This alpine monastery is where, up until 2005, canons of the Augustinian order of Great St Bernard bred and trained the Great Saint Bernard dogs for alpine rescues. Now that the dogs have been superseded by helicopters and snowmobiles the friars concentrate on providing pastoral support and a warm, hospitable place of friendship and shelter for skiers, pilgrims and travellers. The friars conduct retreats and alpine pilgrimages (on skis) along with hiking and skiing excursions.
The Great St Bernard dogs are now looked after by a foundation which has undertaken to care for the breed, just as the religious community has done in the past. Each year the dogs are returned to the monastery for summer holidays with the monks. The dogs can be visited at their kennels in Martigny. Details at www.fondation-barry.ch
l’Hospice du Great St.Bernard
Tel +41 (0)27 787.12.36
Phone between 1000 and 1130 and between 1600 and 1730
Fax: +41 27 787.11.07 41 27 787.11.53 fax ++41 27 787.11.92
Photo: St. Bernard dogs, Kurt Reichenbach
The monks run another centre near the Simplon Pass, which connects Switzerland and Italy. The Simplon Hospice is open to families and groups (large or small) and would suit those looking for an active holiday experience – summer or winter. The hospice has a chapel and spiritual activities can also be arranged.
CH 3907 Simplon Dorf
Tel: +41 27 979 13 22
Fax: +41 27 979 14 79
Photo: Monastery buildings- St Bernard’s Pass, x-drew – istockphoto.com
Situated in a peaceful location in the resort town of Interlaken the Artos Christian Hotel accommodates guests in modern comfort in single or double rooms all with private bathrooms, Internet points and television. Spacious suites and family rooms sleeping up to six people are also available. Most guestrooms have a balcony and a scenic view. Facilities include a games room for the kids and a spa, sauna and steam room for the adults. The property has a number of restaurants including a self- serve cafeteria and a semi- formal dining room. On-site parking is available (small charge).
Photo: Artos Christian Hotel – courtesy Swiss Methodist Hotels.