There are a million good reasons to visit Switzerland
Are you looking for reasons to visit Switzerland? This post has you covered!
At least once in our lives, we all come across that person who is too perfect to be real. The one who has good looks, style and wealth, but who’s also incredibly sharp and infuriatingly kind.
As I made my way through the Swiss countryside on an intercity train from Zürich to Lugano, I couldn’t help but think that, as far as countries are concerned, Switzerland is the effortless prom queen.
On my first trip to Switzerland, I was equipped with a Swiss Travel Pass, granting me unlimited train journeys throughout the country. A couple of years later, I fulfilled my dream of moving to Switzerland and lived in the Alps for 6 months. Working remotely at the time, I was able to jet off and discover much of this beautiful country – or at least, the Eastern half.
So, why should you visit Switzerland?
1. Quality taken to heart
When you land in Switzerland, you pretty much walk into a world where 5-star experiences are the norm. If you go to a Thai restaurant, expect authentic noodles in your pad thai. If you buy cheese at the supermarket, you’ll instantly be hooked – definitely reasons to visit Switzerland in my book.
Quality extends well beyond the food. The streets are clean. Pedestrians have the right of way at many intersections, something I hadn’t seen since Monaco. And everything works, flawlessly, and on time.
2. Every city and village has distinct character
This became exceedingly clear to me as I was riding the train, especially on my two-hour journey to Lugano from Zürich’s main station. Not only did the weather and landscape change dramatically, but so did the architecture.
We passed by endless little towns, from tidy hillside villages where goats were grazing to fortified bastions dominating the alpine scenery.
We then went through the longest tunnel in the world – 57 km in 20 minutes – and came out in a different world. Tiled rooftops, colourful buildings and glistening lakes marked our entry into Svizzera Italiana (the Italian part of Switzerland).
A little while later, I was sitting on a bench in Lugano, looking out at the most turquoise lake I had ever seen, and if I didn’t know better, I would have sworn I was back on the French Riviera. Just a short hop from Zürich!
Another experience altogether is to drive across the Alps. When we were living in Chur, about an hour from Zürich, my boyfriend and I took his car to visit Lugano. It was so captivating to first drive all the way up to the summits of these peaks, watch the trees disappear, and then slowly wind our way back down to the palm-treed coast.
3. Locals are friendly towards visitors
From hotel staff who genuinely seemed to care about their guests to the kind lady who spontaneously offered me a croissant on the train, I quickly got the impression that most Swiss people are kind and want visitors to feel welcome.
I had a few chats with locals, both in Zürich and Lugano – people who approached me and were curious about me. In Berlin and in most places, as a newcomer, I’ve usually felt that I’ve had to make the effort first.
4. Four languages, many cultures
Of the reasons to visit Switzerland, this is a big one for me. Born in Montreal, Canada, I’m quite used to people speaking both in French and English around me.
In Switzerland, I was often in places where people were having conversations in French, Italian, German and English – and sometimes using two of these at the same time. It’s so exhilarating to be in that kind of atmosphere. I tried to recognized Romansh, Switzerland’s fourth language, but wasn’t able to.
5. Everything runs on time
One of the top reasons to Visit Switzerland is that everything actually runs on time. And when you are travelling (especially if you are a planner like me), this is crucial!
After having lived in Switzerland for 6 months, I can still confirm that this is true. In fact, the one time I took a train that was 2 minutes late to leave the station, passengers around me were already grumbling.
As the saying goes, “if you want German efficiency, go to Switzerland”!
6. The whole country is Instagram-worthy
Instagrammers, this will definitely be one of your major reasons to visit Switzerland! I believe I still have over 1000 shots of the cities and Swiss countryside on my phone. In fact, like I did for Berlin and Potsdam, I could write a guide solely focusing on the most Instagrammable places in Switzerland.
Everywhere you look, you’ll see a beautiful building, breathtaking landscape, serene street scene or bustling avenue with just the right amount of Haussmann in it.
Even wandering through the quieter neighbourhoods, like Zürich’s Oerlikon, where I stayed, it was difficult to walk past a single house without wanting to snap away!
7. Cheese and chocolate
Of course these deserve a mention – and are very worthwhile reasons for visiting Switzerland! You won’t go very far into the country without trying its famous chocolate. In fact, even Swiss (the airline) gives passengers a little taste at landing.
At Easter, each restaurant, shop and hotel was giving away chocolate eggs, made in Switzerland. The Swiss are very proud of their country and are happy to share it with travellers at every occasion.
The same goes for Swiss cheese. And, surprisingly, you won’t have to spend a fortune on locally produced brie or camembert. At the grocery store, most varieties of cheese run from 2 or 3 to 5+ Swiss Francs. To put things in context, the price of a black coffee easily creeps up to 5 Francs).
8. Springtime blossoms
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m obsessed with cherry blossoms. Well, you’ll find them in spades in Switzerland, as well as magnolias. The Swiss also love lilacs, which add a touch of colour and spring scent to the streets. And they’re everywhere! In order to catch blossom season, the best bet is to visit from mid-March to mid-April.
9. There’s always more to discover!
For my first trip, I focused on the Zürich area and nearby cities. When I lived in Switzerland, I was right at the heart of the Alps. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover much of the German-speaking eastern part of the country, but the western, French region intrigues me as well. It just means I’ll have to come back!
10. And it’s all within reach!
And for the last of our reasons to visit Switzerland: everything is within reach. Switzerland is a small enough country that, no matter where you decide to stay, you will have dozens of destinations just a short train ride away.
Are there any reasons not to visit Switzerland?
In this blog post, we’ve mostly focused on the reasons to visit Switzerland. But there is one drawback, or at least something you should be aware of before you book your ticket. Everything is very expensive.
To give you an idea, I paid 26 Francs at Starbucks for a juice, latte and bagel. A pizza in rural Switzerland costs around 16 Francs. In Zürich, that would be about 20 Francs.
High costs extend well beyond food and drinks to pretty much every aspect of leisure, but as a tourist, food prices were what stood out to me the most. As a visitor, I got around this by making sandwiches. As a temporary local, I learned how to cook.
So just be prepared to either spend a lot, or find ways to cut back, like purchasing more groceries and eating out less while you visit. Fortunately, the scenery is free to experience!
Using Zürich as a “home” base
One of my major reasons to visit Switzerland for the first time was very simple: I got a great deal on airfare from Berlin to Zürich. This was 3 years ago, and I was looking for the cheapest tickets to anywhere. I also got a very good hotel rate.
I soon realized that Zürich was a great base for exploring the country. It only takes 2 hours to get to the palm trees of Lugano and 1 hour to get to historic Basel or the Alps. And of course, being a big city, there is plenty to see and do in Zürich itself.
What do you think of these reasons to visit Switzerland?
Will you be heading to Switzerland soon? I hope my reasons to visit Switzerland have convinced you to put this lovely little country on your bucket list. You won’t regret your stay one bit!
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