Sleep in the company of cows
If you have novice herders or dairy fans, head to Pays-d’Enhaut in the French-speaking canton of Vaud to test your tasting and blending skills while learning how to make one of the most delicious Alpine cheeses. With its bold, fruity and nutty flavor, etivaz – a rarer cousin of the classic gruyère – is produced in the traditional way: over an open fire on one of more than 130 alpine peaks between the glaciers of Les Diablerets and the vineyards of Lake Geneva. Visitors can walk to the cottages where farmers keep their flocks throughout the summer, allowing them to graze in wildflower-filled meadows.
For a special treat, sleep all night in the hay above the cows, learn to milk them in the morning and help make the day’s batch of etivaz. Adult/child prices from £42/£26 including overnight stay, dinner, breakfast and cheese (chateau-doex.ch).
ski in summer
The summer months are the perfect time to conquer Europe’s biggest and highest summer slopes. Passionate skiers can head to the 3,883m Klein Matterhorn and join national ski teams from around the world to explore the 21km of open slopes each morning (don’t worry, there are ski schools to improve).
At the top of the ski area, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car station offers expansive views of the peak, along with activities such as snow tubing and the Glacier Palace, where visitors can descend 15m into the glacier to explore a frozen world of ice sculptures and slides. Buying a cable car pass for more than three days on the Zermatt side (zermatt.ch) gives you access to the local cable cars as well as the ski area. Stay at the Unique Hotel Post (hotelpost.ch), which offers double rooms from £182 a night.
Follow Route 1291
This summer, the Lake Lucerne region opens Route 1291, a challenging 300 kilometer cycle path that starts and ends in Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s best-preserved medieval towns. Named after the year Switzerland’s first federal charter was signed, this seven-step route showcases some of the country’s finest castles, historic towns and mountain scenery.
Designed to be walked over the course of a week, the route heads to Andermatt via Altdorf and then back through the UNESCO-listed Entlebuch Biosphere nature reserve. Stay at the Art Deco Hotel Montana (hotel-montana.ch) which has double rooms from £184 a night.