Whether you are a first-time visitor to Switzerland or returning for the fifth time, it is hard not to fall in love with this alpine gem! No wonder Switzerland is on countless people’s bucket lists, as well as appearing in a wide range of popular TV shows and movies such as James Bond.
There is so much to love about Switzerland, and it has certainly kept me here for over 20 years.
So, let’s take a look at what lures so many people to Switzerland and why you should visit too!
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Switzerland is a country that defies description with its stunning scenery. And it’s one of the main things that drew me to the country in the first place.
It starts with the towering Alpine peaks in places like Grindelwald and Zermatt. Mountains that tower over 4000m (13000ft), dominate the views wherever you look.
And yes, the majestic Swiss Alps with their snow-capped peaks are a big drawcard, but there is more to Switzerland than just the famous peaks.,
Switzerland is dotted with endless crystal-clear lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Zurich. And in the mountains, there are hundreds more. I read that there are around 1500 in total, if you can believe that.
And with so much stunning mountain terrain to enjoy, how could you not go out and enjoy it in dozens of different ways?
Switzerland is a playground for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. I came to Switzerland because I love hiking and mountain biking, and the options for both have only expanded in the last ten years.
Imagine hiking through emerald-green meadows, biking along tranquil lakeshores, or soaring high above the mountains in a paraglider. The possibilities for adventure are boundless. Especially if you are an adrenaline junkie. There is canyoning, hang gliding, alpine coasters, climbing, mountaineering, white water rafting and oh so much more.
And even when the seasons change to winter, you have zero chance of getting bored. When Switzerland becomes a winter wonderland, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts feel like they have died and found paradise here. With some of the world’s finest resorts and endless pistes to enjoy, how could they not?
But non-skiers are not left behind either. We have taken up snowshoeing over the years, but you could also go ice skating on frozen lakes, tobogganing down crazy steep slopes, snow biking, or snow tubing will up the ante even more!
In a country with centuries of history and four different languages, it would be silly to expect culture not to play a big role, right?
With four language areas, you can hop from Schnitzel and chips to pasta and grappa in a matter of hours, and feel like you have traveled from Germany to Italy, at the same time. Few countries in the world contain such diversity; it is hard to fathom unless you have experienced it.
I remember stepping out of a bus in Scuol many years ago and not recognising the weird language I heard around me. I had heard there was a minority language – Romansch in Switzerland, but hearing it spoken by school kids on a bus is something else! And yes, you get other food and cultural specialties there, too!
You will also find countless museums in Switzerland that will keep any culture hound busy too. As someone who doesn’t really “do” museums, I was also shocked at the range of options. You could just pop into an art or history museum, but there is so much more to discover.
FIFA has a football museum you won’t find anywhere else in the World, and Lindt will blow your taste buds off with their chocolate-based museum. Then there is the Olympic Museum in Lausanne and the UN building in Geneva, just around the corner from the Red Cross Museum!
I could go on, but I suggest you just come and see it for yourself as it is hard to fathom all of this is in one tiny European country.
Efficient Public Transport
You might have heard that Swiss trains are on time and wondered if it is true.
Well, I am here to tell you it is so true it is often annoying!
You could have three different connections on your way from Zurich to Geneva, and you will never miss even one of them. The Swiss Transport System is second to none.
But it goes even further than just Swiss reliability and punctuality. These trains also cover the whole country, from corner to corner. They climb the craziest of passes, and tunnel through mammoth mountains with ease. And when a train just won’t do it – there is a bus to get you there instead! Or a boat.
Yes, the Swiss have got it all sorted when it comes to public transport, so don’t bother hiring a car when you come.
Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about Swiss food. After all, it is probably not on your culinary radar, right?
Sure, you have heard of Swiss chocolate, and you certainly have to indulge yourself as many times as you can while you are there. But there are some other hidden gems you might not know about.
The first port of call is cheese. Yes, you think you know all about “Swiss cheese” with the holes in it. But forget about that cheese, there are dozens of seriously tasty cheeses to try here. And that is coming from someone who is not really into cheese.
On top of that, there are two ways you can eat it you might never have tried. Fondue – melted cheese in a huge pot you dip bread chunks into. And raclette – slabs of cheese you melt under a grill and pour over a bunch of potatoes. It’s far more tasty than it sounds. You absolutely have to try both!
There are countless regional specialties, too, such as zürcher geschnetzeltes – a tasty veal dish. Rösti – something like hash browns but covered with bacon, cheese, or other tasty toppings.
Then there is dessert, of course! You could grab yourself a famous meringue in Meiringen, which is near the waterfall Sherlock fell from. Or you could indulge in a tantalising hot chocolate in the heart of Zurich, where they have been making it for decades.
Switzerland is also full of countless Michelin Restaurants, if that is your cup of tea. You will find them in the major cities but also in some of the more upmarket ski resorts and towns.
But if you don’t fancy spending hundreds of dollars on dinner, you could grab one of Switzerland’s favorite snacks – the St Galler Bratwurst, one of the best sausages I have ever had!