Swiss Alps Geography, Geology & Environmental Science School Trips

The Valais region of Switzerland makes a fantastic location for a field studies course, with a range of the imposing peak of the Matterhorn, the Aletsch Glacier, the well-known resort of Zermatt, the proposed Winter Olympic centre of Sion and Mattmark’s hydro-electric dam, all within easy reach. The Swiss Alps offer pupils a great opportunity for hands on data collection and fieldwork techniques. These can be linked to specific coursework and supported assessments.

Our most popular tours are designed to cover a host of geography study themes. The wealth of topical sights and unique discussion points means that your pupils will be rewarded with ample learning opportunities in a range of spectacular locations.

Prices start from£457pp

Price Shown includes

  • 3 nights full-board accommodation at Hotel Rodania includes packed lunch from day 2
  • NST Field Studies Guide and International Mountain Leader where required
  • Executive coach transport from and to school and throughout your stay
  • Visits including: Saas Grund, The Aletsch Glacier, Brigerbad pools, The Mattmark Dam and Zermatt
  • Extensive group travel insurance
  • 1 in 8 free place ratio 

Price shown is based on 40 paying passengers departing from England & Wales from selected departure points in September 2016 and is subject to availability.

 


On-tour support

On-tour support includes...

Additional on-tour support available...

  • Airport assistance during check-in, security and gate checks on your outbound flight from the UK
  • Airport assistance when you arrive back at your UK airport when you book a coach transfer to take you home

Accommodation

Popular options in Switzerland


Top visits

Saas Grund

The Saas Valley, with Grund at its centre, is situated on the Italian border and has traditionally been an important trade route. The settlements now boast the international ski resorts of Saas Fee and Zermatt. This option provides an introduction to the surrounding landscape and the history of the area. It gives pupils an opportunity to soak up the awe and wonder of their surroundings.

The Aletsch Glacier

The longest glacier in Europe, the Aletsch forms part of the largest continuously glaciated area in the Alps. The glacier and the surrounding area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From a number of vantage points above the village of Riederalp, the Aletsch stretches into the distance. Your Field Studies Guide will assist your pupils to identify the numerous landscape features and processes here. The best glacier viewpoints can be accessed by return cable car.

Brigerbad Pools

Making full use of the steep U-shape valley sides, Brigerbad boasts the longest water slide in Europe and offers everything you could wish for from hot pools to Olympic size pools.  A lifeguarded, school-friendly venue.

The Mattmark Dam

The Dam forms part of a hydro-electric scheme that transports the water from the surrounding glacier into a holding lake, which is contained by the largest natural earth dam in Europe. From here the water is released and used to provide power for the whole region. The controlling scheme has allowed the development of villages and the ski industry.

Zermatt & the Matterhorn

This classic Alpine mountain sits on the Italian border and helps attract 4 million tourists a year to Zermatt. This renowned ski area has rebranded itself as a summer adventure capital. The village, situated in a hanging valley, is accessed by a train, widely considered to be Europe’s best rail journey. This can extend to a full day study if time and budget allows. This excursion will involve additional costs for cable cars and trains (payable locally).

Mittelallalin & the Ice Caves

Take the world’s highest underground train to the world’s largest ice caves then relax in the world’s highest revolving café where the spectacular views change every few minutes. Set in the middle of the glaciers on the edge of the permanent snow is the Mittellalin. This is an excellent place to appreciate the power of the ice in shaping the landscape and the ability of the Swiss to engineer access into it. This excursion will involve additional costs for cable cars and trains (payable locally).

Bex Salt Mines & The Rhone Valley

Bex is in the heart of the Rhone Valley, 30 minutes drive from Sion. An audiovisual presentation and exhibition relates the fascinating story of salt mining over three centuries and is shown in an old reservoir that was dug in 1826. A narrow-gauge train will take your group on a journey 400m below the earth. This option provides a good industry case study and can be used to introduce some basic geology.

Sion

Sion has been an important trade centre for centuries. Flood control schemes have allowed a more modern town to grow and develop with small ski resorts. The compact nature of the town makes it ideal for town studies such as land-use zonation.

Saas Fee

Until 1954 it was only possible to reach the village of Saas Fee by foot. Since the construction of the road, an international ski resort has been built. The village is known as the ‘Pearl’ of the Alps and is surrounded by 4,000m peaks. Trains and public galleries run under the ice and all village vehicles are electric. Saas Fee provides excellent examples of impacts of tourism on the natural environment and also provides some innovative management solutions.

 

Allalin

Below the Mattmark Dam the outwash plain of the Allalin Glacier provides a chance for some hands-on field studies. Measurements of the glacial streams on arrival and departure provide a good introduction to measurement techniques and illustrate changing flow rates through the day and sediment studies can also be carried out. This option can be extended to a full day by following the managed river channel from Saas Almagall to Saas Grund.

Kreuzboden & Hohsaas

The Kreuzboden ski area is accessed by cable car from Saas Grund. A higher cable car can be taken to Hohsaas for a spectacular overview of the entire valley and the surrounding glaciers. Yet it is also heavily utilised by the skiing industry which is pushing higher up into the mountains every year. This excursion will involve additional costs for cable cars (payable locally).


Evening activites

  • A quiz or disco at your hotel (most hotels can provide a room for groups to use in the evenings)
  • Swimming

 


Study themes

Human: 

  • Alpine settlements
  • Impacts of skiing
  • Hazard management
  • Impacts of climate change
  • Renewable energy
  • Land use zonation
  • Farming
     

 

Physical:

  • Glacial processes & landforms
  • Hydrological studies
  • Changing vegetation
  • Sediment analysis
  • Climate change & micro-climates
  • Natural hazards
  • Landscape formation, including tectonics

Study levels

A-level
SQA
GCSE

 


Educational resources

FREE Educational Resource Pack
We understand that you want a study visit that delivers the curriculum. To help you achieve this, our free Swiss Alps Educational Resource Pack - developed by experienced geography teachers - contains a wealth of highly relevant information for you to use before, during and after your tour.

You’ll be able to use its contents as a pre-visit planning aid, print off full-colour pupil activity sheets for your group to use at each site whilst away, or even refer to its contents post-visit to assist with case study completion.

Click here to view a sample of our resources.

 


Expert's comment

The Swiss Alps are a great destination where pupils can collect real fieldwork data on a range of topics out in the field. This data can be analysed in the evenings: looking at different hypothesis, the methodologies of collecting data and drawing conclusions. The awe inspiring geography of hanging glaciers and sharp aretes gives the pupils a chance to understand the processes that shaped the landscape both in Switzerland and much of the landscape in the UK. The human geography of the area can also be explored with case studies of Zermatt and the Mattmark dam, focusing on tourism and how people have shaped and changed the landscape.
Claire, NST Field Studies Guide

 


Transport

Available from any location in the UK, our executive coaches are fitted with seatbelts, toilet facilities, air conditioning, DVD and reclining seats.

Coach


Giving you full support throughout

Before your tour

  • Your own dedicated NST contact
  • Bespoke tour itineraries
  • Unrivalled local knowledge & expertise
  • Curriculum linked visit programmes
  • Great value for money - no hidden costs
  • Free group leader inspection visits
  • Rick assessment guidance
  • Safety assured, transport, accommodation and visits

Whilst you're away

  • Free educational resources
  • Group-friendly accommodation
  • Exceptional standards of coaching
  • On-tour support from our reps on the ground
  • Support & assistance from our specialists guides throughout your tour
  • 24/7 support just a call away
  • Extensive group travel insurance

On your return

  • Priority rebooking services
  • Rewarding your loyalty with our reward scheme
  • You say, we listen - we're committed to continuously improving our tours
  • School travel company of choice 1967

“The staff at the Rodania did everything they possibly could to welcome us and make us feel like part of the family. The service was above and beyond.”
James Lodge, The English School - Nicosia