Switzerland: I expected Switzerland to be beautiful and it exceeded my expectations and BEYOND! I absolutely loved Switzerland. We started off flying from Barcelona to Geneva then taking the train over to Bern. People usually overlook Bern and just head towards Interlaken. But I am SO glad we decided to spend at least one night there. Bern is also the capital city of Switzerland (many people automatically think Geneva or Zurich). I highly HIGHLY recommend Bern – it was lovely. If you like venturing into little towns that aren’t super touristy, you would love the little towns in around Interlaken (Grindelwald, Gimmelwald, Murren, Lauterbrunnen, etc.). I personally didn’t find Lucerne to be that exciting. We only stayed there for one night and that already felt like it was a lot. Would I go back to Switzerland again? I would absolutely LOVE to! I actually wish I could retire in Switzerland on the side of a mountain in a farmhouse with the cows.
I would recommend…
- The flower market in Bern was absolutely beautiful. If I somehow became a rich celebrity and needed to hire a florist, they’d have to be from Switzerland.
- Hike the Swiss Alps! We hiked the trails in around Grindelwald and you don’t need to be SUPER fit because there are various trails of all levels everywhere and the scenery is AMAZING. There’s no reason not to go.
- People tend to stay away from traveling to Switzerland because it’s expensive. But if you plan ahead and use a bit of common sense, spending a few days in Switzerland isn’t necessarily going to burn a hole in your bank account.
Where to stay…
- In Bern, we stayed at the Bern Backpackers Hotel Glocke (Hostel). Very central location – walkable to everything including the train station. The rooms and washrooms seemed pretty clean. But we liked the hostel for the convenient location.
- For Interlaken we stayed at the Youth Hostel Interlaken. This was literally right next to the Interlaken OST train station and was very convenient for making day trips out to nearby towns. But the lack of signs and directions made us walk in circles for about 20 minutes. You get this city transit card from the hostel which lets you take a bus into Interlaken West for free so it wasn’t a problem for us that the hostel wasn’t near the main shops and restaurants. It’s very new so everything is super clean. However, it’s such a big hostel that it seems and feels more like a hotel than a hostel. So if you want a “hostel” feel, I’d recommend going elsewhere. But if you want a very clean, convenient, spacious and safe place to sleep with an amazing breakfast buffet, I would highly recommend this place.
- In Lucerne, we stayed at the Youth Hostel Luzern and I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. It was located too far away from the train station (a 30 minute brisk walk with our packs). In terms of overall cleanliness, it was OKAY. We only stayed there for one night. Also, we weren’t able to make it for the breakfast buffet but the staff put together a breakfast take out bag for us the night before! I was very surprised by this kind gesture! But overall, I think we only chose this place because it was one of the more affordable hostels.
What to eat…
- Ovomaltine. It’s supposed to be the same as “Ovaltine” but it’s not. The Ovomaltine in Switzerland is made with less sugar and tastes SO MUCH BETTER! They had Ovomaltine chocolate bars, biscuits, cereal/muesli, and this amazing ovomaltine spread (think Nutella).
- I’d love to say that the cheese fondue in Switzerland was amazing, but…unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try fondue in Switzerland. However, I did eat a lot of cheese and yogurt and basically dairy products DO taste better in Switzerland.
- Vermicelles Tart. It’s a delicious chestnut tart and SOOOOO GOOD. It’s not the cheapest pastry around but it was worth every single Swiss Franc.