Breathtaking scenes of beautiful pastures, wildflowers, lush meadows, pristine large blue waters and luxurious service are some that awaits your arrival in Switzerland. It is a small country of 8 million that sits at the heart of Europe and is not far from major European powers of Germany, France, and Italy.
It is also not a surprise for Swiss people to be speaking different languages in their country as there are four languages present. Although Switzerland takes pride in its multilingualism, it doesn’t mean that all of the citizens can speak all four languages, but people here are seemingly nice so you can just get along well. And if this is you and your family’s first time visiting this not-so-budget-friendly but very-gorgeous-countryside, here are some few tips to get you around at the land of the Switz.
When to Visit
Switzerland is more of an outdoor view; hence, it is more fun to get out there and take in all the lush views that it widely offers. But first, take note of the best time to visit the location. The country has longer winter season than summer ones. From January to February, these are real winter months, where you can opt to go for winter sports adventure like snow tubing, skydiving, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating or bungy jumpy. During winter, travelling in solitude at the wilderness or spending a peaceful, reserved quality time with your family are some good options too.
In March, early spring is found on warmer regions like Lake Geneva and Ticino. High ski resorts are still operating since it is still pretty chilly during this season, so only winter sports are still abuzz.
Come low season in April and May, more hiking trails can now be accessible and still a lot of scenic views can be taken in, especially the remains of winter and the upcoming of green valleys. For early summer, which is by June, weather in Switzerland is now mild and warm, where hiking is best. Upon summer high season in July, August and September, different outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, and paragliding are very popular. You can now breathe in the amazing wildflowers and lush countryside that makes Switzerland oh-so-captivating when you travel around this time.
By October, it is low season, where the weather is mild but it will now start being chilly. The chilliness will continue by November, where hiking trails will now be less accessible and winter sports are starting to get back. Fresh snow will be covering the mountains and sights by cable car and panoramic train are displayed. By December, White Christmas is usually enveloping the entirety of Switzerland, making it look like a famous fairy-tale place. The two weeks around Christmas and New Year are the most popular among tourists.
How to arrive there
Best option to travel is by train. Railway system in Switzerland is known to be very efficient and always runs on time. However, there are no direct routes, so trips will take longer than by car since there a lot of connections to make. It is important to know the train routes and schedules ahead of time.
Also, get hold of a Swiss pass to let you visit all cities without paying extra money. This Swiss Travel Pass has a comprehensive cover for train, bus and boat transportation that also contains discounts for mountain lifts and other perks. These expensive rail passes are a good deal and a smart way of getting around the country. A 7-day consecutive journey usually ranges around $350 for a Swiss pass. Try to check passes that would suit you and your needs, depending on your plan.
How to plan for the budget
This country is known to be expensive and it sure lives up to its reputation. Food and transportation are both quite costly. Everywhere you go, this picturesque costly town has the highest possibility of running up your savings dry. Hence, be prepared for an abundance of money in travelling in here since it wouldn’t be ideal to travel in a tight budget. But still you can, if you can work your way out.
Switzerland does not use Euro as currency. Instead, it has its own Swiss Franc written as Sfr or CHF where one equals to 0.86 Euro or 1.02 US Dollar. So, if you are planning to explore the country for 5 to 7 days, it is advisable to allocate at least Sfr 150 per day per person, but may be lowered or raised, if you want. But with the high prices in mind, a visit to one of the most expensive countries in Europe is where you’d definitely invest a good amount of money beforehand.
5- 7 Days Switzerland Itinerary
There are plenty of things to do and sights to marvel in Switzerland. Here is a sample travel itinerary to the country, which could be personalized on your own discretion.
Day 1 – 2: Visit the resort town of Interlaken
A day wouldn’t be enough to discover the grandeur of Interlaken. Hence, it is best to allocate at least two days in this breathtakingly beautiful resort town. Interlaken occupies a valley between two lakes and is wholly surrounded by magnificent views of mountain charm. So, start your trip by visiting the must-see lakes— Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
By summer, you can go trekking, rafting and bungy jumping. By winter, this place is great for skiing and snowboarding and is the best place to visit the Alps. The villages also found in Interlaken are must-see scenic views, especially the Lauterbrunnen, Gimmelwald and Mürren. The high season for hotels and hostels here is from June up to September, with July and August as the peak months.
Where to stay: As the adventure capital and base of Switzerland, accommodation is never a problem in the town. Some of the most popular hotels and hostels are Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage, Hotel Roya, Balmers Hostel, Jugendherb
Day 3: Discover Zurich
From Interlaken, head on to the spectacular Switzerland hub for finance and banking, Zurich— a city that portrays the unique beauty of two worlds. There are heaps of places to visit in Zurich and you can begin your adventure by wandering around the cosmopolitan and visit some of the popular attractions like Swiss National Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, the Old Town, Bahnhofstrasse, Fraumünster and a lot more. Don’t forget to visit the renowned Sprüngli House that features mouthwatering truffles. Even from afar, you will drool with the loads of temptations in the window.
Where to stay: Hotel Adler Zürich, 25hours Hotel Zurich West, Hotel ibis Zurich Adliswil, and Dolder Grand
Day 4: Be at Awe with Rhine Falls
Europe’s largest waterfalls, Rhine Falls is a spectacular beauty every traveller shouldn’t miss. The tremendous roars and water vibrations make this body of water very popular, not just in Zurich, but in the entire continent. You can witness its splendor either by boat or on foot. If you want to see the spectacular views of nature, you can hike your way up and take the route from Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall to Rhine Falls,. The trek would normally take at least an hour. The easiest and most convenient way to see the waterfalls (even up-close) is by riding a boat, which are available only from April to October.
Day 5: Explore Lucerne
After Zurich, it would be best to explore Lucerne if you want more scenic views. Lucerne is the gateway to central Switzerland, which situated near a panoramic lake and some towering mountains. Among the must-see sites are Lake Lucerne, Kapellbrücke, and Lucerne Rathaus.
After a tiring but fulfilling day trip, fill your stomachs at the famous Old Swiss House in Lucerne. This beautiful and traditional restaurant can be dated back in 1858, and over the years, it has continuously offered over 30,000 bottles of fine wines and top notch selection of cuisines, ranging from soups to main courses and desserts. The Wiener Schnitzel is the well-known specialty, which is a very thin, breaded and pan fried cutlet made from veal.
Day 6: Trek Your Way Up to Mount Pilatus
Lucerne has easy access to Mount Pilatus that rises high above the city, giving you some massive and breathtaking views of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps. Mt. Pilatus is a 7,000-foot mountaintop, where you can enjoy an unforgettable rail ride that starts at the mountain’s base in Alpnachstad to its neatly constructed tracks up to the mountain’s summit. Once at the peak, the view gives you a far-reaching panoramic delight of over 70 peaks and five lakes from your vista terrace views. For easier option, you can ride in thrilling gondolas or aerial cableways to allow you to enjoy the scenic views from atop. Plus, you’d never go wrong being suspended in a rope park available in there, too.
Day 7: Shop from Swiss Souvenir Stalls
Before your Switzerland trip ends, buy some souvenirs from Swiss stalls and shops. And you will seriously have a headache with the wide array of selection— from sweet treats to handcrafted arts.
No matter what time of the year, Switzerland will never fail to offer the best. The country is quite known to offer you a perfect, peaceful destination away from the fuss of the crowd. It will give you an incomparable, sweet touch of paradise you’ll surely long to come back again. Cheers to your own visit soon!