I’ve been fascinated with Switzerland, right from my childhood, thanks to all the Bollywood movies I grew up on. To the uninitiated, Switzerland was a favourite destination for one of the key filmmaker in India, who changed the face of Indian and Bollywood cinema with his stylish direction and magical story-telling.

I am talking about the late Yash Chopra, who put Switzerland in the Bollywood map and who even got honorary Swiss citizenship for his contribution. My friends and family who have visited the place have always raved about it, some calling it heaven on earth.

A lot of times, when I go somewhere with such great expectations, it tends to not live up to it. However, Switzerland did not just exceed my expectations, it was beyond magical. So, without further ado, here are my top breathtaking Swiss experiences.

  1. Jungfraujoch Cogwheel train ride:
Jungfrau cogwheel experience
Jungfrau Cogwheel experience

The Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe station is at 3,454 m. This makes it the highest mountain railway station in Europe. Hopping on a cogwheel train to reach here was not in our plan but after exploring Wengen we were in a train to Grindelwald and a fellow traveller who worked in Wengen told us to take the cogwheel train from Klaine Scheidegg station. We are glad we got lost and took this stranger’s advice. The cogwheel train experience became one of the best train experiences I have ever had. 

Jungfrau Cogwheel experience

The Cogwheel train lets you enjoy the majestic Alpine panorama without you having to break a sweat. Throughout our journey, we had our jaws and eyes wide open, taking in the sheer natural beauty. Green vistas dotted with beautiful cottages, and the snow-capped Junfrau standing there, tall and proud.

2. Mount Titlis:

  • Mt Titlis cable car experience

When you are in Switzerland, exploring at least one mountain is a must. We decided to explore Mt Titlis, located between the cantons of Obwalden and Bern. The best way to reach Mount Titlis is via a cable car. From Lucerne, the Lucerne-Engelberg Express takes you to Engelberg. From there, you take a bus to the 8-seater Titlis Xpress gondola cable car, and then you ascend to the midway station at Stand. The Titlis revolving cable car takes you up to the mountain station at 3020 meters.

The journey on the Mt Titlis cable car to the summit station is about 10 minutes long. En route, you are greeted with views of sheer cliff faces, deep crevasses and snow-covered mountain peaks all around Mount Titlis. A word of warning: Be sure to reach Engelberg early. Mt. Titlis is a tourist hot spot and even in summer, you can experience a good bit of snow. If you want to avoid long queues at the summit station it is advisable to reach early.

  • Mt Titlis experience

Titlis is a truly spectacular experience. Right from the beginning when you hop on the cable car and meet cows lazily grazing grass to slow nearing the mountain and able to touch and play with snow even in summer! We had a fabulous time playing with the snowmobile, exploring the rather chilly glacier cave, walking precariously on the Titlis rope bridge.

The icing on the cake was definitely the Ice Flyer. Costing about 12 CHF, this flyer is a chairlift that takes you from Mount Titlis’ mountain station to its glacier park. It reminded us of a snow-filled theme park ride.

3. Walking and exploring Wengen village and nearby areas

Switzerland has many beautiful little villages, perfect for walking or hiking. We were originally planning to go to Grindelwald but ended up in Wengen– a decision we did not regret. Wengen is a picturesque Alpine village located in the Bernese Oberland region. Known for its timber chalets and belle époque hotels, Wengen also offers great cycling roads.

Wengen village, Switzerland

Wengen has a somewhat hippie vibe with several quirky cafes and sustainable coffee houses. On South of Wengen are the Trümmelbach glacier waterfalls, accessed via underground paths.

Trümmelbach glacier waterfalls
View from the waterfalls

From Wengen, you can easily take the cogwheel to top of Jungfrau or a train to Interlaken. After finishing Jungfrau, we made our way to Interlaken. Now, I wish we had stayed in Interlaken for a day or two. It is a haven for hikers, walkers and thrill-seekers.

Lake Thun

Unfortunately, we had just a few hours left before going back to our hotel in Zurich hence we decided to just walk near Lake Thun. With crystal clear waters and a relaxing vibe, Lake Thun is a place where you can just sit, relax and get lost in nature. Something you need after a day of walking and hiking.

4. Lake Lucern boat trip

Lake Lucern
Lake Lucern

If you are short on time, like us (5 days in Switzerland) and want to pack many different things then doing a boat trip is highly recommended. With a Swiss travel pass, you can get some discounts on most boat routes. From the open deck of the boat, you see the beautiful sights of Lucerne.

The boat meanders on a calm lake and passes through steep fjords all along giving you a glimpse of daily life, the pretty cottage houses, old Town and waterfront buildings.

5. Lake Zurich and Zurich old town:

When talking about Switzerland, how can we ignore one of its biggest cities–Zurich–the global centre for banking and finance. A very cool and sophisticated city.

At the heart of Zurich lies the old town. And the beauty of it is that it spans the stunningly blue Limmat river that runs right through the heart of Zurich. You can lose yourself for hours in the winding streets of this historic centre, finding quirky shops and cafes and soaking in the eclectic vibe of the city. 

No trip to Zurich is complete without spending some time on the shores of the iconic Zurich lake. Apparently, a few of James Bond movies have been shot here. But more than that, Lake Zurich belongs very much to the people of Zurich, so there are parks and places to just sit back and enjoy the view or go for a view-ridden walk. 
If you want to take in the crowds and often some local music, head towards the left-hand promenade. But for a more peaceful and green-filled walk along the lake. Either way, if you want to experience true Zurich and indulge in some people-watching this is the place to go.

As you can see, Switzerland packs a punch with something for each kind of traveller. I am definitely glad that I was able to experience this truly spectacular and beautiful place and I can only hope to go back to experience the things I missed.

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Tenerife is a striking and saucy archipelago of islands set adrift off the coast of Africa (Canary Islands) offering beautiful beaches, jaw-dropping mountains (including Spain’s highest) and perennial warmth. Hence, it is no wonder that the island attracts more than 1.6 million tourists each year and is known to have 365 days of tourism.

The story goes that Christopher Columbus, famously stopped over Canary Islands, en route to sailing off the known world in search of the New one. Tenerife offers a heady and varied mix of both white and black (volcanic sand) beaches, a promising night life, designer and street shopping, scrumpitous food, water theme parks and everything in between. Suffice to say, in Tenerife, you will be spoilt for choices.

Here are my top favourite experiences that I could manage during my birthday vacation.

  1. Costa Adeje: 

One of the newest resort area in Tenerife, Costa Adeje is a coastline full of plush hotels, modern attractions, interesting beaches and chic restaurants. Costa Adeje also boasts of some of the most expensive and classy all-inclusive resorts from Bahia Del Dudque, Melia Jardaines del Teide (where we stayed and highly recommand) to Sheraton.

 

 

Adeje is a food-lovers paradise. From Sushi to Sphagetti, from Curry to Canarian Cuisine, from yummylicious fish to fajitas; there are over 100 nations and there cuisines featured here. The beaches, too are much better, here whether you prefer sun-bathing to surfing, whether you water-skiing or windsurfing. Adeje’s coastline will not disappoint you.

Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Costa Adeje, Tenerife

 

Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Melia jardaines del Teide

Melia jardaines del Teide, Costa Adeje, Tenerife 

For families, too there are several water theme parks from Siam Park to Aqualand. The Mountain range on the other side of the coastline gives this an added edge.

2. Coastal Walk:

A City walk that will leave you wanting more. The Geranium Walk in South Tenerife is a great experience if you want to see all the beaches offered here, experience the local culture and eat some yummy grub all in one go. A stroll, along the promenade linking the main southern resorts might sound like an easy walk, but don’t be fooled. The route which runs from the once tiny village of La Caleta through Costa Adeje and Playa de las Américas to the very end of Los Cristianos runs for nearly 10 kilometres and covers about 12 beaches.

Playa del Duque beach, Tenerife

Playa del Duque beach, Tenerife

 

This walk will help you see all the distinct beaches and a marina. Plus you can enjoy umpteen number of street performances and if you are hungry or thirsty, just hop onto any of the amazing restaurants and have a pint or two. As it is recommanded, we started walking from our resort to La Caleta and went all the way to Los Cristianos, taking regualar breaks because we had a baby to carry as well! It took us over 2 hours to reach Los Cristianos and around one and half hours to reach our resort from Los Cristianos (because you guessed it we walked!) But this is an experience, I highy recommand especially if you are short on time. Just remember one thing: good footwear.

3. Hiking

Tenerife is a hikers and mountain climbers’ paradise. Whilst hiking up the highest mountain-Pico del Teide or Mount Teide–in North Tenerife is an unmissable experience, we could not make it due to extreme weather conditions (Tenerife is known for its micro climates as well). But we decided to hike up Barranco del Rey–although not the highest the volcanic terrain–makes this a tricky hike (not that we needed it as we had a toddler with us and that’s tricky enough!).

Barranco del infierno, Tenerife

En route to Barranco del infierno

The area is very important archaeologically, since there are hundreds of caves that were home to  aboriginal Guanches, as well as caves with engravings. The largest collection of Guanche mummies and utensils were found here and placed in the Museum of Nature and Man of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Barranco del infierno, Tenerife

Barranco del infierno, Tenerife

We chose one of the easiest paths, which to begin with starts with paved pathway, but as you brave up you see path becoming treachous, narrow sometimes and full of lava stones. The beauty of this hike is that you can see the whole of Tenerife in its lucious beauty as you go up. The azure blue waters the ocean too comes to life from top.

It took us arounf six hours to reach on top (with few breaks and three hours to come down) and the tricky part was as went up we realised the peak is somewhere else. Hiking in these mountains hence can leave the most discerning explorer wanting for more. And there is no denial in saying that when you reach up you feel invincible.

After the hike, thanks to our bone tired body and grumbling tummy, we headed towards Otello –a hidden gem which served amazing Canarian cuisine with a jaw dropping view of the mountain.

4. All inclusive resorts

As bizzare as it sounds but my last (not the least) favourite bit of Tenerife was the all-inclusive resorts. Exhausted parents that we are, we were definitely looking for staying options where we did not have to worry about anything. And Costa Adeje’s resorts do not disappoint.

Costa Adeje, Tenerife

View from the resort

As stated above, we stayed at Melia Jardaines del Teide, with it’s amazing pools, great food (the whole wheat croissant was my favourite!), pleathora of activities, night time entertainment and beach bus services, this resort is definitely value for money. The swaying palm trees, beautiful view of the ocean and little cosy corners in every nook and cranny of the resort the place is brilliant.

dress2 - 1

It is also worth remembering that Costa Adeje has some of the plushest, lavish and chic resorts as compared to other parts of Tenerife.

All in all Tenerife was more than my expectations. With equal dose of sun, warmth and revelry this is definitely a holiday destination I recommand. 🙂

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