So I officially found my new favorite place in the world.
Visiting Switzerland had always on my bucket list, as I’m sure it’s on many people’s “places to see before I die” list, but I really had no idea that there was a place on this Earth that could be so beautiful. I mean I saw pictures of it before on Google or wherever, but honestly even those are dull in comparison to what you actually see with your own eye.
If you ever plan on visiting Switzerland one day (which you better freaking do), here is a little 24 hour adventure guide that will hopefully be useful when you head there yourself! (Or if you want to just live vicariously through these pics, totally go ahead and do that too).
For starters, we only had one day to spend in Switzerland before heading back to our “home base.” My boyfriend currently plays professional American Football in northern Germany, so as you could imagine he has a pretty packed schedule. Good thing is that he’s living here for 7 months which means I get to mooch off him and stay in Germany for 6 weeks of my summer.
Anyways, point is that if you have more time to spend in Switzerland, do it. I’ll mention some of the activities we didn’t get to do at the bottom as more suggestions.
Our first stop was Zurich, which is also where we stayed in our Airbnb just because it was closest to Germany. And was relatively cheaper than prices in Interlaken (we paid around $70 per night for the two of us). We arrived here around 6 pm and headed to the city for dinner. There are tons of restaurants surrounding Lake Zurich and you probably can’t go wrong, but somehow we fell upon a place called Seerose and I’m pretty sure nothing else could beat it. The restaurant is on a little boardwalk right on the water and I definitely recommend going at sunset because that was a heck of a sight to see. The food was incredible too – we had this pizza flatbread lookin creation and an amazing avocado appetizer.
If we would have stayed in Switzerland for longer, we may have spent a little more time in Zurich, but it was definitely more of a “city life” kind of vibe and we just wanted to see giant mountains soo that’s what we decided to do with our time instead.
Early the next morning we took off from Zurich around 8 am and headed west. Originally we were going to head straight to Interlaken for the day, but on the 1.5 hour drive to Inkerlaken from Zurich (such a scenic ride so it feels like it’s only like 30 minutes), we decided that we should probably spend some time up in the mountains instead of staying on level ground all day.
So we drove straight past Interlaken and headed to Grindlewald, which was an even more scenic 45 minute route and should be an “excursion” of its own. We headed to a little cable car/chair lift station and took a 30 minute cable car ride up the Grindlewald First cable line to a point on the mountain called Mannlichen. At the top there is a little playground for kids (or 23 year olds) to play around on, a restaurant, and the most stunning views in the entire world (fact). There is also something called the Royal Walk which is a 20 minute mini hike up to the very peak of this mountain for even more incredible views. The picture below of us in the crown looking thing is at the top of this Royal Walk.
The other crazy part about Mannlichen was that there was snow on the ground and was only like 45-50 degrees, but we were both hot in just shorts and t-shirt. I would definitely bring a jacket (it gets pretty windy) but with the sun and the amount of walking/hiking you do at the top it heats up real quick!
We spent about an hour and a half or so at the top, and then with the two 30 minute cable rides you should expect to spend around 3 hours here total. Or just stay for the whole day if you want. I could’ve easily sat there on the hill all day and enjoyed the view.
We ventured back to Interlaken and headed straight to a little beach on Lake Brienz where you can rent out kayaks. You can rent kayaks anywhere on the lake (a map can be found here), but we rented from the Strandbad Brienz rental station. The water was pretty cold, but there is also a mini beach and swimming area with a floating platform, a pool and a restaurant at this site too. We decided to kayak about 45 minutes out to see the Giessbach falls, which honestly wasn’t as epic as we were expecting, but was still pretty neat to see. Since we rented the kayaks for 2 hours, it was a perfect distance to ride out and back and just enjoy the lake while we were out there.
After our little water adventure, we went to Harder Kulm for dinner. This is A MUST. It has the most amazing view and they just created a lookout deck that extends beyond the ledge for an even more incredible experience. To get here, just head to the Interlaken Ost train station and behind it and to the left will be the little cable station to hop on a 10 minute STEEP cable car ride to Harder Kulm. There is also an option to walk up and down a trail to get here (I think the walk up is an hour or so), but I’m not quite sure where the trail starts/ends. For dinner we had delicious chicken and fish & chips and some tasty local beer and had ourselves an incredible end to an amazing day.
Switzerland in general:
Here’s some extra tips/things you should know before heading to Switzerland:
- It’s super expensive, so be prepared to spend a lot of money. Each meal was at least 50 euros for the two of us (even like normal fish and chips)
- If you are driving a car, you’ll need something called a Vignette on your windshield. It’s a little sticker that you can get from most gas stations, and it works kind of how our toll roads would work – as in you’re just “registered” to be able to drive there
- Watch the speed limits. There aren’t any cops on the road because they have sensors/lights on the highway that flash at you if you’re speeding. We got a ticket for going 5 km over (that’s like 3 miles over the speed limit) and it was $40. Apparently for anything going 10 km over the speed limit will be an automatic 100+ Euros so just be careful!
Other things to do in Switzerland:
If we had had more time in Switzerland, these are the things we would have added to our adventure:
- Jungfraujoch: this is coined the “Top of Europe” and is a whole adventure in itself. You can find most of the information here, but pretty much it’s at the peak of the tallest mountain and there’s a ton of cool looking things to do here! You’d need winter clothes to head up here and we definitely weren’t prepared for that so that’s the main reason we didn’t add this to our day.
- Wengen/Lauterbrunnen: the Grindlewald First cable car we took up to Mannlichen extends even further to a city called Lauterbrunnen for even more incredible views from the mountains. You can take the cable car from Mannlichen to Wengen then head to Lauterbrunnen from there. Here is a map that shows all the different cable lines.
- Canyoning: apparently there’s an excursion type thing called “canyoning” where a guide brings you to different canyons and rivers and you literally just jump off mini cliffs and float through streams and stuff. It looked so cool, so if you ever do it you’ll have to let me know how it goes!
Moral of the story is GO TO SWITZERLAND. I would do anything to be back there and you BET I’ll be visiting again very soon. Keep a heads up for blog posts about our trips to Amsterdam and Prague & I hope you enjoyed!
Oh yeah, and here’s a quick video of our entire trip!