Swiss Alps, Swiss army knife, Swiss chocolate, Swiss bank, Swiss cheese—Switzerland seriously has it all!
One of the biggest regrets during my time in Europe was not taking full advantage of the fact that Switzerland was only a two hour drive from my front door (but probably a good thing for my bank account, as Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in all of Europe!)
Regardless, a true European experience is not complete without out at least setting your sights on those majestic Swiss Alps and sipping a world renowned Swiss hot chocolate!
With so much to see, do and taste in Switzerland, it is strongly encouraged you allow yourself at least 48 hours of exploration.
To make sure you maximise your time in this gorgeous—and pretty much perfect—country, here are a list of tips and must-do’s in the land of the Swiss.
If you are planning on being in Germany, France or Italy, then Switzerland is only a hop, skip and a jump away!
This whole region of Europe is absolutely stunning and perfect for a road-trip. Just remember that Switzerland is not part of the European Union, so it is very possible you might be stopped to show your passport! They are also on a different currency called francs and it is definitely handy to have a few in your wallet before your arrival.
Day 1: Zurich
Zurich is one of those places that is too perfect for words. To understand the “perfection” that is Switzerland, then one must step foot onto the cobblestone roads of Zurich.
The streets of Zurich are extremely walkable and the best way to experience it’s magic. They also have a tram system that will take you efficiently (because that is the Swiss way) to anywhere you want to go in the city. The tram also goes all the way to the airport, which is great if you have opted to fly into Zurich or have booked cheaper accommodation in the outskirts of the city.
It is important when planning your day to remember that the majority of places close at 4pm—sometimes even 3pm. This came as a total surprise to me during my visit as I had definitely not started my day early enough to see all that I wanted to. Actually, the majority of times I arrived at a café or museum right as it was closing!
One of my favourite locations in Zurich was near the water-front. Lake Zurich’s already sparkling blue waters is enhanced by the towering Swiss alps in the backdrop. Make sure to hop on a boat or ride a bike along the water’s edge.
2. Streets of Niederdorf
This is my favourite part of Zurich because of the rich history and old town feels. The narrow and windy streets are complimented with colourful buildings that showcase some of the Swiss’s finest merchandise. It truly feels like a walk back in time.
3. Chinese Garden
This zen garden costs 4 francs and is located along the lake at Bellerivestrasse 138. What was originally a gift from Zurich’s Chinese partner town of Kunming is now a gift of complete relaxation and beauty to tourists and locals alike.
4. Urania Sternwarte
The one big disappointment from Zurich was that I didn’t personally get a chance to star gaze—so I can only hope to live vicariously through you! Located on top of the Jules Verne bar is a large dome that offers a unique view of the city and the sky.
Where to eat:
Sightseeing is cool, but let’s be honest, if you are coming to Switzerland you are coming for the Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese. Here are my top favourite finds to have a culinary experience.
A vegan Japanese teahouse/bakery/cake extraordinaire that can not be missed! Go here for the most decedant cake you’ll ever have and top it off with their adorable and delicous loose-leaf tea.
Einstein once hung out here, so it is an automatic must-do. Plus, their champagne and cheese platters are out of this world.
Lindt Chocolate Shop//Pilgerweg 58
Not going to lie, this was the highlight of the trip. Make sure to go and stock up on Lindt chocolate galore at their outlet shop. Warning—it’s impossible to walk out empty handed.
Day 2: Zurich—Lucerne—Mt.Titlis
It’s not a trip to Switzerland unless you’ve been to the Swiss Alps! Either make a trip yourself or book it via a tour group, but don’t miss out on this slice of Swiss perfection.
Lucerene is about an hour and a half outside of Zurich and a perfect rest stop before making your way to Mt. Titlis.
Lion Monument//Denkmalstrasse 4
Commemorating the massacred Swiss Guards of the 1792 French Revolution, this sculpture is not one to miss. Mark Twain himself has even commended the statue, so it is also pretty much guaranteed to be flocked with tourists.
Also known as chapel bridge, this wooden medieval bridge is one of the highlights of the city. Make sure to enjoy all of the unique paintings on the interior part and just stop to admire the perfection of your surroundings.
The drive to Mt. Titlis is absolutely gorgeous and made me personally want to get out of the car and frolic through the hills. Once at the base of the mountain, you will go up a gondola in three stages. This particular mountain is famous for the surreal views that seem to go for miles. But on the day that I went, all I could see was white. The one thing you can’t have control over is Mother Nature, but that is okay because whether you see white all around or miles and miles of mountain ridges and sparkling waters, the experience is par to none.
During my visit I experienced Mt. Titlis in a constant state of white. Although I was somewhat disappointed that I did not get to experience the highly anticipated ariel views, the uncertainty of what lie ahead or beneath me made the mountain exploration all the more exciting!
So regardless of the weather, make sure you do the following:
1. take a revolving cable car to the summit
2. race down the Glacier Park snow slide
3. walk over the highest suspension bridge in all of Europe
Bonus Day 3: Liechtenstein
Okay, so this itinerary was only supposed to be for 48 hours in Switzerland. But assuming that you are going to spend more than 2 days in Europe, I thought I should include where your next European country should be.
And that is the 25km long country of Liechtenstein. Population: 30,000
Nestled between Switzerland and Austria, this country is oozing with medieval glory. From the castles to museums and general townships, this country is a must-see! Plus, it is a good place to get rid of all your extra francs (which, by the way, if you have any francs leftover from your Switzerland visit, you clearly didn’t indulge in enough Swiss chocolate!).
Not convinced that the 6th smallest country in the world is for you? Take a good look at these pics and think twice about post-Switzerland stops. Liechtenstein is seriously as pretty as a postcard and one of the most underrated locations in Europe!