Switzerland - so close and yet so far from us. A bucket list destination for everyone who likes spectacular nature and outstanding regional cuisine. In Switzerland you will definitely get your money's worth. Yes and the costs - that's a topic in Switzerland, but more on that later.
We have pushed a trip to Switzerland for a long time. How so? We don't really know that either and are still asking ourselves this question. Switzerland is only a few hours drive from our home in Bavaria. Already on the way to our first destination in Grindelwald we realized what we had missed so far. From the autobahn alone, in some parts of Switzerland you will see more immense nature than in other countries after hours of hiking in remote areas. On the route from Lake Constance to the Bernese Oberland you will find emerald green lakes, waterfalls that shoot out of the rock faces and snow-covered four-thousand-meter peaks.
Roaming charges were abolished in the EU a few years ago. Internet surfing with the national treaty is no longer a problem. Not so in Switzerland. EU roaming does not help you in Switzerland. It is best to deactivate data roaming a few kilometers before the Swiss border and prevent a hefty bill at the end of the month. We didn't buy a Swiss SIM card anyway, but instead booked 2 gigabytes of Swiss data for 15 euros from our domestic provider. Maybe not the cheapest option, but sufficient for us in this case.
As already mentioned, a trip through Switzerland is an experience - especially for a flat country. The beauty of Swiss nature is unmatched. You should always allow yourself some buffer time for the drive, because there is a small photo stop at every nook and cranny. Depending on the route you choose, you have the opportunity to choose a so-called car transport. We didn't know what it was beforehand either. Car transport are car trains. You drive up on the train by car and let the train drive you through a tunnel. This usually saves you a lot of time, but you may miss a breathtaking drive because the mountain passes are usually really spectacular. The prices for the car transport are relatively high at 25 to 30 francs for the short journey, but it's also a cool experience. If you have the opportunity, be sure to drive the Furka Pass. The nature there is huge and beautiful. You need an annual vignette to use the Swiss motorways. The price for the vignette in 2020 is forty Swiss francs. You can buy the Swiss vignette at rest stops at the border, among other places.
At this point we would like to introduce you to two places in Switzerland that are already well known, but we liked them a lot.
The alpine village of Zermatt is located in southeastern Switzerland in the canton of Valais. Only the peaks of the Monte Rosa massif separate Zermatt from Italy. Zermatt is a car-free city. You can only travel by car to Täsch, which is five kilometers away. There are several ways to get from Täsch to Zermatt.
The journey from Germany to Grindelwald takes place via Interlaken. From there it's another 20 minutes, past rushing mountain streams and thundering waterfalls. The trio of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau are right outside the door.
The legendary Eiger north face is the stuff of legends. With the Aletsch Glacier you will also find the longest glacier in the Alps on the Jungfraujoch. In Grindelwald you can let off steam in terms of action and adventure. Take a break down the mountain on a scooter bike or fly into the valley on the zip line. But even if you like it a little quieter, you will get your money's worth here. The hike to the Bachalpsee should be wonderful. Unfortunately we couldn't test it ourselves because of bad weather.
When we arrived at the mountain station on the Jungfraujoch, we were amazed at what the Swiss had built here at an altitude of almost 4,000 meters. Souvenir shops, a Lindt chocolate world, an ice cream world with great sculptures. For us, the highlights were the Sphynx viewing platform with a view of the Aletsch Glacier and the hike in the snow to a hut. The hike at an altitude of over 3,000 meters takes about 1.5 to 2 hours round trip and is somewhat arduous due to the high location, but worth all the effort.
We visited Switzerland in early summer - i.e. June. The weather was perfect on most of the days. As everywhere in Central Europe, this time is highly recommended for outdoor activities. The temperatures were warm in summer even at higher altitudes. Switzerland is probably very well attended in early summer, but there were no crowds in summer 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Switzerland has cast a spell over us. We were really pleasantly surprised and can very well imagine visiting this country and especially its breathtaking nature again soon.