10 Things You Should See Before You Leave Switzerland

Chantal Panozzo
  • By Chantal Panozzo
  • March 29th, 2010

The Grandhotel Giessbach

The Grandhotel Giessbach

by Chantal Panozzo

Like most Americans, I’m into lists. I’ve got the book, 1,000 Things to See Before You Die, and last night, I decided to highlight the places in this book that I’ve been to. And it got me thinking. What would I recommend for Switzerland? So here they are: The 10 Things Every Expat Should Do in Switzerland before They Leave.

One: Zermatt. Duh. Zermatt is to Switzerland what the Eiffel Tower is to France. It’s the icon of the country and deservedly so. In fact, it’s so stunning, I would visit at least once in the summer and once in the winter.

Two: Hiltl Restaurant. Not only does this place have a nice, laid-back vibe, but it’s also got some of the best food you’ll eat in Switzerland. It’s also the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe.

Three: A hike through the mustard fields in May. Every May, gorgeous fields of yellow dot the Swiss countryside. One of my favorite spots to enjoy them is near the village of Wettington.

Four: A night at the Grandhotel Giessbach. I’m a cheapskate, but this hotel is worth a night for its fabulous setting. One side waterfall, one side Lake Brienz, one side forest, one side speechless.

Five: Narcissus fields above Montreux in May. Part of the fun is the hunt to find these fields, as you typically must hike to find them.

Six: Mt. Rigi. The classic Swiss mountain train experience. Views at Rigi Kulm are fantastic and hiking trails cover the entire mountain.

Seven: Sechselaeuten in Zurich. This year on April 19. They set a snowman on fire and celebrate when he explodes. Need I say more?

Eight: A Swiss Spa. Whether you fancy a luxurious experience in Vals or a historic swim in Baden, you should take advantage of a Swiss spa.

Nine: A Slow Up event. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, don’t miss biking with thousands of other Swiss through the countryside, no cars allowed.

Ten: Lake Thun boat ride. Possibly the most scenic lake in Switzerland, it’s sprinkled with fairy-tale castles.

Agree with these? What would you recommend?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.

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Comments

Hi Chantal! This list is great! I was just going to post something on the forum asking people to offer their suggestions because…. I AM leaving Switzerland :( and I want to cram in as much as I can before we leave. The 2 on your list I really want to do/see are a Slow Up event and Zermatt.

I’d add a visit to Ticino somewhere on that list. Specifically, I want to see the castles at Bellinzona. I’d also add, the Bernina Express. I’ve never been on it, but I hear great things about it. We are booked to go on it in May!

Amanda
March 30, 2010    Rate Comment

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for the tips. I agree. I didn’t want to leave out Ticino, but ran out of room! Bellinzona is also great. If you go to the area, don’t miss the little fishing village of Gandria on Lake Lugano.

Sorry to hear you’re leaving CH! We will miss your blogging!

Chantal
March 30, 2010    Rate Comment

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