My First trip to Switzerland. I called it Mountains, Cheese and Chocolate. I had asked for advice on trains and Swiss Travel Pass on the RS Forum before I made the reservations. Everything turned out great!
It only lasted 7 nights but we (my husband and I) got a lot in.
First, there were flight delays on Swiss Air but once we arrived to Zurich Airport and were walking out, I was thinking, no Customs? No immigration? It was only out the door where we passed by Customs on the way to the airport train to Basel. Super easy.
Our first overnight stop was Mulhouse, France for 2 days ( 30 mins by train from Basel, Switzerland) for the Cite de L’Automobile, one of the largest car museums in Europe. We also discovered good food, good Alsation wine and prices like back home in Denver, so, very reasonable. This town has a big Christmas market in November-December.
Afterwards, we took the trains to Basel, to Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Wengen. Also easy. We got off the train in Interlaken and ate a picnic lunch at a park near the station. Our reservations in Wengen were at a ski lodge (The Edelweiss) for 3 days where we had selected half-board. If you didn’t like the chef-prepared meal, you could substitute fondue. I did that one night, because I had read that if you order fondue at a restaurant, both of you have to order it. One of the cheeses in the fondue is from the owner’s cow whose care he pays the farmer for. I thought that was very cool. The lodge had a bomb shelter too. That was interesting as I didn’t know anything about WWII and Switzerland.
The owner gave us first-timers some suggestions for hiking/sightseeing. We did Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, the Eiger Glacier cablecar to Grindelwald, and then Lauterbrunnen valley and the waterfalls, in 3 days. We also took cog railways and cablecars to Murren, and to Winteregg and Wengenalp to see the cows and take gorgeous pictures. The wildflowers were all in bloom. I found the local cheese in vending machines in Mannlichen and Murren; I found the local milk in a machine in Stechelberg. The weather was great, scattered showers everyday kept it cool while hiking. The jagged mountains were stunning, as were the sunsets.
When we left Wengen, we took the suggestion to stop in Lucerne for part of the day, including lunch at Wirtshaus Galliker, an old family run beer and bratwurst place. There was a long table of very old army buddies who frequent the place. They smiled at us, as did another old guy who we chatted with after lunch. They were all Swiss and only the one spoke English because he had worked at an American university long ago but I take it that the place I chose didn’t get many American visitors. It was a nice experience.
Zurich was our last stop. The hotel I picked was very close to the main train station and the Coop grocery store but it was also at the intersection of all the trams. It was old and elegant but I had wanted to be closer to Burkliplatz because that’s where we had to catch a bus to the Lindt Chocolate Museum on our last day.
We had a wonderful 2 or 3 hours at Lindt. I loved all the sample rooms of the various kinds of chocolates, I loved the history of the first 10 chocolatiers in Switzerland, I loved everything there and bought lots of chocolate. Then I went to 2 other old chocolatiers in Zurich (Laderach and Teuscher) and bought more chocolate there. Those were my souvenirs.
We had walked all over Old Town and ended up eating out once at the train station underground and once at McDonald’s, with added veggies from the Coop. A good meal would have been wasted after all the chocolate we ate.
Our return Air Canada flight was delayed in Zurich airport but I was able to get a half bottle of Swiss wine and some Lackerli (cookie bars), which turned out to be breakfast. Great trip. Would definitely go back and do more.