Say Switzerland and holiday in the same breath and most people automatically think winter and skiing. However, if you don’t head up to the mountains outside of winter, you are definitely missing out on some of the best things Switzerland has to offer.
The Cambrian lies at the heart of Adelboden, a small but authentic village in the Bernese Oberland and makes the ideal base to discover Switzerland’s amazing outdoor pursuits.
My first visit to Switzerland was as a child in the summer of 1976. Unusually, the UK was experiencing a record-breaking heat wave and my parents just so happened to choose that particular year to find some sun in the Alps.
Spending a day on top of the Jungfraujoch, knee deep in snow and taking a ride on a husky-drawn sledge was certainly something I was able to boast about on my return to school although it was not your usual summer holiday. However, it inspired me to return to the Alps and developed my love for the tranquillity of the mountains outside of the ski season.
Come spring, Adelboden returns to normality after a typically busy winter as a top winter sports destination and tourism takes on an altogether more welcome and slower pace. That said, if you really want to get your pulse racing, there’s plenty of ways to do so with paragliding, mountain biking and rock climbing to name just a few.
For those that prefer the thrill of the descent to the hard push of the ascent then e-bikes are widely available and with some amazing trails to follow, it’s a great way for the whole family to get active together. Whatever your age, you can explore the mountains without working up too much of a sweat.
Adelboden also boasts one of the world’s longest scooter rides: it’s some 45km from top to bottom, so simply ride up on the cable car and scooter back down in around 40 minutes. If that’s not high-octane enough then the Alpine School, run by a couple of the local mountain guides, offers the chance to zip-wire or jump off a bridge – you’ll be attached to a rope of course and we recommend that this is performed before lunch.
If you prefer something altogether more laid back then the walking and hiking trails are plentiful. It’s quite something to see the mountains covered in snow throughout the winter, but come spring and summer alpine flowers bloom and an abundance of wildlife comes to the fore. It’s really something to behold and there’s no better way to see it than by pulling on a sturdy pair of walking boots.
In Autumn, Englistigenalp, for a limited period, offers the highest 9 holes of golf anywhere in Europe with its pop-up golf course. If you’re as wayward off the tee as I am, then console yourself with by far the most impressive scenery you’ll ever come across whilst looking for a ball. You must also pay a visit to the most unusual temporary clubhouse in the world for a glass or two. It’s home to cows most of the year!
Just 40 minutes or so down the valley from Adelboden you can take a boat ride from Spiez to Interlaken or cross the lake to your heart’s content. If you are brave, a swim in the crystal clear lake or paddle-boarding is another great way to get some exercise.
Some of Switzerland’s top attractions such as the Trumelbach falls or a trip beneath the Eiger are easily accessible by car or the first class Swiss transport system.
The city of Berne, a World Heritage site with cobbled streets, bars and restaurants on the Aare river is also well worth a day trip. You could even follow in my footsteps and head to the top of the Jungfraujoch on Europe’s highest railway, make sure to pick a clear day to enjoy the best view and remember to take a coat.
That said, you’ll find it hard to leave Adelboden, the Cambrian’s award-winning spa and hot water pool, its stunning views will enchant you and reinvigorate any aching muscles. Weather permitting, outside dining is a must either at the Cambrian or on the mountain – ask nicely and the chef will provide you with a picnic.
If you’ve got a thing for cheese, then visit the local artisan cheesemaker or arrange, through the hotel, a chance to make your own cheese with one of the friendly local farmers. It can usually be posted to you some months later. You’ll be well placed to show off your very own creation to friends and family.
So if you’re looking for a different summer excursion away from the bustle of the beaches, come and find us in the mountains, I think you’ll be pleased you did.
The Cambrian welcomes visitors for the summer season from the 2 June 2017. www.thecambrianadelboden.com/en