Claire was lucky to join Swiss Travel Centre in June for a busy 4 days to experience the fabulous Swiss rail system and some of the highlights our clients can experience.
A short flight from Manchester to Zurich airport and it was straight down to the airport train station to jump on our train to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. We arrived into the centre of Bern and took a guided walk around the beautiful historic city centre. Bern became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1983 and it’s easy to see why. Lunch was at a fabulous restaurant converted from the old Tram depot, Altestramdepot, overlooking the River Aare and the famous Bern Bear Park.
We went back to the station and we jumped back on the train to Interlaken. A short 45 minutes later we were pulling into Interlaken, the gateway to the Jungfrau region. A short stroll and we were at the Hotel Metropole, our home for the next two nights.
This evening we had dinner at the Spycher Folklore Restaurant where we had the chance to learn how to play a Swiss horn!
This morning we woke to the fabulous views of the paragliders landing in front of the hotel. The Metropole might not be the best looking hotel in Interlaken from the outside but it does have sensational views from the inside! After breakfast we walked to the Interlaken Ost station for a short train to Wilderswil where we joined the cogwheel train to Schynige Platte. It was quite a surprise how steep a cogwheel train can travel! We had a lovely walk around the Alpine Garden and then travelled back down to Wilderswil for a quick change of train and then a bus to the station of Stechelberg.
Here at Stechelberg we started our journey of 5 striking cable cars taking us to the summit of Schilthorn Piz Gloria at 2970m. At the summit is the famous James Bond revolving restaurant where we had a fabulous buffet lunch, watching the brilliant scenery through the breaking clouds. We had a look around the Bond World, which was great fun for any Bond fans. We travelled back on the series of cable cars and trains back to Interlaken. A quick change and we walked through Interlaken to the base station of Harder Kulm for the funicular railway to the summit. Here we had dinner outside on the terrace overlooking Interlaken and the Lakes of Thun & Brienz.
Today we left Interlaken for our next stay in the Aletsch Arena. On the train again, we headed south through the lotschberg tunnel to Brig where we changed onto the regional mountain train to the Aletsch Arena. We disembarked the train at Fiesch and headed straight up on the cable car to our first viewpoint, Eggishorn, for our first view of the breath taking Aletsch Glacier.
A short cable car back down to Fiescheralp and we took the mountain path to Bettmeralp where we took the cable car to the Bettmerhorn viewpoint. It was amazing how you could see different detail of the glacier from the various viewpoints. After returning to Bettmeralp, we had a viewing of the georgous Chalet Hotel Bettmerhof. Family run with beautiful rooms and out of this world views – this is where I would choose to stay if I was lucky enough to return to the Aletsch Arena. We had an enjoyable late afternoon walk in the sunshine from Bettmeralp to Riederalp. This has to be one of the most stunning walks with view over the valley and the mountains. We spent the night at the Hotel Royal where after dinner, we didn’t last long after our extensive walk!
An early start, and after breakfast we were straight up on the cable car to our final viewpoint of the glacier, Moosfluh. The Aletsch Glacier stretches over 23km and it really is worth viewing from the various viewpoints. We enjoyed our last views and set off on another fabulous hike back down to Riederalp. It was farewell to our guide for the area, David, and we hopped onto the cable car to the station at Morel, where we took the train via Brig back to Zurich Airport. The short flight back to Manchester and my impressive short break in Switzerland was over.
After my visit I would definitely recommend Switzerland, not only for a longer holiday, but also for a short break. With the efficiency of the transport in Switzerland you can easily spend a few days here, whether it’s for a walking holiday, visiting the capital Bern, or relaxing in the mountains. Thanks to Nick and the team at Swiss Travel Centre for this fabulous introduction to Switzerland!