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Water - Undoubtedly The Heart Of Switzerland

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In each of its many forms, water is undoubtedly the heart of Switzerland

It’s easy to regard Switzerland as a land of mountains but, with countless lakes, rivers, creeks, waterfalls and glaciers, it is equally a land of water, despite being landlocked. The source of the Rhine and Rhône, Switzerland is also home to the unique Piz Lunghin watershed, from where water flows into the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Description: “Bisse du Milieu” from the centre of Nendaz, along a pleasant footpath through the valley to Planchouet and Lavantier, Lake Maggiore and the Brissago Islands

Bisse du Milieu” from the centre of Nendaz, along a pleasant footpath through the valley to Planchouet and Lavantier, Lake Maggiore and the Brissago Islands

The Swiss have always embraced water, founding their cities on the shores of valley lakes, which formerly provided protection and are now endless sources of entertainment; grazing their animals on the fertile pastures that surround Alpine lakes; creating elaborate irrigation channels (“bisses”) to bring mountain-stream water to steeply terraced vineyards and fruit groves; and, more recently, harnessing the power of water to generate electricity for millions of households.Description: Hiking along Lake Oeschinen, 1,578m above Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland

Hiking along Lake Oeschinen, 1,578m above Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland

Despite its diminutive size, Switzerland offers visitors a medley of watery offerings, from indulgent thermal spas overlooking the Alps and romantic dinners served onboard Belle Epoque paddle steamers, to canyoning excursions down deep gorges and a walk across the Trift glacier on the longest, highest pedestrian suspension bridge in the Alps.

In Switzerland, there truly is a lake for everyone. Nature lovers will love Lake Oeschinen, dwarfed by the towering Bluemlisalp, fed by glacial mountain streams and fringed by a lush carpet of mountain orchids, gentian and edelweiss. Horticulturalists will thrive by the balmy Lake Maggiore, with its lush, subtropical botanical gardens on Isola Grande, while thrillseekers flock to the mythical Black Lake to hike, bike or climb on the mountains above it and explore the rugged Brecca Gorge.

Description: Derborence Lake in Canton Valais, a protected area and a paradise for walkers

Derborence Lake in Canton Valais, a protected area and a paradise for walkers

Historians can follow the gentle walking trails alongside the ancient “bisses” above Nendaz, stopping for refreshments at geranium-festooned mountain huts along the way. Budding geologists will fall for the striking landscape of Derborence Lake, created by two massive landslides in the 18th century, considered to be the work of the devil – the mountains above the newly-formed lake were renamed Les Diablerets, the Devil’s Mountains.

Whether you’re looking for romance in the luxurious Hotel Grischa on Lake Sils, which has a fleet of rowing boats for sunset outings, or an affordable pad perched above the Rhine Falls, such as the Dachsen Youth Hostel, you’ll find a selection of over 100 places to stay in MySwitzerland’s dedicated “Accommodation on Water” collection.

Description: Lake Sils

Lake Sils

Finally, keep abreast of all the latest Swiss news with an impressive range of online mediums and innovative iPhone and iPad apps. Research and book your Swiss holiday at MySwitzerland.com and, while you’re there, keep informed about local events and news with Twitter (@MySwitzerland_e) and Facebook (facebook.com/ MySwitzerland); check the weather and water temperature in 250 locations with the Swimming Weather app and download over 30 detailed hiking guides with the Swiss Hike app and eight practical city guides with the Swiss City app.

Call free on 00 800 100 200 30, or visit MySwitzerland/summer. For brochures, visit MySwitzerland.com/brochures.

Win! Visit cntraveller.com/promotions/ myswitzerland for further inspiration and for your chance to win three nights for two people at the wonderful four-star Grimsel Hospiz Hotel in the Bernese Oberland region.

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