Thursday, 26 April 2012 11:47 AM
Staying in self catering accommodation in Switzerland during the winter is a dream come true for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, but during the summer it might not be the first destination to spring to mind when planning a getaway.
However, this stunning part of Europe has so much to offer travellers that it is well worth visiting when the weather is at its warmest, as well as its coldest.
For a guide to some of the many things you can go during a trip to the Swiss Alps, read on.
When you think of Swiss landmarks, perhaps the first thing to spring to mind will be the Matterhorn - one of the highest peaks in the Alps mountain range. The chocolate-box village of Zermatt sits right at its foot, so you will have a great view of the unusual mountain during your visit.
This is one of the most well-known mountains in the world due to its popularity as a photographic subject and it's not only during the winter that you're able to get your own commemorative snap. Indeed, setting out on a hike in the sunshine is far more pleasant than battling the snow and means that as your journey takes you higher, the temperature will be akin to that of a crisp autumn day, rather than far colder.
Of course, you don't have to pull on your hiking boots to get a closer look at this peak, as you can take the Gornergrat Railway, which boasts some outstanding views from the windows on the way up, or hitch a ride on one of the cable cars.
In the village, you can learn more about the mountain at the Matterhorn Museum, where state-of-the-art exhibits allow you to see how Zermatt was transformed from farmland to one of the most popular resorts in the Swiss Alps.
Go to Lucerne
The city of Lucerne is one of Switzerland's real gems. A truly beautiful place, it combines lush mountain views with traditional architecture all set around the large lake of the same name.
This is the perfect place to spoil yourself by paying a visit to one of the spas or hitting the shops before dining at a fancy restaurant. After all, while your holiday villa is sure to be warm and welcoming, it's always worth treating yourself to a meal out so you can get a taste of the local cuisine. Make sure you order a fondue as it's simply delicious and you can choose between dipping pieces of bread or meat into the hot cheese sauce.
There are also numerous museums to explore here including the Rosengart Collection, where you can browse works by Pablo Picasso. Or, to see nature's idea of art, head for the Glacier Garden, where you can stroll among beautiful plants and find out about the subtropical palm beach that stood here before the ice came 20 million years ago.
While visitors to the Swiss Alps in the winter are quick to make for the nearest ski resort, you have just as many opportunities to be active during the summer. Indeed, you can even go skiing at Zermatt's Theodul glacier, as the snow here doesn't thaw.
Alternatively, you can explore the beautiful countryside by going hiking or cycling, admiring the wild flora as you go. Other activities on offer include fishing, golf and tennis, so if you want to be on the move every day of your stay, there will be plenty of opportunity.