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Switzerland is not on everyone’s radar when doing a quick tour of Europe and I can understand why. With Paris, London, Berlin and lots of other amazing destinations to visit, the competition for your precious travel time is fierce!
However, if you want a mix of the outdoors, history, great food and the chance to immerse yourself in a country with 4 distinct languages, maybe it should be on your bucket list.
Here are 3 reasons why you should think about adding Switzerland to your next itinerary.
Mountains To Knock Your Socks Off
Except for chocolate, Switzerland is perhaps best known for its mountains. And for very good reason. Switzerland is 60% mountains.
And the scenery that comes with those spectacular peaks can be mind-blowing. Switzerland has Alp’s longest glacier – the Aletsch, at 23 km (or 14 miles). And with easy to conquer hikes all along it’s length, it is within the reach of any tourist. Even if you are not as fit as the mountain loving Swiss!
Which leads me to another “must see” – the Top of Europe. Or Jungfraujoch. This is stunningly located mountain saddle between two of Switzerland’s most famous peaks – Jungfrau and Monch. And, it’s also right next to the infamous Eiger, a mountain whose sheer north face has killed more mountaineers than you can count on one hand!
The Jungfraujoch is one of Switzerland’s most spectacular tourist attractions. To get there, you have to take the cogwheel train up from the cute mountain town of Grindelwald, through the lower hills, then right into the heart of the Eiger (literally) before finally arriving at the Jungfraujoch. From there, again, you can see the Aletsch in all its glory.
Even if you can’t make it to these two jaw-dropping places, you can still immerse yourself in the Alps right from Lucerne. Which is also only an hour from Zurich. Lucerne sits right on Lake Lucerne and is nestled in between some other stunning mountains such as Pilatus and Rigi. So, there is really no excuse not to scale at least one mountain while you are here, even if it is by train!
History Worth Exploring
Yes, Switzerland is stunningly beautiful, but it is also right in the heart of Europe. So, naturally, it also has a long and interesting history.
Often tucked away in the heart of suburbia, there are Roman ruins in almost every corner of Switzerland. Take the Augusta Raurica, a roman amphitheater right outside one of the biggest cities – Basel. You aren’t going to find that in Paris!
If you want to combine some history with an amazing day out on Lake Geneva, why not visit the Chateau de Chillon. It is quite a site sitting right on the shores of the lake right in view of the alps across the lake in France. It dates back to at least 1000 AD and has seen such famous people as Lord Byron pay it a visit.
Another easy way to just soak in the history of this amazing country is to visit the back streets of most towns or cities. I used to live in a apartment that was in the old town of Zurich, and it dated back to 1400. Amazing, I know.
In fact, there is history almost everywhere you go: from bridges (the Gemusebrucke in Zurich and Chapel Bridge in Lucerne), clocks (the Zytglogge in Bern from 1503) and old monasteries like the one in Einsiedeln over 1000 years old. You really don’t even have to go looking for it.
Food To Die For
When it comes to Europe and food, everyone thinks of Italy or France, but Switzerland has a lot to offer too. Remember, it borders Italy and France, as well as Germany and Austria, so is influenced by all four. It’s quite a unique culinary position when you think about it.
The most obvious foods to indulge in are chocolate and cheese. Switzerland is famous for both because they are absolutely amazing!
For chocolate, you can just pop into any local chocolatier like Sprungli or Läderach in Zurich, or any of these five famous shops in Geneva. Or, simply walk the main shopping streets of whatever town you are in, there is bound to be one somewhere.
Then, every region has its own cheese, which is often nothing like the “swiss cheese” you know (the one with the holes in it). There is the famous Gruyere cheese from the stunning town in the French part of Switzerland (which is right near the Cailler Chocolate factory if you are in the area). Or you can try some of the “secret recipe” based Appenzeller cheese, from the heart of rural Switzerland. And. if you are lucky enough to be walking around the alps and spot a “Alpkäse” sign on a house, just knock on the door and buy some. You will not be disappointed!
Then, there are such Swiss specialties as cheese fondue and raclette, rösti (kinda like hash browns) and much much more!
Switzerland Will Not Disappoint
So, no matter what you are looking for – food, history or a mountain adventure, Switzerland can definitely deliver! Even if you only have a few days, it will blow you away!
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About the Author: Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn’t know about travel, ain’t worth knowing! You can find him blogging at Expert World Travel.
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