It’s the hottest summer since 2003 so how do the Swiss escape the heat? They can’t spend the day by the sea and air-conditioning isn’t the norm. Here are six ways the Swiss like to keep cool, starting with a swim in a river or lake. In Bern a dip in the Aare is as much part of summer as slapping on the sun cream, while Basel has the Rhine and the other big cities their lakes. Pretty much any bit of open water is waiting to be jumped into.
2. Go up for a walk in the mountains. The Swiss like nothing better than hiking in the Alps and not just for the views: the higher you go, the cooler it is, even if this year the zero degree mark is over 4500m up.
3. Eat ice cream. Switzerland has the best gelato north of the Alps, and sometimes better than anything you can find in Italy. Gelateria di Berna is my favourite, with two outposts in the capital: Länggasse and Marzili.
4. Stand on a glacier for some natural aircon. The breeze coming off the ice is cold enough to warrant wearing a jacket. Even walking alongside the Aletsch glacier, shown here and above, is a refreshing experience.
5. Take a boat out on a lake, preferably a Belle Epoque paddle-steamer. There’s nothing more cooling than sitting on the shady wooden decks with the wind coming off the water and the scenery slipping past.
6. Sleep in the cellar. Every Swiss building has one, usually with the communal laundry and bike rooms but also doubling up as a nuclear bomb shelter. It’s usually the coolest – and safest – place to be.