Ahhh Switzerland. One of the most stunning (and cleanest) countries I’ve ever visited. Filled with adventure, chocolate, mountains and cheese…You’re going to want to book a trip right away after reading this travel guide.
I’m sharing all about our most recent trip to Switzerland: where we stayed, what day trips we took, transportation, and more! Enjoy :)
Trains: We took a train from Paris to Bern on SNCF. Each ticket was 50 euros, and the total travel time was about 4 1/2 hours. The website I use to book train tickets in Europe is: Trainline
They do not charge extra fees when you book using their site.
From Bern to Interlaken, we went to the main train station in Bern and bought tickets at one of the kiosks. The travel time was about 50 minutes.
**Travel tip - Buy tickets in advance if you can. I wasn’t sure which cities to go to for our day trips, and therefore put off buying the tickets until the last minute. This was a mistake! When I went to buy the tickets about a week before we left, they had doubled in price. Thankfully it wasn’t astronomical. We paid about 50 euros each (roundtrip). But we could have only paid 25 euros each if we had purchased them a month or more in advance.
Trolleys: We used the trolley’s to get around in Bern. They were VERY easy to use and the cost was about 2.50 euros per ride. The trolley will take you straight into downtown Bern, which isn’t far from the train station. We actually walked from downtown to the train station several times.
Airplanes: You can also fly into Switzerland. The main airports are Zurich, Bern, and Geneva.
There are many day trips you can take from Bern. Although we didn’t get to hit every single one, I did a lot of research about each place and have listed them all below. I can’t wait to go to back and visit the ones we didn’t have time for!
Interlaken: very beautiful, but also very touristy. Walk alongside the lake and take in the views. Read more about our day in Interlaken at the end of this post.
Lucerne: about an hour and 15 minute train ride from Bern. If you are looking for a beautiful Swiss city to visit, I would recommend this one!
Thun: Thun is a small town located on the lower end of Lake Thun. Don’t miss the beautiful castle that sits on a hill overlooking the alps. 20 minute train ride from Bern.
Lauterbrunnen: of all the places I’ve been to in Switzerland, this is by far my favorite. Read more about our day in Lauterbrunnen down below.
Grindelwald: a village in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps. Train to Interlaken, then switch trains at Interlaken OST. 45 minutes from Interlaken to Grindelwald.
Wengen: a mountain village in the Bernese Oberland. Well-known for it’s timber chalets. Train to Interlaken, then switch trains at Interlaken OST. Take 20 minute train to Lauterbrunnen. Then train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen (about 8 minutes)
Zurich: another pretty city in Switzerland, but not as quaint. Zurich is a busy place with a lot to do! It’s about an hour train ride from Bern.
Cheese cheese cheese. Eat all the cheese while in Switzerland. And if you are thinking about going dairy free, wait until after your visit :)
Chocolate: Switzerland is known for some of the best chocolate in the world.
Baguettes: We pretty much lived off bread in Switzerland - and it was worth every single calorie.
Fresh Orange Juice: Some grocery stores have these machines with real oranges at the top, that get machine pressed into juice that goes straight into your bottle. Honestly, the best orange juice I’ve ever had.
Basically our Swiss diet consisted of bread, cheese, charcuterie and beer. Since Switzerland is so expensive, most of our meals came from the grocery store. This helped us save money, and we were able to try different foods.
Switzerland is not cheap, and that’s probably it’s biggest downfall. However, thanks to Airbnb, there are quite a few budget friendly options to choose from. In Bern, we stayed at a wonderful flat about 15 minutes from downtown. The flat was a private room, but had a completely separate entrance and was very spacious.
Our Day Trip to Lauterbrunnen:
Prior to the start of our trip, I had narrowed down our day trip to either Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Grindelwald. At the last minute we picked Lauterbrunnen and wow. Best decision. I’m sure the other two are great, but I was blown away by Lauterbrunnen. For one, the train ride up to the small Swiss town was breathtaking (Sit on the left side). This is a little embarrassing, but I actually started to tear up as the train was pulling into the station because I was in awe of the beauty.
Once we arrived, we hopped off the train and started walking towards a waterfall that could be seen in the distance. There was hardly anyone else around. It almost felt like we had the whole town to ourselves, and it was wonderful. After we reached the waterfall, we continued walking, this time towards the snow covered Swiss mountains. We walked for around an hour and a half until we reached Stechelberg. Here, you can take a gondola all the way to “The Top of Europe.” The price was pretty steep (around $100 a person) so we said maybe another time. For food, we stopped at a grocery store and bought cheese, bread and meat (our Swiss diet lol) and then found a quaint spot near a waterfall to eat.
Lauterbrunnen is filled with waterfalls and cowbells, and has some of the most unbelievable views in the world. I highly recommend this town.
*Train from Interlaken OST to Lauterbrunnen - about 25 minutes and 16 euros roundtrip.
I had never really thought much about visiting Bern. I’d been to Zurich before and loved it, but wanted to try something new. Bern was an easy train ride from Paris, which was where we were coming from, and was a perfect base for day trips to different Swiss villages. Bern is an older town, with shopping, restaurants, and pretty views from the square.
Bern was an enjoyable city, but I probably wouldn’t make it my main destination. It’s a great base to get to other places, but you won’t see many mountains if Bern is your only stop.
The second day we were in Bern, we decided to take a 45 min train to Interlaken. We were there in the beginning of October - right as the leaves were beginning to change. It was amazing, and I am SO glad we went when we did. I was worried that the weather would be cold, but we were blessed with sunny and 75.
Interlaken is located in between two lakes (hence the name), and is the main station for getting to places like Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, The Top of Europe, etc. There is Interlaken West where you are close to the Thunersee Lake. Here you can take a ferry to several different places on the Thunersee lake. The furthest you can go is to Thun ( 2 1/2 hour boat ride) and costs $60 per person.
If you get off at Interlaken OST, you will be close to Lake Brienserzee. Here you can take a ferry to the end of the lake (Brienz). You can also walk along a gravel path on the right side of the river all the way to the start of the lake. The lake water is the prettiest teal blue color, and the walk along the river is a must-do!
Places I want to VISIT on my next Switzerland Trip:
Canton of Bern
Hopefully this post gave you some wanderlust! If so, let me help plan your next trip to Switzerland: Plan a Trip