What better way to really appreciate the culture of Switzerland than to dedicate a day to visit some of the most iconic cities and some of the famous organisations.
Each of our cultural excursion days is a little different, with new options each year for those returning campers who are ready to see something new! Whether it is souvenir shopping that interests you or the science exhibitions of CERN the options are endless. Sample some of the finest swiss chocolates and cheeses at the factories in Gruyere, learn a little about global cooperation with a guided tour of the United Nations or Swiss Red Cross museum in Geneva, an interactive tour of the Olympic museum in Lausanne the home of the International Olympic Committee, walking inside a glacier at the nearby ice caves in Chamonix, visiting many of the beautiful castles in the area, experience the tranquility of the natural Bains de Lavey hot springs, take a stroll through the winding cobbled high streets of Zurich, see how some of the most exquisite and delicate watches in the world are built and many many more options.
Our youngest campers will see the St. Bernhard dogs, visit a Swiss chocolate factory, tour through amazing attraction parks close by, sleepover in a mystic mountain hut and see one of Switzerland’s oldest water castles. For our discoverers we keep distances and driving at a very low level.
The explorer program includes great excursions to explore the Valais and its neighboring cantons are offered: Aqua Parc & Lake Beach Party, Bonatchiesse Tipis sleepover, Mauvoisin Dam, Visit to Evian (where the famous water comes from), Boat Trip, Lausanne & the Olympic Museum, Bern, Chocolate Factory.
Pioneers go on full day excursions. They will experience Wilderness Camping in Val de Bagnes and visit Geneva’s Old Town & United Nations, visit Aosta in Italy, see the the famous French mountain town of Chamonix and enjoy the amazing view from the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Alps.
Once a week the students will go on an excursion to visit famous Swiss cities such as:
A trip to the Olympic Museum with its wealth of memories will keep your passion for the Olympics burning, followed by a walking tour in the old town to one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe.
With its humanitarian tradition and cosmopolitan flair, the European seat of the UNO and headquarters of the Red Cross is known as the “capital of peace”. Visit the old town, the heart of Geneva with its shopping and business quarter.
The capital of Switzerland – the old town of Bern has been entered on the list of UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites. The Houses of Parliament (Bundeshaus) rise above the city just a stones throw away from the railway station. Bern and bears, the city’s heraldic beast, are inseparable. When visiting the city we will take a trip to the Bear Pits.
The Gruyère region, with its rolling green landscape and peaks of the Fribourg Pre-Alps, is home to the world-famous Gruyère cheese. In the famous cheese factory you will see how the tasty Gruyère cheese is made and the tour of culinary delights will be followed by a guided tour of the Cailler chocolate factory.
Visit the town of Montreux that nestles in the shelter of Lake Geneva, surrounded by vineyards, with the breathtaking backdrop of the snow-covered Alps, followed by a visit to Château de Chillon.
Get a taste of France with a visit to Evian and the famous water factory, with also a walk along the world famous Lake Geneva.
Discover the famous Italian city of Aosta, visit the old town and enjoy some Italian shopping.
At Les Elfes we have students from all over the world. Within this international community we feel it is beneficial to recognize the traditions of each other. It not only gives students the opportunity to celebrate their nation or beliefs, but allows them to bring a little piece of home into the camp. Also students from other parts of the world will learn and hopefully appreciate the cultures of others. The fabrics of society are made up of many different cultures, and here at Les Elfes we constantly strive to recognize them all, and if it means cooking some traditional dishes, or decorating the chalets accordingly, then we are more than happy to encourage students to do so and will help them along the way. International Day will involve the students preparing a presentation during their language classes. The presentation will be on where the students are from. The students will have the morning to prepare a large poster, have access to arts and crafts, music and pictures, and will present information on their heritage, culture, beliefs, as well as the fun and cool parts of their countries and cities of origin.
Also the students will give a menu or dishes to the chefs in the days leading up to ID. The chefs will then prepare meals from all over the world, so students on this day will not only present and listen to presentations, but eat and sample the flavours and smells of the Far East, South America, Europe, the Middle East and more.
It is a fantastic opportunity for students to present their culture, do some public speaking, and enjoy the food from each others countries.
During Summer, Verbier and surroundings will host many great events. Those events will be the time for great special excursions with our campers. This is a quick overview we would like to share with you:
Montreux Jazz Festival: From 5th to 20th of July
The Montreux Jazz Festival will take place from the 5th of July to the 20th of July across the lake. Kids will visit this magical place during an excursion to Montreux and enjoy the music and food in a great atmosphere. Founded by Claude Nobs in 1967, over the years the Montreux Jazz Festival has become an unmissable event for music fans in Switzerland and around the world. Its stages have been graced by all of music’s greats, from Miles Davis to Ray Charles and from David Bowie to Prince. More infos: www.montreuxjazz.com
Verbier Classic Festival: From 19th of July to 4th of August
The Verbier Festival brings together the greatest musical talents in Verbier. Since 20 years, the Verbier Festival has built up a reputation for quality, youth and frenetic artistic activity. 17 days of music with a line-up of exceptional soloists. Every morning kids will be able to watch the training of the best musicians in the world playing Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Mozart, Bach and so much more. More infos: www.verbierfestival.com
Swiss National Day: 1st of August
The day was chosen because August 1st 1291 was the date on which three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an act which later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland. Verbier will celebrate this alliance with a display of fireworks, bonfires. Children used to carry lighted paper lanterns roam the streets at night. Public and private buildings are decorated with national, cantonal, and community flags, and the bakers produce special bread rolls with a small Swiss flag on top. More infos: www.myswitzerland.com/en/swiss-national-day-august-1st.html
Jumping International Verbier: From 16th of August to 25th of August
Just in front of Les Elfes Campus! From 16th to 25th of August on the parking of the Sport Center. 3 stars International Jumping. This horse jumping show, featuring some of Switzerland’s and Europe’s greatest riders, offers outstanding entertainment for experts and novices alike. The spectacular senery and frendly atmosphere of the village combine to create a unique experience : a glimpse of true equestrian magic ! More infos: www.verbier-cso.com
Cow fights: August
To discover the “queens of the mountains” – the famous Hérens cows – the famous rituals known as inalpes (leading the cows up to the alpine pastures) and désalpes (leading them down again) are truly magical traditional experiences. Cow fighting is a traditional Swiss event, mostly in Valais, in which a cow fights another cow. Each year, the Swiss canton of Valais hosts a series of cow fights known as combats de reines (“queen fights”), which began in the 1920s and has drawn as many as 50,000 spectators in a year. The winner is called La Reine des Reines (“the queen of queens”) and increases dramatically in value. At the end of the year, a grand final is held in Martigny, where the six best from seven districts do battle in six weight categories.