Switzerland offers unparalleled opportunities for sports and fitness throughout the year, providing sports enthusiasts with ski slopes in winter and outdoor swimming pools in summer.
The Swiss are very health-conscious. They practice sports regularly, and one in four is an active member of a sports club.
Switzerland is home to winter sports like ice skating, skiing and snowboarding. Most families spend at least a week of their annual holiday at a ski resort. Major towns and most alpine resorts have an ice field for skating in the winter. At school, pupils often follow elementary courses in skiing and figure skating. Most ski resorts are open between December and April. Details about sports clubs and camps can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Sport. This includes all sports in Switzerland including winter sports – ice-hockey is one of the most popular sports. The start of the ice hockey season is as eagerly anticipated as the football championship. Every local team has its own fiercely loyal fan base.
Federal Office of Sport: www.baspo.admin.ch
For an indoor workout, there are several gyms and health clubs in the main cities. Note that membership fees are more expensive than in Switzerland’s neighbouring countries. The national chain, Migros Fitness Parks is in almost every major city and Activ-Wellness sport centres are in many cities as well. A list of private sport centres is also available online.
Biking and hiking
Biking and mountain climbing are very popular summertime sports in Switzerland. Unsurprising when you consider that the country has more kilometres of hiking paths per capita than any other nation; and the Swiss take full advantage. In the main towns and cities, different clubs organise outdoor treks, but most people prefer to hike independently. List of hiking trails are available across all areas in Switzerland. Hiking trails are generally accessible trails and usually determined for foot traffic. They usually lead aside from roads carrying motorized traffic and generally are not surfaced with asphalt or concrete. Steep sections are negotiated with steps and areas with any danger of falling are protected by handrails, Streams are crossed by catwalks or bridges.
Hiking trails: www.wanderland.ch
In the summertime, the Swiss also love to swim and sunbathe and the authorities ensure that the city’s waters are kept clean. Public pools as well as river and lakeside swimming facilities are located throughout the country. Swimming in lakes and rivers is especially popular, as entrance fees cost half as much as those for pools. The Swiss indoor and open-air swimming pool guide provides detailed descriptions of Swiss indoor swimming pools, open-air baths, lidos, spas and other swimming baths.
Guide to swimming pools: www.swissbadeanstalt.ch
Campsites are generally clean and well-equipped, and each town and village in Switzerland has at least one. The sites are classified according to facilities, ranging from one to five stars, and tourist offices in every region in the country have a camping map showing the locations, contact details and facilities of campsites in the area. The largest camping facilities are in the south of Switzerland, namely around Lake Geneva, the province of Tessin and the valley of Engadin. Note that these are in high demand between May and September, and can cost between CHF 30 and CHF 60 per night. See the Association of Swiss campsites website for details.
Association of Swiss Campsites: www.swisscamps.ch