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"So many things that make Switzerland famous are from the Matterhorn Region," says Bruno Huggler, Head of Tourism for Valais/Wallis Promotion.

Serving melted raclette
Serving melted raclette
Photo © Valais/Wallis Promotion

Saint Bernard dogs, for example, are the Swiss national dog. Their home is on the St. Bernard Pass where you can see them in summer. In winter, they move down into the valley to Martigny.

Huggler explains that Saint Bernards used to be rescue dogs, but now they accompany people during walks in the snow.

Wine and cheese

The best meal to satisfy appetites stimulated by the exercise and fresh air is raclette. Served melted with boiled potatoes, pickled onions and gherkins, it's delicious with Lake Geneva and Matterhorn Region wines.

A specialty of Valais, raclette is made from raw milk. Its taste depends on where the cows graze.

Black Valais cows are unique. They fight, not to hurt each other, but to determine which one is the leader for the summer.

Swiss icons

The world-famous Matterhorn is not only an icon for Switzerland, but also for the Alps. The most-photographed mountain in the world, its appearance changes with the light and season.

On July 14, 1865, Edward Whymper was the first man to climb the Matterhorn.

Skiing in Zermatt
Skiing in Zermatt
Photo © Valais/Wallis Promotion

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier in the Alps. It offers fantastic hiking, with panoramic views of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch mountains.

Following a day of hiking, or skiing, the best way to relax is by soaking in Valais thermal water. "After 50 years in the mountains, it bubbles out at 51 degrees Celsius," explains Huggler.

If you have a six-day Snowpass, which gives you access to the biggest ski area of the world, Leukerbad's thermal baths are a perfect après-ski activity.

Matterhorn area hotels

The Ari Resort in Zermatt is the best place to stay if you want to ski-in and ski-out. In the car-free ski resort of Saas-Fee, The Copra, a five-star hotel, has one of the best chefs in Switzerland, Oliver Glowig.

WellnessHostel4000 is the only youth hostel in the world with a big spa. The 168-bed hostel is located next to the PostBus stop at the entrance to Saas-Fee.

In Crans-Montana, the Chetzeron hotel, spa and restaurant are located at an altitude of 6,929 feet (2,112 meters). After skiing all day, you can sit on the terrace with your friends, have a drink and enjoy the sunset.

Zermatt food specialties

The best place to enjoy the cooking of Matterhorn Region chefs is at the Swiss Food Festival in Zermatt. Held in August, it's located at Le Petit Cervin and Grand Hotel Zermatterhof.

As you visit nearly two dozen cooking stations, you can sample the food specialties of chefs who have earned more than 250 Gault & Millau points. It's a tasty culinary experience.

Geneva restaurants

Switzerland's second-largest city, located on the banks of Lake Geneva, has nearly five dozen gourmet restaurants with Michelin stars and Gault & Millau awards.

Among them, is Vertigo Restaurant at Hotel de la Paix. Its chef, Jerome Manifacier, is known for his Mediterranean-accented French cuisine.

International Motor Show

Best known for the Geneva Water Fountain (Jet d'Eau), which pumps 30 tons of water per second up to 500 feet high, the city has many highlights.

Aerial view of Geneva
Aerial view of Geneva
Photo: Geneva Tourism

According to Philippe Vignon, General Director of Geneva Tourism, they include the International Motor Show, held in March. "Switzerland doesn't manufacture cars, so people come here to the largest car exhibition show to learn about new car launches."

Although Geneva is known as a business destination, it offers much more. The Geneva Girls' Guide provides information about many interesting things to see and do.

Free city museums

Attractions include the Geneva Museum of Ethnography, with collections from Papua New Guinea, Amazonia, Africa and the Pacific Region. Like all city museums in Geneva, admission is free.

Where was the Internet invented? "Few people know that the World Wide Web began at CERN in Geneva, in 1989," explains Vignon. You can view exhibitions at The Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN.

Another interesting place to see in Geneva is the International Museum of the Red Cross. The ICRC was co-founded by Henry Dunant, who was a co-recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize.

Lausanne aerial view
Lausanne aerial view
Photo: Regis Colombo

Lausanne hotels

Begin your tour of the highlights of the Lake Geneva Region with a rail trip from Geneva to Lausanne. The five-star Royal Savoy Hotel (address: Avenue d'Ouchy 40) is located between Lake Geneva and the Lausanne train station.

Aquatis (address: Route de Berne 150) is another Lausanne hotel. The three-star hotel features restaurants, a spa and a freshwater aquarium.

Charlie Chaplin Museum

The most talked-about hotel is the four-star Modern Times in Vevey, because it's associated with Chaplin's World.

The 3,000-square-meter Chaplin's World museum uses high-tech multi-media to portray the life of the comedian who made Corsier-sur-Vevey his hometown.

Freddie Mercury's recording studio

François Michel, Manager of Customer Marketing for the Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office, noted that the Nestle Museum is also located in Vevey. "You can eat and drink there, while learning about food and nutrition." During a two-hour tour, you learn about the history of Nestle and its products, including instant coffee and Cailler chocolate.

While Montreux is known for its July jazz festival, it also draws visitors to the Queen Studio at Casino Barrière. In addition to seeing photos and memorabilia from the band, you can visit the control room where Freddie Mercury recorded his songs. Queen Studio admission is free.

Peak Walk

At Les Diablerets, you can walk on the second highest suspension bridge in Europe. Joining two mountains, Peak Walk is 351 feet (107 meters) long and 9,843 feet (3,000 meters) high.

What mountains can you see from the Peak Walk? On clear days, you can view the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch. Admission is free with your tickets to Glacier 3000.

Photo: Vincent Bailly

Chasselas wines

The restaurants and terraces near Glacier 3000 are perfect places to enjoy the Alpine scenery, while sipping on glasses of white Chasselas wine. Produced from grapes grown on the terraced vineyards at Lavaux, the wine has a complex aroma.

Sommelier and manager of the restaurant, L'Auberge de l'Onde in St. Saphorin, Jerome Aké Béda describes the nose as a combination of pear, apple and citrus fruit. On the Lake Geneva Region website, you can view a video of his guided tasting of Chasselas, as well as spectacular views of the Lavaux Vineyards.

With so many attractions, the Lake Geneva and Matterhorn Region will undoubtedly be a highlight of the new Grand Tour of Switzerland route.


Lake Geneva and Matterhorn Region

Switzerland Tourism

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