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Sustainable Travel

By 16 June 2020 No Comments

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL

What is sustainable tourism like in Switzerland?
Let’s take a look.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY

NISARAT SITASUWAN

What is sustainable tourism like in Switzerland?
Let’s take a look.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY

NISARAT SITASUWAN

Before mountaineers sought adventurous experiences in steep mountains in the early 19th century and a flock of sightseers fell in love with the beautiful scenery and fresh summer air or winter sports, Switzerland used to be a popular destination for hydrotherapy back in ancient Rome.

The peak of hydrotherapy or water cure in Switzerland was in the mid 18th century, and during that period, there were many hydrotherapy hotels for visitors, but after World War I and World War II, it began to fade. However, some cities were able to keep the hydrotherapy business alive and their hydrotherapy spas are still operating today, such as Bad Ragaz in the canton of St. Gallen.

Switzerland’s hydrotherapy, which uses natural water to cure health conditions, has maintained its quality over the past 200 years, and this is a prime example of sustainable tourism. We can experience the same quality as back then.  

The Entlebuch Biosphere is a natural reserve at the foot of the Alps near Lucerne, designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve. It is home to great biodiversity — lush green grass, streams, villages and pastures. There’s also a Kneippanlage area which allows people to visit and experience nature by paying a small maintenance fee. Here, there are facilities built following the idea of Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), a Bavarian priest who believed that “nature is the best pharmacy”. The Kneippanlage here is touted to be among the most beautiful in Switzerland. 

Along the way, on a natural path, there are maps and signages, so you can easily find the Arm Bath where you can relax your arms, and the Quiet Zone to relax on a wooden bench. There are many taps and shower heads for you to wash your face, hands and body, and you can take the Barefoot Path made with natural materials, visit the fragrant Herb Garden or visit the Water Treadmill with handrails for safety.

After exploring nature and trying the facilities, you will feel physically and emotionally refreshed (the cold water helps). Now it’s time to enjoy a big meal at a hostel in Flühli, a village on the way to Lucerne.

Another city which has long been famous for hydrotherapy since the Middle Age is Scuol in the canton of Grisons in Eastern Switzerland. It used to be home to a luxury hotel Hotel Waldhaus Vulpera, one of the best hotels with spa services back in the late 19th century. In 1988 the hotel was closed for renovation, but in 1989 it was destroyed by conflagration, and now it is a public park. Their bath and wellness spa have been built in a new location to offer services to locals and visitors.  

Bogn Engiadina Wellness Spa in Scuol has indoor and outdoor baths with varying temperatures. It also offers a steam room, solarium, and spa treatment rooms like other luxury hotels. Visitors can access these services with payment, and locals can sign up for membership. Certain luxury hotels in the same city may offer free access to this spa.

This wellness spa in Scuol is big and modern. The services are so impressive you might want to consider becoming a local so you can use it every day.

Next to Scuol is Guarda, an ancient village which has picturesque houses and 11th century architecture, many of which are still well-maintained today. The Swiss Heritage Society awarded Guarda the Wakker Prize for the preservation of its architectural heritage in 1975.

Another uniqueness of Guarda is its water fountains and wells made with ancient stones that date back hundreds of years. The water in each fountain has different properties, and some have fresh water while some have saline water. Some even have pink water or fizzy water! It’s fun to explore them and taste the water.  

Switzerland has been a beloved destination for centuries, and it’s amazing how most places have retained their beauty over the years while also adapting to the modern time.  

TRAVEL INFORMATION

1. From Zurich to Bad Ragaz, the train ride takes 1 hour 15 minutes.
2. From Lucerne to Flühli, take the train and the bus. The journey takes 1 hour 47 minutes.
3. From Chur to Scuol-Tarasp, the train ride takes 1 hour 44 minutes.

DESTINATION