Switzerland is a dream destination. Travel journals are never complete if Switzerland isn’t a part of them. From adventure sports to satiate the thrill-seekers, postcard picturesque locales for the city-weary bodies, sweet memories for the chocoholics or timeless artifacts for shopaholics, Switzerland offers something for every travelers.
EXPERIENCING SWISS HOSPITALITY 30,000 FEET IN THE SKIES
The legendary Swiss hospitality experience began from the minute I stepped onboard the National Carrier Swiss Airways.
Maybe it was the well-deserved siesta en-route from Dubai on the flat-bed or the crisp clean air one breathes in after landing at Zurich, but I was raring to begin my journey. We hopped on the train to Interlaken station, making a quick-stop to the Flight Luggage Express Door-to-Door service, which delivers your luggage straight to your hotel. How’s that for convenience? Our next mode of transport was the Funicular, which took us to our destination ‘Harder Kulm’. A viewing platform 1,322 metres above sea level, Harder Klum offers breathtaking views of the azure Thun Lake and Brienz Lake with the Interlaken nestled between them. You can’t help but be mesmerized by Alpine triumvirate of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The 150-year old panorama restaurant at Harder Kulm is reminiscence of a castle and gives the perfect view of the mountains as you relish a scrumptious meal.
It was time to take head back and we took the train to Grindewald station to our hotel, Romantik Hotel Schweizerfhof, surrounded amidst beautiful gardens with the majestic Eiger and Lauberhorn as its backdrop. But the day had not ended and we proceeded to ‘Glacier Gorge’ at Grindelwald which offers six theme worlds and is the perfect place for adventure in any weather
After a hearty breakfast, we covered the journey to Lauterbrunnen by train, boarded the bus to Stechelberg and finally arrived at Birg station in a gondola! The ‘Thrill walk or the Skywalk’ is a 200m walk on a platform precariously hugging the side of the mountain 2970metres above sea level. The glass bridge invites participants to look down as they walk across its side. You may also challenge yourself by walking across a wire rope with a protective net below.
From Birg, we took the gondola to Piz Gloria restaurant, which claims to be the world's first revolving restaurant. It offers a 360 view of over 200 mountain peaks including the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was shot at this very hotel! Find yourself in an undercover mission in the simulated chopper at Bond World Centre, click a selfie at the Walk of Fame 007 or uncover the recipe of the 007 Burger. Live the spy life the way you want.
Panoramic vistas require a panoramic view and the following day we stepped on board the Luzern-Interlaken Express that is also known as the Golden Pass Panoramic train. Quaint stone houses bedazzle you with their simple grandeur and lush verdant landscapes beckon you as the countryside rolls past on both sides
Lucerne has one of the most picturesque settings in Switzerland and also has a rich history to it. Lucerne has many bridges, the most famous of them being Chapel Bridge - a long wooden covered bridge originally built in 1333, although much of it had to be replaced after a fire on 18 August 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette. Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion aka the ‘Lion Monument’ or Löwendenkmal is found in a small park just off the Löwenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards of who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when an armed mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Lucerne also has a wide range of shopping options including the famous Swiss engineered watches, International luxury brands or Swiss chocolates, grape beverages and cheese.
Our last adventure was to Mount Titlis and for the first part of our journey we took the train to Engelberg and finally the Titlis Cableways to Truebsee. Make sure you rent snow gear at the base where the cableways begin so you are well prepared to experience snow.
The first stop was at Trubsee where we played in the snow on snow sleds. After an adrenalin-boosting hour we took the cable car further to Mount Titlis where there are various snow activities for one to indulge in. From a fun day in the snow-capped mountains we headed down to the shores for a Scenic Cruise on Panorama Yacht Saphir. Taking in the sights while relishing some local grape and cuisine in the Bay of Lucerne was magical to say the least
The vacation may have ended but just like its ‘precision time pieces’ Switzerland has given me timeless memories which will linger forever.
1. THE SWISS TRAVEL PASS
This one ticket allows you multiple journeys on all the various modes of transport across Switzerland. It also give you free admission to more than 500 museums, Free travel to Mt Rigi and Mt Schilthorn, PLUS a 50% discount on additional mountain railways Children under the age of 16 travel free. Children under 6 years of age who are accompanied by a holder of a valid STS ticket travel free of charge
This pass can be bought from myswitzerland.com/rail, the travel agents in Dubai, and also from sales outlets mentioned on the website
There is a special promotion right now in the UAE and GCC-area for Eid-al-Fitr. The sales period of this special 4+1 / 8+2 offer is until end of June. The travelling needs to be done by end of July. Get one extra day when you buy a 4 day swiss travel pass and get two days more upon buying the 8 day travel pass.
GRINDELWALD: Romantik Hotel Schweizerhoff. This hotel peacefully nested in beautiful gardens and is only a short walk from the village centre. Its location and ambience make it the most attractive place to stay at when in Grindelwald.
LUCERNE: Schweizerhoff Lucerne. Conveniently located near the centre of Lucerne this Hotel also gives a picturesque view of the Lake. This Hotel has over a 100 spacious rooms and suites.
3. SWISS TRAVEL APP
The Swiss Travel Guide App for iOS and Android is a great tool for planning your journey through Switzerland and has lots of tips to inspire you. You have direct access to the SBB timetable as well as interactive train station maps with this App
4. GLOBI EXPRESS
The cartoon character Globi specific to Switzerland is still very popular not only with kids but also adults. There is a special coach inspired by this beloved character on the Lucerne-Engelberg route with colourful Globi motifs, Globi books attached to the tables for children to read and listen to Globi stories with the Zentralbahn Globi app.