Switzerland is close to us, but it feels like a world away. It’s a bucket list destination for anyone who loves breathtaking scenery and delicious regional cuisine. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth in Switzerland. And the costs – that’s a topic Swiss people are always talking about. But we’ll talk more about that later.
Why should I travel to Switzerland?
We’ve put off going to Switzerland for a long time. What’s the deal? We don’t know, and we’re still asking ourselves this question. Switzerland is only a few hours’ drive from our home in Bavaria. We realized what we had missed previously on our journey to Grindelwald, which was already on its way to our first destination. In parts of Switzerland, you will see more enormous nature than in other countries after hours of trekking in remote regions along the autobahn.You’ll see emerald blue lakes, waterfalls that shoot out of the rock faces, and snow-covered four-thousand-meter peaks on the route from Lake Constance to the Bernese Oberland.
SIM CARD – TRAVEL TIPS SWITZERLAND
Just a few years ago, the EU did away with roaming charges. Nowadays, you can surf the web without racking up a hefty bill so long as you’re in an EU country–but this doesn’t include Switzerland. To be on the safe side, deactivate data roaming before crossing into Swiss territory to avoid disappointing (and expensive) surprises at month’s end. While we could have bought a Swiss SIM card, we instead booked 2 gigabytes of data for 15 euros from our phone service back home. Not the cheapest solution, but it was enough for what we needed.
Switzerland is not a member of the European Monetary Union, therefore the official currency is not the euro, but the Swiss franc. We typically paid by credit card, which was no issue. For excursions and meals in the huts, we had withdrawn some cash from an ATM. Switzerland’s cost level is rather high when compared to other nations.’
We found Swiss cuisine to be much tastier than expected. Granted, we already knew about the country’s world-class cheese and chocolate, but who would have thought that such excellent wines come from a place with harsh winters and lots of mountains? We also discovered regional tropical fruits and delicious caviar made from sturgeon native to Switzerland.Of course, we were fortunate enough to have a foodie as our hotelier in Grindelwald, who has shown us the secrets of Swiss cuisine. So, if you want to enjoy high-quality Swiss cuisine with Swiss ingredients, check out our article about the Boutique Hotel Glacier in Grindelwald.
TRAVELER’S TIP: TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC IN SWITZERLAND
A trip through Switzerland, as picturesque as it is, should always be planned with some buffer time factored in. The reason being that there’s a photo opportunity at almost every turn. Depending on the route you take, you can opt for what’s called a car transport train. We sure didn’t know beforehand either! Car transport trains are essentially just regular trains but for cars. By car, you can drive up to the train and then let the train take you through a tunnel. This often saves time, but you may miss out on a stunning drive because mountain passes are typically quite beautiful. Prices for the car transport are around 25-30 francs for a short journey, which is considered to be expensive by some, but it’s also a unique experience.The Furka Pass is worth a special journey. The scenery in the region is magnificent and varied. To utilize the Swiss motorways, you must have an annual vignette. The 2020 vignette price is 40 Swiss francs. You may purchase a Swiss vignette at rest stops along the border, as well as other locations.
HIGHLIGHTS IN SWITZERLAND
To show you how amazing Switzerland is, we would like to introduce two places that are already well-known but loved by us.
Zermatt and the Matterhorn
Zermatt is a village in southeastern Switzerland that’s car-free and largely surrounded by the peaks of the Monte Rosa massif. The city neighbor, Täsch, is only accessible by car five kilometers away. There are then several ways to get from Täsch into Zermatt.
We decided to take the Täsch-Zermatt shuttle train, which leaves every 20 minutes and is very affordable. Matterhorn Terminal Täsch has a parking garage right next to the station–you can even book your space online in advance! The journey only takes twelve minutes, but we couldn’t tear our eyes away from the gorgeous scenery. We passed crystal-clear streams with views of the Matterhorn rushing by.A taxi or chauffeur service from Täsch to Zermatt might be an option. When you arrive at the Zermatt railway station, most hotels provide a free e-cargo service via e-cart. Alternatively, e-taxis may be booked at the station.
Zermatt glacier skiing, mountain biking and hiking are popular tourist attractions all year round. With gorgeous Matterhorn views, it’s easy to see why. We decided on the 5-lake trail and Gornergrat hike while we were there and they were both incredible experiences that I would highly recommend reading more about in our blog post Gornergrat vs. 5-Lakes Walk.. If you’re looking for other great hikes in Zermatt or even more information about what this lovely area has to offer, be sure to visit the Zermatt tourism website.
Grindelwald and Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
The trip from Germany to Grindelwald is made on Interlaken. It’s another 20 minutes after that, past thundering waterfalls and speeding mountain streams. The trio of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau are just outside the hotel entrance.
The Eiger north face is a mythical entity. On the Jungfraujoch, you’ll find Europe’s longest glacier as well as the Aletsch Glacier. In Grindelwald, you may have fun and excitement to your heart’s content. Take a break at Grindelwald down by scooter or zip down into the valley on the zip line. However, if you prefer it quieter, you’ll get your money’s worth. The climb to the Bachalpsee is sure to be breathtaking. Unfortunately, due to bad weather, we were unable to do so.