Look past the silk-smooth chocolate and yodeling – contemporary Switzerland is all about epic journeys and sublime experiences. Switzerland’s largest and wealthiest metropolis, Zurich, has emerged as one of central Europe’s hippest destinations, with an artsy, post-industrial edge. Culturally vibrant, efficiently run and attractively set at the meeting of river and lake, Zürich is regularly recognized as one of the world’s most livable cities. Much of the ancient center, with its winding lanes and tall church steeples, has been kept lovingly intact. Lucerne follows the recipe for a gorgeous Swiss city: a cobalt lake ringed by mythical mountains, add a well-preserved medieval town and a reputation for making beautiful music, then sprinkle with covered bridges, sunny plazas, candy-colored houses and waterfront promenades. Rearing above Lucerne from the southwest, Mt. Pilatus offers an above-the-treetops adventure, with 11 head-spinning trails from high-wire bridges to tree climbs. Mt Pilatus is fantastic for walking. Hikes include a steep, partially roped 2.8km scramble to the summit, affording views that stretch as far as the Black Forest on a clear day. Wandering through the picture-postcard Old Town, with its laid-back air, it’s hard to believe that Bern (Berne in French) is the capital of Switzerland – but it is, and a Unesco World Heritage Site at that. In a nutshell, Bern seduces and surprises at every turn. Its museums are excellent, its bear park utterly unique, and its locals happy to switch from their famously inflected dialect to English – which all goes to show that there’s more to Bern than bureaucracy. Starting at $1,699 per person based on double occupancy.