I’ve officially reached that point in my trip where I have no money. What better place to be broke in Europe than in Switzerland, right? Wrong. Switzerland is SO expensive. Although the US dollar and the Swiss Franc are very similar, prices for regular goods are much more expensive in Switzerland. For example, I went to the supermarket the other day and bought a baguette, deli style meat and cheese and a water. My total was 16 CHF, about $16. I was also purchasing these goods from a “discount” supermarket! With that being said, my time in Switzerland wasn’t as enjoyable as I would’ve appreciated.
My Eurail pass expired on the second day we were in Geneva, but that didn’t stop me from using it right up until the last possible second. A train ride to Bern doesn’t involve any reservation fees, which meant with my Eurail pass I could go to and from Bern for free! I obviously couldn’t turn down that offer.
Bern is a beautiful city! We were there on a rather gloomy day, but there was still so much beauty to be seen. Honestly, we didn’t have much of a plan for Bern. We literally walked out of the train station and continued to wander through the city aimlessly until it was time to catch our train back home.
The beautiful thing about Switzerland is that it is so easy to navigate that you really don’t need a plan. You see interesting landmarks and sights everywhere that subconsciously guide you through each city. If you’ve read any of my blogs in the past, you know one of my favorite things is to get lost in a new city. I feel as though you can’t really say you visited a place and truly saw everything if you don’t allow yourself to get lost.
Our day trip to Bern was exactly that. I couldn’t tell you exactly what we saw in Bern, but I can tell you that everything was incredible. My advice is to wander through the side streets and the shopping district and follow what appeals to you, because believe me there will be a lot.
Following Bern, we spent four full days in Geneva. We stayed at the City Hostel Geneva which was approximately five minutes walking distance from Lake Geneva. The hostel was nothing to rave about, the staff was average, the rooms were average and the kitchen was average. In Geneva there aren’t many options for hostel accommodations, but the City Hostel Geneva was the cheapest ranging at $35 a night. Although the hostel was pretty bland, it got the job done.
During our four-day stay, we were able to explore all of Geneva. I particularly liked the Botanical Gardens. I spent hours just walking in and out of the greenhouses and touring the park. After all of our hectic travel days, I really have started to appreciate the days I am able to spend in calm, comfortable environments such as nature.
The Geneva Water Fountain is definitely a must when visiting Geneva, as is the whole lake itself. We went in the winter, so it wasn’t the most picturesque time but still amazing to see. I would love to come back to Geneva during the spring and summer months when the sky is more clear to see the mountains towering over the lake. I’m sure it is beautiful.
All along Lake Geneva there are pop up art sculptures and abstract pieces. I thoroughly enjoyed walking all throughout each exhibit leading up to the infamous L’horloge Fleurie. The L’horloge Fleurie is the flower clock alongside Lake Geneva that has served as a main tourist attraction for years. It is quite intricate and truly functions as a working clock which I thought was pretty cool.
The United Nations lawn is also a really cool sight to see in Geneva. The lawn showcases each different country flag leading up to the front of the building. In addition to the beautiful flag poles there are abstract art pieces along the walls leading up to the front gate which I found extremely appealing.
I know I’ve said countless times that Switzerland is very expensive and it is, but one thing you must spend your money on is cheese. Switzerland is known for their chocolate and cheese so leaving without trying some of the best would be sinful. Trying fondue and their specialty, raclette is an absolute must!
The last night we were in Geneva, we dined at Auberge de Saviese. It is a typical Swiss restaurant and even though you’re going to spend an arm and a leg it is so worth the splurge. We shared the house fondue was around $25 and ordered a side of raclette for about $7. Raclette is a Swiss cheese dish served with potatoes. There are only two fondue pots that are sharable at a lesser price, every other one is charged per person. Believe me though, the house fondue is more than enough for two people, probably even three or four people. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the cheese and raclette were, all I can say is just go!
Our time in Switzerland was very relaxing which was exactly what we needed after our crazy travel filled two months. Next time I come back I would really enjoy going further into the mountains to Grindelwald and Interlaken, as well as, exploring the small unheard of towns in between. I’ll be sure to save up a boat load of money next time so I’m not stuck in the same position I was this time around.
Next we are headed off to Sweden! I haven’t been to the north of Europe yet so I definitely can’t wait to see what they have to offer!