Today I’m a guest on Nan Reinhardt’s blog, and I list my five favorite places in Switzerland (it was difficult to choose just five, trust me). You can read Nan’s blog post here.
My Top Five Places to Visit in Switzerland
5. Arosa – located in eastern Switzerland, Arosa is both a summer and winter resort. I traveled there with my mother in the early 90’s. We didn’t ski, but enjoyed gorgeous views from the train window for the entire train ride to Arosa, as we climbed impossibly steep mountains to an elevation of 5,800 feet. A mile high! The delight was in getting there, and the memory I made with my mom, who was in awe of the spectacular mountains. We stopped for lunch at a nearby café, and neither of us could read the menu, which was in German. I ordered pig’s liver for both of us (ugh!). Arosa has been a famous Alpine health resort since 1877, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Mann both stayed there, giving it more notoriety.
4. Vevey – Vevey lies on the north shore of Lake Geneva, in the canton of Vaud, and is French-speaking. Nestlé has its world headquarters in Vevey, and milk chocolate was invented there in 1875. It’s known as one of the “pearls of the Swiss Riviera,” and boasts gorgeous views and vineyards. Its most famous inhabitant was Charlie Chaplin, and there’s a statue of him at the shore.
3. Lugano – Lugano borders Italy, in the southern canton of Ticino, and is about as Italian as you can get while still in Switzerland. It takes a few hours to get to Lugano from Zurich, since they’re at opposite ends of the country, but once you spot the palm trees, you know you’ve arrived in a totally different place. Although the area doesn’t have the majestic mountains of other regions, you can still climb, hike, and bike. And the food! Everything is regional and exquisite.
2. Grindelwald – hey, this is why you go to Switzerland. The three mountains – Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau (translated from German to Ogre, Monk, and Maiden) each top 13,000 ft. In May of 1987, I ventured to Grindelwald and was surprised to find that the Grindelwald-First lift was celebrating an anniversary and tickets to the summit were half-price. I couldn’t wait! Dressed for a late May day in light clothes and no socks, I quickly discovered how the climate changes. The three-stage lift was once the longest chair lift in Europe, and by stage two, I’d rolled down the canvas side flaps for protection. At the summit, it was a blizzard! (The lift came equipped with a heavy coat, so I didn’t freeze). A respite with “chocolat chaud” and a croissant had me ready to descend, back to verdant meadows and edelweiss.
1. Lucerne – If I retire to Switzerland, I want to live in Lucerne. Smack in the center of Switzerland, Lucerne has it all. Set on Lake Lucerne, it is surrounded by breathtaking mountains, including Mt. Pilatus. The old town is car-free, and the city is easy to navigate. Tradition and modernity stand side by side in Lucerne, and, of course, it has the Blue Balls Music Festival (don’t ask me, I don’t know!).