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Switzerland Winter Vacation Recap

Updated: May 10, 2023


At the beginning of the year, my husband and I headed to Switzerland for a magical nine days of Swiss bliss. We had never been to Switzerland before and were excited to explore this beautiful country. So we decided on a trip that would take us through several cities: Zurich, Lucerne, and Interlaken. Our trip was a whirlwind, and I'm so glad we were able to fit in so much! The weather was perfect, and the scenery was breathtaking.


We had so much fun exploring Switzerland and were sad to leave when our trip came to an end. There are still so many cities I want to visit! You could literally spend three to four weeks in this country exploring, not to mention traveling during different seasons for different experiences. I plan to go back in the spring to see the beauty Switzerland offers during that season.


In summary, my trip to Switzerland was fantastic. We loved every part of our Swiss experience and can't wait to return! So if you're looking for a great place to visit on your next vacation, I highly recommend Switzerland.


Why Visit Switzerland in the Winter?

Visiting Switzerland in the winter is such a great experience. The Swiss Alps are beautiful and accessible year-round, but the winter season offers a whole new set of activities that can't be matched by any other time of year! From skiing and snowboarding to snowmobiling, ice skating, and sledding — there's no shortage of ways to enjoy these mountains during this season.


If you're planning a trip to Switzerland in the near future or just dreaming about it while stuck inside during our lackluster cold weather (which, let's face it, is most of the winter here), then keep reading for all my tips on enjoying all that Switzerland has to offer in this chilly time of year!


Zurich

Our first stop was Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland. It's also the financial capital of Switzerland, so it has a very modern feel — especially when you compare it to other cities like Lucerne or Interlaken, which have more traditional Swiss architecture. Overall, Zurich is a great place to start your journey because there are tons of things to do here!


Where To Stay

Widder Hotel

We started with a two-night stay at Widder Hotel. The hotel is about a ten-minute walk from the train station and is close to plenty of shopping and dining options. The hotel features 35 rooms and 14 suites, all bespoke and individually designed. The rooms are spacious, bright, and airy, with a mix of historical materials and modern charm. We stayed in the Design Queen room with heated bathroom floors that we loved!


The concierge at the Widder was super helpful in helping us find a restaurant or shop nearby and even providing transportation guidance. If you want to stay in, have a drink at the Widder bar, a staple of the Zurich bar scene with a wide selection of liquor. While we went out for most of our meals, we ate at the hotel for breakfast. The complimentary breakfast was delicious and offered an extensive list of options, with mimosas included.


Overall, we highly recommend this boutique hotel for its prime location and excellent customer service.


Schweizerhof

We ended our trip by returning to Zurich and staying one night at Schweizerhof. This 140-year-old hotel combines classic charm with contemporary luxury, boasting modern accommodations and a staff that treats guests like royalty. This hotel is right across from the train station, making it a #1 pick if you are flying in and out of Zurich.


I was blown away by the service of this hotel, even having stayed only one night. As soon as we entered the hotel, we were served champagne. Our stay here was the end of my birthday trip, and they placed a mini cake and bottle of wine in our room on arrival. The complimentary breakfast here was fantastic, with plenty of options to choose from. My favorite part of the hotel was the classic bellman outfits that just exude 5-star vibes.


We loved this hotel and would definitely return in the future!


What to Do

National Museum: The National Museum is a great way to spend a few hours exploring the history of Switzerland. The museum has plenty of interactive exhibits that are fun for both adults and kids. It’s located right in the middle of Zurich, so it’s easy to get there by foot or public transportation!


Lindt home of chocolate: The Lindt Chocolate shop is a great place to visit if you’re a chocolate lover. They have tons of delicious treats and samples to try, including their famous chocolates. Take a self-guided tour and join the “Creative with all your senses” chocolate bar-making class (highly recommend this experience).


Free walking tour of Zurich


Shopping: If you love designer handbags, this is the city to shop in. There’s a designer area (Bahnhofstrasse) in Zurich, and the prices are cheaper here, plus apply for a VAT refund at the airport (ask the designer shop for the paperwork). I ended up saving $250 on a Louis Vuitton handbag buying it in Zurich vs Dallas.


Where to Eat

MUST GO: Le Dezaley has THE BEST fondue I’ve ever had. I would go back to Zurich just to eat here again. We ordered the cheese fondue and meat fondue, both were amazing, but I think the cheese was my favorite. The ambiance of this place is great, and has been around for over a hundred years.


Zeughauskeller: Serves hearty Swiss fare with a touch of German. German beers are available here.


Swiss Chuchi: Serves swiss cuisine at inexpensive prices.


Lucerne

Lucerne is a beautiful city in the heart of Switzerland, about 30 minutes away from Zurich. The old town has lots of charm and many shops and restaurants to choose from. It's known for being one of the most beautiful European cities, with picturesque views of the mountains and Lake Lucerne. Looking back, I wish we would have stayed in Zurich because we loved it so much, and then made a day trip to Lucerne.


Where To Stay

Ameron Lucerne Hotel Flora

While in Lucerne, we stayed two nights at Ameron Lucerne Hotel Flora. This hotel was beautiful and had a great location. It was right in the heart of Lucerne, with lots of places to eat and shop nearby. It's also close to the light show at Lucerne's water tower. We stayed in the Premium Pilates room, with a partial view of Pilates Mountain. There was complimentary breakfast at this hotel as well, and we enjoyed our stay here overall!


What to Do

Walking tour of Lucerne


Boat Cruise: We highly recommend the boat cruise. It was a beautiful day, so we were able to enjoy the views of Lucerne from the water. They have wine and beer for the scenic route to the mountains. We took the boat cruise to Mt. Rigi and rode the cogwheel to the top of the mountain for the perfect cup of hot chocolate. This is also the perfect photo spot!


Glacier Garden: We didn't have time for Glacier Garden this trip, but it's considered a must-do in Lucerne.


Where to Eat

Bolero Restaurant: This restaurant serves delicious Spanish tapas! Definitely make a reservation; this place was packed!


Soul Chicken: This little hole in the wall is the perfect place to grab a bite of some Swiss-style chicken. The fried chicken was perfection, and it was easy on the wallet.


Interlaken

Interlaken is a beautiful resort town in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. The city is best known for its lakeside location, but there are many other things to do and see in Interlaken. The town itself is a great place to relax and enjoy some of the best views Switzerland has to offer. We loved our time here!


Where To Stay

Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa


We stayed three nights at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, which was our favorite stay by far! We loved this hotel and plan to go back again! The skating rink was right across the street from the hotel and within walking distance of two train stations. I couldn't get over how amazing our room was. We had a view of the skating rink and mountain, a living room, a huge closet space, and a bidet. The hotel also has a heated swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, relaxation rooms, and a co-ed sauna.


Furthermore, the food at this hotel was outstanding! The breakfast was to die for, especially paired with champagne. Room service was also excellent, and the wait staff was so lovely. We ate at two of their restaurants during our stay, and both times our meals were incredible. We had delicious pizza and wine at Ristorante e Pizzeria Sapori for lunch and enjoyed fine dining at La Terrasse Brasserie for my birthday dinner. Lastly, we grabbed a drink at Victoria Bar & Terrasse, which had great handcrafted cocktails to indulge in, along with live music to start or end your evening.


While everything at this hotel was exceptional, the highlight of my stay was definitely the spa! Private spa rooms with a sauna, steam room, and bathtub are available for the ultimate relaxing experience. We got a couples massage and then had 90 minutes to enjoy the amenities of our private room. Fruit, smoothies, and water were also available in the spa room at a bistro table. It was a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone staying at this hotel!


What to Do

Day trip to Bern: We took the train to Bern and joined the walking city tour. Some highlights were the clock tower, aka Zytglogge, and seeing where Einstein lived.


Night sledding: We went night sledding in the mountains, and it was such a cool experience.


Snow-shoeing We took a snow hiking adventure through the mountains to see some gorgeous views. The scenery was so beautiful, and I loved that we got to experience the mountains from a different perspective.


Short trip to Lauterbrunnen: This is definitely more of a springtime town, so if you are traveling during that season, make sure to keep it on your radar.


Paragliding: This might have been my favorite activity of the trip. I did a tandem paragliding flight with a pro, which was incredible. The view of the Swiss Alps was breathtaking, and we had so much fun. I liked it more than skydiving, and I would go paragliding again in a heartbeat!


Where to Eat

Simply Sushi


Stadthaus: Serves modern Swiss cuisine.


Overall Experience & Tips

Overall, Switzerland is an absolutely gorgeous country, and I would highly recommend it for a winter vacation. If you are planning on doing any kind of other activities outside of just skiing or snowboarding, definitely plan for at least two weeks because there's just so much to do! We had a blast, and I will definitely be going back again for another trip!


Tips

I highly recommend utilizing the train pass - we were able to get a 9-day pass that covered unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat. This is how we traveled throughout the country for the entire trip, and it was worth every penny. Plus, it includes added attractions like free admission to over 500 museums as well as mountain excursions to Rigi, Stanserhorn, and Stoos.

The water from the tap in Switzerland is safe to drink, even from the sink. To avoid paying for bottled water every time you go out to eat, ask your server for free tap water instead.


 

Looking to plan a Swiss getaway? Reach out to the expert planners at Travel Queen LLC! As experts in all things Switzerland, we know what it takes to create the ultimate Swiss vacation. Let us help create your most memorable getaway yet!


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