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.
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.
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.
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.
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.