If you are thinking of heading to Switzerland then it is going to be hard to resist the chocolate, right? As a chocoholic myself, I can hardly blame you, but there is actually a lot more to this alpine country than their cocoa-inspired creations. There are epic mountains for one, and those stunning blue lakes between them. But that is not all. There is a whole lot more to explore and experience, if only you know where and how! So what if you don’t want to eat chocolate in Switzerland?
Here are 7 unique ways you can avoid chocolate while you are in Switzerland, and still have an amazing trip. So, now that chocolate is no longer on the agenda, how are you going to enjoy yourself?
Blow Your Mind With Alpine Views
Mountains are the key. Especially in Switzerland. If you can’t fill a memory card full of stunning mountain scenery while in Switzerland, then it’s time to take up crochet!
Even if you start your itinerary in Zurich (and I have just the itinerary) you are going to be constantly surrounded by these rocky masterpieces. And if you head further inland, to tourist meccas like Lucerne, Zermatt or Interlaken, you definitely can’t avoid them.
If you want to get the best views, here are some epic places to check out:
- The Matterhorn in Zermatt
- Pilatus or Rigi in Lucerne
- Beatenberg or Jungfraujoch in Interlaken
- The Glacier Express Train Ride from St Moritz to Zermatt
That should get you going for starters, but in reality, you will be swivelling your head upwards no matter where you go.
Get The Adrenaline Pumping, Hard
With all those mountains in the way, the Swiss have taken it upon themselves to find as many ways as possible to throw yourself down or off them.
To grab a bird’s eye view of your surrounds you can book yourself on a tandem paragliding trip. Or, for the more adventurous, you can jump from a helicopter. PersonallyI prefer a more scenic ride in one. In fact, I did one just last year in Zermatt (try Air Zermatt, my trip with them was something I will never forget! It ain’t cheap though.).
If bungee jumping is your game then there are a couple of amazing options including jumping from a gondola on the Stockhorn (near Interlaken) or do as James Bond did in Golden Eye and hurl yourself off the Contra Dam in the Verzasca Valley.
No matter where you are though, I am sure you will find a variety of adrenaline pumping options that are as good, or perhaps more thrilling than these.
Throw Yourself In A Lake, Or River
Mountains tend to collect water, and as a result Switzerland has rivers and lakes coming out of its ears. Ever heard of the Rhine River in Germany? It starts in Switzerland.
I try to grab my Stand Up Paddle board most weekends and try a new lake out, but if that is not up your alley, you can also just go swimming.
In summer the Swiss mostly ignore their local swimming pools and head for the lakes instead. And with over 103 lakes of 30 hectares, and 7000 in total, you have more than enough choice.
My recommendation is to head for the lower altitude ones early in summer, as the higher ones (like around Interlaken for example) are a wee bit chilly until July.
Even if you are in a city like Bern that has no lake, the river is a hotspot for locals to go swimming in, as is the river in Zurich. Just be aware that you are dealing with nature and often no lifeguard beyond the official swimming spots. So be smart. Dozens of people drown each year here.
Soak Up Some Of The History
If you have ever been to Europe before you will probably know this already, but countries like Switzerland are blessed with history. So, no matter where you go, even the smaller cities, there is history almost everywhere you go. And, because Switzerland was “neutral” during the Second World War, there was no bombings anywhere except the border towns.
Some of the best places to navigate those cobblestone streets include: Lucerne, Zurich, Geneva, Bern or Basel. Yes, most of the main cities in Switzerland have stunning old towns filled with historic goodies. Everything from historical buildings, universities, churches, town halls and museums. And a bonus, if you are using the Swiss Travel Pass, most of them are free for you.
Find Out What Swiss Watches Are Really Made Of
Watches and Switzerland go way back. Hundreds of years in fact. And if you think of quality watches today, you no doubt think of “Swiss Made”.
So, while you are in Switzerland it only makes good sense to dive a little bit into the history and prestige of the Swiss watch industry. With the likes of Rolex, Omega, Longines, IWC, Cartier, Tag Heuer and even Swatch (who came up with the Smart Car) you can hardly miss it either.
And the great news is that you probably won’t need to go far to find yourself a museum or collection to check out, even if it’s just for an hour or two. Here is a big list of almost every one in Switzerland, including places in and around the big cities, and in some smaller towns as well.
Fill Your Stomach With Cheese, Instead Of Chocolate
Ok, so this one won’t save you on calories, but at least it’s savory instead of sweet!
With so many cows in the mountains the Swiss have spent a lot of time perfecting their cheese. Forget about the “swiss cheese” you usually buy from the supermarket, the real Swiss cheese is so varied and tasty that you might never buy that “other stuff” again.
Each region has their own speciality, some more famous than others (like Gruyere), so I can’t really give you any specifics. Your best bet is just to try out lots of different cheeses, even from the supermarket (there will be at least one hundred to choose from) and see what you like. If you buy it from the counter, you can even ask for smaller portions. They won’t mind. And that way, you can sample even more.
Pamper Yourself At An Alpine Spa
Now that you are satiated with cheese it’s time to kick back and relax. You have certainly earned it will all that alpine air!
Lucky for us, the Swiss have also take all that mineral-filled water that is spilling out of the Alps and put it to good use creating spas.
Again, you can hardly go wrong in Switzerland where spas are concerned, and there is bound to be one in every major tourist town or city. However, to save you searching I have grabbed a few that are renowned for their pampering (whether you can afford it, is up to you):
- Alpine Spa in Burgenstock
- Grand Resort In Bad Ragaz (Justin Bieber was spotted here)
- Bogn Engiadina in Scuol
Or, if you want to save a pretty penny you can just ask your local hotel wherever you are. There are spas on almost every corner, and they don’t have to blow your travel budget.
Now You Can Have Some Chocolate…
I have tantalized you with everything but chocolate in this post, so I thought I would end with a few tips on where you can actually get your fill. Just in case.
Most cities have local chocolatiers, however the bigger Swiss brands can all be found in the supermarket at almost the lowest price you will find anywhere. You know Lindt, right? It’s just run of the mill chocolate in Switzerland.
If you fancy something a little more upmarket be on the lookout for Sprüngli or Läderach stores also in the big cities or airports as these guys know how to keep even Lindt on their toes. YUM!