Let us whisk you away to the land of chocolate, cheese, and gorgeous mountain trails! This week we chat with Claudia Laroye, from The Travelling Mom, who has visited Switzerland over two dozen times. She shares her love of all things Swiss and best tips for planning a trip to Switzerland.
ON THE PODCAST
00:30 – What Tamara Learned from the Switzerland Tourism Board
13:26 – Talking with Claudia
17:30 – Number one area to visit in Switzerland
19:44 – When to visit
25:30 – How to plan your itinerary
36:30 – Planning early
38:47 – Getting around
47:18 – Swiss foods
54:30 – Final tips
55:35 – Favorite place to take a family photo
57:30 – Claudia’s favorite travel gear
1:00:45 – What’s next for Claudia
1:02:28 – Coming next for Kim and Tamara
ABOUT CLAUDIA LAROYE
Claudia Laroye is a freelance travel writer, blogger and editor. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. In addition to The Travelling Mom family travel site, Claudia is the Contributing Editor for Twist Travel Magazine, the Curious Travel Mama on TravelMamas.com, and contributes to a wide variety of print and online publications around the world. She writes about adventure, family, luxury and sustainable travel. Follow Claudia Laroye on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
TIPS FOR VISITING SWITZERLAND
- If you are only able to visit Switzerland for a few days you should definitely stay in Zermatt. This is an iconic area of Switzerland and has all of the elements that you would think of when imagining Switzerland. This is a little village that is very easy to access by train.
- Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen are also great areas to visit that have the iconic mountains. These alpine destinations can all be considered sweet spots of Switzerland.
- Even if you do not ski, the winter time is still a great time to visit with plenty of other snow sports or even just watching ski races and walking around the villages. If you venture into the cities you will find some great museums.
- Keep in mind that Switzerland is an expensive destination and both winter and summer are their high seasons. Switzerland has a high quality environment and you will find that because of this everything is going to run a bit more expensive.
- Summer time may be the right time to visit for your family due to the wide variety of outdoor activities that you can find and explore. There is hiking, boat rides, ziplining, cycling, and much more.
- You could plan your itinerary in a sort of loop if you are coming and going from the same airport. You could also plan your itinerary more of a one way trip if you decide to fly in and leave from different locations.
- For families that are keen on spending 10-14 days in Switzerland, you can plan your itinerary to look something like this:
- Spend your first day or two in Zurich visiting the old town, Swiss National Museum, FIFA World Football Museum, and the Uhrenmuseum Beyer Zürich which is a watchmaking museum and is one of Switzerland’s most important industries.
- You could that take a day trip to Lucerne and visit the Museum of Transport which is an outstanding museum to learn everything about all modes of transportation.
- Then you could spend a day or two in Bern visiting the Gurten, Bear Park, swimming at Marzilibad, visiting the Einstein House and Alpine Museums. You can also walk through the limestone arcades in Bern’s Old Town and visit the Westside Mall for BernAqua water park.
- Take a day trip to Ballenberg which is the Swiss Open-Air Museum that displays over 100 original Swiss buildings and architecture.
- If you love Gruyere cheese, medieval towns, you could make a day trip to Gruyere.
- Next you could visit Interlaken, Thun and take a boat tour on the Lake of Thun, view the famous Monch, Eiger and Jungfrau mountains.
- Head to the Bernese Oberland Alps and spend three or four days in Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen or Adelboden. In this area you can explore the outdoors by going hiking, cycling, zip lining, ride gondolas and cog-railways up mountains. You could also take a ride on the Jungfraujoch which is the highest railway in Europe to glacier area between Jungfrau and Monch peaks. Plus you could do day trips to neighbouring villages.
- You could than spend some time in Lausanne and visit the Olympic Museum in this French-speaking town on Lac Leman.
- Next you could spend one to three days in and around Zermatt. Take Gornergrat cog-railway up to 3,125 m and see some amazing views of Matterhorn and several glaciers. Then if you want to spend some more time outdoors you can hike down or around the area.
- If your schedule and interests allow to visit the Italian-speak part of the country, you could spend time in Bellinzona and Lugano in Ticino. Bellinzona has three UNESCO castles, a wine-making regions, and Lugano is beautifully situated on the Lake of Lugano.
- Than make your way back to Zurich for your flight.
- Once you know that you can go to Switzerland you should start your booking as soon as you can. Try to book at least six months in advance if not more. That way you will will have more options and won’t have to worry as much about that hotel you wanted to stay in being booked.
- Renting a car may not be the best option due to to parking. If you planning to visit from North America you should think about purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass before you go. Getting around Switzerland by train is very easy. Plus if you have a child that is under the age of 16 and are with an adult with a travel pass they travel for free! There are a few different option when it comes to the Swiss Travel Pass. Then along with transportation, you can also get into hundreds of museums for free.
- Outside of Toblerone there is plenty of other chocolate in the area. There are also some amazing cheeses that you will find. Though keep in mind that meat in Switzerland is not cheap. Fondue is very popular in both the winter and summer. Though it is recommended that you not drink cold drinks when you are enjoying fondue because it could upset your stomach with the hot cheeses. Swiss honey is also amazing but can be quite expensive. So if you have an opportunity to try some at a breakfast buffet you should definitely try some.
- Here are some other food items you should think about trying while in Switzerland:
- Rosti – shredded potatoes, fried and covered with eggs, ham or cheese.
- Raclette – toasted cheese served with potatoes, meats and pickled onions and cornichons.
- Sussmost – a bubbly apple juice, non-alcoholic.
- Rivella – a soda made from milk whey, this may be an acquired taste for many.
- Fruit pies – the Swiss love their pastries and fresh fruit pies.
- Dried meat – Bundnerfleisch is a type of air-dried beef, delicious with raclette cheese.
- Basler Lackerli – a traditional hard spice biscuit, made from honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied peel, and Kirsch. Invented in the 15th century.
- Thomy mustard – a famous mustard brand in Switzerland.
BEST PLACE TO TAKE FAMILY PHOTO
Getting a photo with the Matterhorn in the background is a great place to snap a photo, as well as in the historical town of Bern.
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Claudia loves to wear her Scarpa hiking shoes or Birkenstock Gizeh sandals or Allbirds shoes to walking around town. She pairs those with her Athleta pants and Kit and Ace or Lululemon tops and pashminas, and an Arcteryx layer.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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