Sports in Switzerland

Updated 2018-08-17 13:17

Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “sports” and “Switzerland”, is skiing at the Swiss Alps. And while the country is indeed home to some of the finest ski resorts in the world, sports activities in Switzerland go well beyond that. Sport is almost a culture, with both men and women of all ages regularly indulging in swimming, jogging, fitness, tennis, volleyball, martial arts, etc. If you are moving there, you may enroll in a sports club or a gym. You can also access various sports infrastructures and facilities such as football fields, stadiums, gymnasiums and swimming pools, among others.

Skiing in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland may sound like the ultimate pastime, but you need to be aware it's quite an expensive activity. The country's ski resorts offering is quite diverse, from beginners' slopes to steep descents for experienced skiers. There are no less than 162 ski resorts spread throughout Switzerland, but among the most iconic ones is Zermatt, with the famous Matterhorn area which offers some of the world's best skiing. The enormous ski area of Les Portes du Soleil in the northern Alps crosses the borders to France offering twelve ski resorts for cosmopolitan skiers. Of course St. Moritz, in Upper Engadine Valley, also warrants a mention as a go-to destination for jet-setters for over a century, with a ski area that can be accessed via a funicular from the town centre. St. Moritz also introduced the concept of 'après-ski' to the world, with after-slope drinks at the area's nightspots.

Sports activities in Switzerland

But skiing is not all there is. With one in every four people in Switzerland being a member of a sports club, you know you'll have countless options for your sports activities. In the winter, you can also attempt ice hockey, Switzerland's national sport and very popular amongst the Swiss youth: Swiss teams take part in the National League A. There is also ice skating, with the largest ice rink in Europe being in Zurich, and countless natural ice rinks (lakes who have frozen over) with Lake Jura the most prominent amongst them. Paragliding, parachuting, high and low jumps are also highly claimed activities during wintertime.

During the spring and summer months, it's a great time to go hiking in one of Switzerland's many marked hiking trails covering a total of 65,000 kilometres. It's also worth checking what happens at a cantonal level: many different sports are practised in different cantons, according to their geography and sports facilities available. Biking, swimming, football and athletics (besides hockey and skiing) are the country's most popular and publicised sports. Tennis, squash, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, gymnastics and golf are also very common. Note that the different sports are grouped into a national federation or association. There is also schwingen, a Swiss form of traditional wrestling that's becoming popular once again, as well as various martial arts and combat sports, Judo and Jujitsu clubs and dojos. You can also opt to enroll at a fitness or wellness club, or be assisted by a professional instructor.

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