Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Like many of you, 2020 was supposed to be "our year", but obviously things have changed a lot regarding travel all thanks to COVID-19. We happened to take a trip to Switzerland right before everything unfolded and are so grateful we went when we did. My intention in sharing this (despite the given circumstances), is that it will give you hope ANDDDD give you more time to plan your future dream trip to this beautiful country.
If you're looking for an outdoor adventure and immaculate landscapes (ones that make you want to pinch yourself because it doesn't even seem real in person), you have got to put this country on your bucket list. If you're looking to go solo or are looking for a romantic couples trip, we've got you covered on this travel guide to Zürich, Interlaken, Zermatt, and some places in between! Check out our Instagram highlights @ismail_amir15 and @merenator for more videos.
What's so great about Switzerland? The flag is definitely a plus! ;)
Switzerland is the home of world-class watches, yummy fondue, pocket knives, neutrality, and of course, chocolate! I was expecting there to be more French, so I was surprised that the majority of every city was very German-centric. Make sure you learn the essentials in Swiss-German especially to be a good, thoughtful American tourist! Also, we decided to go in the winter since I love cuddly winter weather and wanted to truly experience the Swiss Alps, but Switzerland is great in the summer or winter! Now for the agenda (minus travel time):
Day 1: Zürich (February 14th)
Talk about a romantic place to spend Valentine's Day!
Lodging: The Lucky Traveller Inn - Sustainability STAY; $126.47, Host: Ivan
Visit Fraumünster Church
Explore old Police Station (Waisenhaus Zürich)
Walk down The Limmat River & go shopping in Old Town
Fondue Dinner at Chuchi Fondue
Drinks at Zuri Bar
Day 2: Interlaken (February 15th-17th)
Lodging: Bed and Bar NO.8 (Double Room w/ private bathroom)
Paraglide over the whole city with Skywings Paragliding
Panoramic Views from Harder Kulm
Visit Old Town Square in Unterseen
Take bus to Oberhofen Castle & Lake Thun
Walk down Aare River
Dinner at Stadthaus (order the Rösti & punsch!)
Coffee at Aarburg Hotel
Day 3: Interlaken
Our favorite day. Transportation & activities for whole day was $136 and ticket can be bought at Interlaken Ost station.
Train to Lauterbrunnen - walk through village to gorgeous graveyard & waterfall
Bus to Stechelberg
Cablecar to Gimmelwald - Pension Gimmelwald David Waterhouse for drinks
Cablecar to Mürren - Lunch at Hotel Belle Vue (fondue!) & shopping
Cablecar to Birg - Thrillwalk & Swiss Alps Panoramic Views
Cablecar to Schilthorn - Pix Gloria & Bond World (where they filmed On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
Italian Dinner & Wine at Città Vecchia in Interlaken
Day 4: Zermatt (February 17th-19th)
Lodging: Hotel Antika Standard Double Room, Mountain View (They even made Amir a cake and gave us champagne for his birthday!)
Spend an hour walking through beautiful city streets & visit Rolex store
Use your own hotel's spa or book a massage at Backstage Hotel Spa
Visit St Peter’s ‘The English Church’
Walk down Matter Vispa and get your first view of the famous Matterhorn Mountain
Dinner at Grand Hotel Zermatterhof (Amir's B-day dinner!)
Drinks at Unique Hotel Post
Day 5: Zermatt
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Our only regret from the trip - not taking the time to ski or riding the Gornergrat Bahn.
Walk to Zermatt Cable Car Ski Lift (Talstat
Cablecar to Furi - Right at the border of Switzerland and Italy!
Cablecar to Schwarzsee - Best pictures of the Matterhorn and the Zermatt sign! We had so much fun playing in the snow and I 100% lost our snow ball fight.
Cablecar to Steg & Klein Matterhorn - Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (Ice sculptures & cinema) & Swiss Alps Panoramic Views
Après Ski Drinks at Harry's or Papperla Pub
Dinner at Restaurant Du Pont
**NOTE: Left on a Delta flight from Charlotte the evening of the 13th and arrived in the morning of the 14th. Departed Zurich on a Delta flight the afternoon of the 18th and got to Charlotte at 9:30p EST on the same day.
Keep in mind Switzerland is not the cheapest country out there, but we tried to keep it as cost effective as possible to spend more money on activities compared to food & lodging:
Flight: $650 thanks to SkyScanner app & monitoring Google flights. Average flight is around $1300.
Food: Free breakfast with hotels and really only focused on one big meal a day.
Lodging: Tried to find the most affordable AirBnBs & hotel on Hotels.com. More details on this per city. Stayed under $150 a night except in Zermatt (difficult to find anything under $250/night).
Do's & Don'ts
- Schedule out activities
- Drink fresh water from the fountains
- Travel to Pix Gloria
- Spend $$ on too many unnecessary meals
- Buy an expensive watch
- Forget to ski in the Swiss Alps
Average temperature was 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Brought one carry-on and one packed suitcase. Here are the essentials for Switzerland in February:
Heavy Jacket with Hood
Stylish Heavy Jacket: Going to be wearing this in a majority of photos.
Bathing Suit: Bring for spas!
Comfy travel clothes for the trains
Beanie / Puppy Hat
Sunglasses: Bright snow!
Ski Attire (if applicable)
Hope you all enjoyed my very first blog post and encourage your friends to subscribe or join The Dean's List community! Please give me feedback and let me know if there are other things you'd like to see or would suggest!