This is the Switzerland where the warm wind blows and the old ways still feel relevant. Where the mountains are high and phone signal is low. Where the outdoors are so ingrained into the local way of life, they’re practically a birthright. For proof, dive straight into these late-summer adventures….
1. Hike from hut to hut in Graubünden
Image Source: Pixabay – Image: Flüela Pass
Experience the Swiss high life on a mountain tour between the Flüela Pass and Albula Pass. Don’t expect a phone signal up here – this is all about fresh-air fun, your company… and you. You’ll end your soul-stirring trip in the ancient village of Bergün, where you can lengthen your stay by checking into Art Nouveau award-winner Kurhaus Bergün. If you’re unsure where to start with a mountain adventure, the helpful team at this former wellness hotel can organise it for you.
2. Swim in the wild in Rorschacherberg
Image Source: Pixhttps://pixabay.com/de/photos/badehaus-badhütte-holz-historisch-361049/abay – Image: bathhouse
A sleepier sort of pace has reigned over Rorschacherberg for centuries. It’s one you long to return to once you leave. Outdoor swimming is practically Swiss human rights, but if you prefer your plunges with a changing room closeby, Badhütte is the bathhouse for you. Dating from 1924, the wooden building has brought the priceless feeling of wild swimming to many a bather on the shore of Lake Constance. For more pool-based joy (amping up the luxe factor this time) and cloud-like sleeping, make 16th-century haven Schloss Wartegg your regal castle stay in the area.
3. Horse-ride through the valleys of Sils-Maria
It might not be the first activity you consider in St. Moritz – what with all the lakes to swim, mountains to hike and trails to cycle. But horse-drawn carriage rides into the Val Fex are probably the most romantic way to experience this heavenly countryside. Your accommodation is an adventure in itself: Hotel Waldhaus is a much-loved, family-run hotel looking over the Fex Valley and carrying a worthy five stars. Passed down through generations since 1908, this grand forest lodge radiates old-world grandeur.
4. Meet Alpine herdsmen with their cattle in Wengen
Image source: Wikipedia
High above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Wengen is what you see when you close your eyes and imagine the Swiss countryside. In the late summer, you can take the Wengernalp Mountain Railway to Kleine Scheidegg, a heart-stopping pass between a trio of iconic mountains. It’s no empty peak – Kleine Scheidegg is bustling with life. Wave hello to herdsmen rustling cattle over the pastures and meet climbers prepping for the Eiger North Face. Enjoy a blaze of colour on some of the prettiest hikes in Europe before resting up at belle époque beauty Hotel Falken. As the only 19th-century building still intact in the village, it’s one of the best hotels in Switzerland to experience those early days of tourism in Wengen.
5. Take a steam trip to the Rigi in Vitznau
Hotel Terrasse am See has an exciting neighbour. Ever since 1873, Europe’s first mountain railway services has been shuffling locals and tourists to Mount Rigi. As well as the useful proximity to the funicular railway, there’s also a boat landing on your doorstep, making this lakeside lounger one of the best hotels in Switzerland for excursions.
6. Speed down a summer sled run in Kandersteg
Toboggan rides aren’t just for winter. At Oeschinen Lake – a turquoise jewel in Kandersteg – you can zoom down a 750m long summer sled run, feeling the warm Swiss breeze in your hair. It’s addictive, but luckily you can hop on the Oeschinensee Gondola to take you back to the top. Be sure to do it in the morning, as rides stop at 11am. To feel close to the land and its traditions, find your sanctuary within the wood-clad walls of Landgasthof Ruedihus. This 18th-century country inn merges rural harmony with chic comfort.