The Swiss have been sensitive to protecting their environment. In addition to the oldest and wildest national park of Europe, many newly opened regional nature parks are being set aside for future generations.

Switzerland even has volunteer "mountain cleaners," who sweep the landscape looking for garbage that careless tourists have left behind.

The country is also looking to the future, installing solar panels and recommending rail travel over flying. It's estimated that taking the train from London via Paris to Zurich rather than flying saves 176 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions per person for the 966km (600-mile) journey.

advertisement

More and more Swiss environmentalists are talking about keeping their splendid alpine peaks pristine. They need the words of critic John Ruskin, who said, "Mountains are the beginning and end of all natural scenery."

Swiss ecologists must guard against the impact of unbridled ski-lift development and exhaust fumes from motorized traffic, especially transalpine trucking.

Additionally, the Swiss fear the spread of vacation apartments springing up like a tourist housing sprawl, such as around Pontresina. The sprawl also plagues neighboring St. Moritz and other vacation centers in the Upper Engadine.

advertisement

In Davos, one of the most famous of all ski resorts, visitors are urged not to drive cars into town, but take one of the fleet of buses moving skiers in winter or hikers in summer to the mountains.

For a true eco-friendly holiday, consider a stay on a Swiss farm, getting close to nature. Prices are lower than at most hotels, and you even have the option of working in the fields. For this type of holiday, check with the Verein Ferien auf dem Bauernhof (Swiss Holiday Farms Association).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.