Swiss styling through Switzerland: A Top Travel Experience
Take a train, a backpack, hiking boots, a mangle of languages and a Kiwi addicted to travel and what do you get?
A solo Kiwi traveller (me) backpacking for a about 2 weeks in Switzerland.
It’s always an adventure when you end up in a city speaking one foreign language only to find they speak another one. Exhibit A: Me ordering an ice-cream in Lausanne, Switzerland… not a German speaking area!
Switzerland is a land of many mountains, clear blue lakes, clean air and sparkling sidewalks.
I have many fond memories of my time travelling through Switzerland. I’d done my usual and taken advantage of back to back public holidays in the UK and added a few days annual leave in between to give myself a good stretch to make the most of my time in Switzerland.
I flew into Geneva and trained from Lausanne to Montreux, Interlaken, Bern, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald/First, Lucerne and finally to Zurich to fly back to London. It was a trip that I describe as some of the best parts of Switzerland.
Lausanne is the second largest city on Lake Geneva, with a lovely old town and hills and mountains surrounding the lake. It’s mainly French speaking, so German doesn’t really work here.
Walking around Lausanne in summer time is relaxing and pleasant, with Cathedrals to discover, the Olympic Museum and then a stones throw to the incredible area of Montreux
Taking the long flower lined promenade to the Chateau de Chillon along the lakeside is one of those stunning moments that I thought just couldn’t get any better.
The castle was once known as a prison when Bonivard was held. It is now a stunning little museum with fortified walls and towers that send you back in time. This medieval fortress has gone through thousands of years of renovations and restorations, yet it still reflects its history and stunning beauty.
As I looked out from the little windows along the lake to the hills and mountains in the distance, I found it really difficult to imagine the unpleasant aspects of the castle in ancient times, it just looks like such a peaceful and happy spot to be in.
Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen
These are the tourist hotspots of Switzerland. I hang glided in Interlaken (not as good as paragliding or sky diving, but still fun) and experienced a lot of rain in Lauterbrunnen, but it was still a fun spot to visit.
Lauterbrunnen is like a valley town surrounded by mountains with little waterfalls coming down the mountain edges and into a river that flows through the town. Wandering the countryside you hear cow bells, smell the grass and see the beautiful wildflowers. It’s a real taste of peaceful country life.
Sidetrip to Bern on a rainy day. The capital of Switzerland and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has lovely covered areas for walking in the rain and shopping. The rose garden was incredible with so many varieties and colours, but the aspect I didn’t like so much were the bears that are home on the hillside of the town in an area known as BearPark. I felt they should be wild and free…
Grindelwald, First and Jungfraujoch
These were possibly my favourite spots in Switzerland. Staring out over a lake at First, in the Grindelwald region was incredible. Snow-capped Swiss Alps as the backdrop behind the lake. These are things memories are made of.
Jungfraujoch was also a daytrip from Lauterbrunnen. It’s known as the ‘Top of Europe’ sitting at 3,454 meters above sea level. Sadly the clouds quickly came in the moment I arrived, so there wasn’t much to see for long!
Onwards to my final stop, Lucerne sits on Lake Lucerne as a compact big city in central Switzerland. It German speaking (yay) but the dialect is an interesting one… lucky for me — many Swiss people speak English pretty darn well!
Lucerne has its share of hills, city wall and old town as well as a beautiful old bridge to check out. Like most of Switzerland it will break your bank as a solo traveller, but well worth a visit for a few days.
Switzerland is one of my Top Travel Experiences before I’m 30, if you’d like to check out more of these visit the top experiences list here »