It’s always a pleasure to fly over the European Alps on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountains, jagged peaks, speckled valleys and lakes are absolutely breathtaking. On a recent morning flight from Amsterdam to Milan Malpensa, I had the most amazing view out the plane window. Swiss Alps and: Lake Maggiore, the famous lake shared by Switzerland and Italy. I love taking pictures of the scenery and checking out places on Google Maps. This time, when I pointed out the locations, I made a surprising discovery.
Flying over the Swiss Alps is always an amazing experience on a clear day. My advice is to get a window seat (on both sides of the plane) to enjoy the views. I sat in Row A on this flight to Milan Malpensa. On approach to Milan, the plane flew over the Swiss cantons of Zurich, Schwyz, Uri, Graubünden and Ticino before entering Italian airspace above Lago Maggiore.
It was the beginning of October, so the valleys were still green and the higher ground still had snow. These airplane window views of the Swiss Alps were simply phenomenal.
The source of the Rhine River
When I started editing my photos from that flight and checking the locations on Google Maps, I made a surprising discovery. I had unknowingly photographed the source of the Rhine River in the canton of Graubünden. The second longest river in western/central Europe after the Danube, the Rhine catchment lies in the Graubünden mountains. From here it flows through the Rhine Valley, then north into Germany before reaching the North Sea in the Rhine Delta of the Netherlands. From my airplane window, I saw different sources of the Rhine besides the Rhine Valley.
Aerial view of Lago Maggiore
The plane soon passed the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino and the famous Lago Maggiore came into view. I immediately recognized it as Lago Maggiore because of its size and serpentine appearance, and the towns of Locarno and Ascona on the peninsula at the northern end of the lake. The views of the lake and mountain ranges with the morning mist hanging in the valleys were absolutely magical.
It’s been a while since my last visit to Switzerland and these views reminded me how stunning this country is. I think it’s time for a comeback.
Read other Velvet Escape posts in the Plane Views series: