A Boat Trip In Switzerland

On my second full day in Switzerland I decided to take a train from Basel into Biel/Bienne. As soon as I arrived I walked straight to the lakeside and caught a boat around the beautiful lake. If you missed my introduction to Basel, check out Basel – A Hidden Gem and then find out about the stunning boat trip I took around Bielsee in this post.

Swiss trains are reliable and timely. They are clean and have plenty of leg room.
This was the boat that hopped from village to village in a round trip.

Taking a train from Basel to Biel/ Bienne was simple to arrange. I booked my ticket through Trainline and enjoyed travelling through the villages, farmland and hills. Just over an hour, the ride was packed with gorgeous views.

I had seen Biel/ Bienne on Instagram and knew that one of its biggest assets was the huge lake. So it was inevitable that I was going to head to the harbour immediately and try to get on a boat. A two and a half hour trip round the lake cost £34.86 per person.

Such thick cut bread on a delicious cheese sandwich.

During the cruise, I decided to get a sandwich and ice cream. With a lovely on board eatery and plenty of deck seating, the boat was comfortable and provided great access to photogenic villages and a stunning horizon.

This church was so quaint, sat beautifully upon the hill at the side of the lake.

Best Bits

For me, this two hours and a half voyage went by quickly. I loved the experience and absorbed the beauty of the surroundings. There was a friendly atmosphere on board and everyone was sober and helpful.

I totally recommend taking a trip round the Bielsee if you are in the area. This was the only day I spent out of Basel and I finished it with a walk around the town of Biel/ Bienne which I have photographed here.

Biel/ Bienne
Biel/ Bienne

Final Thoughts

This lovely Swiss town is thriving with shops and restaurants as well as some beautiful historic buildings. You definitely need to take a ride on a boat if you get the chance and explore the beautiful lake that runs alongside Biel/ Bienne.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about a boat trip across a Swiss lake. Please consider following my blog for similar future content. Also leave a comment if you can. Have you been to Switzerland? Does Biel/ Bienne appeal to you?

Basel – A Hidden Gem

My blog is a lifestyle site and so now and again I share my experiences of travelling around Europe. My last outing was at Christmas when I visited wonderful Antwerp, which I mentioned in my Five Favourite European Cities article. Now I want to talk about another hidden gem that I am currently exploring – Basel in Switzerland.

Getting To Basel

The Eurostar screen illustrates how trains pollute far less than planes.

My regular readers will be aware that I like to travel by land and sea as much as possible. This is mainly because I believe that planes are one of the biggest direct causes of pollution in the upper atmosphere. I stopped flying 9 years ago but haven’t let it stop me enjoying travelling.

For this journey, I popped over to Paris on the Eurostar and then changed stations from Paris Nord to L’Est. I then took a one and a half hour train to Strasbourg before hopping onto a one hour train to Basel. Travelling through Strasbourg made me realise I need to spend some time there soon, possibly during Christmas time.

Getting To Know Basel

This hotel looked lovely.
The city centre was interesting and was accessible by frequent trams.

When I got off the train at Basel SSB railway station, I decided to walk the 20 minutes to the hotel rather than get on public transport. It was a great choice as I was able to check out some of the highlights of the historic city centre. It was, however, exhausting as there was a large hill running up to where our hotel stood. This was brilliant for my step count, though. Especially after spending hours on trains.

The colourful streets reminded me of Salzburg and were lined with trees. Many of the hotels and houses had plants climbing up them, making the whole place feel green and cosy.

Basel film festival was on in a group of theatres and cinemas.
Statues, fountains and trees line the streets.

After settling into the hotel, I walked back into the centre and found myself next to the famous Basel Munster Cathedral and overlooking the River Rhine. Plenty of restaurants, bars and shops lined the streets of this intriguing place.

Basel Munster – Cathedral
Munsterplatz – part of the old town

Final Thoughts

Just a few hours into the holiday and I was already starting to fall in love with beautiful Basel. Look out for more of my posts about my experiences in Basel as I look back on my time in this intriguing European hidden gem.

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5 Reasons To Visit Switzerland

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Continuing my write-ups on holidays I’ve enjoyed which have not involved air travel, I want to share with you just how wonderful Switzerand is. Nestled in the Alpine region, between Italy, France, Germany and Austria, this incredible nation has everything you could wish for.

Beautiful Zurich

1) It has good rail links

For me, it became increasingly important to try and avoid aeroplanes and make more of an effort to travel in a less polluting kind of way. Trains in Europe are electric and depend a lot less on fossil fuels, so are easily the best option when journeying across some distance. From London to Zurich it was only six hours (two to Paris, then an easy connection and four more hours to Zurich). The best thing about travelling by train is that you get to sit back with a drink and watch as the beautiful scenery changes from flat farmland to mesmerising mountains.

2) Mountains and Valleys

There is nothing quite like being amongst mountains and Switzerland has some of the most stunning views I have ever seen. One November day I used a very steep funicular to get to the top of Stoos, a skiing village perched above the town of Schwyz. At times the vehicle almost goes straight up as it clings close to the cliff and gives you a majestic view of the surrounding valley and breath-taking countryside.

The incredibly steep funicular up to Stoos.

3) Cheese!

Switzerland is famous for Swiss Army Knives, chocolate and cheese. Every main street has a variety of intriguing chocolate sellers with astounding displays of the sweet stuff of the highest quality. I bought my friends plenty of chocolate and they all really appreciated it as generally it outdoes the standard sweets you get back home in the UK.

Cheese is also a delicacy and you can’t visit Switzerland without trying some deliciously hot melted cheese. Otherwise know as fondue, this treat for your tastebuds will knock your socks off. Don’t worry though, even if you are dairy intolerant, the fondue restaurants have other delights on their menus. There is always dairy free cheese, which in my experience is just as tasty.

4) Towns and Cities

Although I stayed in Zurich, which was lovely and full of energy, I also managed to visit beautiful Bern and lovely Lucerne. All three places were incredible in their own right. In Zurich I shopped, had a wonderful afternoon at the Zurich OperaHaus and sampled some amazing food. I also sampled the nightlife and enjoyed some cool cocktails as well as the great nighttime views of this old city, steeped in history and intrigue.

Lucerne was hot on the day that I visited and the lake looked stunning. Walking across its famous Chapel Bridge was great when wanting to take photos as it provided plenty of different perspectives of the town. I particularly remember sampling pastries at one of its brilliant bakeries and not only being full up but also thinking how exquisite everything was.

Bern was one of the government centres. In Switzerland the seat of government moves between Geneva, Bern and Zurich on rotation but some of the larger and architecturally interesting buildings are situated in Bern. It is also full of shops and when I visited it was raining a lot so plenty of undercover places to snack and browse proved popular with me.

Einstein was born here in Bern.

5) Lakes with views to die for

For me, the bodies of water that I came across in Switzerland were distinctly magical. From the entrance to Lake Zurich to the tranquil Lake Zug, Switzerland is full of watery views that will take your breath away.

Taking a ferry from Zurich to the other side of Lake Zurich, I was amazed by the delightful views of both the city in all its splendour and the surrounding hillsides. It felt so peaceful in the middle of that surprisingly clean water, taking in the incredible panorama. Our bus driver also showed us the mansion that Tina Turner now lives in, nestled right next to that enormous lake. It’s true to say that you haven’t seen anything until you have set eyes on the stunning Swiss lakes and mountains.

Charming Zurich is full of history.

Why not try taking a holiday by train?

This was one of the holidays I took by train and I cannot speak highly enough of the service I received on the journey. If you enjoyed reading my post, perhaps consider commenting your thoughts and following my blog for more of the same content.