There are three things that immediately jump out at you when you get to Switzerland; 1) This country is clean, so clean you could eat off the street. 2) This country is BEAUTIFUL, from the mountains to the valleys you are surrounded by incredible beauty! 3) And It’s expensive! For instance, a glass of water at an inexpensive restaurant will run you $4 and a plain hotdog with no condiments starts at $15. Be prepared for that or else you will spend the day looking for a deal, that doesn’t exist.
We started our journey here in Zurich with some of our dear friends from Seattle, Andre and Ilona. Upon arrival, we checked into the Fleming’s Hotel, which was centrally located in the city, it had a great breakfast, the rooms were large and the beds were comfortable. This is a business center so there weren’t many frills in this city but it is fun to explore especially if you head over the river into the “old-town”. A couple of days in the city felt like enough to both explore the city and get a good feel for the culture. On day 3 we rented a car and headed to the mountains which were about an hour away. Titlus Mountain was an incredible experience! The gondola takes you up to 10,000 ft for some stunning views!
- Where to stay in Zurich:
- Stay in the town center somewhere. We recommend the Fleming’s hotel because it was modern and a good value. We booked it through Expedia and got a really good deal.
- Where to eat in Zurich:
- Head over the river to “old- town”. Sternen Grill is a fun spot for all the local favorites
- What to do in Zurich:
- Explore old town and grab some coffee at one of the cafes along the river-walk, there are lots of little shops to explore too.
- Take a ferry tour around Lake Zurich.
- Spend a day out in the mountains, Mt. Titlus was a lot of fun with incredible views. Be warned that this is extremely touristy and the lines can be an hour long to get on the gondola. We thought it was worth it though! (price is about $100 per adult)
- At Mt. Titlus, your gondola ticket is also good for a steep train ride up to another part of the mountain where you can rent stand up scooters/bikes and coast down a beautiful country road! We highly recommend doing this as it was a highlight for us! (about $14 per person)
The second half of our trip in Switzerland we spend out in the country-side near Lake Geneva. We absolutely loved it out here!! Our incredible friends Zhanna and Gary invited us out to their neck of the woods to stay in a mountain chalet in the little town of Taney. What an incredible experience! We also tried our first cheese fondue out here, in the mountains, prepared in a home-style kitchen– it was incredible!
The rest of our stay in the countryside was in Chexbres. We stayed at the Prealpina Hotel which had absolutely stunning views of Lake Geneva, France and the vineyards! It was so beautiful from our room that we spent an entire day in except for a short leave to go eat. The vineyards are fun to wander through as they are open to tourists and the little villages that are nestled in them, have fun little cafes and local restaurants to visit as well.
- Where to stay:
- Well if you have the opportunity, stay in a mountain chalet or in a mountain hotel. Also, when in Chexbres stay at the Prealpina Hotel! Ask for a room on the top floor with lakefront views.
- Where to Eat in Chexbres:
- There are not many restaurants here but the ones that are here are good. Many close fairly early so check their opening hours before you head down-hill.
- What to do Chexbres.
- Explore the local vineyards and little villages. They are full of character and even though they are close together each one is a little different.
- If you come in the summer, you can go swimming in Lake Geneva or hire a sailboat to take you around. The lake has mountains hovering over it making the whole area so picturesque!
- Take the train to the neighboring cities. Your hotel should give you a “free ride” card that is good for 3 or 4 towns. This card will also get you discounted fares on the Lake Geneva ferries.
- Go up to the mountains, there are gondola rides all over that will pull you up the mountain, this is a MUST!
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