Summer in Switzerland: from lakeside living to Alpine heights

A two-week itinerary from Geneva to Locarno

There’s far more to Switzerland than ski slopes. When the snow melts and temperatures rise, take the opportunity to explore the huge variety of experiences this small country has to offer. From cosmopolitan cities and Alpine meadows to lakeside towns that feel distinctly Mediterranean. All strung together in one sparkling itinerary taking in some of the best boutique and spa hotels in Switzerland.

AT A GLANCE

• 2-week independent itinerary for Switzerland, based on flying into Geneva and out of Lugano

• Explore three different sides to Switzerland, with specially selected SLH boutique hotels including a city centre retreat, Alpine lodge and lakeside spa hotel

• Highlights include luxury shopping in Geneva, summer skiing in Zermatt or outdoor adventure and serene spas in Crans-Montana and cultural festivals in Locarno or Lugano

START IN STYLE: GENEVA

With myriad charities, trade and health organisations based in Geneva and countless languages filling the air, Switzerland’s second city is truly global in character.

Get a feel for its historic roots in the Old Town, where cobbled streets lead to the dramatic, Romanesque cathedral, crowned with its green copper spire. Or delve into the ground-breaking world of particle physics on a guided tour of the CERN research centre, just outside the city.

Balance out the sightseeing with a day lounging beside the lake – you could even brave the refreshing Alpine waters at one of the public swimming baths. Just leave time for some luxury shopping on Rue de Rhône. If you’ve been longing for an exquisitely crafted Swiss watch, you’ll be in heaven. Explore classic brands all under one roof at Bucherer. Or, for something a little different, drop into M.A.D gallery to see MB&F’s futuristic designs displayed alongside cutting-edge mechanical automatons and artworks.

UNPACK YOUR SUITCASE

Just a short walk from the glittering boutiques of Rue de Rhône, Eastwest Hotel feels like a private home in the heart of Geneva. Stylish interiors, a lakeside location and a restaurant fusing French cooking with Asian flavours add to its charms. Suggested stay 4 nights.

HEAD FOR THE HILLS

No Swiss adventure is complete without a couple of days high up in the mountains. So for your next stop, take your pick between two stylish resort towns – each with their own individual charms.

Opt for Zermatt for classic Matterhorn views and all-year-round snow sports. With the permanently icy Theodul Glacier not far away, you can ski and ice-climb even in summer. If you’d rather not pack a pick and crampons, take in the views the easy way with a trip on the Cog railway to Gornegat. Then settle in at Hotel Firefly, a contemporary lodge with a thoroughly modern spa.

Or you might find yourself swayed by Crans-Montana, with its lively atmosphere and Rhone Valley vistas. Check into the Crans Ambassador to get immersed in your surroundings – perhaps with guided trail running and rock climbing or a scenic round of golf. Or simply unwind with a massage at the spa, before sampling local Valais Alps delicacies in the traditional wine cellar. Decisions, decisions. Suggested stay 5 nights. 

MAKE FOR THE LAKES

When it comes to the third and final act of your Swiss sojourn, the choice is once again yours – with a ‘dolce’ duo of lakeside towns in the country’s Italian-speaking quarter.

Locarno sits on Lago Maggiore, where it’s bathed in sunshine for much of the year. If you’re here during early August, bag yourself seats at one of the world’s largest open-air cinemas, as Piazza Grande in the town centre plays host to the Locarno Film Festival. Or simply while away your time at the spa at Villa Orselina, set in prime position above the lake.

Or for another take on Switzerland’s Italian side, make for the charming city of Lugano. Feast your eyes on modern art museums and fresco-decked churches in this regional cultural capital. During the summer months, the streets come to life with open-air blues and jazz concerts. Get into the party spirit from Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola. Or make the most of your lakeside surroundings from The View LuganoSuggested stay 4-5 nights.

TRAVEL TIPS

It’s roughly a three-hour drive between Geneva and Zermatt/Crans-Montana, and Zermatt/Crans-Montana and Locarno. Hire a car, take it easy and stop off and enjoy the mountain views as you go. As all three stops are close to Switzerland’s national borders, you may well wind in and out of France and Italy enroute. When departing Locarno, your closest airport is Lugano, with most international flights connecting through Zurich. As always, ask our Voice Reservation Team for details about transfers or transport provided by individual hotels. 

BOOK YOUR BOUTIQUE HOTELS

To book the hotels on this independent itinerary, get in touch with our Voice Reservation Team on 0800 0482 314 (UK) & 1-877-234-7033 (US). You can find a full list of our dedicated toll-free numbers here. We’re ready and waiting to plan luxury adventures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whenever inspiration strikes, just get in touch.