There’s a magical air to Switzerland that makes it appear fictional, what with its storybook-worthy villages and Pixar-perfect landscapes. However the chill of mountain air in your face as you paraglide, swooping in huge arcs all the way down to earth; and the acquainted ache in your legs as you trek a mountaineering path; or higher but, the push of adrenaline as you conquer a war-time-era by way of ferrata, all function tactical reminders of this very actual, very exceptional place.
Switzerland is a bona fide playground for thrill-seekers due to its year-round roster of actions. Strive your hand at dangle gliding, skydiving, or bungee leaping. Conquer the Bernese Highlands by foot or mountain bike. Discover a medieval fortress. Come winter, you’ve obtained a buffet of alpine pursuits, from snowshoeing to snowboarding.
Koi Pond Spas, River Cruises, and Unforgettable Banh Mi: The Four-Day Weekend in Hoi An, Vietnam
If this seems like your form of journey, and also you’ve solely obtained a protracted weekend, place your self in Interlaken, the unofficial journey capital of Switzerland. It’s earned the excellence, with an exhaustive vary of soppy and arduous adventures. Furthermore, with Switzerland’s seamless public transportation, the resort city is the right springboard with which to launch mini-ventures from. For instance, you possibly can spend two days in Interlaken, then pop over to Montreux earlier than departing out of Zurich.
Use our four-day weekend information to Switzerland to maximise your keep. And if you wish to lengthen your journey (you’ll), take a look at our long-weekend information to Dangerous Ragaz, dwelling to a famed pure sizzling spring and the 5-star Grand Resort Dangerous Ragaz.
Methods to Get Round Switzerland
When you fly in to Zurich, observe indicators for Zurich Flughafen prepare station. The prepare trip is roughly two hours to Interlaken Ost prepare station. Obtain the Swiss Railways SBB app for timetables and switch data; it makes public transportation a breeze. Professional Tip: Take into account buying a Swiss Journey Go. It offers you unrestricted entry to coach, boat, and bus transit with Three-, Four-, Eight- or 15-day journey choices, in addition to as much as 50 p.c off some mountain excursions and free entrance to over 500 museums.
Days 1-2: Interlaken
The place to Keep
If you happen to’re the form of traveler who reserves time in a resort strictly for sleeping, go for one thing reasonably priced and centrally positioned, like Lodge Du Nord (charges begin at $189 per evening). It’s a fast stroll to/from the Interlaken Ost prepare station, proper alongside Höhematte park. There are not any extraneous bells and whistles, however you possibly can step exterior and watch paragliders floating in lazy circles earlier than touchdown proper earlier than your eyes. Stroll alongside the adjoining road, Höheweg, for a protracted strip of retailers, eating places, and extra luxurious lodging. One such spot is the 5-star Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Lodge & Spa. It overlooks Jungfrau mountain and maintains the splendor of its unique 1856 aesthetic, full with crystal chandeliers and gilded mirrors.
What to Do
Go on a Excessive-Velocity Jet Boat Tour: Inject some pleasure into your day with a visit to Jet Boat Interlaken. Excursions of Lake Brienz lengthen by means of the winter, and produce friends from the port at Bönigen to the Grandhotel Giessbach and equally majestic Giessbach Waterfalls. Through the 45-minute tour, your information will skip the jet boat throughout the green-blue waters and expertly spin 360 levels, all of the whereas mentioning sights of historic significance. You’ll get doused (they supply splash coats), and go away with a face-splitting grin. Benefit from the free highway switch to/out of your resort, in case you’re staying close by; and buy the GoPro photographs as a bit memento.
Journey to the Prime of Jungfraujoch: Take the prepare from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch by way of Grindelwald. Jungfraujoch—thought of the “Prime of Europe” as a result of it’s the best prepare—is a winter wonderland, good for households or vacationers searching for a smooth journey. Is it touristy? Sure. However that doesn’t take away from its stellar vantage level, and it places you on the fitting path, geographically talking, for extra adventures all through the day. The UNESCO World Heritage Website is all the time coated in ice and snow, so costume appropriately irrespective of the time of yr. Snap photographs of Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger peaks alongside the Sphinx remark deck; stroll by means of the Ice Palace and marvel at its sculptures; take advantage of Snow Enjoyable Park by snowtubing, snowboarding, and snowboarding. Attempt to sink a gap in a single on the Omega-sponsored attraction, the place profitable putters will win an Omega Seamaster Golf Version. If you happen to’d wish to go along with a tour information, guide by means of Jungfrau Railways.
Summit a Mountain, By way of Ferrata Fashion: Coordinate a tour with a information from grindelwaldSPORTS, who will meet you on the Eigergletscher prepare station on the Jungfrau railway (you possibly can set this up after exploring Jungfraujoch). The Eiger-Rotstock By way of Ferrata is the right introduction to by way of ferrata, because it’s total grade is simply K2/K3. You’ll hike alongside the Eiger Path towards Eiger Nordwand, passing beneath the mountain’s north face, a dangerous limestone buttress that’s taken the lives of greater than 60 climbers, together with Toni Kurz, whose demise was depicted within the German historic fiction movie North Face. Don’t fear, you gained’t be climbing this (it’s the largest north face within the Alps, in spite of everything). Simply marvel at it, then proceed on to the bottom of the by way of ferrata. You’ll strap on a harness and helmet, then be taught the fundamentals. (E.g. one individual must be clipped in to a single line of cable at a time to forestall crashing into fellow climbers within the case of a fall; one carabiner ought to all the time be connected to the cable, so detach and connect one by one when transferring to the following anchor level.) The preliminary ascent is essentially the most technical. You’ll climb metal ladders (one dates again to 1899) and rungs, then scramble throughout stacked rock and unfastened scree. The upper sections have some security ropes alongside trickier spots, however traversing the remainder of the climb is comparatively easy. It takes most vacationers a bit over an hour to summit. On the prime (Rotstock is Three,699 m tall), you’ll get sweeping views of the Aletsch Glacier; the Swiss cantons of Valais, Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen; and the Bernese Alps.
Go to a Neighboring Canton: If you happen to’re not dead-tired from exploring Jungfraujoch and finishing the by way of ferrata, make a pit-stop at Lauterbrunnen or one of many different close by villages. Lauterbrunnen’s Staubbach Falls is majestic year-round, however particularly so when there’s loads of rainfall or snowmelt. Go to Gimmewald to flee the crowds; it’s nestled excessive within the Alps, so the mountains really feel particularly shut. Wengen has loads of trails for mountaineering within the hotter months, whereas Grindelwald is the best winter vacation spot, because it’s dwelling to the biggest ski resort within the Jungfrau space.
Get a Fowl’s-Eye View of Switzerland: Relying in your penchant for adrenaline, decide between tandem skydiving or paragliding with Paragliding Interlaken. The previous could be executed out of an airplane or helicopter, whereas the latter has a pair choices relying on how a lot airtime you need. For the sake of sightseeing, go for paragliding. The pilot(s) will choose you up out of your resort (or prepare station), then drive the 20 minutes to Beatenberg, throughout which you’ll get debriefed on security. The one factor it’s important to concern your self with is operating towards the tip of the hillside—the parachute and your pilot will handle the remaining. You’ll float excessive above Interlaken and Lake Thun, and your pilot can add in roller-coaster-worthy twists and turns. Decide in for the GoPro photographs and movies. They’re very moderately priced, and so price it.
The place to Eat
More durable Kulm Panorama Restaurant: The journey to this fortress-esque sizzling spot is a part of its attraction. Take a 10-minute funicular trip from More durable Railway valley station, a brief stroll from Interlaken-Ost railway. Simply be aware it solely runs from mid-April to Dec. 1 and the final descent is 9:40 p.m., so that you’ll should get a taxi throughout off-peak occasions and dates. Feast on regional classics like grilled fillet of lamb and wiener schnitzel, and get The Eiger North Face fondue to share. It’s served with bacon, onions, and garlic with a facet of bread and potatoes for dipping.
Restaurant Stadhaus: For a neighborhood favourite, head to this alpine eatery positioned within the historic previous city. Within the gentle seasons, you possibly can eat exterior on the terrace and luxuriate in home made Swiss beer on faucet. Standouts embrace the hamburger, sizzling canine, and rösti—a Swiss dish likened to hash browns or potato pancakes however crispier, topped with substances like raclette, sauerkraut, and fried eggs.
Days Three-Four: Montreux
Stroll to Interlaken Ost and take the prepare to Montreux by way of Zweisimmen – Goldenpass Line (~Three hours).
The place to Keep
If you need comfort and affordability, the Four-star Eurotel Montreux is mere blocks from the prepare station, proper alongside the banks of Lake Geneva. It doesn’t have the the old-school allure of, say, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, however almost each room has a balcony with glorious vantage factors and a decidedly Mediterranean really feel. If you happen to’re flying out of Zurich to make your means again to the States on the finish of the journey, do your self a favor and keep on the Radisson Blu Lodge, positioned inside Zurich Airport. The resort bar is modern and comfy, and the breakfast is outstanding.
What to Do in Montreux
Go to Château de Chillon Citadel: From Eurotel Montreux, stroll to the “Escaliers de la Gare” bus cease and catch bus No.201 till you get to the Chillon Citadel (cease on request). Choose a guided tour of the medieval fortress, choosing one centered round wine (the citadel makes its personal vino), artwork, or an in-depth take a look at its historical past. Wandering by means of the citadel’s courtyards, nice halls, and chambers will pluck you proper inside an episode of Recreation of Thrones. The rooms are furnished with unique items, bedrooms have kids’s toys on show, and the weapons room shows 11-century swords, crossbows, and bludgeons. The dungeons are particularly spectacular, as they had been minimize into the bottom of the citadel.
Get Some Souvenirs: Stroll to the pier of Montreux and take the CGN Belle Epoque paddle steamer (“Italie”)—a renovated diesel-electric paddle boat—till you get to Vevey-Marché. Considered one of many “Pearls of the Swiss Riviera,” Vevey is a pleasant stopover. Mosey in to Bravo Boutique, an idea retailer that strictly sells items made and/or designed by Swiss artisans; it’s additionally a café, so you possibly can take pleasure in a cappuccino whilst you peruse. Subsequent, make your approach to Confiseur Läderach for his or her Chocolate Expertise. The chocolate boutique gives reside exhibitions, so you possibly can watch Swiss confectioners arduous at work. If you happen to’re a historical past buff, go to the Charlie Chaplin statue. Fancy artwork? Try the The Large Fork statue. Wish to marry your ardour for meals and historical past? Head to the Alimentarium, the primary museum wholly devoted to meals.
Discover Wine Nation: From Vevey, board the prepare to Chexbres-Village in Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Website. The stroll from the prepare to the Lavaux Vinorama property is beautiful. You’ll wander by means of the hillside winery (~20 minutes), and will decide to do a wine tasting. The neighboring Auberge de Rivaz restaurant is the actual gem, although. Heat service, distinctive Swiss wines, and fare that displays the native terroir await.
The place to Eat and Drink
Auberge de Rivaz: Ask your server to suggest/pair a wine with every course. The menu is seasonal, however autumn highlights embrace wild raviolis, roast rooster with risotto, and beef tenderloin with chateaubriand sauce.
La Rouvena: It’s half Italian trattoria, half French brasserie—and wholly superb. Dine on the terrace, and watch because the solar units over the lake. Sip on seasonal Swiss wines, and feast on Italian specialties and seafood. We suggest sharing a thin-crust pizza to start out. You possibly can’t go unsuitable with the Diavola pie (sizzling pepper, olives, and sizzling salami). The Pesce Misto alla Plancha is a standout entree appropriate for 2. Blended grilled fishes (relying on market) and shellfish are served with greens and basmati rice.
Le Coucou Hôtel-Restaurant: If you need the standard Swiss chalet expertise, this rustic resort and restaurant matches the invoice. Get the Fondue Champagne, Truffes & Fromage de L’Alpage de Jaman. Cured native meats from a neighborhood farm, truffles, and champagne make this fondue really distinctive. Come for the views, keep for the tarte tatin.
For entry to unique gear movies, celeb interviews, and extra, subscribe on YouTube!
Koi Pond Spas, River Cruises, and Unforgettable Banh Mi: The Four-Day Weekend in Hoi An, Vietnam
Century-Previous Castles, City Renewal, and Czech Beer: The Four-Day Weekend in Prague
Lavender Fields, Bouillabaisse, and Calanques: The Four-Day Weekend in Marseille
Coveted Delicacies, Craft Brews, and Lush Landscapes: The Four-Day Weekend in Skåne, Sweden
The Thrill-Seekers’ Four-Day Weekend in Fort Bragg, CA