The Hills are Alive? We’re not just talking about Austria when it comes to alpine scenery, but it’s beautiful neighbour, Switzerland.

This affluent land-locked country in Central Europe is home to countless stunning lakes and mountains, and is perfect for a relaxing break, or even an active break, perhaps with a pair of skis! There are many rental homes in Switzerland, which means you can have a true home away from home experience, in the total beauty of nature. Of course, you can also check out the many ski resorts too.

Sharing borders with France, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is part of the Schengen Agreement, which means that most citizens of EU membership countries can enter the country without issue. Do check this however, as there are always anomalies that need to be understood ahead of time!

When to go really depends on the type of weather you want to experience, but those who enjoy the snow obviously need to be venturing during the winter months, between November and March. Generally, Switzerland has a varied climate, depending on how high you go, e.g. altitude; the higher you go, the wetter and colder it gets. Summers can be humid, warm, but cloudy.

The country is large, and that means there are various regions to explore. For instance, Lake Geneva is a very popular area, close to the French border, which makes it ideal for a twin-centre type of holiday. The Jura Mountains are fantastic for hiking, and of course, you have the very pretty Bernese Highlands to explore too. The Swiss Alps are famous and these cover a lot of the country, giving you some seriously exciting and beautiful alpine scenery to enjoy. You don’t have to ski if you don’t want to, but it’s a great place to learn, with some beginner slopes to test out your new skills. Valais is one of the most popular ski areas in Switzerland, with the highest peaks on the continent, as well as some alpine-type lakes. Zermatt is another resort for ski fans, sat at the bottom of the hugely imposing Matterhorn.

If you prefer to keep your feet on solid, non-slippery ground, there are options too! Zurich is a very modern and vibrant city, with some olde-worlde, fun architecture to check out too. Basel is another city option that will give you all your city-dwelling hit, as well as Geneva and Bern. As you can see, Switzerland has more than its fair share of cities to check out!

If you want to find that iconic dairy farm scenery, then head to the north-eastern part of the country, into the Alps and near to Lake Constance. The Rhine Falls are also the largest in Europe, and these are a must see for nature lovers too. Are you a wine lover? If so, head to the Lavaux Vineyards, at Lake Geneva.

There is plentiful history in Switzerland, and it’s certainly not all about nature! The Castles of Bellinzona, the Abbey of St Gallen, and the Castle of Chillon, these are all areas of interest you should be heading to.

Now, Switzerland isn’t the cheapest country on the planet, it has to be said, but despite that fact there are many ways you can cut costs. The cities are great places to spread costs out, because as with any city on the planet, you can make your break as expensive or cheap as you like, if you’re careful with your choices. The ski resorts however do tend to have higher price tags, especially in the neighbouring towns, so this is something to be aware of. Despite all of this, you can’t really put a tag on natural beauty, so perhaps it’s worth it all!

If you choose to hire a car and check out the country and its passing landscapes, do be careful of the roads during winter time, and remember to read up on Swiss road rules. Take care and drive slowly, especially on the mountain passes, and snow tires and chains are a general must have for all vehicles. Always keep your passport and insurance details with you, and remember to check out the vehicle insurance of your hire car before you agree to any deal. Overall however, driving in Switzerland is very safe and extremely scenic, so despite the warnings, this is an experience you’re unlikely to forget.

In short, this beautiful land-locked European country is not somewhere you will forget in a hurry. With some of the most soaring, stunning, beautiful snow-capped peaks to feast your eyes on, some of the bluest alpine lakes, and some of the friendliest people, a break in Swiss alpine heaven is something to behold. Of course, you also have all that rather wonderful Swiss chocolate to try, so perhaps a little hiking or skiing may be needed to burn off all those extra calories!

Shop around for the best deals to try and cut costs, and remember that Switzerland is not part of the Euro, it has its own currency, namely the Swiss Franc. It’s always best to change a little money over before you go, to tide you over for a few days, and then to change the rest in resort, where you will certainly find a better exchange rate deal.

The hills certainly are alive outside of Austria, and Switzerland is a country you need to be ticking off your bucket list selection!