How to Live the Alpine High Life

Whether you break for bubbly on the slopes, spend the day at a luxurious spa, or shop for one of the world’s finest watches, you’ll find the Alpine high life almost impossible to leave.

Highlights
Bahnhofstrasse, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
Few Alpine resorts satisfy shopaholics like glitzy Zermatt. Located at the base of the towering Matterhorn, the Swiss town boasts everything from top-notch jewelry stores to boutiques filled with world-class watches. For some of the best shopping, head to the bustling Bahnhofstrasse, where you’ll find stores with the finest outdoor gear for skiers, snowboarders, and climbers, as well as bakeries and chocolate shops hawking freshly made Swiss desserts.
Schlossgass 77, 7414 Fürstenau, Switzerland
There’s no shortage of world-class restaurants in Switzerland but a few stand out for their exquisite culinary experience. With three Michelin stars to its name, Schauenstein Schloss is such a place. Housed in a tiny, renovated castle in Fürstenau, the restaurant serves beautifully crafted dishes, dreamed up by award-winning chef Andreas Caminada. Look forward to a vast wine selection, impeccable service, and signature courses like succulent Graubünden lamb and ravioli with lemon peel.
St Moritz, Switzerland
In a country full of swanky resort towns, St. Moritz takes the crown with its wide array of five-star hotels, designer stores, and award-winning restaurants. The town is also home to such exciting activities as skijoring and ice cricket, which help to keep all the celebrity visitors entertained.
There’s nothing quite as magical as a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy wonderland that is the Alps in winter. For the most romantic option, head to Salzburg and take a ride through the Salzach River Valley, past snow-topped Alpine chalets, quaint inns, and huge glaciers. Panorama Tours offers excellent December tours, during which guests snuggle beneath warm blankets before warming up with traditional Styrian cuisine in Ramsau.
This champagne bar looks like a mirage as you’re coming down the last stretch of the narrow Sunnega run back into Zermatt. A classic après-ski spot, it’s where the local instructors gather at day’s end. The Cuban-born bartender is always playing great music, from Bob Marley to Jack Johnson, while skiers stay warm with heat lamps, fur blankets, and, of course, multiple glasses of Veuve Clicquot.
Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
The most famous castle in Germany—and one of the best known in Europe—Neuschwanstein is renowned not just for its fairy-tale architecture (which directly inspired the Disney Castle) but also for its creator, “mad” King Ludwig II. Begun in 1868, it wasn’t completed until four years after Ludwig’s death, in 1892, but was very advanced for its time, with larger-than-usual windows, central heating, an elevator, telephones, and indoor plumbing. However, it’s the castle’s mountaintop setting and soaring towers that really impress. When visiting, be sure to check out the paintings inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner—Ludwig’s friend and the person to whom he dedicated the castle. Also take in the stellar views from the Marienbrücke, and if you want to visit in style, consider a horse-drawn carriage ride back to your car. There’s a restaurant on-site, but plenty of cheaper options are in the town below.