5 winter activities in Switzerland to kick off your new semester

5 winter activities in Switzerland to kick off your new semester

Starting your February semester at Swiss Hotel Management School? Here are five winter activities that you can do to kick off your wintertime in Switzerland!

#Student Life

By Swiss Education Group

3 minutes
Winter sports in Switzerland, snowboarding in the alps


February is a magical month to be in Switzerland, particularly for any students starting a new semester at Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS). The country transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a multitude of experiences from vibrant festivals to thrilling snow sports. In this article, we'll share five extraordinary things that you can do in Switzerland as you settle into your home away from home!


1. Join the Winter Festivals

Switzerland in February is a hub of winter festivals, offering unique experiences that you shouldn't miss. 

Here are three highlights:

Swiss Carnival Celebrations: February is the peak of the carnival season in Switzerland. Each region has its own unique traditions and events. One of the most anticipated is Basel's Fasnacht, known for its vibrant costumes, lively parades, and street parties. It is one of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage events. This is a great opportunity for you to witness and learn about Swiss traditions and culture.

Outdoor Ice Festivals: Many Swiss towns transform their public spaces into ice festivals in February. From beautifully lit ice rinks to intricate ice sculptures, these festivals offer a unique Swiss experience. The Ice Magic Festival in Lausanne, a short train ride away along Lake Geneva from both of our campuses, or the Zürich Lake Festival are two of the most popular events.

Winter Music and Arts Festivals: If you're a fan of music and arts, Switzerland has plenty to offer. The Swiss Diagonals Jazz event in Vevey, just below Caux along Lake Geneva, is a blend of music celebrating the four corners of Switzerland, while the Art on Ice Festival combines figure skating with live music. These festivals are a great way for you to appreciate local and international talent.


2. Dive into Snow Sports

Switzerland in February is a playground for snow sports enthusiasts. Here are three snow sports experiences you can enjoy:

Skiing and Snowboarding: Besides Leysin, one of the SHMS campuses, being a ski resort, Switzerland is home to world-class ski resorts such as St. Moritz and Zermatt. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, there's a slope for you. This is a perfect opportunity for you to enjoy the breathtaking alpine scenery and improve your skiing or snowboarding skills.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: These activities allow you to explore the pristine winter 
landscapes at a slower pace. Many trails are easily accessible near either the Caux or Leysin campuses. If you prefer a peaceful snow experience, consider joining a guided snowshoeing tour.

Sledging and Tobogganing: For a fun-filled experience, try sledging or tobogganing. Many Swiss 
resorts offer dedicated sledging slopes where you can enjoy the thrill of speeding down a snowy hillside. In fact, there is a famous slope in Leysin for this!


3. Discover Winter Hiking Trails

Even if you have experienced the hiking trails of Switzerland before in the other seasons, when the flowers are blooming and the trees are full of color, winter is a different game. Switzerland offers some of the most scenic winter hiking trails. As you trek through snow-covered landscapes, you'll be treated to panoramic vistas of majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, and charming alpine villages. This is a great way for you to connect with nature and take a break from your studies.

As mentioned before, if you're new to winter hiking or prefer a guided experience, consider joining a snowshoeing tour. These tours are led by experienced guides who will take you through snow-covered forests and pristine alpine landscapes. This is a unique opportunity for you to explore Switzerland's winter wonderland.


4. Experience Swiss Cuisine

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Swiss culture is through its cuisine. Here are some culinary experiences you can enjoy in February:

Swiss fondue and raclette: These dishes are a must-try when in Switzerland. Fondue involves dipping pieces of bread into a pot of melted cheese, while raclette is a dish of melted cheese scraped onto boiled potatoes. These hearty dishes are perfect for warming up on a cold winter day. 

cheese fondue, swiss culture
You can enjoy traditional Swiss dishes such as cheese fondue.

Seasonal dishes and delicacies:

Swiss cuisine is known for its hearty stews, roasted meats, and delicious pastries. Don't miss out on trying dishes like Älplermagronen, a Swiss version of macaroni and cheese, or Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, sliced veal in a creamy mushroom sauce.

Visiting local chocolate factories: Switzerland is famous for its high-quality chocolate. A visit to a local chocolate factory such as Maison Cailler is a must for all chocolate lovers. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about the chocolate-making process and indulge in Swiss chocolates.


5. Enjoy Winter Wellness

February in Switzerland offers a unique opportunity to embrace the winter season and indulge in some much-needed relaxation. Here are some wellness activities you can enjoy:

Thermal Baths and Spas: Switzerland is home to several thermal baths and spas. Have you heard of Les Bains de Lavey, not too far from our Leysin campus, which sits at the base of the Swiss Alps? This is a perfect opportunity for you to relax and rejuvenate in steaming mineral-rich spring waters while enjoying the snowy landscapes around you.

Hot Stone Massages and Wellness Retreats: A spa retreat can be as comfortable as the on-campus spa in Leysin or a trip to a cozy Swiss winter town on a different mountaintop. Many wellness retreats in Switzerland offer hot stone massages. This is a great way for you to relieve stress and tension from your studies.

Outdoor Yoga and Meditation: Consider joining an outdoor yoga or meditation class! Many wellness centers organize outdoor classes during the winter months, offering a unique way for you to connect with nature and enhance your mindfulness. You may even find groups on-campus who hold regular yoga or meditation meetings already, or find your own group with Swiss locals.

No matter what types of winter activities you enjoy, Switzerland is a fantastic place to find your place. Whether you are trying something new or finding people who love the same interests as you, there is something for you. And make the most of your time at SHMS to attend events and see sights that you would never see otherwise! These experiences will be memories that you will keep with you for the rest of your life. 

#Student Life


By Swiss Education Group