Switzerland winter is full of countless adventures, ten of which I highly recommend doing!
I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in one of the world’s most beautiful countries back in January with Switzerland Tourism and my filmmaker friend Kristen. Since I always prefer to focus on unique adventures and not more cliche things everyone knows about, we opted out of skiing and instead decided to find some more unusual things to do there during winter.
Our itinerary turned out to be a complete dream – even better than I had imagined it being when I read it on paper. So below I have compiled a list of my ten favorite winter adventures; ones that I highly recommend you do, too!
SWITZERLAND WINTER: 10 AMAZING ADVENTURES YOU MUST GO ON
TOBOGGANNING IN ZERMATT
A toboggan is, technically speaking, a long narrow sled. For my fellow Americans: is this basically “sledding”? Yes, but tobogganing sounds so much cooler, yah?!
Above Zermatt on Gornergrat lies a thrilling toboggan run which, according to Zermatt Tourism, is one of the finest in the alps! Since it offers you jaw dropping views of the world famous Matterhorn again and again, I think I have agree with them on this one.
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE IN CHATEAU D’OEX
There’s Albuquerque, there’s Cappadocia, and then there’s Château d’Oex. Haven’t heard of that one? Château d’Oex is a charming little town, famous for being the World Alpine Capital of Hot Air Ballooning. Each year there is a nine day international festival which takes over the entire town at the end of January.
If you are interested in a unique, Switzerland winter experience in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, this is for you.
FONDUE HIKE IN GSTAAD
Just when you think Switzerland can’t possibly get any better, you learn that in the Swiss town of Gstaad you can go on a fondue hike. A what? I know, I was too was not sure what it exactly was when I saw it on my itinerary with Switzerland Tourism, but it really is exactly as it sounds – a hike where you make (and eat) fondue.
As someone who prefers to be outdoors the majority of the time but also likes to indulge a bit while traveling, there is really nothing better than this. If you plan to enjoy fondue while in Switzerland, and you should, then why not enjoy it after a brief hike and while overlooking the most beautiful Swiss view?
GLACIER 3,000 PEAK WALK IN GSTAAD
The Peak Walk by Tissot on Glacier 3000 is the only suspension bridge in the world that connects two mountain peaks. It’s free of charge to walk across and offers stunning views of the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau (weather permitting).
SLEDGING IN GRINDELWALD
Of all the completely epic winter adventures I went on with Switzerland Tourism, I have to say that the afternoon I spent sledging to Grindelwald was my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved them all, but there was something so unbelievably fun about this sledging journey that set it apart from the others.
The Eiger Sledge Run takes you from Kleine Schiedegg to Alpiglen to Brandegg and finally to Grindelwald Grund. The course is 8.5 km (a little over 5 miles) and takes as little as 1.5 hours, or more realistically 2-3 depending on how often you stop for photos and Gluhwein. It can be done during the day or at night.
FIRST CLIFF WALK IN FIRST-GRINDELWALD
The First Cliff Walk by Tissot is a walk and look out platform on the westside of the First summit in Grindelwald. It offers jaw-dropping views (and photo opps) and is accessible in both winter and summer. If you find yourself here, as I did, tired from all of your other adventures, then this is a great choice for you! That’s because it is a short, leisurely stroll on a walkway that takes 5-10 minutes total – depending on how many times you stop for photos
FIRST FLYER + FIRST GLIDER
Also in the First-Grindelwald area is First Flyer and First Glider, adventures that can be had in both winter and summer.
First Flyer is more or less zip-lining, except you are sitting in a harness. You travel at a speed of up to 84 km/hour as you fly above a beautiful Swiss Alp landscape.
First Glider is similar to First Flyer but perhaps a bit more adventurous. Up to four people are placed in a glider that looks like an eagle, positioned as if you are a flying bird. The glider is pulled backwards and then “takes off” at speeds up to 83 km/hour, again over the mountain landscape offering panoramic views.
DOG SLEDDING IN GSTAAD
Dog sledding is something I often hear that people are interested in, myself included, and I was lucky enough to experience this for the first time while in Gstaad. I was so happy to find that the dogs sincerely love take people on these journeys, and the only time they were somewhat sad was when they weren’t dog sledding, but waiting for their next passengers.
While I did this in Gstaad (more info about dog-sleigh trips in Gstaad), you can no doubt find this is any of the winter destinations listed aboveas well.
ELECTRIC GO-KARTING IN INTERLAKEN
If you thought Interlaken was just a summer destination, boy are you wrong! ICE MAGIC Interlaken transforms the city into a winter wonderland, offering a handful of different activities.
In addition to the traditional activities like ice skating, they newly offer electric ice go-karting. If you are like me and have never heard of this before, it’s just as you would imagine – go-karting like you know it but done on ice. You can do an individual run or come with friends to do a team race! How’s that for fun?
VISIT A TRADITIONAL BLACK NOSE SHEEP FARM IN ZERMATT
Ok so this one isn’t quite as adventurous as the rest of the list, but it’s something unique to Switzerland and is a great cultural adventure so I did not want to skip it! Plus how can you resist those cute faces?!
In the town of Zermatt you have the chance to visit the Julen family’s sheep barn, full of traditional black nose sheep! During the tour they explain to you the sustainability of the farm, allow you to visit the animals, and then provide you with food produced on the farm. We enjoyed wine, cheese, meat, and soup (made of hay!) all made by the Julens themselves.
WHAT TO PACK
LAYERS. The last thing you want is to be too cold and with layering if you get too hot you can just remove some! My go-to is HEATTECH from Uniqlo which captures your body heat and uses it to generate warmth. There are tank tops, long sleeve shirts (in regular, extra warm, or ultra warm), turtle necks (regular and extra warm), and more. I also can’t recommend this sweater from Canada Goose enough.
- LEGGINGS. To wear under your snow pants! Or alone. Or under jeans. I bring these in both extra warm and ultra warm, as well as my favorite Alo ones.
- FLANNELS/BUTTON DOWNS. I am ride or die for Rails button downs, buying new ones each year. They are very warm and an easy way to look a little more presentable than a plain old tee. I resort to these a lot on less adventurous days (strolling around town, shopping, etc.) as well as for dinners. I love this one, this one, and this one.
- CASHMERE WRAP. I actually travel with this year-round, I even have one in my purse right now as I am writing this. You never know when you’ll need an extra layer on a cold plane, train, restaurant, or something else. Here’s a great option!
- CARDIGAN. Because this Barefoot Dreams cardigan is honestly life changing.
- PARKAS. VERY important! Your coats will be on and visible the majority of the time and therefore, if possible, I would bring numerous coats (instead of using that space to pack more sweaters, for example). I have worked with Canada Goose over the past two years and have been lucky enough to be gifted a handful of coats, but in all honesty they are 100% worth it. The attention to detail is remarkable (even random things like the sleeves are SO warm and soft), they have a lifetime guarantee, and they are remarkably warm. If you can splurge on one I am confident you will not regret it.
- WARM SOCKS. For obvious reasons. There are some HEATTECH ones: crew length, knee length, and over the knee.
- COMFORTABLE, WARM, WATERPROOF BOOTS. I like these and these.
- SCARVES. An absolute necessity! My favorite are these from & Other Stories, available each year in a handful of the most beautiful colors.
- GLOVES. One day I somehow forgot my gloves at the hotel and have never been more miserable in my life, so I would recommend bringing at least two pairs and always double checking that you have them before heading out. These are nice.
- CONVERTER ADAPTER. This one is universal and work no matter where you’re going. When going to the EU I also bring along this very inexpensive 6 pack so that I have extras. So much to charge these days!