I’m not a stranger to travelling alone having worked as a PR for travel clients I have travelled all over the world on my own so when a friend who was working in Switzerland invited me over for the weekend I jumped at the chance.
I got a cheap flight to Basil from Manchester and then got the train to meet my friend in Zurich. I’d been to Zurich before as I used to have a Swiss client but I had only actually experienced it in torrential rain looking grey and miserable. It was great to see the place flooded in bright sunshine and we walked around the beautiful old town and by the river. It was stunning.
Early the following morning we got the first of many train journeys to visit one of the world’s best spas inside Villa Honegg Hotel in Ennetburgen.
It truly was one of the most breathtaking spas I have been to with a giant outdoor hot pool that looked out over the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. It helped that we had glorious sunshine and a cool breeze that came down from the snow capped mountains. The spa is sat on the side of a hill that was surrounded by farmland lower down and flower filled meadows in front of it. Inside the spa there was an indoor spa pool and sauna facilities too.
The hotel had a restaurant that overlooked the spa with an outside terraced area so we ate lunch there with again stunning mountain views before we departed for the train station once again to continue our journey this time several hours travel to Interlaken.
Interlaken can be described as the tourist centre of Switzerland with coach loads of Chinese, Korean and American tourists arriving into the town in order to explore the nearby sights. We even noticed they have a Hooters bar to satisfy our friends from across the pond. The town offered a vast choice of accommodation including high end hotels and back packing hostels. We decided to book an AirBNB apartment as we were only staying for one night – would be arriving late and leaving early the next morning. The split level studio apartment was to a contemporary loft design, owned by the artists running the nearby modern art gallery, and was practical and functional with what we needed for a one night stay.
The following morning we headed again by train to climb Jung Frau the highest mountain in Europe. We stopped off in Grindelwald a very stunning Alpine town half way to Jung Frau that sounded like it belonged in a Harry Potter book. It is used as a base for hikers and skiing enthusiasts. It was breathtaking surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I could happily come back here to stay for a few days and enjoy the mountain air. Apparently this was the place Heidi was filmed.
We only stayed in Grindelwald for a quick coffee and then continued our journey up Jung Frau by train on the highest train line and ultimately train station in Europe. The sun was still shining so when we hit the snowy surrounds I was relieved to have my sunglasses. This was the most scenic train journey I have ever been on, absolutely stunning views from every direction and we climbed so high our ears reacted as they do on a plane. Once we reached Jungfrau station we then had to continue on foot to the Sphinx observatory, the highest point in Europe and it was truly spectacular. My friend even stripped off her layers as the suns reflection on the deep snow was so warming. Some of you James Bond fans may recognize the setting here as it was featured in Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
On our way back down the mountain we stopped off in Lauterbrunnen another pretty village this time it is one with stunning waterfalls where we enjoyed some dinner and chatted to some Australian tourists (yes they get everywhere!) before heading back on the train to Zurich via Lucerne.
The following day I enjoyed a leisurely lunch in Villa Villette in Cham on the banks of Lake Zug before catching the train back to the airport for my flight home.
Travel tips –
Flights – I flew to Basil from Manchester with Easyjet however the trains are so efficient in Switzerland that it could be cheaper to research travel into various different airports.
Train – I recommend you purchase a Swiss rail pass if you plan to travel around as we did as this as it is the most cost effective way to travel.
Luggage – there are inexpensive luggage lockers in most train stations in Switzerland so you can leave items as you travel to collect as you pass through the main hub stations to collect on way back.
Accommodation – there’s a wide choice of accommodation in Switzerland but if like us you simply need a bed for the night then take a look at sites such as AirBNB that can be more cost effective saving more money to spend on 5 class spas!