keeping it neutral in switzerland

During the first week in October, I embarked on an unforgettable 9-day (including travel) trip to Switzerland with a good friend of mine from college. We bought tickets months in advance through Icelandair. The airfare cost around $405/person while our Airbnb stays were $410/person. We each got our own 8-day Swiss travel pass that was CHF 398 ($399.60). This totaled $1214.60 before even stepping foot on Swiss soil.

It is pretty expensive to travel to Switzerland, but the scenic views are so worth it. Switzerland is a gorgeous country and if you are a person who enjoys the outdoors and picturesque mountain scenery, Switzerland is a must. 

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October, I felt, was a good time to visit. The best times to visit are April to June and September to October, when the weather is ideal and tourist count is down. When we checked the weather prior to leaving, it appeared that there would be a couple of rainy days. We even discussed where we would go on these days, wanting to take advantage of the clear days for places like Jungfrau. However, we lucked out and the entire trip comprised of sunshine and clear days. 

Travel montage video of Switzerland

Throughout my trip, I took videos of all the places I went to. I combined and edited all the clips into a travel diary video, which you can watch below. Please give the video a watch and a thumbs up if you enjoyed it! If you’re interested in more travel videos, please subscribe to my channel.

As usual, whenever I’m going to Europe, I rely on Rick Steves – the travel guru of Europe – for planning advice. The Berner Oberland region was his top suggestion, so we made sure to plan most of our trip around that area. We made our home base at Interlaken and then took day trips from there. 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Travel day! 

Day 2

  • Landed in Zurich around noon and checked in our Airbnb.
  • Walked around Zurich!
  • Took a boat from the ferry terminal at Zürich Landesmuseum. The boat traveled down the Limmat River to Lake Zurich. Got off at Zürichhorn.
  • Walked around Zürichhorn Park up to the Opera House.
  • Continued up the Limmatquai to the Münsterbrücke, a pedestrian bridge over the Limmat River with views of Grossmünster and Fraumünster.
  • Walked over to the Rathausbrücke, known as Town Hall bridge. 
  • Had some bratwurst at Sternen Grill!
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Zurichhorn
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Zurich Opera House
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View from Münsterbrücke

Day 3

  • Walking tour of downtown Zurich. This is a free, no reservations 1.5-hour tour that meets every day at 11am next to the Credit Suisse at Paradeplatz.
    • The walking tour consisted of Paradeplatz, Fraumünster, Lindenhof, Grossmünster, Niederdorf, and other locations.
  • Had lunch at Le Dézaley. Shared a cheese fondue with morels with an extra plate of jacket potatoes. And wine, of course!
  • Walked back down to the Quaianlagen.
  • Visited Äss-Bar to pick up some snacks. This is a bakery that collects unsold baked goods from different places in Zurich and sells them for half the price.
  • Took the train from Zurich HB to Interlaken.
  • Checked into our Airbnb in Interlaken West.
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View from Lindenhof
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Cheese fondue with morels
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Quaianlagen

Day 4

  • Took the train from Interlaken West to Lauterbrunnen.
  • Our plan was to hike from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren. However, most of the hike was uphill and steep. We ended up hiking to Grütschalp. 
  • From Grütschalp, we took a train to Mürren.
  • Hiked an easy, mostly downhill (45 minutes) path from Mürren to Gimmelwald.
  • Contemplated taking a cable car to Schilthorn, but found out that it was very foggy at the summit. Opted instead to take the bus back to the train station.
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Hiking from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp
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Beautiful views!
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Hike to Gimmelwald

Day 5

  • Took a boat tour around Lake Thunersee. The boat made several stops, and we decided to get off at Spiez.
  • Walked around Spiez and then boarded a train to go to Bern.
  • At Bern, walked towards Zytglogge, the famous clock tower. 
  • Walked to Nydeggbrücke, a bridge that connects the eastern part of the old city to the new part and crosses over the Aare River. 
  • Checked out the Bärengraben and BärenPark, the Bear Pit/Bear Park. 
  • From the Bear Park, walked up to the Rosengarten (Rose Garden). Here, one can see a spectacular view of the old city. 
  • Relaxed at the Restaurant Rosengarten with some desserts and coffee.
  • Visited the Einsteinhaus (Einstein House). Entrance fee is CHF 6 for adults and CHF 4.5 for students. 
  • Did a little shopping before heading back to Interlaken.
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Boat tour of Lake Thun
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Lake Thun
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On the boat tour around Lake Thun
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Zytglogge
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Old City of Bern
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View from the Rose Garden
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Bern

Day 6

  • Bright and early, took the train from Interlaken West to Interlaken Ost, then from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg via the Bernese Oberland Railway. Transferred to the Jungfraubahn (Jungfrau Railway) to go to Jungfraujoch.
    • The journey from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch is 2 hours, so plan accordingly!
  • Jungfraujoch is 3,454 meters above sea level. At the top, one can go to the Sphinx Observatory to see the Bernese Alps, the Ice Palace, and even a Lindt chocolate shop.
  • Took the train down to Kleine Scheidegg. Our desire was to hike from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen or Männlichen, but we ended up hiking to Wengernalp and took the train to Grindelwald.
  • Walked around Grindelwald and had some lunch. Took the train back to Interlaken West.
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Jungfrau
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Jungfrau of the Bernese Alps
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Hiking through Kleine Scheidegg

Day 7

  • Headed to Harder Kulm. The funicular railway goes from Interlaken Ost to Harder Kulm in 10 minutes. At the top, there is a restaurant and the Zwei-Seen-Steg (Two Lakes Bridge) with panoramic views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, as well as Lake Thun and Brienz and the towns of Interlaken and Unterseen.
  • Hiked down from Harder Kulm to the Goldley Promenade by the Aare River.
  • Took a boat tour of Lake Brienz. 
  • Dinner at Hüsi Bierhaus. Ordered the Älpler Makkaroni, a Swiss specialty of macaroni served in a creamy sauce with bacon, potatoes, topped with cheese and grilled onions, and served with applesauce.
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Day 8

  • Headed to Lucerne from Interlaken West.
  • Stumbled serendipitously upon an open-air farmers market (weekly on Saturdays) along the Reuss River. 
  • Walked across the picturesque Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge).
  • Walked up to the Lion Monument, a landmark of a dying lion carved into a rock face from the 1970s dedicated to the Tuileries war heroes. 
  • Checked out the Gletschergarten Luzern (Glacier Garden Museum), which had ice age glacier exhibits and a mirror maze.
  • Ordered a cappuccino at Alpineum Kaffehaus° Bar.
  • Walked over to the Museggmauer, an iconic city wall with nine towers.
  • Took a boat tour of Lake Lucerne.
  • Grabbed dinner at Bistro Krienbrüggli.
  • Back to Zurich!
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Kapellbrücke
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Lion Monument
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Museggmauer
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Lucerne

Day 9 – Final day 😦

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Babu’s Bakery & Coffeehouse

Have you ever visited Switzerland? Where did you go, and where would you recommend?

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