For the first official leg of our honeymoon last Summer, Ultan and I took an amazing road trip though Switzerland. It was a place that had always been on our bucket lists, but one we always kind of de-prioritized for other places (note: BIG mistake). Not only is it one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to, but the people are so lovely, the food is so good, and every town makes you feel like you’ve stepped right into a story book.
Because there were so many places in Switzerland we wanted to see, we decided to road trip it. After all, there’s no better way to see a new country than getting a little bit lost in your car. And it was such a good decision! We spent 5 days total in Switzerland, and stopped and stayed in three places (but we drove through so many spectacular towns, big and small, along the way). If you have more than a week, definitely add more towns to your list, but we found that with a week, we timed it just right so we were able to get the most out of each place. Here’s where we went.
We got married in Ireland, so we took a quick flight into Zurich to kick off our honeymoon. It was the perfect place to start the trip. The city’s long and hilly cobblestone streets were so stunning and charming, the water was almost Caribbean blue, and there was a cute coffee shop, cafe, or chocolate and sweet shop around every corner. While the city was big enough, so much of it felt like a small town in Europe you would only see in a movie.
A few highlights from our time in Zurich were walking around the city late at night when it wasn’t busy at all and listening to the bells ring out at St. Peter’s Church (it also has the largest clock face in Europe). In the afternoon, we decided to take a break from the crazy heat and sit in the shade of a closed art store. After a few minutes, the owner walked up to open up and started chatting. It turns out she was an American from Chicago who moved to Switzerland with her Swiss husband (such a small world)! We also walked to Lindenhof, which is located in the heart of the city and gives you stunning panoramic views of Zurich’s Old Town. And for the rest of our time there, we just explored with no real plan, and it was perfect.
Where We Stayed: Hotel Seegarten, which is just a few blocks from the center of the city. Their breakfast spread was amazing!
Our next stop was Lucerne, which 100 percent made me feel like I stepped into a Disney movie. The drive from Zurich took us about two hours since we took the scenic route and not the main highway (definitely recommend!), and that journey itself was breathtaking. We drove through small villages with colorful chalets, stopped in a tiny shop to munch on muesli and fresh fruit, and kept pulling over to snap photos.
Once we got to Lucerne, the best thing to do was, again, just walk around, explore, and get a little lost. The city is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and the quaint and medieval architecture will enchant you. We knew we wanted to see and walk across Kapellbrücke, a covered wooden footbridge in the center of town (fun fact: a number of paintings inside the bridge date back to the 17th century).
Where We Stayed: Landgasthof Hotel Rössli, which was about a 10-15 minute drive into the city. It was basically like a suburb, and it was so cute! The owners of the chalet were also so friendly and welcoming and made sure our stay was perfect, and the winding roads into town had amazing views around every corner.
Lauterbrunnen, you guys. This tiny town is what fairytale dreams are made of. It’s so beautiful that it doesn’t even seem real, even when you’re standing right in the middle of it. The drive to get here from Lucerne took about 2.5 hours since we took more backroads, and I think I probably said “Oh my God” at least 30 times as we drove in.
It’s a really small village with just one main road, but that’s what makes it so great. There are a few chalets, a few cafes (get cheese fondue here!), one church, and that’s pretty much it. But with views like this, you won’t mind one bit. And there’s also still plenty to do. In addition to eating things like sausage and röstis (and did I mention cheese fondue?), you can hike up to Staubbach Falls (the waterfall seen in the photos). It only takes a few minutes, and you can stand behind the waterfall for even more spectacular views of the valley. We also headed down to Camping Jungfrau Holiday Park at the end of the main road for dinner one night (it feels like Summer camp!).
Where We Stayed: Hotel Staubbach, which was right in the center of town (look at the view in the photo above!). It was so cozy and comfortable, and the lady behind the front desk was so helpful in telling us things we should do and see.
Our last stop in Switzerland before we headed into France was Mürren, which was only about a 10-15 minute drive from Lauterbrunnen. It’s most famous for being featured in the 1969 James Bond 007 film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In order to get to the mountain village, you have to park down in Schilthorn and take a cable car wayyyyyy up high. This is actually pretty expensive and you can either just go to Mürren or stop there and keep going all the way to the top. We decided to just do Mürren since we had a long drive ahead of us that day to get to France.
Once off the cable car (which is actually a bit nerve-racking), it’s so surreal to see this beautiful and charming village so high up on the side of a mountain. You’re surrounded by other snow-capped mountains, hang gliders are floating through the air around you, and old men in traditional Swiss getup are sitting outside of their houses to greet you. And the best thing to do is just walk around and take in the spectacular views. It was one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been. We did a little hiking and came across this playground with a slide so we couldn’t not take advantage of it (see video below). 🙂
Where We Stayed: Even though we didn’t stay overnight here, you totally can! There are small and large hotels, chalets, and hostels all throughout the village.
And then it was onto France! Which is what my next post will be about. Stay tuned!