7 minutes reading time Switzerland
Switzerland is a place that will take your breath away from the minute you touch down. A place known for its fondues, scenic train rides, beautiful landscapes, chocolates, and let us not forget skiing and hiking. Such a small country with so many wonders, here I will give my six favorite stops all laid out on one road that can be done in one day or over a period of a week. Each place with a view of the fantastic Alps.
Caumase Lake (aka Lake of Noon/Siesta)
Caumasee Lake is situated in the town of Flims in the Northeast part of Switzerland. This lake is known to be the most spectacular lake in the world with its magnificent turquoise waters. The water is fed from beneath the ground with minerals only known to that region.
Around the lake, you will find many places to pack out for a day of sunbathing and picnic and just relax and forget about everything else. Over the years Lake Caumasee became popular for its well-known turquoise waters but also the calmness of the lake. Many people come out for a day on the water, drive out to the little island in the middle, and have a relaxing day out. There is a well-known restaurant on the lake with a suburb roast menu. It is an easy walk to the lake without any serious hiking trails and I believe that is why so many people visit this lake.
Gasthaus Aescher – Wildkirchli
A guesthouse that is built into the side of a mountain. While this is not a new phenomenon anymore, this little guest house is a unique experience. Gasthaus Aescher was built in 1860 and has seen the best weather but also the worst. There are findings of all sorts in this area and it is known to be the first guesthouse build like this in the world. With 170-years of experience, this quint wooden building can tell many stories.
If you take the Ebenalpbahn (cable car) from Wasserauen, only a 2-hour drive from Flims, you will reach the mountain station and from there on you have a 15-minute walk past the Wildkirch Caves to reach Aescher. This is the local restaurant that cooks only traditional foods from locally grown products. They proud themselves on their local connections for all their needs. Because of the remote location, special vehicles arrive once a week to deliver the products. This delivery in itself is an experience and a hole lot of noise.
There is no water systems up there, water is gathered from rain and morning dew. You may use the toilet in the evening but during the day you have the luxury to use the local pool, Lake Seealp for your sanitizing needs. Lake Seealp is only a 30-minute walk from the guesthouse but surely an experience you do not want to miss.
Lucerne, An Ancient Town
Almost in the middle of Switzerland, you can find the town of Lucerne. The town is built around Lake Lucerne and is well known for its medieval architecture. The heart of Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge. Build-in 1333 this wooden footbridge links the old town with the right bank across the Reuss River. A walk down the cobblestone streets will transport you back into those olden days. Perfectly preserved buildings tell stories of hundreds of years old.
There is so much to do in Lucerne and to be honest, a two-night stay is just enough to get to know the history. The town is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the most magnificent one of them all is Mount Pilatus. You can find hiking trails up the mountain, but those trails are not for the faint of heart. For people like myself, we prefer to take the cable car up. There are various stations along the way, each with its unique attraction, some you will find an adventure playground and at others a restaurant that serves traditionally cooked food. You can take a ride up to the summit and stay over in the hotel, 2132 above sea level. Up there you can view the milky-way as clear as daylight. The most picturesque experience you might ever have. You can experience it as a day trip only or stay over a couple of nights and make sure you visit all the various attractions.
This amazing attraction is in the town of Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland region. It is said that this gorge was formed over 10 000-years ago because of glaciation. A torrential run of water that came from melting glaciers came crushing through the limestone and now we have the opportunity to experience this beautiful water-carved rock. The passage is only 2 kilometers long but it is surrounded by 50 meter high cliffs. Walking paths are found all along the sides that can take you from the eastern side to the western side.
On both sides, you can find some restaurants and train stations. This is seen as part of the countries natural history and is protected by secured entrances on both sides. Perfect day out with a stop afterward at one of the restaurants.
Grindelwald is a village known for its skiing attractions. There are slopes for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers. Grindelwald is about an hour’s drive from Meiringen.
A village surrounded by mountains, perfect for the hikers in the summer and the best and most visited place for skiing in the winter.
If you are less adventurous then you might find a trip to the Aletsch Glacier more fun. This glacier is the largest in the Alps and stretches 23 kilometers in length. Another glacier experience is the Grindelwald Canyon Walk. It is a man-made walkway that stretches along the canyon that once was home to the Grindelwald Glacier. At one time people could ice skate of the terminus of the glacier into the canyon but that had since disappeared. Even if you are not that adventurous, Grindelwald has loads to offer.
Last but not least my favorite place in Switzerland. The Sphinx Observatory is located at the highest railway stop in Europe. Located in Lauterbrunnen the observatory houses hundreds of scientists. Some are astronomers studying the night sky and others meteorologists observing the ever-changing weather. The Sphinx has been a place of various research over the years. Glaciology, medicine, cosmic ray physics, and astronomy are amongst the researches that are done there.
On a clear day, you have a stunning view that can lead your eyes as far as Italy and Germany, you can see the magical Alps and beautiful green valleys and you can even see the great Aletsch Glacier in all her glory. A visit not only for the research done here but also for the panoramic views.
Switzerland is a country of beauty and wonder. Whatever you decide to do in Switzerland I can promise you, you will be in awe. The greens are greener, the clouds puffier and everything is so crisp and clean. A country known for its beauty, but until you have experienced it for yourself, you can not imagine it. It is well noted that a train pass should be bought for the entire trip. Train transportation is the main transport and also the least expensive. Where the train stops, busses are available and can be included in your train pass. Be sure to take enough money as some attractions can get a bit pricy.