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Digital detoxing in Switzerland

beena nadeem

Contributor

When we talk about getting away from it all, do we ever properly switch off? With the lure of phones and laptops just a fingertip away, there’s nothing else for it but a full digital detox to make yourself wholly unavailable. With its big skies, spire-like mountains, crystal cool lakes and sunsets that bathe vistas in pinks, Switzerland’s nod to all things wholesome ensures that instead of unplugging life, we’re rebooting everything back into balance.

Luxurious hideaway, Pontresina – a nudge from St Moritz

Take a few days in the beautifully quaint village of Pontresina, just 8km from the showy glamour of St Moritz. Not only will staff at the green-domed, fairy-tale hotel Grand Kronenhof happily lock away all digital devices upon arrival, but they’ll also remove every phone, clock and TV from your room. Here, the blue flickering screens of phones are exchanged for slow sunrise hikes along the mountains of the Upper Engadine valley – the highest inhabited valley at 1800 km.

Framed by pine forests and hugged by chocolate box mountains, the hotel presents a roaring fire, an infinity pool that overlooks mountains (and channels music underwater) and a Michelin-grade restaurant. You can also eat from its detoxing Vitality menu within its neo-baroque dining rooms. 

Pontresina, Switzerland

Photographer: Lukasz Janyst

Ski, yoga and spa - Corviglia

Other parts of the digital detox package that can be taken by non-guests include ski yoga – set on the world’s first piste dedicated to yoga in nearby Corviglia. Here you’ll feel the sensations of the snow and your surroundings. Back at the hotel, indulge in a specially created detox salt bath haki sacral massage – specifically designed by Austrian Harald Kitz for the desk slaves among us. 

Yoga in the snowy mountain

Photographer: Igor V. Podkopaev

A stay in an Alpine hut - Lenzerheide

No television, no broadband and some are only reachable by foot or ski, a myriad of Switzerland’s alpine pastures are dotted with rustic wooden huts. Here you can hike through floral summer pastures or in winter, ski back to your front door. From your base, watch wildlife skittle around from rabbits to deer and listen to the welcome silence broken only by the occasional backdrop of birdsong.

Huts are located all over Switzerland’s mountains and pastureland and include those such as Maiensasshotel Guarda in Lenzerheide, a collection of Alpine huts much like traditional cabins. Here you can bathe in a fountain, cook on a real fire and the hotel can provide you with suitable ingredients and recipes for a cosy night in your own private hideaway. 

Beautiful mountain hut in the Swiss Alps

Photographer: Petr Pohudka

St Moritz: A more glitzy way to ditch all things digital

For those who prefer less sedate and more glitz, there’s nowhere quite like St Moritz, with many of its options far outweigh even a glance at a smartphone.

Take the 160-year-old hotel Klum, which once housed stars, such as Bridget Bardot and Charlie Chaplin. From here, you’re surrounded by the lake of St. Moritz and hugged by the Engadine Mountains. In winter, the area offers ice skating to ice polo, skiing and even the high-octane bob run St. Moritz-Celerina for a 75-second adrenaline surge as you surge down the world’s only natural ice run. There’s also night skiing available during Corvatsch Snow Night when you can ski the longest lit slope in (4.2 km) in Switzerland. The Murtèl restaurant offers a nice rest bite halfway down.

Alternatively, wrap and cross the frozen Lake St. Moritz by horse and carriage – or head further to lake Lej da Staz, and past its pine forests. Summer activities here include walking and hiking followed by a dip in the mountain lakes such as Lej da Staz, Lej Nair and Lej Marsch, which reach around 20 degrees in the summer. Many hotels here also offer kids clubs, which admonish parents of all guilt, offering a fun-packed day from pizza-making to kayaking. 

St Moritz Lej da Staz Switzerland

Photographer: Majzikphotography

Biking tours

There’s a myriad of biking routes, family-friendly, lakeside and mountainous to choose from. One particular favourite wanders through the Bernese Jura region and is celebrated for its alpine panoramas. Alpine pastures with flooded in summer with flowers and dotted along the way with farm restaurants with oodles of local produce, served by locals. Don’t miss out on the crispy, buttery rostis found here. 

Biking in the Swiss Alps

Photographer: Raphael Christinat

Vineyard hike - Lake Geneva

If you prefer an on-foot digital detox, remember you can still drink! Soaking in one of Switzerland’s copious vineyards at Lavaux calls for a full immersion of the experience. These UNESCO-listed vineyard terraces slink on the banks of Lake Geneva. Walks here take in serried rows of vines dotted around historic towns, lakes and that fringe it and stretch as far as the eye can see. An all-out 10.5km walk takes about four hours and culminates at Chexbres, where a lakeside pool is a welcome plunge as is enjoying the fruits of your labour: to be enjoyed with a large glass of local white wine. 

Red wine and grapes. Lavaux region, Switzerland

Photographer: Alexander Chaikin

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