Capital: Bern ♦ Population: 8.5 million ♦ Currency: Swiss franc (CHF) ♦ Language: French, German, Italian, Romansh
My blog posts
- 10 days in Switzerland
- Video: Switzerland
- The Recollection Diaries
- Switzerland on the cheap!
- Switzerland scenery, an album
- Three majestic day trips from Lucerne
Switzerland is a country located in central Europe, overflowing with mountains, alpine villages, lakes and other beautiful scenery. Switzerland is world famous for its chocolate (think Toblerone and Lindt), its watches, Roger Federer and its banking industry.
Bernese Oberland: this mid-Swiss territory lies at high altitude and accommodates many of the country’s most beautiful alpine villages including Interlaken, Grindelwald and Mürren. This was undeniably my favourite part of Switzerland. It is also the namesake of the beautiful Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Saint Moritz: one of Switzerland’s ritziest ski resorts (it even has it in the name!), I wouldn’t come here unless you have a dollar or two to spare. Even then, that won’t get you much.
Zurich: Switzerland’s financial hub (and subsequently a global hub) with a charming old town.
Lucerne: a quaint lakeside town with a cogwheel train that climbs Mount Pilatus and steamships ferry passengers for spectacular views and scenery. It is a stunning place to base oneself for a few days, the town itself is gorgeous and there are loads of day trips available.
Jungfrau: Europe’s highest point! A highlight, especially if you have a clear day. Unfortunately it was too expensive for me this time round.
Zermatt: another resort town, Zermatt has year round skiing. It is nestled at the base of the iconic Matterhorn mountain and its cobble-stoned streets and cozy wooden chalets provide for an idyllic getaway.
Did you know?
- Switzerland is also known as Confoederatio Helvetica, which is why CH is often seen (for example the currency is CHF and website names often include .ch)
- The flag is merely an inversion of the Red Cross flag, displaying its Swiss roots
- Switzerland has never participated in any of the world wars. They have consistently refrained from engaging in European politics.
- Switzerland is not part of the European Union. It does however have a fair-trade agreement with the EU.
- The currency is extremely beautiful – fresh, crisp and clean feeling too, I never wanted to part with my notes!
- Switzerland is undeniably expensive. Eating out is especially so, although this is one easy way to actually save money. Bring essentials across the border, avoid alcohol and eat vegetarian whilst in Switzerland to help minimise costs.
- It is a legal requirement for foreigners to carry their passports.
- Invest in a travel pass. Honestly, I can’t stress this enough. Do your research first, but in most cases a travel pass will likely be worth it. Not only will it save you hundreds of dollars, it gives you the freedom to plan (spontaneously) without worrying about costs. Note that some trains require a reservation fee (for example the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express).
- Avoid taxis! They are SO expensive.
- Refrain from buying water; the water in Switzerland is so clean you could probably drink it straight from the lake.
- Chocolates targeted at tourists come at exacerbated prices. Cheap supermarket chocolate is just as good, honestly!