Best Country to Emulate: Switzerland

Outside chooses the top vacation spots of 2013

Bombing the 6,437-foot Grosse Scheidegg pass.     Photo: Patitucci Photo

No other place in the world is taking the task of being an adventure-travel destination as seriously as Switzerland. In the next two years, the government wants to set aside one-quarter of an already tiny country as a nature park. The Swiss fight pollution through stiff carbon taxes and by forcing freight off the roads and onto trains. Getting outside is easy for locals and travelers alike, thanks to free government-sponsored apps that offer detailed topos and GPS overlays for more than 600 well-marked hiking, paddling, cycling, and in-line-skating trails. In fact, Switzerland has nearly as many paths as roads, about 37,000 miles’ worth, and the sparkling trains and buses mean you rarely need a car to reach a trailhead. Which surely contributes to the greatest Swiss stat of all: an average life expectancy four years longer than ours.

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