- Snow-scalped Alps
- Country life
- On the piste
Look at the lid of almost any tin of Swiss chocolates, and you’ll find a postcard-perfect village scene; the snow-sprinkled Alpine town of Adelboden could easily have posed for the picture.
1,350m above sea level, in the mountainous heart of the Bernese Oberland, Adelboden is a village-sized cluster of gingerbread-house wooden chalets surrounded by pine trees and flanked by snow-capped peaks. Switzerland’s scenery doesn’t get more dramatic than this craggy landscape of plunging valleys and dizzying heights. Criss-crossed by cable cars and ski lifts, the picturesque resort town is a haven for snowsports fanatics and Alpine adventurers, and in summer, when a carpet of greenery covers the slopes, Adelboden becomes the destination of choice for hilltop hikers, spa-seekers and lonely goatherds alike.
Not content with skis, snowboards and sledges, enterprising Adelbodners have invented yet another device for sliding through the snow – the ‘Skibock’. Essentially a plank attached to a single ski, the contraption is found ubiquitously around the town in winter, and the first Skibock World Championship was held in 2006.
- Taxi Bergmann (+41 (0)33 673 2848) is Adelboden’s only operator. Alternatively, book a horse-drawn carriage with Ruth and Robert Dänzer (+41 (0)33 673 28 37).
- Tipping culture
- Most bills will include a service charge, but most visitors should also expect to round up the bill or throw in an extra five to 10 per cent.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Don’t leave lunch later than about 2pm as it can be hard to find anywhere serving food between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Many of the town’s shops close for lunch between midday and 2pm. Dinner is usually served relatively early, from 6pm.
- Packing tips
- In winter, bring shoes suitable for tramping through snow, and enough warm layers to keep off the chill. Sunglasses are a year-round essential – the light can be blinding.
- Recommended reads
- Legendary Swiss hero William Tell originated from the neighbouring canton of Uri. Freidrich Schiller’s play Wilhelm Tell is the one for the purists, but we prefer PG Wodheouse’s light-hearted Alpine romp William Tell Told Again.
- Switzerland’s national dish is the fondue, popular in both cheese and meat varieties. Cheese-wise, you’ll find rich, tasty blends of local cheeses (including the region’s speciality, Emmental), often mixed with champagne, and enjoyed with chunks of bread. Meat fondues use either hot oil or clear soup. Raclette – a puddle of hot cheese drizzled over potatoes and served with pickles – is also a regional staple, as are rösti potato cakes, which often accompany bacon and eggs. Swiss wines don’t get much international attention, but this is an export issue rather than a quality concern – many are excellent, with some wonderful Rieslings and pinot noirs produced in the Bernese Oberland. For dessert, pick up thick aniseed-laced gingerbread at one of Adelboden’s patisseries.
- Swiss Franc (CHF).
- Time zone
- GMT +1.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Switzerland: +41; Adelboden: (0)33.
- Do go/don't go
- Adelboden is an attractive destination all year round, but if you’re going for the ski scene, visit between December and March. Some slopes may be still closed in early December, but if you want to avoid the ski-season crowds, it’s the ideal time to visit. The summer months of June, July and August tend to be warm, bright and rainy.
Don't go home without...
A visit to the Käsespezialitäten Schmid (21 Dorfstrasse), Adelboden’s dedicated cheese shop, which is stocked to the rafters with regional specialities, and the perfect spot to pick up your authentic Swiss fondue set or raclette grill.