Nothing can describe Switzerland but “heaven on earth”, it’s undoubtedly one of the most unique, beautiful and breath-taking countries in the world. In the heart of the city you’d find forests to hike, biking routes and scenic trails to cycle, rivers and turquoise lakes to swim, snow capped mountains to stare at, lush greenery, vivid colors, small houses built on hills, farms, old, modern & sacred buildings, museums, cheese makers and chocolate factories, and Swiss delicacies; Cheese Fondue, Raclette, Rösti, & Steak cooked to perfection.
Since Switzerland is divided into several Regions where German, French, Italian & Romansch are spoken, interestingly enough Swiss people speak at least 3 languages, and even more interesting is that Swiss Germans for instance would speak German with Swiss French who respond in French, both understanding one another’s language however answering in their native tongue, and their only explanation is; preserving their mother tongue. Other than main touristic hubs not very common that you’d find people speaking, menus, or signs written in English, so in Bern it’s German & French, in Locarno it’s Italian, if you head to Montreux it’s French.
Lake Luzern by Prabhu B Doss
So what’s really amazing about Switzerland is; when you go from the German to the French or Italian Region you’d feel as if you just moved to another country, because the culture, the looks, the food, and of course the language are different, giving you an interesting experience all in one country.
Zermatt in sunset by Gideon Davidson
Probably no one knows that Bern is the capital of Switzerland, believe it or not it’s not Zurich, or Geneva :). This tiny city is famous for its old city which is a UNESCO world heritage site, in addition to its exciting Aare River where you can take a cold dip, you can also visit the bear park “Bärenpark“, walk its bridges, and marvel at the scenery. Don’t forget to eat lots of chocolate from Bern’s famous Chocolatier Läderach, or go for the cheaper option Torino that you will find in every supermarket. To enjoy Swiss bakery Beck Glatz is a must try, savor their salmon sandwich, and their traditional Bernese cakes, and above all Raclette & Swiss Fondue from the traditional Lötschberg.
The Aare River and view of the old city of Bern
Video by BERNbild
It’s enough to be walking by Lake Luzern while feeding the geese, enjoying an ice cream, or to-die-for Swiss chocolate from Bachmann, and crossing the city’s famous landmark of Chapel Bridge known as “Kapellbrücke” a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. It’s a very scenic city with many spots where you can enjoy a jaw dropping view of the city, offering a feeling of coziness, and belonging.
The Chapel Bridge by @darthmauldds
The Gantrisch Region is located between Bern, Luzern & Thun, each city is well worth a visit. You can’t say that Gantrisch Naturpak is an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, because in Switzerland there is no such a thing, but a chance to “escape” city life. You can meditate, walk, hike, cycle, camp, horseback ride, BBQ, picnic and most of all zip-line. The scenery is magical, and it’s only an hour from Bern by train and bus -make sure to check the bus schedule because buses do not pass by frequently. Don’t worry if you forgot to get drinks or food because there you will find bars and restaurants to fill your appetite.
Gantrisch Naturpark by Davind Haberthur
Can you imagine the view? Interlaken; a youth hub, and home to endless recreational activities, suiting all ages and sporting abilities from swimming in the lakes, white water rafting, hiking, and camping, to skiing, sailng, and even sky diving. In addition to several museums, and a lush green park offering great views of the snow capped Swiss Alps, and the fact that it’s not too far from major Swiss cities, towns and villages.
Interlaken by Kosala Bandara
A Swiss French Riviera that will take you to another era, a blend of Swiss beauty with a touch of French elegance all in one compact city. Taking a boat to discover the hidden beauty of Lake Geneva -a.k.a. Lac Leman- is a must, you’d be sailing in blue waters, surrounded by mountains, and unspoiled nature. For the boat you have got many options; as you can take a regular boat, or a hop-on hop-off. Take a walk to the famous Château de Chillon located in Veytaux, only 45 minutes walk from the boat station in Montreux, not only it’s an enjoyable walk by the lake, but also a beautifully colored by wine fields, houses and hotels built on green hills.
Chateau de Chillon by ffrg0Lac Leman in Montreux by Javier Collado Jimenez
When considering a visit to the Swiss Italian Region, Lugano should be your first option, not only because it’s another level of Swiss beauty with its parks, flowers, villas, and sacred buildings, but a world-class city, and the closest you can get to the Italian borders via Lake Como. Lugano is the only big city in this list, however well worth mentioning.
Lake Lugano by Paolo Margari
A hiking heaven; not as famous as the Jungfrau, hence less touristic, and less expensive, to get there you have to take a train that runs slowly on very steep hills via rack railways, therefore you literally have to be glued to your seat, having that said the ride is not for the faint-hearted, but once you arrive you’d know how worthy it was. You could go there to savor coffee or tea while enjoying an appealing mountainous view, and smell fresh air, or you could unleash the adventurous side of you, and follow one of the hiking trails, where at some point you will find yourself at a restaurant where you’d be served a “hiker’s meal” while enjoying an amazing view.
Photo courtesy: Ed Coyle
Rack railways from Wikipedia
So now…Have you included Switzerland on your bucket-list? Don’t you think that you really should!!! Isn’t time to book a ticket, and fly???!!! Compare flights, book hotels, rent cars, and don’t forget to get your back covered with our travel insurance.
Stay tuned for another part where we will give you a heads up on Switzerland’s most scenic train routes, ones that you must do before you die 😉