CULTURE CLUB • June 2019
Snow-capped mountains, quaint architecture and lots and lots of cheese, Switzerland is the ultimate playground for those seeking both an in- and outdoor European adventure. As picture-perfect in summer as it is in winter, we ask Basel-based art curator Samuel Leuenberger for the lowdown on how to see Switzerland the native way
Swimming in the refreshing Rhine during the summer should be number one on your to-do list. Or for a culture hit, don’t miss Fondation Beyeler, just a 15-minute drive from the city centre and home to many early works by Pablo Picasso. The museum itself is set in a beautiful park, and architecture buffs will appreciate the Renzo Piano-designed facade.
…Swiss people like to follow the rules, and greetings aren’t exempt. If you meet someone for the first time, shake hands. If you meet again, kiss three times on the cheeks, starting with the right side. If you get to know them well, you won’t kiss more than once. The final step: a big hug.
Germany’s enchanting Black Forest is only a 20-minute drive from Basel while, in the other direction, the French region of Alsace lies just across the border. With medieval buildings straight out of a fairy-tale, it’s great for local markets too. If you’re in the mood for hiking, take a road trip to explore the best Swiss scenery at Berner Oberland.
When you think of art, Basel might not immediately spring to mind. But every June, the international art scene descends on the small yet thriving city. Art Basel (13-16 June 2019) is one of the biggest events on the calendar, with leading galleries from around the globe taking part as well as participating Art Basel's shows in Hong Kong and Miami. Don’t miss the Parcours, a sculpture and performance project that takes place in the historic part of the city.
… the veal bratwurst. It’s heavenly with some fresh baguette or hashe mit apfelmuus, macaroni with minced meat and apple sauce. They may sound like unlikely combinations, but they’re mouth-wateringly good. Although Switzerland is known for its cheese and chocolate, there are many other delicacies to try.
I love hiking in Luzern Bauern during the summer, especially walking along Lake Lucerne which is lined with banana and palm trees, quite unusual for the region. Then there's skiing in the mountain range above Zermatt, a small village that you can only access by train. You can ski 360 degrees around the slopes, passing from peak to peak without ever having to descend down to the village.
Switzerland is a small landlocked country, bordered by France, Italy, Germany and Austria. It’s so compact that you don’t really need to rent a car, even if you want to climb the highest mountain. Public buses will take you everywhere you need to go, and Geneva, Zurich and Basel are home to major airports so you can get across Europe in just a few hours.