Most Important tips for planning a trip to Switzerland

Switzerland is one country I knew I wanted to travel after watching the classic bollywood movie Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge. Yash Raj movie had sown this seed in every Indian’s mind since 1995 considering this country as a dream destination and I was no exception. This dream of mine is becoming a reality so let’s talk about how to plan this trip.

1. Getting you visas

As Indian passport holders we have to get our Schengen visas in advance to visit the country. If you are visiting Switzerland only then its pretty straight forward – go to the Swiss consulate and get your Schengen visa. But if you are planning to visit any other European country then the rule of getting a Schengen visa is get visa from the country in which you are going to stay the longest or (if the stay in all countries is same) get visa from the consulate of the country you are going to land first.

2. Internal Travel

* Switzerland has the most amazing public transport you can think of. I haven’t been to Japan but have read many articles where the train authorities apologies to the public if the train leaves/arrives early/late by a few seconds. I think I can compare Swiss transport to Japan. Now you can get an idea about how good it is. So there are a few options, get a train ticket ahead of time from ———– that would allow you to use trains, buses and a few boat rides. The connectivity is good so even with medium sized checked in luggage we could move across cities very easily.

* If you are thinking of renting a car then check ahead of time if the town you are planning to visit allows cars, as there are many towns in Switzerland which are “car-free” but they have a place outside the town where you can park.

3. Where to stay

*Since 3 years we have been a fans of Air Bnb over conventional hotels just because it is convenient and affordable to stay in downtown/city center. That way you can live and explore the city like locals. Other plus point is you have a living room and a kitchen(if you rent the home) which is more comfortable if you have kids or travelling with friends rather than just a 4 walled hotel room.
*But if you are a planning to splurge a little or you are going on a special occasion then try to stay in the HOTEL PILATUS-KULM on top of Mt.Pilatus. Its almost 2300 meters above the sea level and it feels like you are living in the clouds. We had no idea there was such thing or else we sure would have stayed there.

4. Best Season to visit

Mid May – Mid August is best time to visit as its warm and many of the roads and attractions would be open. We went right before the start of the season i.e. end of April which was good as we could avoid the crowd, but unluckily we were 1-2 week early. Steepest cog rail in the world to Mt.Pilatus was closed and the weather on Jungfrau wasn’t good due to which we couldn’t go to all the attraction on the top.

5. How many days

If you are going through a travel agent(which these days people don’t) they would suggest 3 nights 4 days are enough but even though Switzerland is a small country its really hard to enjoy its beauty in just 3 days. I would suggest minimum 5-6 nights so you can soak in the beauty the maximum of this picturesque country.

6. Things to do

* Jungfrau – the top of Europe is stunning, there is a restaurant
* Mt.Pilatus
* Lucerne – walk around the main market area, try chocolates, shop classy European style outfits
* Lauterbrunen – Trail and falls
* Interlaken – Hand gliding or Paragliding
* Wengen –
* Zermatt –

7. Food to try

* Cheese Fondue one of the most well known food to try, though we couldn’t as the fondue contains wine and the owner of the restaurant said that its not for weak hearten people(lol) as the cheeses do have a really pungent smell.
* Rosti is grated potatoes pan fried until golden brown served steaming in ceramic plate for breakfast. Now a days its also paired with eggs or melted raclette cheese.
* We tried the best saffron gnocchi at the ‘Sapori’ restaurant so make sure to visit that restaurant for sure.
If you are craving Indian food, don’t worry there are many Indian restaurants in Interlaken where you can have your comfort food 🙂

8. Souvenirs

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about Switzerland is Swiss Chocolates.
* Chocolates – Lindt, Toblerone, Laderach
* Swiss Army knives
* Swiss Watches
* Cow Bells – You would find them anywhere are everywhere (DDLJ Trend)

9. Expensive

I wouldn’t lie, but Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in world. We had a taste of it as our checked in luggage didn’t make it on time and we were literally in 1 pair of clothes we were wearing on for almost 3 days. We had to buy clothes and even jackets which did cost an arm and leg. (seriously). So do have a budget in mind while planning the trip. AirBnb with kitchen helps cut cost by preparing few meals or breakfast at home.

10. Make Memories

It surely is a dream destination and it lives upto its expectation. Don’t forget to wear a saree(Indian outfit) and take photos in the yellow flower field. Photos of those Swiss cows grazing in the meadows with the bell, playing in snow on top of Jungfrau and quintessential streets of the towns you visit. You can also check how to edit you phone photos for social media. If you happen to post photos don’t forget to tag me I would love to relive those moment through you.

Happy Travels 🙂

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