Switzerland is the type of country that, despite being surrounded by many cultures, has managed to maintain its own identity and become one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
If you are one of the fortunate travellers visiting it, here is a selection of 10 things you cannot miss in a trip to Switzerland.
1. Chillon Castle
Between Lake Geneva and the Alps, we stumble upon this amazing medieval treasure, which we recommend visiting, not only for the exterior, quite impressive in and of itself, but for what you’ll find on the inside. Using an audio guide will allow you to wander through it bit by bit, room by room, unveiling all its secrets. You won’t need more than 3 hours, both to go inside the castle and visit the surrounding area, which you should not miss either.
Feeling like you are part of a novel is not hard in Gruyères, quite the contrary. Located on a small hill, you will come to find a town populated by lovely people, Buddhist sculptures and a museum devoted to aliens.
We recommend spending at least a whole morning here, saving a little extra time to savour one of the most iconic dishes of Swiss cuisine: fondue or raclette, both of them equally delicious.
With an old town that was declared a World Heritage Site, for its 6 kilometres of arcades, in Bern we find one of the places you absolutely cannot skip in your trip.
After pounding the streets in the city centre, we recommend going all the way up to Rosengarten (Rose Garden), located in the higher area of the BearPark, and enjoy the views over the old town by the banks of river Aare.
Our recommendation is to spend a whole day in Berna in order to properly enjoy all the breathtakingly beautiful places it encapsulates.
On the shore of Lake Lucerne, we find Lucerne, one of the most popular cities in the country. And it’s no wonder; it just takes reading a bit on this destination and seeing a couple of pictures to ratify that this is just one of those essential places in a trip to Switzerland.
The best thing to do is save a day in your trip to delight yourself in its old town, splattered with historic houses, artisanal shops and charming pit stops. And, of course, we can’t forget about Kapellbrücke, a medieval bridge that has become a symbol of the city and one of the oldest covered wooden footbridges in Europe.
One of those postcard-like landscapes that are dangerously captivating. You have been warned. With 72 staggering waterfalls, mind-blowing scenery and a peaceful atmosphere, this part of Switzerland is the perfect place to spend a few days after travelling across the country.
Among the numerous activities available, we recommend spending a few hours in Staubbachfall, a waterfall that drops about 300 metres from a hanging valley.
And if you’re staying here during the summer, don’t miss out on Trümmelbachfälle, 10 hidden waterfalls carrying 20,000 litres of water per second. A unique natural phenomenon.
6. Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe
As one of the most symbolic places in Switzerland, it needs no introduction. With amazing views, a train that reaches the highest-altitude station in Europe (3,454 metres), vantage points and the nickname of Top of Europe, you don’t need a whole lot more reasons to want to visit it, right?
Save a whole day to visit it, or even a few extra more for the neighbouring area.
Also bathed by the river Aree, just like Bern, is Thun, whose city centre is as charming as the XII-century castle raising above the city is impressive.
Besides the city’s old town, we recommend the church, the city hall, and, of course, devoting a few hours to wander through its streets, crammed with little charming shops.
8. Oberhofen Castle
On the shores of Lake Thun, we find Oberhofen Castle, a XII-century building where you will probably run into a just-married couple, as this is one of the most-featured places in these kind of photoshoots.
Although maybe coming here for this alone is not worth the journey, if you are going from Thun to Interlanken, you might want to make a stop at this point to at least admire its beauty from the outside.
9. Its cuisine
Contrary to what you might expect to find, Switzerland can brag about having an eclectic cuisine, highly influenced by the French, German and Northern Italian gastronomy.
Among the countless choice of menus, here you have what, in our opinion, are the must-tastes in a trip to Switzerland:
- Raclette: Grilled cheese served with small boiled potatoes, chives and pickles. Simply delicious.
- Fondue: Melted cheese eaten by dipping bread into it using long-stemmed forks.
- Rösti: Boiled potatoes fried in butter, in the style of a fritter.
- Älplermagronen: A potato pasta casserole with grilled-cheese, cream and onions. Tasty.
- Chocolate: In all shapes and kinds, taking some home as souvenirs.
10. Going back…
There is nothing more important in the list than going back to Switzerland. It will always be waiting for you. But bear in mind that you will have to pay in Swiss francs, the legal tender in the country, so make sure you get it with con Global Exchange.
Where can I change my money for the trip?
Whenever you travel to this country, you will need Swiss francs for your stay there. With Global Exchange, you will be able to exchange your money for Swiss francs before leaving or in Geneva because they have branches at the airport of this city.
© Imágenes: Miriam Gómez Blanes.