To the Swiss, Central Switzerland – green, mountainous and soothingly beautiful – is the essence of ‘Swissness’. It was here that the pact that kick-started a nation was signed in 1291; here that hero William Tell gave a rebel yell against Habsburg rule. Geographically, politically, spiritually, this is the heartland. Nowhere does the flag fly higher.
Locals swell with pride at Lake Lucerne: enigmatic in the cold mist of morning, molten gold in the dusky half-light. The dreamy city of Lucerne is small enough for old-world charm yet big enough to harbour designer hotels and a world-class gallery full of Picassos. From here, cruise to resorts such as Weggis and Brunnen, or hike Mt Pilatus and Mt Rigi. Northeast of Lucerne, Zug has Kirschtorte (cherry cake) as rich as its residents and medieval heritage. Come snow time, head to the Alps for Andermatt’s austere mountainscapes or Engelberg for powdery off-piste perfection.