The Best Experiences to Have in Switzerland, Winter and Summer Guide
The Best Experiences to Have in Switzerland, Winter and Summer Guide
Ah, Switzerland, a beautiful and peaceful country nestled comfortably between Italy, France, and Germany. It’s worth a visit to see why Switzerland is consistently rated one of the happiest countries in the world. So what do you think of when you think ‘Switzerland’? I am guessing snowcapped peaks, cheese, and chocolate. There will be plenty of time for chocolate and fondue on your Swiss vacay, but make sure to include all of the cultural, natural, and historical highlights this country has to offer. From epic train rides and mountain treks to jaw-dropping architecture, Switzerland has something to offer every type of traveler during every season. Let’s break down some of the must-dos for your trip to Switzerland.
Travel by Train
Train travel is an amazing way to see this small country. Renting a car and road tripping can be a preferable form of transport in many countries, but traveling by train in Switzerland is an iconic experience! The trains are clean, on-time, and travel through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Additionally, some of the train routes still have very well-preserved, historic train cars that will make you feel like you are in an old movie! Some of the most famous routes include the Jungfraujoch, the GoldenPass Line, and the Glacier Express. Some of these routes are included with the Eurail Pass, and some that are not will offer discounts to Eurail Pass holders. Trains in Switzerland are not always cheap, so a little advance planning can help you save some Francs, whether you are traveling cross-country or just taking a day trip!
Learn to Ski
The Swiss Alps are one of the most iconic winter sports destinations in the world. Think days on the slopes, and nights curled up with a warm cup of tea and a hot bowl of cheesy soup. If you are from a warm climate and have never skied before, winter trips like this might just seem like something you see in movies. You can learn to ski anytime in your life and Switzerland has plenty of resorts that are perfect for beginners, with ski lessons and bunny hills. Many resorts even offer lessons for children, making Switzerland a great place for families to go on ski trips!
Caves are not the first thing I thought of when I planning my trip to Switzerland either. However, Switzerland has many beautiful and intriguing caves to visit, especially during the warmer summer months.
This large cavern has a lake and banquet hall inside that can actually accommodate about 400 people and be rented out for events such as buffet dinners, parties, and weddings. Events there feature DJs, dancers, and musicians. You can take a historic train from Vitznau to a unique destination. Their website is only in German, but you can use Google Chrome to check out any foreign language websites for more travel info — you can turn on automatic translation!
St. Beatus Cave
The St. Beatus cave is hands down one of the most impressive cave systems in the country. Open from the first week of March to the first week of October, this is a perfect destination for individuals or groups visiting western Switzerland in the warmer months of the year. You can explore the cave alone, or join in on one of the guided tours that happen regularly throughout the day. Dogs are welcome to join you in the cave as well, but you will need to buy an entrance ticket for them! Included in the entrance price (only for humans, sorry) is admission to the St Beatus cave museum, which will teach you the history, folklore, and geology of the cave system!
Titlis Glacier Cave
This one is for the winter months. Glacier caves, also known as ice caves, are rarely this accessible. A visit to this otherworldy cave made from ancient ice is a must for anyone skiing near Engelberg. Bundle up in your warmest winter clothes and traipse through the cave’s blue-hued corridors made entirely from ice!
Visit One of A Kind Museum
Every major city has a history or science museum which are awesome for city breaks and rainy days. However, some destinations have truly unique museums that simply should not be missed. People come from all over the world to visit the H.R. Geiger museum in Gruyere.
H.R. Geiger is a famous Swiss artist that is well known around the world for his macabre and futuristic artwork. You might know him as the artist who created the creatures in the movie Alien. If you like strange, quirky art immerse yourself in the Geiger Museum and follow it up with a cocktail at the Geiger themed bar next store. Not familiar with his art? Take a virtual tour of the museum before you go.
Indulge in The Home of Fondue
Fondue is one of the most famous dishes to come out of Switzerland, and this is no accident. People have been eating melted cheese from a communal pot for hundreds of years in the western French-speaking part of Switzerland. However, in the 1930s the Swiss Cheese Union aggressively marketed this dish both nationally and internationally, announcing it the national dish of Switzerland as a way to sell the country’s overabundance of cheese. And we are glad they did, who doesn’t like melted cheese and bread? Pair your fondue with a dry white wine, and be sure not to double dip!
Don’t Forget About the Chocolate
Ok, it’s time for the real reason you are going to Switzerland—the chocolate! Switzerland is quite famous for its chocolate, and you can find many luxury chocolatiers in street corners everywhere in the country, however, Zurich is famous for its many chocolate tours. There is a chocolate tour to fit every budget! You can take the Saturday morning walking tour which combines city highlights with some of the best chocolates in town. You might try taking a tour of a small chocolate factory, and experience making your own chocolate bar. For a truly luxurious summer activity, take a chocolate tour by boat to the Lindt and Sprüngli factory.
Go to the Top of Europe
Ok, now that you have filled up and chocolate and cheese, it is time to get moving again! The Swiss mountains are not just for winter skiing! There are breathtaking summer hikes that you can go on all around the country, but the Jungfrau region should be high up on your bucket list. The Jungfraujoch is the highest point in Europe at 3,454 meters (~11,330 feet) and the view should not be missed. There is a railway that will take you there year round if you are not a big hiker, or you visit during winter. If you are up for a challenge check out some of these routes in the region. Many of the routes have fine food and beverage establishments along the way, so don’t worry, you won’t need to rough it!
Do you have any favorite locations in Switzerland? Let us know and Don’t forget, the best website to Order Trains tickets is Save A Train
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