Yvette Evers grew up camping, hiking and skiing in the Swiss Alps. A Canadian with Dutch roots, her career in international development allowed her to explore mountain areas around the world. Since moving to the Geneva area in 2009 with her husband and two teenage daughters, she also works as a sustainability consultant specialising in tourism.
Yvette is the founder of ‘fraiche air’ - an outdoor club that fills a gap in the market for global locals who are looking for information about outdoor recreation and tourism in English. The outings in small groups provide a wonderful opportunity to discover new activities and join an active community of like-minded sporty friends – powerwalks, hiking, snowshoeing, ski-touring, and family days.
The following article is the first in a series of articles on outdoor leisure activities that will be provided by Yvette in this section of the website.
It’s not hard to understand why Grindelwald has been a tourist attraction since the early 1900s. Nestled in one of most stunning valleys of the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, impressive glaciers and waterfalls can be spotted in every direction.
We took the relaxing and eco-friendly option of the train to Grindelwald. Once there, the summer cable cars and regular yellow ‘postbus’ services offer transport to places you can’t access with your own car.
Our hideaway was the friendly Berghuas Bort www.berghaus-bort.ch, situated half-way up the mountain, away from the hustle and bustle of Grindelwald. It’s a 1.5 hr hike, or 10 min cable car ride up the Firstbahn. You can book a double or family rooms (four, five or six pers). There are also two very comfortable 10 person dormitories. The young chef serves up delicious dishes while you dine on the terrace with a breathtaking view of the north face of the Eiger.
Zermatt Unplugged is one of my favourite music festivals – don’t miss it! It runs from 8-12 April in the beautiful town of Zermatt under the Matterhorn in Valais. The 2014 line up includes Aloe Blacc, Katie Melua, and Jamie Cullum ,to mention just a few of the big names. There are also great up and coming Swiss artists featured. Book your tickets online www.zermatt-unplugged.ch.
I’d say make a weekend of it – book a hotel, get in some spring skiing or hiking lower down in the valley, enjoy a soak in the spa, and then hit the festival in the evening. Here are some tips for the savvy festival-goer.
We’re so excited that winter is here! While waiting for the ski season to start in earnest, we are getting out into the mountains for some hikes and snowshoeing. From the picturesque village of Servoz in Arve Valley on the way to Chamonix, there are many well-marked snowshoeing trails to explore for all levels, from family to more experienced hikers.
We recently tried one to the protected Lac Vert, named after the bright green colour of the lake. It is said to be the classic walk of "Chirves" (Servoz inhabitants). It climbs from the river valley up into towards the high mountain pasture chalets of Ayères, under the wall of Fiz.
The Chamonix Valley offers a huge variety of hikes and walks. The Lac Blanc mountain hut (2,525m), situated on the south-eastern slopes beside a small lake, is a great destination for a September family hike. Take a cable car ride up, follow the contour-hugging trail along the Grand-Blacon Sud for stunning mountain scenery, and enjoy a delicious lunch at the hut. Here’s a tip on how to avoid the crowds of high season and take advantage of cable cars before they close on the 15th of September!
The steep, forested slopes of the Chamonix valley are challenging, but a good idea to help you on your way is gaining 1,500m with a cable car and chairlift. Once at the top, the hike to Lac Blanc is part of the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail, along a beautiful ridge offering stunning views of the Mont Blanc, the Mer de Glace and the Argentiere and Le Tour glaciers.
Did you know monks planted the first vines in Lavaux in the 12th century? The area between Lausanne and Vevey is now a UNESCO World Heritage site with stunning views of the Alps and Lac Leman. We think one of the nicest ways to see the area is ‘slow tourism’ - get there by train or boat, then visit the charming villages on foot or bicycle along paths and quiet vineyard roads.
On our hike last week, we followed the tourisme pedestre trail (marked with yellow signs) from Lutry. We started on a pretty lakeside trail to Cully, then back on the scenic vineyard terraces through Grandvaux (about 3.5 hours, 350m elevation gain). Details can be found on the site: http://www.wanderland.ch/en/routes/route-0113.html. Stop off for lunch on the terrace of the many cafes and restaurants in Grandvaux, or at the picnic tables with unbeatable views just past the village of Aran.
We visited the Domaine du Daley (www.daley.ch). Founded in 1392, the estate produces 20 Grand Crus wines, including one that is very popular in Japan to accompany sushi! We sipped three different wines on Cyril Severin’s panoramic terrace, and visited the ancient and modern cellars before a short walk back down to the Lutry train station.