Switzerland is the country that has gifted us with delectable chocolate and cheese, amazed us with innovative technology, and dazzled us with scenic train journeys. This European nation is a top travel destination year-round and a hiking paradise with skiing for all ages. Dip fresh bread into melted swiss cheese and tantalize your taste buds with Walnut tarts.
In spring-time, the green valleys are filled with cows and the magical chimes of their bells and in winter it is transformed into a winter wonderland under a white blanket of snow. Switzerland boasts some of the most efficient technology and this is seen throughout, as the accessibility to mountain tops is made possible through well-designed railways and carved out tunnels. Even though Switzerland is notoriously pricy, you might find that every penny spent will only bring you some of the most unforgettable experiences.
Shop-Sip-Sightsee through Zurich
Switzerland’s biggest city offers plenty of sights and attractions, from prominent landmarks to breathtaking views. Grab a coffee, from one of Zurich’s many quaint, yet modern cafès and head off into the city to explore the plethora of exquisite architecture and colorful alleyways. A popular thing to do is to take a stroll to The Grossmünster church which is a prominent landmark in the city and arguably Zurich’s most recognizable and famous cathedral. It’s easily recognizable with its iconic twin towers that shadow over Grossmünsterplatz.
Bahnhofstrasse shopping district offers upscale shopping and year-round scenery changes. In the summertime, shopping hours continue well into the night and there is an a buzz in the air as shoppers dash for the latest summer trends. In winter, the fast pace makes way for a demure Christmas atmosphere where shopping with Gluwein in hand is encouraged. Zurich West might further entice you to spend all your hard-earned money. Once an industrial quarter of the city, the transformation of the area has allowed for a modern and vibrant district to emerge. Underneath the Viadukt Arches of Zurich West are boutiques, designer shops, and a market hall that host farmers from the area to sell their fresh produce. You can also buy their own specially made delicacies and taste the traditional, yet modern food.
Uetliberg is Zurich’s very own mountain, where the sights of the city can be seen from the top. With views reaching as far as the Alps, take the journey to the peak and view the city from a unique angle.
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Take a Hike – Interlaken
The picturesque town of Interlaken is nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland. The mountains of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau tower over this iconic area, offering some of the most show-stopping hikes in the region. Interlaken is one of the oldest and most popular holiday resorts in the alpine valley. Numerous outdoor activities to delve into are the reasons locals and tourists flock to this area no matter the season. Here, Swiss fairy tales meet contemporary modernism, the architecture in Interlaken is quite spectacular as the old world greets the new, complementing one another in perfect harmony.
Choose from freezing lake swimming to all-day skiing trips and be assured that beauty surrounds you wherever you choose to venture off to. Take a cable car up from any of the various villages in the area and experience a 360 view of the alpine valley and all three peaks. Head up to the observation deck at Schilthorn or relax in one of the most scenic restaurants, the Piz Gloria, an eatery that revolves every 45 minutes on its axis. This will certainly be a rather unique trip as tantalizing food is accompanied by breathtaking views of the valley, a must-do on any traveler’s list. The 1969 James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was shot on location at this restaurant and is a popular pitstop for Bond fans.
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Ride a Train Up Jungfrau
The Jungfrau saddle sits at a height of 3,466 meters and the only way to reach this area is to travel with the Interlaken Line through mesmerizing hills and valleys. Interlaken Ost railway station is the departure point for a train ride that will literally take your breath away, as the climb to the top reaches an altitude of 3,454 meters above sea level.
The journey and the destination are equally sensational. On the summit of the Jungfrau, your final destination will be the highest railway station in Europe. Once you reach the summit, one has the choice to venture off to an array of activities within the Top of Europe building, which is all connected via tunnels. Sign up for snow tubing or walk through an ice palace. Either way, just standing on the Jungfraujoch, you can take in the freshest air and savor the magnitude of the mountains which surround you without having to do much.
Must Read: The Ultimate Guide to Jungfraujoch: How to Score Discounted Tickets and Make the Most of Your Journey!
Live the High Life – St Moritz
Regarded as the birthplace of alpine winter sports, St. Moritz has become one of the most sought-after travel destinations for the rich and famous. The Engadin Valley, with its lavish green pastures and hundreds of kilometers of walking trails, offers almost any kind of hiking your heart desires. Whilst hiking, the surroundings will showcase pristine sparkling turquoise lakes, lined with lime green alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks.
Water sports are a favorite activity for any visitor to the area of St. Moritz, as these lakes are some of the most immaculate in Europe. Lake St. Moritz annually hosts the European and World sailing championships, where spectators watch the race from the banks of the Lake.
After hiking or skiing all day you should have worked up a good appetite. The gourmet cuisine will open a new gastronomic world as you get to indulge in award-winning fine dining. Apart from visiting Michelin Star restaurants, you can also explore intimate mountain dining where you get a taste for local cuisine. One such unique restaurant is Ecco, by world-renowned chef Rolf Fliegauf. Patrons are seated inside a chappel and indulge in heavenly dishes that appeal to all your senses. With 2 Michelin stars, each dish you savor at Ecco is worth its weight in gold. Lej Da Staz is hidden in between a mountain and a lake in a quaint mountain cabin. Overlooking Lake Staz, you can enjoy traditional meals made with fresh locally sourced ingredients. Their decadent cheese fondue is not to be missed!
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Eat Cheese – Bern
The birthplace of the Toblerone chocolate and the capital of Switzerland. Bern is a medieval town and a UNESCO world heritage site which over many centuries, has been preserved with the utmost care. You don’t need a map to get to Bern Minster, the cathedral with the highest tower in Switzerland, which can be seen throughout the city. Get your heart rate up and climb all 312 stairs to reach the top of this historic gem for views of this magnificent city.
Bern was named by the founder, Berchtold V and he vowed to name the city after the first animal he came across after a hunting excursion, which happened to be a bear. The Bear, a prominent theme seen throughout all of Bern, is the official mascot of the city and easily spotted when visiting the Zytglogge Clock Tower or on the city’s coat of arms.
If you have not already filled up on cheese for the day, attend the Emmental Show Dairy, where one can witness the traditional craftsmanship and modern world technology that is used in making Emmental cheese. Learn how to make the cheese yourself, why there are holes in the cheese, and discover why this cheese is loved by many.
During the festive season, the smell of gingerbread and roasted almond will lead you to atmospheric Christmas markets. These markets are synonymous with European Christmases and are not to be missed. Hearty food, nutcrackers, and many cups of Gluhwein are at the order of the day.
Explore the Past and the Future -Genève
The city of Geneva is situated on the southern tip of Lake Geneva. The largest lake in central Europe lies at the foot of the Swiss Alps and at its edge visitors flock to this vibrant end eclectic city. The lake served as a blueprint for the design of the city itself, as the promenade was built to hug the shores in the 19th Century, incorporating the splendor of nature in the architecture of the city.
Explore this city from the river’s edge as boat tours are easily accessible throughout. Get lost in the charming tree-lined promenade or pack a picnic basket and head off to tranquil and scenic parks like Eaux-Vives, Jardin Anglais, Perle du Lac, or Mon Repos. Jet d’Eau is an iconic jet of water that propels water high up into the air from the Rhône river. Nearby, Bains des Pâquis offers a delightfully warm public swimming pool with areas to sunbathe or have a bite to eat.
Vielle Ville is the city’s historic center and will transport you back a few centuries when you step onto the cobblestone streets. Curious little restaurants and shops line the winding alleys. Next, you should move out of the old and into the future. CERN is the research facility where groundbreaking nuclear innovation is taking place. You can visit their museums and exhibitions and learn more about the world we will be living in tomorrow.
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See the Mighty Matterhorn – Zermatt
Zermatt is another of Switzerland’s must-see old-timey towns. Explore the town’s charming 16th Century architecture, with 30 ancient buildings that have been constructed from impressively large larch timber. Zermatt is the one place to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger cities, as the town is a car-free zone, a walkers paradise with no vehicles to take away from the authenticity of the cobblestone streets.
Zermatt is home to the Matterhorn, one of the most dangerous and most recognizable mountains in the world. You might even know of its distinct shape from the Toblerone Chocolate packaging. This Swiss landmark can be seen throughout the town, as it towers over the area with all its might. It is known for being Switzerland’s highest skiing resort and as a result of this, the slopes are accessible 365 days a year. Instead of taking your bathing suit, come mid-August and you can ski along Triftji with an abundance of snow-covered peaks. Finish off a successful day of skiing with a beer from one of the various Apres-ski bars all located along the ski slopes. Enjoy a refreshing drink with views of the Matterhorn and valleys of snow-covered mountains.
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Walk on a Bridge over Blue Waters -Lucerne
On the doorstep of Mount Pilatus, lies the town of Lucerne. Surrounded by the Alps and bodies of crystal clear water, the colorful architecture reflects in the rivers that flow through this pristine, medieval town. Stroll over the magnificent rivers of Lucerne, while experiencing Century-old bridges, which this quaint town is famous for. Murals are painted inside the Spreuer Bridge that captures the true essence of this historic town. Chapel bridge, one of the city’s most iconic attractions, was built in the 14th Century from wood and is still carefully preserved up until this day. In the summer the bridge is clad with colorful flowers lining the walkway.
The city is full of history with many monuments and museums to inform you about how Switzerland came to be. The Lion Monument commemorates the fallen soldiers during the french revolution and Hofkirche’s architecture shows you the various phases of the city’s development after wartime destruction.
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Visit Little Italy – Lake Lugano
Upon your arrival in Lugano, one might think you have arrived in Italy. Known as the Italian Switzerland, the culture of this city is far different from any other in Switzerland. Lugano City, which lies on Lugano Lake, is surrounded by mountains, yet palm trees and exotic plants flourish in this diverse climate. Around this lake Italian laid-back lifestyle meets Swiss efficiency.
In contrast to most of Switzerland’s snow-capped mountains, Lugano is home to Monte Brè, which is proclaimed to be Switzerland’s sunniest mountain. While on Monte Bre, stroll through 100-year-old olive trees or make your way to the village of Gandria, which lies on the eastern slope of the mountain. Lake Lugano is one of the main attractions in this area and is home to lush greenery all along its shores. As one of the warmer lakes in Switzerland, swimming and sunbathing in this area are some of the most pleasurable activities which can be enjoyed for much longer than just the summer months.
Journey on the Most Beautiful Train Ride – The Albula/Bernina Railway Line
Hop on a train that will take you across 144 bridges and through no less than 42 tunnels. The Abula /Bernina Railway Line is yet another way to witness the magnificent landscapes of the Swiss Alps.
The railway is a World Heritage Site, combining two railway lines that cross through two passes in the Alps. Discover why Swiss Technology is recognized all over the world for its innovation and sleek designs. The railway is built through rigid and rocky mountains and winds through unparalleled landscapes. The railway will take you across the most iconic bridge, the six-arched Landwasser Viaduct. This bridge has featured on over a million postage stamps and in various Hollywood productions. The railway was built to complement the harsh and rigid terrain of the Alps and showcases how machines and nature can harmoniously co-exist.