Life in Switzerland is in some ways regimented they value order and punctuality but this level of organization and efficiency actually means the Swiss have plenty of time, and money, to enjoy life. Events such as the Montreux Jazz festival and Basel Carnival will dispel any ideas you might have about the Swiss being boring.
There is a lot to enjoy in Switzerland and wherever you go there will be beautiful scenery to take in at the same time.
Places to visit in Switzerland
1. Lake Geneva
On the river Rhone, Lake Geneva is one of West Europe’s largest lakes and many would argue its most beautiful: with its setting surrounded by towering mountains, which can be enjoyed from Switzerland’s best beaches. Lake Geneva is on the border with France and Switzerland but the three main settlements on the river are all in Switzerland being Geneva, Lausanne, and Montreux.
As well as visiting the towns and cities around the lake you should spend some time on the lake itself: including a tour on one of the steam boats or perhaps hiring a sailing boat or canoe. On the lake sites of interest include the Lake Geneva beacon and the Jet d’Eau fountain that pumps 132 gallons of water 459 feet into the air every second.
2. Beyer Clock and Watch Museum, Zurich
The Clock and Watch Museum in Zurich is run by Beyer, themselves watchmakers since 1760 the collection includes exhibits from their own brands including Rolex and Patek Philippe though it also includes exhibits from many of Switzerland’s other famous watch makers and of course clockmakers too.
3. Zermatt Ski resort
A great area for hiking in the summer Zermatt is still at its best in winter as a great Ski resort, with reliable snowfalls each year. Zermatt is among many of the tallest mountains in the alps and close to the Italian border. The skiing itself is the highest skiing area in the alps but despite this it is well developed and offers great facilities.
You have a great choice of restaurants and hotels here, most are expensive but you can come here on a budget as well with some cheaper accommodation too. There’s a good choice of slopes and lifts as well with something for all difficulty levels. One important thing to remember is that cars aren’t allowed in the town, unless you have an electric powered car that is, therefore you will need to come in by train and then allow for the cost of getting around.
4. Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux is on the edge of the fantastic Lake Geneva but despite the idyllic setting, it is far from the peaceful Jazz festival that Montreux is most famous for.
Montreux Jazz festival is in fact more of a general music festival with a focus on Jazz, in 2012 artists include Jazz Legends Herbie Hancock and Buddy Guy as well as the likes of Bob Dylan and contemporary performers like Jessie J.
The great range of different music is part of the attraction of course but It is perhaps the atmosphere as much as the music people visit for.
5. Zurich’s shopping areas
Switzerland’s biggest city also has its best shopping; you can buy Swiss Chocolate, Watches and take out a Swiss Bank account here but Zurich also offers fabulous shopping for high fashion clothing and top of the range electronics. Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street) is the main and most famous Zurich shopping street with many of the most expensive shops, though most of the shops in Zurich seem to be fairly expensive. The old town is also good for shopping with plenty of great bars and restaurants mixed in.
6. Basel Carnival
One of the World’s best Carnivals it may totally shatter the views you have of the Swiss it is just as loud, bright, and exciting as Carnivals in Rio, London, and Bali. It does however have a Swiss flavor including the fact it starts at 4’O Clock precisely, on the Monday after Ash Wednesday, and lasts for exactly 72 hours and not a minute more or less.
7. Interlaken for Adventure Sports
A small city high in the Alps Interlaken is a popular destination for the Swiss and tourists from outside the country. The small city is between two stunning alpine lakes, hence the name, and many of the sports on offer make use of them.
Get out onto the lake for canoeing, kayaking sailing, windsurfing, and in summer jump in for swimming in the fantastic clear and fresh waters. Off of the lakes, Interlaken is a popular base for hiking and cycling: especially mountain biking, though if you aren’t used to steeper hills you will want to get in some training before your trip.
8. Hike to see the sunrise at Mt Pilatus
You actually don’t have to hike to the 2128 meter summit of Mount Pilatus as a cog-wheeled railway can take you up, but hiking is far more rewarding. The view is certainly worthwhile and at sunrise, tourists flock here; you may also spot the dragon that is reputed to live on the mountain as well: and all of this from the warmth and comfort of the restaurant located just below the summit if you wish.
9. International hill in Geneva
Geneva has a peaceful aura about it and so it may be no surprise that many of the UN’s departments, as well as the Red Cross, are based here. These are based on one hill, sometimes known as International Hill, in the center of the city and include the Museum of the Red Cross and the Red crescent organisation documenting their previous and current work.
10. Take in the tranquility of Lugano and its valley setting
Lugano is in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland: sandwiched in a valley between two mountains it is most famous for its frescoes including 16th-century frescoes at the Cathedral San Lorenzo and the huge Crucifixion fresco at the Church of Santa Maria of Angluli.
11. Basel, probably the World’s most international city
Basel is in west Switzerland at the point where the borders of Switzerland, France, and Germany meet; mainly in Switzerland the city has three main stations one for each country; the international airport serving the city is actually in France, which has led to some administrative issues in the past.
Basel is well off for architecture and art in its several museums and galleries with influences from all three countries, spanning many centuries of history. This architecture includes the bridges that cross the Rhine into France and the grand Romanesque Cathedral
12. St Martin’s Tower, Basel
St Martin’s Tower at the Munster Cathedral gives views not just of Basel itself but of the surrounding mountains of Switzerland and France and of the Black Forest across in Germany: one of the most stunning vistas the world has to offer.
13. Palais des Nations, Zurich
The second-largest building complex in Europe the Palace was originally built as the home of the ill-fated League of Nations. The UN now has many offices here for several of its departments as well as this serving as the UN’s European Headquarters. You can however still tour much of the site including the Assembly Hall and Council Chamber.
14. Bern’s Old Town
Bern is actually Switzerland’s capital though by no means its largest or most important city: it is certainly though a cultured city with a lot of history to take in.
Bern’s Old Town dates from the Middle Ages and remains unspoiled; it is now a UNESCO world heritage site and features some four miles of arcades featuring a variety of shops including those selling traditional local and Swiss goods as well as shops from international brands.
15. Zurich Zoo
Zurich has a very good quality zoo; located on Zurichberg hill with lots of new modern enclosures for the animals including a new Lion’s den development. Other popular animals on show include Tigers and, Gorillas.
Tips to Enjoy a Budget-Friendly Holiday in Switzerland
The chocolates, amazing vistas, and fountains will all turn out to be the perfect combination if you want to have a magical break in Switzerland. The land is extremely inspiring because of being breathtakingly beautiful. However, it can also turn out to be a very costly break for many. There are many who struggle to plan a budgeted break to Switzerland. If you’re a frugal traveler, here are some wise tips you need to cling to in order to have a budget-friendly trip to the country.
- Pick a Shoulder Season
Drop the idea of having a budgeted break if you’re traveling during the peak season. Since the crowds are at its highest and the hotels are overflowing with tourists, it is nearly impossible to find the deals that you desire in a country that is already costly.
Off-season traveling can save you a lot of money. Apart from finding cheaper fares, you’ll also come across good hotel deals. Early summer and late spring are the times where Switzerland is relatively less crowded.
The Swiss Pass
Most of the people when traveling to Switzerland opt for a multi-city trip. If that is what you’re looking for, the Swiss Pass is that travel essential that will save you from a lot of additional costs. Through this pass, you’re allowed to travel limitlessly on buses, trains, and boats. Through the Swiss Pass, you also have complimentary access to many of the museums and other famous attractions in Switzerland.
Public Fountains for Drinking
Every little help. Even the tiniest sane decisions you make on your trip can help you to save significantly on your travels. Bottled water in Switzerland would cost you a great deal. Why not look for more natural options? The picturesque fountains are ideal if you wish to drink water. You’d often hear tourists saying the water served in restaurants come from these fountains. Before you end up drinking, ensure there are no signposts that say otherwise. Sensibly, carrying an empty water bottle is a good choice that can be used to fill up water every time you desire.
- Free Activities
There are many myths about Switzerland travel that you’ll come across, but don’t let these fool you. Researching before your trip is essential so that you know exactly what to expect. In Switzerland, you’ll come across plenty of outdoor activities all year round that are free of cost. Even when you don’t have money to spare for the attractions, you can always opt for an outdoor picnic to enjoy the magical vistas of Switzerland. The mountains invite plenty of outdoor adventures that tourists delightfully take up!
- Pack Wisely
Under all circumstances, try your best to avoid shopping in Switzerland. Instead of randomly stuffing your suite case, prepare a wise checklist that has all the items you need. Summers or winters, Switzerland is an expensive destination to travel to. This is why you should avoid shopping there wherever it’s possible.
Top Five Things to do in Switzerland
Known for neutrality, chocolate, chalets, cows, mountains, and skiing, land-locked Switzerland offers more than meets the eye when it comes to a great European travel destination. Many of Switzerland’s true delights are very inexpensive to enjoy, going some way towards off-setting the higher accommodation and transportation costs.
Switzerland has many excellent things to do and see; this selection details the top five things to do in Switzerland, though of course, there are many more fabulous things in store!
Try Some Sports
Switzerland is a sports lovers’ paradise at any time of the year. As well as the excellent winter skiing opportunities, for which the country is well known for, you can also try snowboarding, sledding, tobogganing, walking with snow shoes, cross country skiing, and other snow activities. In the summer months, Switzerland is great for hiking and trekking.
The majestic Matterhorn Provides the perfect backdrop on marker trails such as the Zermatt Lake Trail, where you can also enjoy the beauty of the shimmering and glistening lake. There is an abundance of flora and fauna to be spotted in the Swiss National Park. Lake Luzern is another popular spot for hiking. There are many marked trails throughout the country’s stunning countryside. Alternatively, there are many areas that can be cycled. Climbing is another activity, which can be done in both summer and winter.
Enjoy the Beautiful Lakes
Whether you want to get active or simply relax, the clear waters and gorgeous surroundings make Switzerland’s lakes a huge hit. Some offer boat trips, sailing, and other water based activities. Some favourites are the awesome Lake Geneva, Lake Lugano, Lake Zurich, and Lake Lucerne.
Enjoy the Typical Swiss Views!
The panoramic views from Switzerland’s high points are simply breath taking. Climbers can enjoy the views with ease, but there are also ways that non-climbers can reach dizzying heights for spectacular views. In the mountain areas, cable cars, trains, and funiculars transport passengers up the slopes – in many areas there are designated view points, sited to give the optimum vistas. You can also enjoy a meal in a summit restaurant; gaze out whilst dining in true style.
Eat, Drink and be Merry!
You cannot visit Switzerland without trying some of the country’s finest specialities. Swiss wine is crisp and delicious, but because most of it is not exported to other countries it is not very well known. There are various grape-growing and wine-producing areas in the country, and local wine is available across Switzerland. Make sure you try a glass. One of Switzerland’s most well-known products is chocolate.
Milk chocolate was created in Switzerland. Take a tour of the Nestle Factory and delight in the delectable taste. Fondue uses some of the country’s delicious cheeses, melted down to use as a warm dip. The variety of fondues is impressive, and the taste is divine. Another sumptuous cheese dish is the raclette. Potato cakes, called rosti, are hearty and filling. There are many regional treats to look out for; try the sausages and cream tarts in Romandie, the pretty gingerbread in Appenzellerland, the vegetable, cheese, and pasta stew in Grisons, and alplermagronen in Central Switzerland, to name but a few.
Stand Where Three Countries Meet
In Basel, you can visit a simple monument marking the point where Switzerland, Germany, and France meet. Known as Three Countries Corner, there is also a glass-walled restaurant.