Switzerland – Postcard places in the Land of Alps

Switzerland is home to world-class scenic mountain lakes, winter sports and charming storybook villages surrounded by an air of magnificence. Besides skiing and snowboarding, there are many other reasons why you should visit Switzerland. Whether being covered in the snow of winter or the wildflowers of spring, there’s no denying that what you see is breathtakingly gorgeous.

The Swiss also score highly on overly secretive banking and luxury watches, the latter of which probably explains why they seem almost fanatical about their trains. Swiss trains are so clean you could use them to perform surgery. The gold standard for scenic rail travel here is the GoldenPass Line, offering such Alpine rail choices as Belle Epoch/Orient Express-style travel with a wine tasting cellar coach, a “Chocolate” train to the medieval town of Gruyeres, where you are lavished with cheese and chocolate tours, or a modern “Panoramic” train with virtually unobstructed views of the Alps.

Switzerland’s capital is Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to an absolutely “Instagramable” Old Town populated with charming architecture and pristine cobblestone streets.  People here are apparently really thirsty (or diabetic, possibly from all the chocolate), because there are more than 100 water fountains sprinkled throughout this district. Eleven of these are topped with 16th-century artist Hans Gieng’s quirky-looking sculptures.

In Old Town, you’ll also find two very popular attractions — the Bern Minster (or Munster), which is a 1421 Gothic cathedral known for its beautiful stained-glass windows. Not too far away is the 800+-year-old Zytglogge, a famous medieval, astronomical clock tower that entertains as well as tells time.

On a budget or an art lover? You should absolutely head to the Old Town district to see the Fraumünster Church and its world famous stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall. Be sure to get the audio tour on your phone! Spa lovers will find a masterpiece of their own at the Zurich Thermalbad & Spa, located in an old brewery crowned with a rooftop pool. Time to “get your spa on”!

Given his Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein might challenge the Zytglogge’s accuracy. He was a resident of Bern when he wrote his ground-breaking paper, and you can visit the epicentre of his brilliance at the aptly named Einstein House.

Even more valuable is the collection of banks in Zurich, the largest city and one of the world’s most important global financial centres. Don’t expect to see the enormous wealth of this metropolis on display, owing to Switzerland’s super secret, and eyebrow-raising, privacy laws. If you have a sweet tooth for money, skip the fancy chocolatiers and go shopping on the Bahnhofstrasse, the third-most expensive and exclusive shopping avenue on Earth.

Lucerne is only around 45-minutes south from Zurich and is primarily known for its postcard Old Town and a gorgeous lake of the same name. Start with taking a classic paddlewheel steamboat tour to drink in the beauty of Lake Lucerne. Then go for a walk across Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a historic, covered, wooden footbridge and its adjacent 140-foot tall Wasserturm (Water Tower)

Many of the facades of Old Town’s buildings are painted with decorative frescoes so its narrow streets and alleys are well worth exploring. Our tip: Skip the “famous” Musegg Wall. It’s a wall. And not the Great Wall. So spend the time we just saved you by eating fondue. Indulge in this melty-cheesy Swiss ambrosia, which is best paired with white wine NOT beer, as the latter is purported to create epic indigestion!

Even though you absolutely should go there, we’re going to shock some travellers and skip Geneva (we’ll dive deeper into this famous lake city another time) in favour of Interlaken. Sandwiched between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, this alpine gem is dominated by some of Europe’s best scenery and highest mountains like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch.

Not surprisingly, Interlaken is an extremely popular destination for action sports.

But before you go run off to “get extreme”, ease into the local vibe and ride the funicular to Harder Kulm (unrelated to Heidi Klum) and the insane lookout views of the Alps. Everywhere you go in this region, you’ll find amazing hiking trails and scenic photo-ops, so make sure to always have your camera.

If you’re really serious about getting some “air”, there are lots of paragliding, hang gliding and skydiving companies ready to pump up your adrenalin. For those afraid of heights (or just plain not crazy), you can also go kayaking, white water rafting and jet boating,. And if gambling with your life is just too tame, try betting all your vacation money on black at the historic Interlaken Casino!

A bad bet might be why you’d have to stay in St. Beatus’ Cave, an underground wonder of geological marvels and waterfalls that legend has it was home to a fire-breathing dragon until a saintly monk drove it into Lake Thun. Just go for a visit…

Better accommodations can be found at the stately, almost bureaucratic, 150-year-old Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel directly across from beautiful Hohematte park, where crazy people (para-gliders) return to terra firma. Frankly, we recommend the hotel’s Victoria Bar for your excitement.

All kidding aside, you’ll have the time of your life in Switzerland. So “if a stitch in time, saves nine”, we’ll guarantee you’ll save even more when you book with the ENTERTAINER getaways on your ENTERTAINER app! You’ll get to enjoy your vacation with up to 60% off your hotel stay!

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