the Jungfrau line, a railway traveling from Interlaken and Scheidegg straight up to Europe’s highest train station. The beauty of the journey and the magic that radiates off of Jungfrau Massif and the Eiger and Titlis mountain ranges is prosperous. A nature hotel in the Bernese Highlands is the best way to home in on this baffling allure.
Grisons / Graubünden: Untouched natural beauty
© Hotel Bellevue Wiesen The largest and most undeveloped of the Swiss cantons, Grisons or Graubünden, is where travelers go to find true tranquility. In a nature hotel you’ll find this in abundance: total bliss in in-house spa centers, spacious rooms with a view over the mountain-studded landscape, and restaurants stocked with fine, organic cuisine and delicious Swiss wine, ensuring you won’t even have to step outside to slip into serenity. If you do, the best way to discover this breathtaking region, located in eastern Switzerland, is slowly — on the famous Bernina Express or Glacier Express, on a ski lift to St. Moritz, where the 1928 Winter Olympics were held, or on a long walk around the sprawling campus of your nature hotel. This amazing landscape is the home of the fictional character Heidi — it’s as Swiss as it gets in Grisons, where days are spent on long bike rides through mountain valleys and snacking on regional stews and rich potato dishes. At the top of any of the many stunning mountains, including Muttler, Piz Murtaröl, Piz Quattervals, and many more, there’s little else to do but luxuriate in the company of a landscape not fathomable. Pop out for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding between long afternoons in the sauna.
Ticino: Switzerland’s Mediterranean region
© Villa Orselina Ticino beams with Italian flair — sharing a border with Italy, the most spoken language of the region is Italian, the cuisine is primarily Italian, the castles are medieval, the architecture baroque, and the energy is a perfect blend of laid-back Mediterranean and the opulence of the Swiss. On Lake Maggiore and Lugano, the mighty Alps continue dominating as they are wont to do in Switzerland, but visitors are also afforded a tranquility that comes only with being by the water. The nature hotels that speckle the countryside and line the lakes of Ticino are often housed in old, patrician houses and come equipped with paradisical gardens best experienced with a glass of full-bodied merlot. Bellinzona in the north is worth a visit for medieval origins and Romanesque chapels, all hemmed in by forested peaks and a myriad hiking trails. Locarno sits stately at the foot of the Alps and the shore of Lake Maggiore. This Italian-speaking resort city is all about variety — here you may find yourself soaking up a particularly Caribbean energy in the country’s largest palm tree grove before traveling back in time to the 15th century at the Santuario della Madonna del Sasso art-filled pilgrimage site that looks over the city. The nature hotels in Locarno make sure you are perfectly placed and comfortably set up to experience the wide range of cultural, culinary, and scenic truths of Ticino.
Central Switzerland: Lake Lucerne & countryside living
© Château Gütsch With a history dating back to the 13th century, Central Switzerland is the once home of poet Goethe and now-home to a breathtaking landscape of mountain peaks crisscrossed by deep, verdant valleys speckled with quiet lakes. The nature hotels that dot the shoreline of Lake Lucerne fulfill all romantic ideals: truly royal bedrooms complete with plenty of mountain sun and mountain air streaming in open windows in the summertime, and in the wintertime, views of snow-covered peaks reflected in the perfectly still Lake Lucerne. These establishments are castle-like both in form and content. In the area, follow hiking trails up to the Switzerland’s highest mountain, Mt. Titlis, by way of Engelberg, Einsiedeln, and Andermatt, or check out the 568 kilometers of ski slopes waiting to be mastered by you and your beloved or family. In the mystical Gotthard Pass region, the landscape is bold, from high mountains to more crystal-clear lakes, and from thundering waterfalls to serene fields filled with local flora. Finally, if you’re looking for a little urban in your natural, the nature hotels around Zürich provide the best balance —super spacious and light interiors that make one feel as if they’re in the middle of nowhere with a location that’s unbeatable when it comes to taking on all of Switzerland’s best culture.
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