4 Things You Have to Do in Switzerland

Switzerland! Where do I begin? What a relaxing and beautiful place. I loved it. This trip was unlike any of my other trips so far. I visited Interlaken, so the whole town seemed to revolve around outdoorsy activities like hiking, paragliding, and walking…it’s like the Colorado or Vermont of Europe.

Because Interlaken is very small, there weren’t any famous buildings to visit or super touristy activities that you have to do like you would have in Paris, London, or Barcelona; it was a nice break from travel weekends with lengthy to-do lists and long days filled with sightseeing.

1.  Do something extreme.

Whether you are super adventurous and want to skydive or more reserved and would rather paraglide, there are so many activities that you have available to you in downtown Interlaken. I paraglided–because jumping out of a plane just doesn’t appeal to me–even though I do consider myself pretty adventurous. Paragliding was awesome. The views were spectacular and the sensation of flying was so much fun. It was an unforgettable experience and even though it was only a 15 minute ride, I will remember soaring over the Swiss Alps forever. Two other popular thrill-seeking activities include whitewater rafting and hang gliding.

2) Eat Chocolate. Lots of it.

I am a huge chocolate lover, so this was easy for me. I was all about trying every chocolate store we passed–don’t worry, there weren’t too many because Interlaken is such a small town. My favorite place was the Funky Chocolate Factory, where you could go and actually make your own chocolate bar. We didn’t do that, but we visited the store, and the selection was huge–any chocolate lover’s paradise! We asked our paragliding pilots their favorite chocolate in Switzerland…and to our surprise they said Lindt. We are all familiar with that brand…as it is huge in the States, but I can see why it’s their favorite because it is so good.

3) Go to Brienz Lake.

About a fifteen minute drive from downtown Interlaken was this huge lake with a great view of the town and lots of mountains. It is definitely walkable if you have a nice day, but it is pretty far–I would say at least a 30 minute walk (but 45 minutes if you want to get to the best photo spot). The water is so blue, and it looks amazing against the mountains. It’s so picture perfect; this lake must be on so many postcards. It was like a Swiss lake version of the Caribbean Ocean. If you want some good pictures, this is the place.

4) Harder Kulm Hike.

I am not a fan of hiking, so this was not my favorite part of the weekend, to say the least. But I have to include it because it is a must-do in Switzerland–whether you make it to the top or not. All my roommates loved it, so if you have the patience for a four-five hour hike, then you will too. It also is strenuous. The majority of the hike was uphill and challenging if you wanted to take the shortest route (but even this route still takes 3.5 hours at least!). I would have loved it if the funicular was running but I was out of luck because it doesn’t run during the winter months–oh well. The views of the city were amazing, so it was definitely worth it looking back.

Overall, Switzerland was an amazing trip–definitely one of my favorites so far. If you have time and are interested in a low-key, relaxing, and breathtakingly beautiful getaway spot, Interlaken is the place!

Tori Rotermund is a student at Bentley University and an official API Blogger. Tori is studying abroad with API in Barcelona, Spain.

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