16 Aug A quick, itinerary-enhancing guide to a long weekend in Switzerland
There’s no escaping the fact that a stay, even a brief one, in Switzerland can be prohibitively expensive. For this reason, it tends to be overlooked by budget travellers – but the good news is, if you can foot the bill, you will be rewarded with stunning scenery, tasty chocolate and friendly locals.
Okay, so it’s not easy to sell Switzerland in just a few words like that. Here’s a better attempt if you are considering booking a weekend in Switzerland to properly sample many of its attractions…
Plan your journey carefully to reduce the expense
As warned by Nomadic Matt, your wallet could start looking pretty empty even before you leave the airport on Swiss soil. For this reason, you should plan your itinerary carefully to see where you can make strategic savings from the moment you head off in the direction of Switzerland.
Rest assured that you can get to where you go quickly through airport taxi transfers, on which you can save as much as 40% if you are choosy about where you book them online.
You can enjoy it all in Geneva
Okay, so it would rather depend on what exactly you call “all”. However, we reckon that a broad array of attractions including the world’s largest fountain, a historic city centre and various international restaurants could fit the bill quite nicely – and you can enjoy all of that in Geneva.
Much of the varied character of Geneva, Switzerland’s third-largest city, can be attributed to the presence of United Nations buildings here – and the city has 40 museums in total.
Take in sumptuous views from Mount Pilatus
After arriving in the city of Lucerne, you can easily ascend this beautiful mountain – whether by doing so in a cable car or taking the traditional route of hiking. Either way, the Swiss Alps are stunning to behold once you have reached the mountainous peak of Pilatus, so it’s well worth the trip!
Head off the beaten track to see some history
On your travels, you might be less of a nature-embracing David Attenborough and more of a history-loving Lucy Worsley – in which case, don’t underestimate the wealth of historical sights hiding away in quieter parts of Switzerland.
Consider, for example, the city of St Gallen, the Abbey Library of which contains documents dating back over a thousand years. Meanwhile, numerous villages in the country’s Graubunden area are dotted with houses originally built in the thirteenth century.
Fancy excursions to France and Germany? Then stay in Basel
In a way, the north-western Swiss city of Basel – which is pronounced “BAZ-zul“, not “BAY-zil” – is like the York of Switzerland: picturesque and steeped in history and museums, but still cosmopolitan enough to excite with its attractions if you are a particularly picky traveller.
It is also – as pointed out by the travel blog As We Saw It – only a few kilometres away from France and Germany, meaning that you can easily make detours to both countries.