10 things to do in Switzerland
A beautiful mountainous country with postcard views, the cleanest air and fabulous chocolate. Switzerland combines different types of holidays and, despite its modest size, makes you want to stay longer. Every traveler is provided with a powerful dose of beauty.
1. Take a ride on the “Glacier Express.”
There’s no better way to discover the real Switzerland than a ride on a panoramic train. You can enjoy unforgettable views of mountain peaks, green valleys, and numerous lakes. “Glacier Express” is probably the most popular route among tourists visiting Switzerland. It connects St. Moritz and Zermatt, travel time 7.5 hours. The train passes 291 bridges and more than 90 tunnels. The cost of travel in 2nd class on the entire route is 153 Swiss francs, you can save significantly by traveling only part of the way.
2. Walk over Europe’s oldest bridge
The Kapellbrücke is Lucerne’s main attraction. It’s Europe’s oldest covered wooden bridge, built in 1365. Its length is 204.7 meters. In the center of the bridge is the 35-meter octagonal Wasserturm Tower, which formerly served as a prison, watchtower, and fire tower. A walk across the bridge is also a historical experience. One hundred and eleven triangular pictures hang under the covered gallery, depicting the most important moments of Swiss history.
3. Indulge in chocolate
The Sprüngli confectionery is a sweet symbol of Zurich. It is located on the Paradeplatz square. The company “Sprüngli” exists since 1836 and is famous throughout Europe for its confectionery products. “The Luxemburgerli is the Swiss’ favourite pastry, not so much a cake as a cookie. On the first floor of the patisserie is a store where you can buy chocolate cakes, pastries and much more. And above the store is Cafe Sprüngli, where you can spend time with friends and try all sorts of sweets.
4. Enjoy the views of the Alps from the “Peak of Europe”
On the top of the Sphinx near the Jungfraujoch Pass are a weather station, an observation deck and the highest observatory in Europe. From a height of 3,454 meters you can see a panorama of the Alps in 360 degrees – this observation deck is called the “Peaks of Europe”. To get here you can take a high-speed elevator, shaft is hollowed out of the rock.
5. Admire the Chillon castle
Chillon Castle is located on the shore of Lake Geneva, 3 km from the city of Montreux in the canton of Vaud. It has been a source of inspiration for many writers, and gained its popularity thanks to Byron’s Prisoner of Chillon. The castle consists of 25 buildings and three courtyards protected by two circular walls. In the center of the complex rises a 25-meter high main tower. Chillon Castle stands on a rock slightly above the surface of the lake, and is connected with the shore by a bridge. Since the beginning of the XIX century there is a museum in the castle.
Be sure to visit the town of Montreux, for a stroll along the promenade and for monuments to Vladimir Nabokov and Freddie Mercury.
6. Go to a sailing regatta
Every year in mid-June, Lake Geneva hosts Europe’s largest water sports event, the Bol D’Or s sailing regatta. It has been held since 1939, with more than 600 yachts participating each year. The aim of the competition is to see who can cover the fastest distance to the opposite end of the lake and back (a short distance of 123 km). The main prize – a gold cup – remains with the winner forever only if he or she wins three years in a row. In the history of the regatta, only three sailors have managed to do it so far. The dates of the next regatta are available on the website.
7. Synchronize the clock
The Flower Clock in Geneva’s Englischer Garten is the city’s second most important landmark after Lake Geneva. It is a symbol of Geneva’s importance in the development of Swiss watchmaking. The flowerbed reaches 5 meters in diameter and consists of more than 6,000 flowers. The clock always shows the exact time, so if in doubt about yours, come and verify it.
8. Climb Mount Pilatus
There is a legend that the name of the mountain comes from Pontius Pilatus, who was allegedly buried here. In reality it is simpler – so in Latin it is called “felt cap”, which refers us to the snowy peak. You can get to the top on foot, by cable car or by the world’s steepest railroad ascent. The train travels on a special cogged road that provides a firm grip – of course, since the steepest section has a slope of 48 degrees. From the height of 2129 meters a stunning view of Lucerne, the lake and the Alps.
9. Experience the power of the Rhine Falls
The Rhine Falls are the largest in Europe in terms of the amount of water discharged. In summer the waterfall carries 700 tons of water every second and is about 150 meters wide and 23 meters high. The waterfall is located on the Rhine near the town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall. You can get close to the powerful torrents by boat and then climb the rock in the center of the waterfall. There are also several viewing platforms on both sides of the Rhine.
10. Meet the bears
The bear is the symbol of the Swiss capital, the city of Bern. For more than 400 years, bears lived in the city center in a specially built “Bear Pit” (“Bärengraben”). The first pit was opened back in 1513. After that new pits were opened, and in 2009 the Bärenpark appeared on the bank of the river Aare. It is located along the river bed, brown bears walk peacefully along it and swim in the pool. A visit to Bärenpark is an important part of a trip to Bern for every tourist.