Go to any of Switzerland’s 26 cantons and you will be greeted by alpine forests, placid lakes, and breathtaking mountain views. The outdoor enthusiast will find no shortage of excuses to leave the lodge and get out into the countryside. You’d need to get pretty creative to run out of ways to exercise, but you won’t need any excuse to kick back and just enjoy the views. Switzerland’s natural beauty and leisurely pace make the country a perfect destination for both activity and relaxation, both of which are so important to leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Find out why healthy Switzerland made our list of the top healthiest countries in the world, and how you can make the most of your time in Switzerland.
Switzerland is brimming with famous ski resorts and chalets nestled in the mighty Alps. The biggest and most legendary of these ski resorts is at Zermatt. Located in southern Switzerland in the shadow of Matterhorn, this storied resort town has been the mountaineering and ski hotspot for the jet set since long before jets were even invented. Hit the slope knowing that skiing has numerous health benefits and is a great social activity.
Sail on Lake Geneva
One theory has it that Lake Geneva is the location of the Garden of Eden. Anyone who has been there is inclined to believe that, because they know that it is heaven on earth. The tranquil blue water reflects the ancient snow capped mountains and dense forests that wrap around the lake’s craggy borders. It is small wonder sailors from around the world itch for a chance to sail the waters of Lake Geneva in the summer months. The physical health benefits of sailing combined with the tranquility of being on the water surrounded by beautiful nature is a blessing for mind, body and soul.
Celebrate the Fête de L’Escalade
In 1602 the Duke of Savoy invaded the city of Geneva. The Italian ruler coveted the wealth of his northern neighbor and concocted a scheme to sack the capital of the Republic. Under the cover of darkness, Savoyard commandos scaled the walls (escalade is the French word for wall-scaling) of Geneva in an attempt to open the gate. The citizens of Geneva found and defeated the saboteurs, and proceeded to route the Duke’s mercenaries waiting outside the gate. Geneva celebrates this historic victory every year with historical reenactments and festivities throughout the city. In addition to the health benefits gained by these rich social experiences, merrymakers can participate in the 5 mile run that kicks off the festivities of L’Escalade.
Play Chess In Zurich
Zurich is one of the world’s great chess cities, home to the famed Zurich Chess Challenge and birthplace of many master chess players. It is also a hotbed of amateur enthusiasts strategizing in parks and at cafes. The best part about chess is you don’t even need to speak the same language as your opponent; chess moves are universal. Flex your mental muscles and take a shot at the king.
Eat Raclette (Just Not Too Much!)
Fondue is the iconic cheese of Switzerland (that and the holey stuff), but Raclette is where it is really at. Traditionally grilled slowly over a wood-burning fire, this decadent white cheese is blanketed over small potatoes or vegetables for a savory experience. While cheese is high in fat and should be eaten sparingly, it is also filled with essential nutrients and proteins and thus healthy in moderation. We recommend draping the raclette over carrots, onions, and wild Swiss mushrooms for the healthiest way to indulge in this local custom.
Tour A Vineyard
Swiss wine is one of the world’s best kept secrets. While New World and Old World grape growers duke it out for limited shelf space at grocery stores, the Swiss are more than happy to keep their domestically produced wine to themselves. With more than 2,000 years of growing experience, Swiss wine is high quality and rarely sold outside of Switzerland. The vineyards are draped along mountainsides and in vibrant valleys. Take a tour of a vineyard and walk in the fresh air, all while enjoying a glass of crisp white Neuchâtel wine. As with cheese, it is best not to overindulge on alcohol, but drinking light to moderate amounts of wine actually has numerous health benefits.
Jam Out At Montreux Jazz Festival
For the past 50 years, music fans from across Europe and around the world have traveled to the French city of Montreux for one of the biggest celebrations of jazz music on the planet. Take part in this rewarding cultural experience and meet fellow music enthusiasts and enjoy some seriously high quality jazz. After all, listening to music is good for your health.
Enjoy A Glass of Mountain Water
Water is the healthiest beverage on the planet, and nowhere is it fresher and more delicious than in Switzerland. Just turn on the tap water at your chalet and you will be treated to a refreshing glass of cool mountain water. Despite eating some high-calorie foods, the Swiss have one of the lowest obesity rates in the world. One reason why is that they drink plenty of water instead of sugary processed drinks. So in Switzerland do as the Swiss do and drink your water.
Swim and Sun on Lake Lugano
Just north of the Italian border lies the idyllic town of Lugano. Like so much of Switzerland, Lugano is blessed with scenic mountain views and adjacent to a gorgeous body of water. Lake Lugano has sandy beaches and sunning lawns, with some of the warmest temperatures of any Swiss lake. Swim for some cardio and then enjoy a leisurely afternoon of reading, picnicking, and relaxing on the sunny beach. Healthy de-stressing days like that will even lead to a longer life down the road.
Hiking and Spa Day At Tschuggen Grand Arosa
A spa holiday at the Tschuggen Grand is the perfection of luxurious leisure. Globe trotters have sought out Switzerland as their spa destination for hundreds of years, as the restorative beauty of nature and fresh mountain air open sinuses and relieves stress. Spa resorts, such as the one in Arosa, relieve tension and alleviate aches and pains in the back. They also are located in the midst of a thousand healthy opportunities for exercise, such as hiking hilly trails and horseback riding through coniferous forests.