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Here is part 2 of my travelling blog…My Tour of Switzerland!
Myself and a friend, Victoria, set out on a Tour of Switzerland during our reading week. This consisted of 4 days travelling around different places in Switzerland – including Interlaken, Lugano, Schaffhausen and Zurich, as well as many other stops along the way. Our trip was pretty tiring, thanks to changing trains, exploring as much as we could and the ridiculously steep hill we had to climb in Lugano to get to our hostel. As the planning for this trip begun only a week before our departure, I knew that I wanted to travel, but I was still a little nervous. “I don’t feel adult enough for this” was a phrase we both used quite a lot during this journey.
These are my TOP 10 TIPS for travelling around Switzerland!
1. Buy the Swiss Pass!
This was the best purchase we could have made in preparation for our trip. This pass cost 221CHF (£170) for 4 days, which works out at 55,25CHF (£42) per day. Although you may think this sounds expensive, firstly, it’s Switzerland, the most expensive country in Europe, and secondly, this pass included all of the public transport within Switzerland – trains, trams, buses and boats, which is great if you want to do a tour of Switzerland like we did.
2. Take the Golden Express Line
In Switzerland, there are 4 specific passes/ lines which are highly recommended for their amazing sceneries: Bernina Express, Glacier Express, Golden Pass Line and Gotthard Panorama Express. These routes consist of a combination of regular Swiss trains (which are already a lot better than the standard trains in the UK) and panoramic trains. One of the best memories of the trip is being sat on a panoramic train at 8am, seeing the sunrise from behind the beautiful landscape of Switzerland! I highly recommend this!
3. Visit Brienz and take the Rothorn Bahn
At around 4pm in the afternoon of our 1st day, we decided to go to the other side of Brienzersee. Here, we found a train that stopped halfway up Mount Rothorn and apparently the view was pretty good! I can confirm that the view was amazing! We arrived at the viewpoint just as the sun was setting, which made the view even better! Although this trip was worth every penny (or centième) we paid, the Swiss Pass allowed us to get the trip half price too.
4. If you have accommodation in Iseltwald, eat before you get there
After a very long and busy day, we headed back to our hostel for the night at round 6 o’clock. We checked-in and decided to go and find some food, because we were rather hungry at this point. The gentleman on the reception desk advised us that there were 3 restaurants close by. It turns out that these restaurants were attached to hotels and 2 out of the 3 were closed. Eventually, we found the 3rd restaurant, which was such a relief, because our sandwiches didn’t seem very appetising at this point. However, we found out that it was very VERY expensive for a meal. Shocked, hungry and tired, we asked for 2 bowls of chips, which I have to say were pretty good.
5. Go on the boat trip in Lugano
Again this Swiss Pass came in handy for this trip. In Lugano, the weather was beautiful and the town is situated on the Lago di Lugano, so we decided we wanted to go on a boat trip. Luckily, when we arrived at the jetty for the boat trip, we saw that the trip was actually included within our Swiss Pass. This saved us money, but also allowed us to have a great time and have amazing memories.
6. Go to Ristorante AnaCapri for an evening meal in Lugano
We saw this restaurant and thought it would be really expensive, because it was on the top of a hill over-looking the beautiful city and its lake. But when we looked at the menu, it was surprisingly good value for Switzerland especially. As we were eating, the moon was rising from behind the mountains to reflect onto the lake below. It was an unforgettable experience and I highly recommend a visit to this restaurant.
7. Stay overnight in Schaffhausen, rather than the area around Rhine Falls
Due to the high tourism around the Rhine Falls, the accommodation in this area is fairly expensive. However, we booked an Airbnb in Schaffhausen, an area near to the Rhine Falls. It took us around 30 minutes to get to the Rhine Falls from our flat and the accommodation was over half of the price of a flat near to the Rhine Falls.
8. Do the Free Walking tour in Zurich
I had heard about the Free Walking tours, whilst studying in Geneva and I went on the tour of Geneva, which was great and when we arrived in Zurich, the weather wasn’t great. Therefore, we decided to go on the Free Walking tour around Zurich to explore as much of the city as we could, without getting too cold. Despite the bad weather, the tour guide was still friendly, happy and enthusiastic about his city. The tour itself took us around the main attractions of the city, but also the other interesting parts of the city, that tourists don’t often know about.
9. During your trip, I suggest that you stay in hostels
Before this trip, I had never thought about staying in a hostel, however this was one of the best parts of the trip. We were able to socialise with people from all over the world and we realised that there were so many people our age doing the same thing as us. In fact, we had a problem with the power at our first hostel and as a consequence, we had no power in our room. But, instead of allowing this to ruin our trip, we went outside and spoke to all of the other people in the hostel and I have remained in contact with 2 of the people that I met.
10. Enjoy your trip!
This is one of the most memorable trips I have done and I have created so many great memories. Not only this, but this trip allowed me to make a great friend and develop as a person. I experienced several different cultures and cuisines, spoke several different languages and saw many different landscapes – all within one small country.
I hope this has inspired you to do a trip like this, or to visit the beautiful country of Switzerland!
Merci et à bientôt!