Updated: Jul 20, 2018
“Heaven on Earth”
Weather and Seasons
Swiss weather is beautiful and moderately warm in the summer from June to September and plummets to sub zero in the winter from December to February. Best time to visit would be anytime in the year as it gives a completely different experience in summer and in winter.
The travel story
In countless movies and magazines, Switzerland has always been presented to humankind as heaven on Earth. Some might argue there are places elsewhere even more magnificent, but I believe such people have simply not witnessed the unparalleled beauty of the Swiss Alps.
One of the costliest countries to live in, Switzerland is a once in a lifetime experience for many due to its sheer cost of living. However I would suggest it must be visited at least twice, once in summer for its beautiful blue lakes and green mountains and once in winter for its snow covered picturesque white landscape.
We visited in August and it was the peak of summer. The lakes were glistening like diamonds under the sun. The mountains were green like a portrait. The valleys were lush and sunny, and everyone was out soaking in the warmth of the day.
The best way to travel in Switzerland is to purchase their travel pass. It gives access to the trains, boats, trams and buses. The Swiss trains are an experience on its own. The train stations can give stiff competitions to the best airports in the world. The super fast double decker trains transport you in luxury unparalleled. The Swiss cities offer not much but the typical European architecture and life. Geneva, Zurich, Bern, Basel all have the European city charm with common stone architecture. But the mind wanders to the alpine peaks teasing you to climb atop and view the world like never before.
The first stop was at Geneva. The lake Geneva has a unique water fountain- Jet d’Eau. It is a a water jet shooting water to a height of over 400 feet into the air and can be seen from anywhere i n the city. It is a pleasant walk around the lake with the view of the jet against the backdrop of the snowy Alps.
The following day we took the train to Bern. Travelling in Switzerland on their train is highly recommended. A small street side concert greeted us at Bern with locals walking around with beer listening to some bands on stage. This is the unique European experience that immediately makes you want to live in their country. Bern has a more old town charm than the other cities in Switzerland. It is once again a pleasant walk through the streets of Bern, with many museums and shops around to visit.
Our main romance with the country probably started on the following day. Our first two destinations were the two beautiful lakes of Interlacken and Lucerne. There are direct trains from Bern and the train stations have tourist information centres who help guide you which are the best options to travel by train. Our Swiss travel pass included journeys by boats and thus we cruised along the two lakes for hours as we soaked in the sights and surroundings of the mighty Alps.
It was summer and everyone was out to get a piece of sunlight. There were people of all age swimming in the lakes, bathing in the sunlight as their pale skins soaked in every bit of warmth before the weather turns and a blanket of snow covers the land. When cruising along the turquoise blue water shimmering in the sunlight, and gazing at the snowy peaks jutting out in the distance, we were once again transported to the thought that this must be what heaven looks like. Its pristine, untouched, delicate beauty is so precious, not a grass is out of place.
There are several mountains peaks that can be visited in Switzerland, but the most tourism driver are Mount Titlis, Jungfraujoch and Matterhorn. We took the train from Bern to Lucerne and then changed trains from Lucerne to Engelberg. From Engleberg we had to take the ropeway to the top of Mount Titlis, This was, without any doubt, the most scenic train rides of my life, the scenery of lush green valleys turning to white snowy peaks, a turquoise blue lake visible down at a valley as we climbed further up- we were inside a picture perfect travel postcard.
Mount Titlis is the famous location where the most popular Bollywood movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was shot. The have a life size poster of actors Shahrukh Khan and Kajol at the top of the mountain. There are a few rides and adventures for tourists. There is an ice cave with sculptures made of ice. The is a bridge which connects two cliffs and is a thrilling walk across it as it gently sways in the wind. Many people grabbed on to the sides of the bridge for dear life afraid to look down at the plummeting dry to the bottom of the mountain. There is a ride which swings down a suspended chair from atop the mountain called the Ice flyer which is as thrilling as bungeeing across a cliff- trust me I have done both.
There is a smaller train which leaves from Interlacken to Jungfraujoch. The ropeway to Titlis and the train to Jungfraujoch is not covered under the Swiss travel pass, however if you have the travel pass you are entitled to a discount for the tickets to these peaks. Jungfraujoch is known as the top of Europe. The train stop is the highest train station in Europe. And the white beauty that welcomes you into its heart is a sight that you cannot miss.
On the last day we visited Zurich where I met a friend and then took a flight out from Basel. It is much cheaper to fly out from Basel than from Zurich. My friend informed me that the cost of amenities is so high in Zurich that people drive to Germany and buy groceries for the month at half the rates and drive back in the same day. A small cable car in the heart of Zurich takes a couple of minutes to reach a terrace view point. It is perfect for a place to chill out and is full of young students taking a break from their university right across it. It overlooks the Lake Zurich and the entire cityscape.
Switzerland entices you with its beauty and spoils you with its luxury. A trip to Switzerland cannot be complete without stuffing yourself with Swiss chocolates. They are little portions of heaven that melt in your mouth and glide into your stomach releasing Hallelujah with your breath. We left Switzerland with bags full of chocolates like they were the most precious gems on Earth.
Travelling in Europe within countries that share borders can be easily done in super fast bullet trains. Check out this link for cheap, awesome and super fast bullet trains: https://www.tgv-lyria.com/en
Pre book Swiss travel pass for the number of days you would be in the country. It is a life saver. Do not even attempt any other travel forms unless you are self driving.
Even though it is hot in the cities and valleys in Summer, the mountain peaks get cold, so please carry a jacket.
Food is very expensive, try booking an AirBNB apartment which gives you a kitchen access. Shop at the local grocery store and prepare and carry a snack for the numerous train journeys inter cities. We made ourselves some sandwiches daily which kept us full of energy while travelling.
Trains get less frequent once the sun sets. Its best to go out by 7am for touring and come back by 6pm post which you can just stare at the Alps and enjoy a fine wine with dinner.
There are numerous hike trails and wine tastings which are highly recommended if you have the time and do not want to indulge in the usual tourist stops.