Chapters:

  Family friendly destinations ...
  For the physically active ...
  Suitable for maiden aunts and couch potatoes
  The Heart of Switzerland ...
  Of interest to culture vultures ...
  Zurich ...
  Luzern ...
  Zug ...
  Further afield ...
  Seasonal events ...
  Skiing ...
  Cross references ...
  Trivia Section ...
  Recommended Reading and Websites ...




Suitable for maiden aunts and couch potatoes

Bern* 031 328 1212: arrival by train strongly recommended as autobahn journey can be tortuous - UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site - (possibly)‘the world’s most beautiful and relaxing capital city’ (Rough Guide) - unmatched ambience - named after bears which can still be seen in 15th century pits at Barengraben - compact old town close to station - 6km of medieval sandstone arcades dating from 1405 when previous wooden buildings was destroyed by fire - ‘the longest covered shopping promenade in the world’ - 'a beautiful order, a solidity, a gravity' (Dorothy Wordsworth) - Zytglogge (clocktower) (1530) with display of figures 4 minutes before the hour - all cantonal distances are measured from here - excellent guided tour available - ‘gorgeous’ views of River Aare - Gothic sandstone cathedral (1421) with striking depiction of Last Judgement over entrance portal - climb 270 steps (100m) to top of belfry for stunning view

Tierpark Dahlholzli (Zoo) 031 357 1515: 2000 European creatures in natural woodland - some parts accessible at any time

Kunstmuseum (art gallery) 031 328 0944: largest Klee collection in world - artist was born here - new Swiss designed premises planned for 2005 - over 20 other museums including such diverse offerings as the Salvation Army Archive, Psychiatric Museum, Museum of Wildlife and Hunting, National Archives, Rifle Museum and Communications Museum housing world’s largest stamp collection. (BE)

Schaukäserei Schwyz 041 811 6161: see cheese being made. (SZ)

Victorinox Factory Shop 041 818 1211: Ibach (near Schwyz) - complete range of top quality knives at discount prices. (SZ)

Rapperswil* 055 220 5757: picturesque medieval ‘town of roses’ on Zurichsee - 13th century castle - walled gardens - children’s zoo (qv) - eating places on lake and in squares - reached by boat or via causeway from Pfaffikon - ideal diversion if children are at Alpamare (qv) - Circus and Polish (ie Poland not footwear) Museums. (SG)

Braunwald 055 653 6585: peaceful traffic free village above Linthal reached via steep cogwheel railway - great walks overlooked by peak of Toedi (3614m) - horse drawn carriages - family skiing - 7 lifts/25km of pistes. (GL)

Rhine Falls: Europe’s largest waterfall near Schaffhausen noted for its width (150m) rather than its height (23m) - up to 1250 cubic metres of water per second - Goethe compared it to ‘the source of the ocean’ - often very crowded - park on Neuhausen side - take short boat trip into spray and (optional for couch potatoes) climb rock in middle then scale steep steps on other side following circular route back over bridge. (SH)

Schaffhausen* 052 625 5141: ancient town dominated by the Munot - 49m round fortress built with forced labour on Durer’s principles in 1564 - wonderful arched interior and unusual spiral ramp for cannons - Munster (Church) is former Benedictine monastery - plain and Romanesque - cloister with medieval herb garden is largest in Switzerland - courtyard bell inspired Schiller and Wordsworth to verse - houses in Altstadt have intricate frescoes and more than 170 oriel windows - fountains squares and statues in abundance. (SH)

Stein am Rhein: chocolate boxy village - best to visit off season - frescoed half timbered houses - Rathausplatz has 14 cornered fountain - well preserved medieval abbey. (SH)

Lenzburg Castle 062 888 4880: dates from 1100s - beautiful gardens and views - Aargau Cantonal Museum - activities for children - son et lumiere. (AG)

Alphorn Workshop Kriens 041 340 8886: video - tour - see 200 different instruments - shop. (LU) Bremgarten: well preserved Altstadt - covered wooden bridge - worth a visit - off tourist track. (AG)

Sursee: pretty town on Sempachersee with airy church and broad cobbled street. (LU)

Willisau: birthplace of Willisauer Ringli - hard circular ginger biscuits to be dunked in coffee - broad medieval street - music festival in early September - excellent Christmas Market. (LU)

Tierweltpanorama 041 420 1531: a curiosity in Ebikon - taxidermist Walter Linsenmaier’s collection of over 1000 stuffed creatures - exhibition of natural history drawings. (LU)

Astrid Kapelle* : monument in peaceful location outside Kussnacht am Rigi to Queen Astrid of Belgium - killed in car accident here in 1935 aged 29 - strangely moving. (SZ)




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