Which is Better? Swiss Alps VS. Italian Alps
Are in a dilemma which country which you should visit in order to see breathtaking views of Alpine ranges? In this article we will be comparing between the Swiss and Italian Alps to see which one may be better - but of course - it depends on your preference. We will look at the mountains that adorn the natural alpine areas, the value for money and the food available in each area to help you decide while keeping within your budget. The mountains are often located around the border between Italy and Switzerland, so the mountains are very identical looking but each have their own special characteristics that make them beautiful. If you are looking for somewhere to stay near the Italian Alps, check out Albergo Miramonti.
The Swiss Alps
It is generally tough to compare between the Italian and Swiss Alps - it is almost like comparing an apple to an orange - each country’s alps have their own charm and therefore it entirely depends on your preference in what mountains you are a fan of, or even the food and culture the country may have. First of all, this is a short list of the different mountains that are found in each region. Many of these mountains are considered popular with tourists and are the most sought after areas to perform outdoor activities such as Hiking or Skiing.
Matterhorn is arguably one of the most famous alps in the Swiss region, and is the first image thought of when thinking about the Swiss Alps. Standing at over 4,000 metres - it can become crowded with up to 3000 climbers annually. The Matterhorn peak can be found in the Toblerone logo with a bear standing beside it. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt and the Aosta Valley in Italy.
The Jungfrau mountain is located in the Bernese Alpine Range, it is nicknamed to be the ‘Top of Europe’. Jungfrau can be accessed by tourists through the Jungfrau station which is considered to be Europe’s highest train station, and has a series of activities and sightseeing activities that can be done here. For example, there is the Sphinx Observatory which is considered to be one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world.
Piz Nair is located in the Albula Alps in Switzerland while overlooking the city of St Moritz. It standing at about 3,000 metres high. Piz Nair is a popular destination for hikers and skiiers, and actually, in 1948, the Winter Olympics was hosted in this mountain. The mountain is easily accessible through the cable car and provides various outdoor activities like mountain biking.
Eiger is also found in the Bernese highlands of Switzerland, it is known to be a mountain ‘to be feared’, in Swiss it has been nicknamed ‘Mordwand’ which means Death wall in English. It is a peak that is very difficult to climb and requires experienced hikers to tackle this challenge. Despite this, it is a beautiful spectacle and you can view it safely through walking through established hiking trails. It looks over the city of Mürren, a very popular destination during the summer and the winter.
The Italian Alps
Travelling south of Switzerland, you will eventually reach the borders of Italy, where there are also a variety of alpi that adorn the Italian countryside. Though Switzerland is renowned for its Alpi, the Italian alps can often be overlooked - but trust me, the Italian alps are as beautiful as its Swiss counterparts. Thanks to the African and Eurasion tectonic collisions, these glorious mountainous structures were born. Below are several alps that are famous in the Italian region.
Dolomites is the most well-known mountain range. When referring to ‘Italian alps’, many tourists immediately think of the Dolomites. The tallest peak is from Punta Penia at about 3,300+ metres high. The dolomites is a very popular destination when you are looking for somewhere to have an alpine getaway because there are a wide of activities that can be done such as cycling, hiking, skiing and even rafting.
The Aosta Valley is an alpine valley which includes different slopes such as Mont Blanc, Monte Rossa, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn - making it the highest regions of Italy. In the Aosta Valley, there is an astronomical observatory which allows you to gaze at the stars, and there are also a lot of history in this valley - it has been occupied by the French and now the Italian. If you go to Gran Paradiso, you can find wildlife like the Alpine Ibex and Marmots.
The Adamello is located only an hour away from our Alpine hotel in Corteno Golgi, and boasts magnificent views of the valley below. Adamello elevates to 3,500+ metres, and it covered in many glaciers, one of the largest in Italy is called ‘Pian di Neve’ and can be found here. The Adamello mountain is also historical, during the FIrst World War, the Austrian and Italian troops ran through these mountain ranges.
Monte Bianco (or ‘White Mountain’) is located in between the Aosta Valley of Italy, Savoie and Haute-Savoie France. Though there is controversy between the two countries who owns the the mountain - it can be definitely be accessed within Italy. After all, the slope is connected to Italy. It is known to be the highest alps in West Europe, beating other alpi in Austria and Switzerland. It is a popular destination for hiking, skiing, climbing and even snowboarding.
Both countries hold such beautiful mountain ranges, but many people do find the Italian Dolomites to be unique, and something you would not find anywhere else in the Alps - they are great for hiking and have such spectacular views. However, comparing the accessibility between the Italian and Swiss Alps, the Swiss Alps tend to be more accessible through train lines such as the Bernina or even the Glacier Express - allowing you to have stops in different towns to view the alps. But in Italy, it is best for you to rent your own car and drive to the mountains. Stay at an Alpine hotel which is near the desired alpine locations, then drive from there or even ask the hotel for a shuttle, in which, our hotel Corteno Golgi organises. In Switzerland, there are many car-free towns such as Bettmeralp and Mürren, you could just access the alps through cable car and train. Yes, there are cable cars in Italy, but in terms of reaching the area, it is easier with your own vehicle. So if accessibility is an important factor for your Alpine trip, Switzerland may be preferable to you.
value for money?
According to different sources and opinions online, Italy can be significantly cheaper than Switzerland. Switzerland is considered to be quite expensive, and actually ranked to be one of the most expensive countries to visit in the world - steaks can be 45 Euros and beer could be 7 Euros. So, if you are looking for more of a budget-friendly Alpine trip but you still get to see breathtaking views with all the alpine activities with it - it may be best for you to see Italy instead. But if you are really keen to have the Swiss experience, paying the extra money could be worth it for you.
FOOD AND CULTURE?
Food and cultural preference is up to the individual. Swiss and Italian culture and food can differ a lot - for example Swiss cuisine may specialise in basic ingredients such as its famous cheese, bread, potatoes and locally grown fruits; and in Italy, there is more pastas, cheeses, breads and wines. If you want to have an idea what kind of Italian cuisine is found in this Alpine regions, come read our blog post about Valtellina Cuisine or check out our Italian Restaurant Menu - examples include Pizzoccheri and Bresaola. For Swiss cuisine, there is cheese fondue, raclettes and Ticino (which is basically Polenta).
CAN’t Decide? WHy not both?
Now that you have reached the end of the article, you may have now decided where you want to go. But if you are still indecisive, there is an opportunity to compromise. One way you could do this is staying in either Switzerland or Italy, then taking the Bernina Express and travelling to both regions. The Bernina Express is best for the Swiss Mountains, but the opportunity to reach Italy (particularly the area of Tirano), allows you to switch between countries. Usually, our hotel guests stay in our hotel and relax then travel to Tirano to take the Bernina Express and travel to areas like St. Moritz.