Switzerland: The word stirs up thoughts of delicious chocolate, expensive watches and world-renowned skiing; a country of tremendous wealth and breathtaking scenery. Previously visited when the mountains were carpeted in white, now their glorious green coats attract more footfall then winter.

All of which I surveyed from the glorious Huus Gstaad hotel, perched above the pretty towns of Saanen and Gstaad. Not far from the capital of Bern, but miles from the hustle and bustle of daily life, it wasn’t hard to switch off with a glass of Swiss wine in my hand. With air so clean, views so spectacular and hardly a sound to be heard, paradise wasn’t far off.

As part of their ‘adventurous hospitality’ package Huus Gstaad organise a variety of ‘all inclusive’ excursions for hotel guests. From guided local wildlife walks or dare-devil canyoning, abseiling and white water rafting, there is something for everyone.

Our particular adventure was to be an E-bike tour to Lake Lauenen, one of the four ‘short’ cycles along ‘finger’ routes that, legend has it, were created when God rested his hand on the Saanenland and made a handprint. A total distance of almost 25km. I was apprehensive, but as soon as we hopped on the E-bikes, my fears were put to rest. The environmentally-friendly electric motor worked wonders, and with a range of modes from Eco to Turbo, could handle all types of slope - as we discovered.

The ride started in Saanen with our wonderful guide Louis who led us on through pretty wooden-clad villages, leading to the beautiful Lake Lauenen, a shallow bowl of water trapped between the sheer rock faces and forested hillsides that surrounded it. At the far end of the valley, the Tungelschuss Falls spilled melted snow dozens of metres into the river below which wound its way into the next valley. It really was a sight that will stay with me for ever, marvelled at from my seat at the Restaurant Lake Lauenen.

The way back was mostly downhill giving us an opportunity to pick up some serious speed (40+ km/h on the speedometer) and before we knew it we were back in Saanen, barely breaking a sweat even in the blaring sun! As long as you had a decent base level of fitness, you were good to go.

The luxurious Huus Gstaad’s pool, spa, steam room and sauna with a view meant I was feeling sufficiently pampered for our a delightful meal in family-run restaurant Art 16 in Saanan. The Swiss wine was excellent and if you’ve never heard of it, I’m told it’s because it is too precious to export so they keep it all for themselves!

The second day was geared up for a preview of the Bergkonig (Swiss vintage cycling festival) organised by Alex Beeler, set to run for the first time this year on August 26-27. With a range of routes from the heroic Bergkonig, a 103km, 2400m ascent slog down to shorter 20km tours (including the handprint routes I mentioned before), it is set to be big hit with about 2000 period-clothing cladded riders on pre-1987 steel bikes expected.

I was completing two of the shorter routes and in the spirit of the race was given an old but beautifully fashioned Peugeot bike to ride. Heading over to Gsteig, it started out mercifully flat before climbing into proper Sound of Music country, the timber framed houses opening up to views of surrounding peaks and wildflower meadows grazed by Swiss cows, the clang of bells ringing in my ear. Only two challenging climbs and most cycling on local roads with little traffic, meant it was perfect for any less fit or inexperienced riders.

A quick lunch of glorious aubergine fritters, spaghetti and tomato sauce at the Arc-en-ciel Hotel and the second leg of the tour pushed up to Turbach - much more punishing with a near constant ascent of 300m through straight wooded slopes. The limited gear ratios on my older bike became apparent as I crawled up at a snails pace and yet I could still appreciate the views. On reaching the top (a height of 1329m) I free-wheeled all the way back to Saanen.

The evening meal at the ‘Posthotel Rossli’ was perfect post-cycle repast and I enjoyed a large dish of spinach gnocchi although, for the more adventurous, poached calf’s head with steamed potatoes was also on the menu, and of course Swiss wine from the Valais region.

On the final day I was treated to a tour of a local cheese grotto above Bissen. Once below ground, the air temperature plummeted to 9’C where 3000 cheeses ripen, aged between 6 months to 2 years old, from 70 co-operative local farmers, priced at £300 each. I was surrounded by around 1 million Swiss francs worth, a whole lotta dairy!

That brought an end to my unforgettable trip, but I still had the panoramic views across turquoise lake Geneva in the see-through-ceilinged Goldenpass train to look forward to and the comfort of my business class flight with Swiss Air.

Swiss Air fly from London Heathrow from £55 one way.

0845 6010956 or swiss.com

For more information on Switzerland visit MySwitzerland.com, call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail info.uk@myswitzerland.com.

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