Trip Highlights from Switzerland & Italy
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Switzerland? For me – it’s chocolate, mountains, and bank accounts.
As some of you know, I’m a big fan of action/adventure movies and books and a lot of activity often takes place in Switzerland, primarily because of the exclusive and secretive Swiss bank accounts, and the associated large sums of money. So I was pretty excited to finally visit the country depicted in my favorite pastimes, although I, unfortunately, wouldn’t be setting up an offshore account!
We spent eight days traveling across the country with an unlimited train, boat, and bus pass, courtesy of the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland. This gave us the freedom to travel wherever we wanted, and the flexibility to easily jump on and off the train (especially if we saw a good spot to fly the drone!).
We traveled ~450 miles and made stops in: Lausanne, Interlaken, Zurich, Lucerne, and Lugano. Switzerland is crazy beautiful and we got to see a lot of the countryside from the windows of our trains. I felt like everywhere we visited could have been the scene on a postcard – the one caveat: be prepared to spend some money!
- Visiting The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, which I wrote about in detail here. It’s a must-see for any sports fan.
- We’ve seen a lot of lakes so far on our trip, but Lake Geneva was my favorite. It shares a border with France, and is one of the largest lakes in Europe (at it’s deepest point, the Eiffel Tower would be completely submerged!). And the houses (castles) along the coast are unforgettable!
- I love cheese, and we ate A LOT of it in Paris. But that didn’t stop us once we arrived in Switzerland – the icing on the cake was dinner (courtesy of Lausanne tourism) at Pinte Besson, the oldest restaurant in Lausanne, which has been serving fondue since 1870! And I am proud (albeit Janet may not) to say that we ate the ENTIRE serving.
- And… did I mention the chocolate? Even better than just eating it – we got to make our own! This was the first (but hopefully not last) time I ever had chocolate for breakfast.
- We visited Trummelbach Falls, Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls and the only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lifts, tunnels, and platforms. The thundering current was so strong that it was cold and windy inside the caves – and we unfortunately missed the “bring your winter jacket” memo!
- This is random – but I think worth mentioning: the most expensive Big Mac meal I’ve ever had was in Zurich. At a whopping 14 euros! Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best I’ve had.
- We also squeezed quite a bit of hiking into our itinerary. We summited Mt. Rigi and took some incredible pictures. I posted a few Instagram photos from here, which at 1,800 meters offers unparalleled views of Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Laurez. Janet got some unbelievable drone footage as well.
We then spent the weekend in Venice, one my absolute favorite cities. Peak tourist season had ended, but it was still busy because of the Venice Film Festival and the Historical Regatta. The Regatta has been taking place since 1315 to celebrate military victories and honor foreign dignitaries. The event starts with a parade, and the locals dress up in traditional Venetian outfits, followed by several boat races. It was very crowded, but we ended up finding a great spot on the docks to watch!
Unfortunately we didn’t run into any celebrities, but we did meet some interesting characters. We ate a ton of pizza, explored and got lost a bunch of times, toured St. Marks basilica at night, and I think I found a new favorite beer (Moretti!). Check out Janet’s post on how to avoid the tourist traps and do Venice right!
Next up: Slovenia!