This week I had an amazing ramble around Switzerland. I flew into Zurich and then headed on the Glacier Express to Zermatt. I had never been to Switzerland before but I had seen loads of pictures online and it looked like a fairytale. Like most of my trips, this was a solo adventure. Switzerland is one of the safest places I have visited so, I highly recommend it for solo travellers.
When researching flights I decided to fly into Zurich instead of Geneva as the trains in Zurich were closer to the Glacier Express. I flew out on the 06:40 Aer Lingus flight from Dublin. As I had never been to Zurich before, I decided to spend the day exploring before heading South the next day. I stayed in the Opera Hotel which had an amazing location right next to the Opera house. I took the train from the airport to the main train station in Zurich. The train from the airport to Zurich HB station only costs 6.80chf. You can also get a taxi, however, Switzerland is expensive and I couldn’t justify spending so much for a taxi so, I opted for the train. The trains were so easy to find and navigate. I used google maps to help me find the train information and platform detail. It is also good to note that Switzerland used the Swiss Franc currency, although Switzerland is in the EU it doesn’t use the euro. Almost everywhere accepted card but it is handy to have a small amount of cash especially in the smaller towns outside of the city.
When I was in Zurich I explored the old town. It is really easy to walk around Zurich. It is also worth noting that most places close on a Sunday. Even the supermarkets were closed on Sunday. There was also no tacky tour buses roaming around the city. I thought this was great as I was able to photograph the streets without the crowds of people. I walked through the old cobbled streets to Lindenhof, from here you get an amazing view of the city. As it was raining I decided to head to the Swiss National Museum. This museum was really good and I spend most of my time exploring the old rooms of the buildings. There is a modern art section of this museum too. Some museums were not open on Sunday’s, so please check opening times before booking.
If you have more time then head to the thermal bath and spa outside of the city. I would have loved to visit these but I only spent a few hours rambling the town. There is an amazing view of the city from the thermal baths.
The Glacier Express
After seeing a documentary on the Glacier Express, I knew I had to go on it. The tickets are pricier but it is a once in a lifetime train ride. I treated myself to a train ticket for my birthday. The Glacier Express is a panoramic train ride. It starts off in St Moritz and finished in Zermatt. You don’t have to do the whole train ride as there is stops along the way. I decided to join the train in Chur. I got up early and headed from Zurich to Chur, the Glacier Express arrived at Chur at 11:30. This gave me some time to ramble around the small town of Chur before heading to Zermatt. The views on the train are simply stunning. I did get some clips of the Glacier Express in my Youtube video which I will link below.
The small town of Chur is really picturesque. I spent an hour rambling around this town before having some breakfast. There are old cobbled streets and amazing views of the snow-capped mountains. It seemed like a really quiet town and there wasn’t a lot of people around or shops open. The train station in Chur has lockers that you can rent for 7chf. I found these really useful to store my wheeled case instead of lugging it around the city.
The town of Zermatt looks like something from a postcard, it is simply magical. The weather was really poor on my first day but I still loved it. We don’t get much snow here in Ireland so hiking up the mountains while it was snowing isn’t something I get to do often. Zermatt is a really popular skiing town but do not worry if you don’t want to ski as there is still loads to do. There are lots of hiking trails and I went on a sleigh too.
I stayed in hotel Albatros when I was in Zermatt. This was a really cosy hotel with an excellent location, breakfast was also included in the price and they even had a small spa in the basement of the hotel. Please note that the town of Zermatt is car less. You can park in the nearest town and get the train into Zermatt but you cannot drive through it. There are electric buses and taxis that fly around the town but you can easily walk to everything.
The main attraction in Zermatt has to be the stunning Matterhorn mountain. The Matterhorn is 4478m tall and it straddles the border between Italy and Switzerland. It is also known as the Toblerone mountain as it is the mountain you see in the packaging. I was really lucky as the sun came out for me and I got to see the mountain. I took the Gornergrat Bahn to the top of the Gornergrat. When I got on the train I could only go as far as Riffelberg as the winds were strong up at the Gornergrat. I explored and hiked around Riffelberg before getting back on the train and heading up to the last stop which is Gornergrat. Up at the Gornergrat, you have this amazing view of the Matterhorn, there is also a hotel and restaurant up there too. I went down to Rotenboden where I renting a sleigh for 10chf. There is a dedicated sleigh run that goes from Rotenboden to Riffelberg. It was kind of scary but by the time I got to the bottom I was back up and doing it again. When purchasing your train ticket, ask can you have unlimited travel between Riffelberg and Rotenboden as you want to use the sleigh slope.
If you prefer to hike then you are in for a treat. There are loads of hiking trails, I hiked from Zermatt to Furi. If you want you can get a cable cart from Zermatt to Fur and hike down, I did the opposite and hiked all the way up and got the cable car back down. You can also rent snowshoes and follow the snowshoe trails when you are up the mountain. I really wanted to go to the Iglu village but unfortunately, it was closed due to the wind the day I was there.
Switzerland has loads of amazing towns and cities to visit, I picked these towns as they were on my route from the glacier express and I didn’t have loads of time to explore. I took a normal train back to Zurich on my last evening. I took the train from Zermatt to Visp and connected at Visp to Zurich. The trains are amazing and run like clockwork. You can have fun customising your trip and finding cute villages to explore. I found Pinterest really useful when it came to planning my trip.
Have you been to Switzerland? What is your favourite town that you visited in Switzerland? I would love to know, please share your recommendations for others in the comments below. You can also check out my Youtube video to get a better look at the places I visited. You can also find my other travel blog posts here.
Thanks for reading,