Swiss Miniature


Swiss Miniature was set up in 1959. It is located in Melide, in the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino. Switzerland’s most important buildings and sites are represented with a scale of 1:25.

Many scenes also represent local customs offering deeper glimpses into the different cultures of our country

There are also model trains (3,5km rails) running between the different locations and cable cars leading up and down the big mountains. 1500 trees and thousands of plants are naturally part of the picture.

Every year about 200’000 visitors make their way to this park, that is also very suitable for families with children.

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Christmas Market


Christmas markets are hugely popular in Europe! Some are really famous but most have become commercialised and lost authenticity.

For years in Bern we have already had two Christmas markets. This year a third was opened that everybody raves about.

This new Christmas Market is also very central and in a park next to the houses of parliament. It is really beautiful and has a much more authentic feel. The stalls are set up for about three weeks before Christmas. But they are beautiful and lovingly designed. There are lot’s of food opportunities but also sweets and many possible Christmas gifts available. A lot of atmosphere pervades this newly created but temporary space well worth checking out.

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The Dishma Valley


The village of Davos (on 1560m) is famous for it’s yearly event of the WEF. That is when the heads of many countries flock together for their summit. Davos is then turned into a fortress.

The village itself isn’t exactly a beauty. But the area around Davos is famous for it’s many skiing tracks in winter and hiking trails for the other seasons.

There are several valleys branching off from Davos. One of the nicest and quite undiscovered is the Dischma valley. By public bus or with your own car you can make it to the bottom of the valley and then hike further up or even hike back down to Davos.

As you enjoy the view the only sound you hear is that of rushing water from the creek and occasionally the shout of bird of prey or the whistle of a marmot.

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On the 2nd weekend in September I joined a group of friends for an outing to the Rigi also called „the Queen of Mountains“.
The Rigi is a group of five mountain peaks between the lakes of Zug and Lucerne. Situated so close to Lucerne the Rigi was right from the beginnings of tourism one of the favourite destinations. 1871 the first mountain train of Europe was built on its slopes.

Many hiking trails lead travellers to splendid vistas of the Alps, the lakes and the rolling midland hills. There were trails for each taste and energy level of our group.

Rigi Kulm is the top peak and also a sister moutain to E Mei Mountain in China. Up on the top we enjoyed refreshments. Then we took the famous rack railway down the steep decent to Viznau. An hour long boat trip on the sparkling Lake Lucerne led us back to the middle age City of Lucerne.

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The Verzasca Valley


The river Verzasca flows through a beautiful valley down into the lake Maggiore on the Ticino side (Italian speaking part) of Switzerland. Huge boulders are sitting in the middle of the river and many deep natural pools invite for a bath. During the warmer season it is wonderful to enjoy the pleasure of exploring the river. We suggest that you find a quiet spot for a couple of hours of „dolce fa niente“ (translation of the Italian: enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing).

Further down the Verzasca valley is one of the higher water dams of our country. The dam stows the lake Vogorno. The water that rushes through pipelines into 4 turbines at the bottom creates about 230 GWh per year. The dam was finished in 1965. It became famous through a scene of the James Bond movie „Goldeneye“ (1995) where Bond bungee jumped 220m down the wall of the dam. Even now visitors can follow in Bond’s tracks and bungee jump 220m down the same wall.

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The Gurten


Berne is the capital of Switzerland surrounded by soft hills. The highest hill is called „Gurten“ and offers a wonderful get away from the city.

Within a few minutes a cable car takes guests 215m up to the top. On the Gurten there are many attractions such as a tower overlooking the city down below, a mini railway for kids to ride along, a kids park and two nice restaurants. Taking the scenic walk down to the station at the bottom takes just about an hour. For those who love mountain biking there are daring trails down the hill.

In July a big music festival takes place drawing thousands of young people to enjoy world famous groups. In November the Gurten Classic Race closes the jogging season.  In winter many families come up to for sledge riding or teaching their smaller kids how to ski.

The cable train is easily accessible either via tram number 9, stop at Gurtenbahn or leave your car in the parking at the foot of the cable car.

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Sommer Days


End of June suddenly the summer has arrived in full strength. Temperatures during the day are up 32-33°C. In some areas there were even warnings issued for elderly people to be careful and not get too exposed to the heat. At the same time many people just enjoy the sun, the warmth and the cool water.

The lake of Thun is usually a cold lake. Meanwhile it has reached 21°C! What a thrill to swim in a cool like and look around at the beautiful mountains.

The Aare river flows also through Thun, Bern and many cities and villages later on joins the Rhein and crosses through Basel into Germany. All along this magnificent river people jump into the water and float along for a while. The second picture is a scene from Basel….

However swimming in a river takes quite some confidence in your swimming skills. It is dangerous because the river flows at quite a high speed and entering it as well as leaving it takes some skill. Every year some people drown since they underestimate the power of the river.

Many villages and cities run their public swimming pools. So young and old flock into these areas and enjoy a time out in the water or the green surroundings.

Yesterday we went to a local, small natural lake (Moossee). The water temperature was at 27°C! What a thrill at 8pm to swim towards the sunset and then back again. Also such places have a safe area for kids or people who are not safe swimmers.

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Ice Skating


Ice skating is a popular sport in this country. In really cold winters some lakes freeze up and are great for ice skating. Every city or even village normally has an ice skating ring.

For a few years an ice skating ring has been set up in a very prominent location: right in front of the houses of parliament. The square in front of these federal buildings in Bern is very popular for all sorts of activities be it sports, art or even for protests etc.

The ice skating ring is set up just before Christmas and is taken down before the end of February. Opening times are 11am to 11pm. There is no entrance fee. People can rent equipment (CHF 10.- / adult or CHF 7.- / kids) to go skating or just bring their own along.

In this wonderful location it is really fun to go skating with some friends or families with their kids. After the activity many people then love to go to the restaurant that is part of the setup.

The menues served there are quite local foods such as sausages, cheese dishes, soup and fondue! This year 6’000 fondues were sold. Obviously a very popular dish!

Over 45’000 people came skating this season. 900 kids received training on special kids’ afternoon.

The local government has already granted permission for the same set up next year. So mark it in your agenda and book a table at the restaurant early in order to enjoy a great time together with your friends or family.

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These days there is a lot of fog hanging over the Swiss Midlands. However the sun is easily accessible. There are many peaks that stick out of the fog. One that is easily accessible with a great view is the Stockhorn. You make it to the top with a cable railway departing from Erlenbach, down below.

The Stockhorn reaches only 2190m. But it is the peak that stands high above the the Swiss Midlands. From the Stockhorn you can look across to the Niesen and further on to the famous three: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Down below is lake Thun, the city of Thun and in the other direction Berne is clearly seen too. On the horizon when the view is clear the Jura and even the Schwarzwald in Germany can be seen.

The Stockhorn is a great outing in summer and winter. It is not an international famous tourist destination. The Jungfrau and the Schilthorn are much more famous. However the Stockhorn, the Niesen and the Niederhorn are all wonderful kind of 2nd class outings, that can easily become first class experiences too.

What I really like about the Stockhorn is the new platform that is accessible through a tunnel from station at the top. The platform hangs over the abyss and gives and incredible view into the Midlands.

At the middle station (Chrindi, at 1642m) it is worth to interrupt your journey and stroll down to the mountain lake in the valley just below. During warmer times you are a little more sporty hike up to the top station. There are numerous paths leading up, some of them quite thrilling and all of them really rewarding!

Right now that mountain lake is frozen. An activity that is offered is ice fishing. You can rent the needed equipment, drill a hole and try to catch the largest fish.

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The Schilthorn


The Schilthorn reaches almost 3000m (2970m exactly) and is one of the most beautiful outings into the alps of Switzerland.

The panoramic view is breathtaking. Right across are the famous three: Eiger (3970m), Mönch (4107m) and the Jungfrau (4158m). Turning around 180° you can still just see the end of lake Thun and then gaze right across Switzerland into the rolling hills of the Jura.

The 360° restaurant on top turns around a full circle within 48 minutes. So you can comfortably sit over a drink and take in the view. It is also worthwhile just walking around outside or exploring the James Bond exhibition. Many important scenes from the Bond movie „On Her Majesty’s Secret Service“ (1969) were shot right here.

In winter the skying trail starts with a very steep descent. When there is no snow a nice trail leads from the middle station Birg station up to the Schilthorn.

The outing starts in Stechelberg, that is just one hour’s car ride from Bern. From Stechelberg the aerial cableway only takes 20’ to climb more than 2000m. There are three stations in between: Gimmelwald, then the delightful village of Mürren, the middle station Birg and the the Schiltorn. Each station has special attractions and activities to do and see.

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