Switzerland

 

TRAVEL | by Louise Gookey

Travel guide: Switzerland. The prettiest place i have ever seen.

If you are searching for a short break then you must consider Switzerland.


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That being said, I will start with a word of warning - this is not a cheap place to visit and the rumours of it being one of, if not the most expensive place to visit in Europe, are very true. In this case, beauty definitely comes at a price and pretty much as soon as you step off the plane you will be wondering where all your money has gone!

If you are planning on exploring the country rather than staying in one place than a  recommendation would be to get a Swiss Travel Pass. It gives you unlimited access on the Swiss Travel System and allows  free entrance to over 480 museums and exhibitions. This will set you back 270 CHF (around £200) for 4 days, yes, it is expensive but depending what you want to do, as little as two of the scenic train trips can make it worthwhile.

What the Swiss Travel Pass includes

  • Free rail travel on normal trains and most scenic trains

  • Discounted travel (about 50%) on popular tourist mountain trains

  • Discounted travel (about 50%) on popular tourist cable cars

  • Free travel on public transport in 75 towns and cities

  • Free entry to around 500 museums in Switzerland

Find out more at - www.swiss-pass.ch/swiss-pass/

Lucerne

Lecure is the perfect spot to use as base while exploring the rest of the county. It surrounds Lake Lucerne (overlooking the Alps, naturally) and the crips fresh air and sounds of the water will instantly relax you. It’s pretty famous for its medieval architecture and you have to make time to explore Altstadt (the old town) take a stroll through the winding cobbled streets, you will have plenty to explore.

A few things to do

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Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)

Originally built in 1333, you cannot miss this bridge - it's right in the middle of town and diagonally crosses the water. You could quite easily spend as evening watching the sun set off this bridge before going for a drink at one of the many bars/restaurants overlooking the lake.

Museggmauer & Türme (Medival walls and towers)

If you are a history buff then this is another part of the city not to be missed. The town wall has 9 towers (you can still walk up 4 of them) for an incredible view of the city and mountains behind. Keep and eye out for Lucernes oldest clock, build in 1535 and located in the Zyt tower chimes exactly 1 minutes before all the other around!!

 Bourbaki Panorama

Considered one of the best panoramic paintings in the world and represents the 87,000 french soldiers who fled to Switzerland during the Franco-Prussian War. Make sure you explore the painting from all angels and see how it pops out and becomes 3D. (free with Swiss Pass)

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 Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument)

One of the most popular sites in Lucerne, this huge carved dying lion is dedicated the troops who were killed while protecting King Louis XVI during the French Revolution.

Jump On A Boat

If you are looking to explore the mountains (of course you are) then you would be a fool not to travel there by boat. Regular services take you across the lake to popular destinations such as Mount Rigi, or, you can just sit back, have a meal and enjoy a roundtrip - the views alone are worth it.

Mountains

There are so many mountains to pick, depending on where you are in the country but some of the most famous (Matterhorn aside) and easy to reach ones are accessible from Lucerne. 

Mount Rigi

There are two words to describe Mount Rigi - cold and windy - not the most appealing of words but do not let that fool you! Take a ride on Europe's first cog railway as you head up 1,798 meters from the edge of Lake Lucurne. Whether you choose to ski, snowboard or hike, make sure you wrap up warm and enjoy the breathtaking views - yep, you can see all the way to the Black Forest in Germany.

If it all gets a bit much stop off at Mineralbad and Spa on route back down (or up) the mountain. It will leave you feeling warm and refreshed ready to tackle to rest of your journey. Find out more here.

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Mount Brunni, Engleburg

If you are wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the ski slopes then maybe opt for a hike instead? Mount Brunni in Engleburg is a perfect spot. You will quickly learn to love cabel cars, use one to get up the mountain before taking a long walk down. This hike was absolutely everything you could want it to be, thick white, undisturbed snow, breathtaking views and a small little village (Schwand) half way down with a traditional Swiss restaurant so you can refuel.

Mount Titlis

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Cross to the other side of Engleburg and get on the cable car (well 3) to the top of the iconic Mount Titlis.

At -14 degree and 3032 metres above sea level this is an absolute must! Defiantly my favourite part of the trip!

The world's first revolving cable car will take you, ears popping, above the clouds to the spectacular viewing station. Once you have finished staring down on other, smaller, mountains (very surreal) make sure you check out the glacier cave before you make your journey back down.

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Locarno

Jump on a train and head to the south of Switzerland and you feel as if you entered Italy (well you nearly have). With fantastic food, coffee and views, exploring the local town is a perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon. The Italian culture means lunch is served until around 2 - make sure you check restaurant times so you don’t miss out. Spend some time enjoying the view of the lake where one side is Switzerland and the other Italy.

Zurich

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Time for a complete change of scene and Zurich, like other cities, has million things to do.

Seeing as Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and watches make sure you check out some of the shops for a quick coffee/chocolate stop Spruengli is a great option.

 

Explore the Old Town (Altstadt)

Not only famous for its medieval architecture, it also has the highest number of clubs in Switzerland, the legendary Bahnhofstrasse shopping mile, and a beautiful river running through the centre, the atmospheric old town has something for everyone.

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Photograph the Gerold Cuchi Umbrellas

Probably the most insta-famous places in Zurich. Grab some food and a photograph (unposed of course) under these iconic umbrellas.

Eat Sausage at Zueghauskeller

If you are after a plate of traditional swiss food and a beer this is the place for you. Oak beams and waiters dressed to serve, it will leave feeling in full and in good spirits.

Lake Zurich (Zurichsee)

It rained the entire time we were there so the picturesque lake did not quite live up to expectations. However if it is sunny, take a stroll and capture some of the famous views (please send me some pics!)