Matterhorn ZermattSwitzerland’s vistas are world-renowned, and Tom and I have enjoyed many of them in our years here. Now, those clever Swiss have added five new reasons to travel in the country: themed routes, dotted with historic hotels and following itineraries compelling enough to tempt arm-chair travelers onto a Swiss train for a memorable personal journey. 

Last month, we sampled three of the new routes, traveling deep into the mountains and valleys of Switzerland. We traveled by train, bus and boat, and stayed at Swiss Historic Hotels along the way. Let our travels be your guide!

Time Travel I

Rhine falls SchaffhausenThe very first route begins with the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen and ends in Kleinen Scheidegg, with seven stops, including Basel, Solothurn and Interlaken. A first overnight is suggested in tiny Eglisau. There, we fell in love with the medieval ambience and modern comforts of the Romantik Hotel Gasthof Hirschen and its Michelin-starred restaurant La Passion.

Time Travel III

Centovalli railwayThis route begins in Canton Ticino, in Carona, and ends in Vnà, Graubunden. An early stop along the way lands a traveler in beautiful Ascona, on Lago Maggiore. Ascona is a wonderful destination any time of year: in autumn, check out the Chestnut Festival; since April, a beautiful addition to the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Ascona attracts art lovers; the nearby Centovalli is a year-round pleasure to visit. We have now added a new dimension to our affection for the town, with a stay at historic Albergo Monte Verità.

Time Travel IV

Rigi Bahnen Lake Lucerne SwitzerlandThe fourth Time Travel route goes from Amsteg in Canton Uri to Rorschacherberg, on the Bodensee. This route follows the high Alps, before arriving at Vitznau valley station by boat from Lucerne, or overland by train and bus.

The Rigi Bahn was completed in 1873, as a cog railway line up the mountain from Vitznau. Antique steam engines are still brought out of storage from the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (Swiss Transport Museum) in Lucerne, to mark special occasions. The Rigi Bahn hotel was built as a stopping point for train travelers, and today operates as Hotel Terrasse am See. A stay there offers unbeatable sunsets and is still a fine base for exploring Mount Rigi.

Time Travel: On the road to historic hotels in Switzerland

The five routes have been beautifully captured in a coffee-table book, Zeitreisen (English edition, Time Travel), with stunning photography by Andrea Badrutt. Sample itineraries are described by authors Ursula Bauer and Jürg Frischknecht, and a description for each historic hotel is provided by architectural historian Dr. Roland Flückiger-Seiler.

Detailed travel information and links for further reading about each route puts a practical spin on day-dreams of travel to the places in the book. Suggestions are also given for moderate hikes along the way, and topo maps indicated.

Time Travel book from My SwitzerlandTime Travel is a lovely gift for anyone who loves Switzerland; a Zeitreisen map, sold separately, is the take-along when you hit the road, or board a train to travel the routes. The routes can all be followed entirely by public transport, taking advantage of Switzerland’s exceptionally dense public transportation network.

Swiss Historic Hotels

Altogether, there are 47 Swiss Historic Hotels suggested along the five, nine-day trips in Time Travel. Swiss Historic Hotels are cultural landmarks embodying the history and cultural treasures of regions across Switzerland. In our visits to a few of these historical gems, we have been privileged to learn from their owners, the history and traditions of each. These one-of-a-kind hotels have provided us not only a step back in time, but also a way to connect with the future of historic travel in the heart of Europe.

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Many thanks to Switzerland Tourism and to Swiss Historic Hotels for hosting our recent “time travel”. Unforgettable!

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