7 Things You Must Do In Switzerland
By: Pinki Fri, 08 Dec 2023 00:19:00
When Switzerland comes to mind, the first image that typically emerges is a sweeping panorama of alpine meadows. However, it's essential to broaden your perspective on Switzerland, as there is a wealth of experiences to consider. The country offers a myriad of activities to engage in.
Embark on a journey through the castles of Geneva, explore the historic Old Town of Bern, delve into Switzerland's rich history in St. Gallen, peruse the museums of Winterthur, traverse the Matterhorn Circuit, visit awe-inspiring churches for blessings, and wander across ancient bridges. These are just a few examples of the numerous enticing activities awaiting you. So, pack your backpack, and make your way to this charming European gem nestled in the heart of the continent.
# Matterhorn Circuit
Situated on the border of Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn Circuit stands out as one of the world's most breathtaking treks. This expedition guides you through enchanting alpine meadows, glacier crossings, lofty mountain passes, larch forests, and ancient pathways, offering awe-inspiring vistas of the Matterhorn (4478m) and approximately 25 other peaks spanning an elevation of around 4000 meters.
Traversing high cols and historic trade routes once utilized by traders, porters, soldiers, peasants, pilgrims, and bandits, the trek immerses you in three distinct cultures across six valleys. The Germanic High Valais, the French-speaking Central Valais, and the Italian Val d’Aosta unfold as you follow these ancient trails.
The highlight of the journey lies in the glaciers and glaciated mountains that provide stunning perspectives of the Matterhorn from various angles, including the Arolla Glacier, the Stellisee, and numerous other alpine panoramas.
Undoubtedly challenging, the trek is further intensified by unpredictable weather conditions. Negotiating certain passes demands expertise in glacial travel techniques and exceptional fitness levels due to the high-altitude nature of the traverse. The Tour of the Matterhorn is tailored for those with prior Alpine trekking experience, covering a formidable 145 kilometers that demand robust stamina and fitness.
# Château de Chillon
Château de Chillon stands out as one of the world's most enchanting castles, earning its well-deserved place in our list of top things to experience in Switzerland. Perched on a rocky island along the shores of Lake Geneva, the castle is strategically located near the borders of Switzerland and France.
Despite its fairytale appearance, every nook and cranny of the castle exudes an authentic medieval architectural charm. This unique blend is made possible by the castle's foundations, which trace back to Roman times.
Over the years, the castle has undergone numerous transformations, resulting in the magnificent structure we see today. The interiors boast various buildings and outhouses arranged around four small courtyards. Among these, 'The Courtyard of Honor' takes center stage as the largest and holds ceremonial significance. Interconnected by both internal and external passages, all rooms and outhouses contribute to the castle's seamless design.
It's quite remarkable to fathom that this fairytale castle didn't emerge in a single construction effort. Originally, 25 small buildings were erected on the rocky island, and with the passage of time, they were skillfully amalgamated to give rise to the spectacular structure that stands today.
# Jet d’Eau
Translated as 'water jet,' Jet d'Eau is a monumental fountain situated on Geneva Lake in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Ranking among the world's tallest fountains, Jet d'Eau was initially constructed to regulate and release excess pressure from a hydraulic plant at La Coulouvrenière, swiftly evolving into a symbol representing the city.
Soaring to a height of 140 meters, the fountain propels water with an impressive force of 200 km/h and 1360 horsepower. As it reaches towards the sky, creating a majestic plume, the presence of Jet d'Eau brings brightness to the days in Geneva. Revel in the refreshing spray as water shoots up into the air. On special occasions, the fountain is adorned with pink, blue, or other illuminating colors.
The operating hours for Jet d'Eau vary across seasons. The fountain undergoes closure during the maintenance period in November, characterized by strong winds and temperatures dropping below 2 degrees.
Spanning the River Reuss in Lucerne, the upper region of Switzerland, is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke). Stretching 204 meters (670 feet), this bridge is distinguished by its unique feature of paintings dating back to the 15th century.
As you stroll across the Kapellbrücke, you'll encounter 120 triangular paintings with captions that originated in the early 1500s. Depicting St. Mauritius and St. Leodegar, the patron saints of Lucerne, these paintings offer a rich narrative of the city's history.
Originally constructed in 1333 as a defensive structure to safeguard Lucerne from potential attacks, the Chapel Bridge has evolved into one of Switzerland's prominent tourist attractions. Although a section of the bridge succumbed to a fire in 1993, diligent restoration efforts followed.
Notably, the Kapellbrücke holds the distinction of being the oldest covered wooden bridge and the oldest surviving truss bridge. Today, it proudly stands as the symbol of Lucerne.
# Zentrum Paul Klee
Crafted by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, Zentrum Paul Klee graces Bern, the capital of Switzerland, having been erected in 2005 using steel and glass.
True to its name, Zentrum Paul Klee serves as a tribute to the artistic legacy of Paul Klee, a Swiss-German painter deeply influenced by various art movements. Every corner of the museum echoes Klee's vision of modern art, illustrating how his inquisitiveness led him to explore diverse realms of artistic expression, including design, literature, culture, and music.
Given Klee's special connection to the city of Bern, where he was born in Münchenbuchsee just outside Bern and held his first solo exhibition in 1910, Zentrum Paul Klee holds a unique significance as one of Bern's most exceptional attractions.
Home to approximately 4,000 works by Klee, the museum boasts the world's largest collection dedicated to a single artist, surpassing the holdings of Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse. Additionally, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions featuring works by modern and contemporary artists.
Gracing Zurich's skyline with its distinctive thin blue spire, Fraumünster stands as a prominent highlight and a must-visit attraction in Switzerland. Positioned on the left bank and overseeing the picturesque Münsterhof square, Fraumünster captivates visitors with its architectural charm.
Upon entering through a small door, the interior reveals three walkways, a Romanesque choir measuring 18 meters, and a Gothic nave. The church's foundation is marked by a modern series of frescoes crafted by Paul Bodmer.
The primary allure of Fraumünster lies in its collection of five stained-glass windows, designed by Marc Chagall in 1970. Best appreciated in the morning light, these windows showcase enhanced color themes. Symbolically, Chagall assigns different colors to represent earth (blue and green) and heaven (red and yellow).
Adding to the church's artistic richness is a sizable stained-glass window created by Giacometti in the 1940s. This window portrays intricate depictions of God and Christ, eight prophets, the Four Evangelists, and ten angels.
In the 20th century, Fraumünster underwent renovations, with notable additions being the stained-glass windows designed by Marc Chagall.
Rheinfall proudly holds the title of the largest waterfall in Europe, situated on the High Rhine—a segment of the Rhine River that flows westward from Lake Constance to Basel.
Nestled between the municipalities of Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen, near the town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland, the falls span an impressive 150 meters (450 feet) in width and stand at a height of 23 meters (75 feet), offering a breathtaking spectacle that is sure to leave you in awe. The natural splendor of this location makes it a must-visit destination.
On both sides of the falls, viewing platforms provide visitors with splendid vantage points. Accessible by steep and narrow stairs, these platforms allow you to marvel at the falls from different perspectives. For an unparalleled experience, consider boarding a boat that takes you into the midst of the cascading waterfall.
Feel the force of the water as it rushes down, captivating your senses. The boat ride provides an up-close encounter with the falls, with some trips taking you to a rock positioned right in the middle of the cascade. The duration of boat trips typically ranges from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the chosen tour type.
Boat services operate from April to October, while those who prefer to stay dry can visit the falls at any time throughout the year.
Adding to the spectacle, Rhine Falls hosts an annual fireworks display on July 31st at 9:45 p.m. The impressive light effects, along with the natural beauty of the falls, create a grand and captivating scene. This stunning display is open to the public, drawing over 10,000 visitors each year.
To complement your visit, there are several restaurants in the vicinity, such as Schloss Laufen, Schloss Wörth, and Rheinfall Park, where you can savor delicious food while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.