Switzerland is a beautiful country with breathtaking and colourful landscapes and cities. Yes there’s chocolate and fondue and quite a number of Swiss national flags about but it is Switzerland’s unique likeability that pulls you in. Though this little European gem is a super expensive country I still managed to have a few days touring the nation by train. As I was staying in Zurich I was in a great starting point location for day trips.
The Swiss train system is highly efficient and, thanks to Switzerland being a small country, can get you from one side to the other in only a few hours. Our first day trip took us the Bern followed by Interlaken.
Side Note: The train stations were also where we found some of the most affordable lunch and grocery items!
Bern is the capital city of Switzerland and is home to a famous covered shopping arcade that allows you to shop year round, no matter the weather. The city is also filled with other treasures including: the Zytglogge (clock tower), the Berner Munster (cathedral), and Einstein’s house (where he developed the theory of relativity).
We just had a basic wander through the city along the arcades, passing more than one historic site before walking across one of the many bridges leading out of the centre of the city across the Aare river. From this side of the river you have excellent views of the inner city of Bern as well as the Berner Munster (the Cathedral of Bern) in the distance. This side of the river also houses the famed ‘Bear Park’ of Bern, though the bears were in hibernation in January.
I had never really researched Switzerland much before our trip and was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful the country was. Thanks to public holidays, the city was relatively quiet which made photo opportunities easy. After Bern we next made our way to Interlaken.
Interlaken is a beautiful and crazy expensive resort town, comfortably nestled on a narrow stretch of valley. It is bordered by two lakes, surrounding mountains, and dense forest. By sheer luck the day we went, January 2nd, happened to be day that ‘Harder-Potschete’ occurs, a yearly tradition in which the masked figures of Hardermann, his wife, and his band of followers parade down the street spreading mock fear and driving away the bad spirits of the previous year.
It was an event the whole town gets involved in. I’ll admit when we got to the town and everyone was lining the streets like some kind of royal procession I was a tad confused but then some guy turned up handing out free soup and I kind of just went with it. There were various groups in the procession but I think the best part was when the masked figures started running at random people in the streets to scare them and spread mock fear!
It was also on this day that Switzerland decided to give us a soft blanket cover of snow which is on the one hand very pretty and on the other, kind of hurts your eyes a bit when you keep looking up!
After the parade I continued my wandering of the town and visited no less then 3 chocolate stores for samples while enjoying the surrounding architecture.
Interlaken was a perfect day trip getaway by train in Switzerland. It was a little winter wonderland with ice skating, rustic cabin architecture, and many stores selling hot chocolate and cheese fondue…and yes, the views of the surrounding mountains aren’t bad either! By the afternoon I got back on the train (which left Interlaken twice an hour) and had an easy ride back to Zurich.