Unplugged: Five of the best digital detox breaks in Switzerland
Do you find yourself itching to check your emails, scroll through Instagram, or reply to yet another text? Then perhaps you are ready to digitally detox. Here are the five best tech-free stays in Switzerland.
Since the concept was first introduced by former tech geeks Levi Felix and Brooke Dean in 2012, thousands of tech-addled people worldwide have been inspired to connect by disconnecting from technology.
Here are five of the best tech-free stays in Switzerland:
If you’ve always fancied a trip back in time, then the highly popular Hotel Rosenlaui may be the right fit for you. After all, the hotel counts many famous writers, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Johann Goethe, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, and Friedrich Nietzsche, among its visitors.
Located in the middle of nowhere – as a former guest described it rather aptly - this charming hotel has upheld its traditions since it was built in 1771. While Rosenlaui maintains a strict no smartphone, laptop or photo policy in its public areas, its limited mobile phone reception will make even the most tech-obsessed guests give up the plight to connect to the outer world and propel them to soak in the magnificent views of the Bernese Alps.
Indoors, the hotel’s atmospheric salons offer a variety of books and board games while encouraging conversations between guests. Perfect for rainy days!
In the mood for a vacation with animals at heart? Ticino’s Valle di Blenio offers tourists a different relaxation method: hiking with goats and donkeys.
In 2014, Susanne Bigler Gloor, a former board member of a major bank, combined her passion for people with her love for animals and specialised in human-animal interactions. Hence, Somarelli was born.
Free from push notifications and pop-up messages, Somarelli allows travellers to switch off from everyday life and find solace in this oasis of calm in the midst of different kinds of animals. Trekkers can hop on the back of a mule or walk beside an alpaca at a leisurely pace, adapting to the rhythm of their four-legged companion and becoming one with nature.
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This 8th-century Benedictine monastery is the ideal getaway for those on the lookout for something a little more unconventional. The abbey is presumed to have been founded in 614, only to be destroyed by the Pannonian Avars in 670 and then rebuilt and dedicated to Saint Martin in 711.
Refurbished in the Baroque style around the end of the 17th century, the monastery is host to the Klosterkirche St. Martin and the Marienkirche, where visitors are welcome to participate in daily public prayers alongside the monks to get connected to peace and solitude.
Throughout the rest of the day, vacationers can meet up at the Stiva Sogn Placi for a meal and some casual exchange, visit the monastery’s very own museum (a real treasure trove!), or browse its vast library packed with travel books urging holidaymakers to explore the surrounding Surselva valley.
Whether it’s a short- or long-term trip, staying in a monastery is surely an experience for mind, body, and soul.
If you long for peace, tranquillity, and a completely Wi-Fi-free break, you’re at the right address. The Hotel Simmenfälle is located at the back of the Lenk in the Simmental – the valley of the Simme river - and not only is the nearest mobile phone mast four kilometres away, but the hotel also has electromagnetically shielded rooms for guests who suffer from the health consequences of excessive mobile phone use.
Electronic devices, such as smartphones, iPads, laptops, smartwatches and even baby monitors, are not permitted on its premises. Guests (and staff!) are strongly encouraged to relax (or work) in flight mode. Instead, visitors can take a dip in a romantic wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Simmerfall or enjoy a quirky dinner inside a caravan.
We’re all too aware that raising a child, rewarding as it may be, is not the easiest task on hand and in today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, even children aren’t exempt from falling victim to tech overuse.
Luckily, the Valbella Resort in Graubünden has a range of activities for young minds to remedy just that. While parents enjoy their well-deserved breaks away from the digital demands of the modern world, their children can attend the hotel’s Waldkindergarten – sans electronic toys and smartphones - where they learn to read animal tracks, find secret paths, and recite stories around the campfire.
Outside of summer, kids can solve riddles as part of an adventure game, build a LEGO fortress at the Kid’s Inn, play pool, or take part in numerous outdoor activities.
Adults are also encouraged to be one with nature and have a go at Nordic walking, take a bike tour, try ChiYoga, or - for the seriously tech-exhausted – attend a stress reduction course on site.