Switzerland is one of those countries you just have to go to once in your lifetime. It encompasses so much beauty, nature, culture and history.
After researching the country deciding where would be the best places to visit, we concluded that a week would be all we could afford. It’s true what they say, Switzerland really is pricey! Transportation, lodging, food, drinks, etc., are all twice as much as in the states. Just to put things into perspective, a coffee (basic, bottom-of-the-line drip coffee) was $5, normally around 2 bucks in the U.S.
Also, a “cheap” motel was around $100 a night. This led us to choosing an Airbnb in the country, a 30 minute train ride outside of Bern. We ended up loving being out of the city for a change and enjoyed wonderful views from our balcony with lots of relaxation!
The village was so small there wasn’t even a stop sign, or a supermarket. We had to walk an hour to the next village to buy our groceries. Don’t worry, there was a train that we took back but the walk was a great way to see more of the countryside.
We walked by cows and sheep grazing in the meadow, bright green rolling hills and a cute church on top of a small hill. The smell of cow dung was pretty strong almost daily and even after a week we still hadn’t gotten used to it.
Our host was kind enough to make us cheese fondue one night and show us some of the Swiss traditions. We started off with cold cuts, jarred onions and baby pickles. He melted the cheese over the stove then transferred it over to a pot above a burner on the table.
We used our long skinny fondue forks to dip pieces of bread in the melted cheese. If you lost your bread in the pot, the host would create a rule for you to do like clean the dishes or twirl around 10 times.
We were also introduced to sheep’s cheese, Piña Colada tea (UH-mazing!), and this oh so incredibly delicious ginger spread that tasted like a ginger bread cracker! Hooked!
Inside the city of Bern, we walked around appreciating the old historical buildings, the clock tower and a fraction of the 100+ fountains across town. Some of these fountains date back to the Middle Ages and tell stories of Bern’s events, heroes and wealth.
The town was of course filled with local cheese and chocolate shops that we just couldn’t resist!
One of our day-trips was to Lucerne, known for its well-preserved medieval architecture with a mountainous panorama.
One of the most unique attractions is Chapel Bridge, a wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River containing interior paintings dating back to the 17th century.
Across this river is the old city wall, Museggmauer, featuring 9 towers, some of which you can climb to the top and revel in the city’s skyline below.
More fondue was on the itinerary for the day so we popped into a nearby restaurant and filled up quickly on bread and the oh-so-deliciousness of that ooey-gooey cheese!
We lost ourselves amidst the city, wandering through alleyways, climbing up hills and crossing bridges every which way. A charming town indeed!
Our final day trip was spent exploring the stunning Swiss Alps. We began in Interlaken, a village at the bottom of the mountains and rode a train up heading in a clockwise direction.
First stop was Grindewald where we took a 30 minute gondola ride up to First (a village) that offered spectacular views of the snow-capped alps! We even dared the edge walk along a cliff to get even better views!
The best part was sitting on the only restaurant’s patio with a hot chocolate in our hands taking in the blue and white scenery. Breathtaking!
Afterward, we hopped back on the train up to the highest point it would go, Kleine Scheidegg. From here you can take another train to the highest station in all of Europe, Jungfraujoch, which is right next to the Jungfrau mountain.
The cost to go up is $204 per person! We purchased a half-price transportation card for our travels in Switzerland so it dropped the price to $102pp but was still way too expensive. We enjoyed the views from below and that was enough for us. I’m sure the experience of being so high is quite the thrill but maybe next time.
We made our way back down the Alps descending through Lauterbrunnen and Wengen, staring out the train window tranquilized by the charm of each village and their impressive backgrounds. We opted out of a couple of hikes due to timing but the train ride was a good experience in itself!
Our last excursion was a boat cruise on Lake Thun. The impressive aqua and emerald colors of the lake shined bright under the sun. We cruised from one cozy village to the next, picking and dropping off passengers, admiring the scenery of charismatic homes and enchanting churches.
Switzerland ranks in our Top 5 of most beautiful places in Europe! We can’t wait to come back some day to explore even more!
Dates Visited: 10/3-10/10, 2016