By Shereen Shabnam
The Swiss Alps have so much more to offer than just winter sports and snowy mountains. The destination has visitors all year round and is just as popular in the summer, when walking outside is easier with views of breathtaking nature and for outdoor sports.
This summer we headed out to Crans-Montana in the district of Sierre in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. It is a ski resort that was created through the fusion of the two centers of Crans and Montana and is now a sought after destination for celebrities.
Other than hosting spectacular World Ski Championships, guests also come from far to Crans-Montana to enjoy the pop rock festival, bicycle racing and the Omega European Masters golf tournament.
Crans-Montana offers an impressive view of mountain peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc and offers visitors luxury holiday retreats with expansive natural landscapes and panoramic views of the Valais Alps.
We were able to enjoy shopping in the quaint village shops, get high end luxury brands, walked near aromatic mountain forests, and along a lake, learnt first hand how to make cheese with a local farmer and tried our hand at golf with a talented golf trainer.
For panoramic views, visitors can take the gondolas from Crans-Montana to the top and enjoy places like the Plaine Morte Glacier, experience mountain rides such as the “Petit Bonvin”, the “Cry d’Err” or “Les Violettes, or just hike at their own pace.
Crans-Montana is perfect for family holidays as local parks and summer camps offer numerous activities like sledge runs, tobogganing, swings, drawing competitions, golf clinics at the “highest golf course in the world”, a fun Forest Adventure Park, lake walks, water sports, hike excursions, music festivals and amusement parks.
We visited the Beach Club, which had beach volleyball, banana boating on the lake and cable wakeboarding. We had coffee on the deckchairs watching the locals swim, enjoying meals with families and relax with board games.
Art enthusiasts can visit various museums and art galleries in Crans-Montana which has galleries dedicated to art fans and collectors having access to the works of internationally renowned artists as well as new talent.
Food in Crans-Montana was a delight. With mouth-watering sushi at our hotel’s Japanese restaurant, MiZUKI by Kakinuma’, raclette and fondue during the evenings.
Highlight was the gastronomic meal in the mountains at Chetzeron Hotel which was memorable at 2112 m. The menu included an “Alpine refined” flavoured cuisine from traditional Valais-based specialities to contemporary inspirations. We had great seafood at La Plage and even had Lebanese food for dinner, similar to what we would find in Dubai.
We stayed at the Guarda Golf Hotel & Residences located in the heart of the picturesque Crans-Montana. It was an intimate and elegant home for us with personalised service and it is clearly one of the finest luxury hotels in Switzerland being a member of Swiss Deluxe Hotels as well as of The Leading Hotels of the World. Our room had spectacular panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.
To get to Crans-Montana, we flew SWISS from Dubai, which was a comfortable and enjoyable arriving in Zurich in time to start our travel adventure in different parts of Switzerland using the Swiss Pass that allowed us to see many parts of beautiful Switzerland.