I’m in Switzerland this week as part of the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), an annual meet up of 650 like-minded adventure travel professionals (a.k.a. the tribe) from around the globe who gather to reconnect, forge new partnerships and share strategies for success.

The official summit agenda begins tomorrow, but conference organizers and Switzerland Tourism have put together a sampling of pre-summit adventures custom designed to get us out exploring and discovering together with our fellow delegates. 

For the past week I’ve been busy soaking up Swiss sunshine, hospitality, food and drink while exploring the traditional villages and history of the stunning Valais region, starting in the most famous Swiss mountain resort, Zermatt, at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn. 

Here are a few special places and memorable experiences in case you’re itching to launch your own Swiss adventure.

If Zermatt is on your travel list - pack a camera. Matterhorn sunrises are pure seduction. I think I could photograph this mountain everyday for a lifetime and never tire of it. Better yet, I didn’t even have to get out of bed to photograph it from my hotel room (#407 at Sunstar Style Hotel Zermatt)

The Breithorn peak (13,661 ft) as viewed from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, end point of the highest cable car in Europe. Zermatt, Switzerland.

2012 Adventure Travel Trade Association World Summit delegates climb Breithorn peak (13,661 ft) as part of pre-summit adventures in Switzerland.

I’d never heard of kick-bikes before, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as we rolled our way down the mountain. Learn more about the adventure at  www.zermatt.ch

From Zermatt we traveled to the hidden Val d’Anniviers and stayed at the gracious Hotel Bella Tola and historic Hotel Weisshorn in St.Luc while exploring some of the small villages in the valley on leisurely hikes among a spectacular landscape of golden hued fall colors.  

The spectacular Val dAnniviers, a Swiss alpine valley, situated in the district of Sierre in Valais, which extends south of the Rhône Valley.  















A trip highlight was an alpine hike to the Swiss Mayen hut, Ponchet, for a delicious farm-to-table picnic lunch prepared by volunteer hosts who amazed and delighted us with their generous hospitality and gourmet cuisine. The meadow setting and warm welcome couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. Learn more at www.ponchet.ch

One night was NOT enough at the lovely Hotel Bella Tola, a hospitable hideaway in St. Luc. Imagine hiking or skiing by day and returning to this bed at night. 

Perched atop the valley is the Hotel Weisshorn, a trekker’s favorite. You don’t get luxury here, but the view and historic ambiance is pure alpine adventure. Like in Zermatt, room number 407 turns out to be another room with a view. (See photo above) Mountain vistas, spacious and cozy. Highly recommend it. 


I’ll be sharing more soon. In the meantime, you can learn more about all there is to see + do in this inviting corner of south-west Switzerland at www.zermatt.ch and www.valais.ch.


About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,FacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".