Switzerland: a winter celebration - Enrico Baroni

Switzerland: a winter celebration

Just few days before Christmas, I finally decided to listen to the Swiss call and booked a bus ticket

Rome-Bellinzona for the next day. The aim was to explore a country already blessed by high-rate

tourism, but under a different (snowy) point of view.


The idyllic green meadows and wooden cottages are covered in a thick 2 meters layer of snow and

many attractions and hikes are closed, but what a beauty to the eyes!


The mighty Zermatt Matterhorn standing above the village of Findeln; Valais

The mighty Zermatt Matterhorn standing above the village of Findeln; Valais

For a winter lover is the dream witnessing such views. The cold is a silent ruler of this country in that

period, but thanks to the amazing services throughout the country you can only enjoy the best about

it. Hearing the crackle of snow under the boots while walking beneath gigantic mountains or inside

utopic little villages made it all worth and more.


My favorite moment of the journey has been sleeping in Niederwald, a 45 souls village in Valais. What

was intended to be just a place to pass the night, turned to be the most magical stop of the trip.


Niederwald is nothing more than a dozen cabins perched on a mountain, between the valley and a

pine woods.

I'll never forget walking in those silent alleys at night while it was snowing, illuminated only by the

Christmas lights, between small wooden lodges and a roof of billion stars above.

Opposed to this feeling of coziness, being surrounded by the dark silhouettes of mountain peaks and

the endless forest gave me a sense of restlesness.


It's this exact conflicting feeling that is the most dear I have from the trip! Don't know if you can relate.


> Pro tip: for an amazing dinner, beer and accomodation in a beautiful cabin check out the Drei Tannen lodge. At few train stops from here you have both the famous Bellwald suspended bridge and the Aletsch glacier.


The wooden town of Niederwald in the Valais region, Switzerland. Only 45 souls live here!

The wooden town of Niederwald in the Valais region, Switzerland. Only 45 souls live here!

Obviously, many other places left unforgettable memories as well. 

How could I not mention the mighty Zermatt Matterhorn, a 4478m mountain peak that keeps your

company no matter if you are strolling through the streets of Zermatt or hiking around: it will always

find a way to sneak-peek somehow. 


The famous Riffelsee trail, as well as many other technical hikes around the summit, was closed due

to high snow. For this reason I backed up with an easier walk up to Sunnegga, starting from Zermatt,

which still gifted me with breathtaking views over the sleepy town and the Matterhorn: how could I

complain!


Zermatt under the last light of the day. Valais region

Zermatt under the last light of the day. Valais region


Another gem that I loved was Lauterbrunnen and its amazing surroundings, in the

Bernese region. Imagine countless waterfalls diving from the above peaks into a narrow valley,

cut in half by a river. In this scenario add many little cozy towns like Lauterbrunnen,

the most famous because of the Staubbach waterfall that silently tumbles down right behind it. 


I dedicated a whole day in hiking the entire valley, discovering one at one all the hidden waterfalls,

creeks and villages. From time to time, the echoing blast of detached banks of ice interrupted the

complete silence of the place.


Fun fact: along  the trail there are a couple of cheese vending machines hosted by the local

farms, just incredible!

The Staubbach waterfall peeking from behind the town of Lauterbrunnen; Bernese region

The Staubbach waterfall peeking from behind the town of Lauterbrunnen; Bernese region

Detail of Lauterbrunnen at mid-morning

Detail of Lauterbrunnen at mid-morning

Winter Texture

Speaking of beautiful valleys, another astonishing one is Val Verzasca, in Ticino. Beside the possibility

of doing bungee jumping from the Verzasca Dam, many are the wonders secluded in this tranquil

hollow. 


The perched town of Corippo is the first that you encounter along the way, right before the worldwide

famous Lavertezzo and its "Ponte dei Salti" (jumping bridge). This stone little village is also denoted as

the "Swiss Maldives". In fact in the summer you can dive from the Roman bridge into the marvellous

turquoise waters of the river, between unique rock formations. 

The beauty of the place remains intact also in winter.


Lavertezzo seen from Ponte dei Salti, Ticino, Switzerland

Lavertezzo seen from Ponte dei Salti, Ticino, Switzerland

One of the beautiful gorges of Val Verzasca, Ticino

One of the beautiful gorges of Val Verzasca, Ticino


In conclusion, I've built many everlasting memories in this journey and countless are the views that

will never abandon me. Although, I will certainly come back in warmer seasons to experience all that I 

couldn't do in winter, which is a lot of stuff!


In fact even if the atmosphere that snow gives to these places is irreplaceable, I strongly advice you to

follow this route in summer, early autumn or late spring, unless of course you want to dive into full

winter vibes! 


To know more about everything that the Valais, Ticino and Bernese regions have to offer check out

this Detailed Travel Guide I've written, a result of a long study about these areas. Hidden gems and

must-to-see locations are all treated in depth. 

  • Bignasco, Valle Maggia, Ticino

  • A winding creek between a pine forest, Valais

  • An icy winter detail in Bellwald

  • Landschaftspark Binntal, Suspended bridge during heavy snowfall


Switzerland photographic gallery: here

Switzerland video: here


Follow my journey