Zurich Switzerland and surrounding area an eclectic mix of modern and medieval

Switzerland is famous for Heidi, cuckoo clocks, chocolate, the Alps and gorgeous alpine scenery, but it also leads the way in the finance industry as well as quality of life attributes. Indeed, Switzerland was ranked No. 1 in the Best Countries poll in terms of quality of life. It’s the fifth time it has ranked first. If you would like to experience Switzerland first hand, GetAway Travel is here to lend a hand with your trip arrangements. 

Heidi is having a very relaxing vacation!

 It’s not just about the mountains 

 Switzerland is a central European country surrounded by France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Lichtenstein. It actually has four national languages, German, French, Italian and Romanish. Ian Fleming featured the beauty of the alpine scenery in his Bond movies and Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein lived in Switzerland. Europe’s highest train station is here, which is no surprise because of the mountains. In addition to its fabulous cuisine, snow-capped mountains and clear blue lakes, the country’s cities are leaders in art and culture. 

And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the festivals because Switzerland loves a party and loves to invite everyone. 

Grindelwald Switzerland

Of course there are food festivals and, of course, snow and ice festivals. The Grindelwald World Snow Festival features artists and sculptors who specialize in ice work. The International Balloon Festival is held during the winter. About 20 or so countries participate and just imagine the sight of 80 plus hot air balloons rising over the snow-topped mountains. 

Interlaken Switzerland

Summer festivals run from March until September. The Interlaken Music Festival highlights classical music and brings orchestras and soloists from around the world. There’s the Montreux Jazz Festival, the National Yodeling Festival and open air music festivals in Frauenfeld and Lumnezia attract artists such as Depeche Mode, the Killers and Eminem. 

If you yodel, you are a yodeler

Start your Switzerland journey in Geneva, or on the other end of the country in Zurich. You won’t be disappointed. 

 Bern, the capital, is named after a bear 

 Established in the 12 century, legend has it the city was named after a bear because a nobleman who founded the city was startled by a bear in a nearby wooded area. 

Bern Switzerland

It’s a charming city and the cobble-stoned medieval Old Town or Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The almost four-mile covered pedestrian only street has quaint shops, bars and cafes. The independent shops sell coffee, couture clothing, books and antiques. There are a series of fountains down the street that feature famous religious, folk and biblical figures. 

Above Old Town’s western gate is a clock tower or Zytglogge. The ornate 15th century clock has revolving figures including a parade of bears, jester and a golden rooster that come out and twirl around at four minutes to the hour. Above the clock tower’s entrance is an astronomical clock that has stationery and moving spheres that replicate the constellations with the earth at the center. It also shows the moon phase, current zodiac sign, sun rise and sun set and the date. 

The most important building in the city is the Federal Place where the national parliament meets. It is an imposing sight with its 209-foot dome and the decorated stained glass windows show coats of arms for different areas of the country. 

Bundesplatz, Bern

The Historical Museum of Bern also includes the Einstein Museum. Collections in the Historical Museum date back to the stone age. There are eight galleries to tour. The Einstein Museum chronicles the life of the famous modern scientist. He lived in Bern for six years starting work as a patent office clerk and ending up lecturing at the University of Bern. 

If you can climb the 254 steps at the Bern Münster, or Bern Cathedral, you can get some great views of the city. The cathedral has some spectacular stained glass windows and wood and stone sculptures. 

Moses fountain column with the rooftop of The Münster of Bern

Stop and smell the roses at the Rosengarten, just east of Old Town. The former cemetery is now a public park with 233 varieties of roses as well as 200 species of Iris. There are ponds and fountains amidst the manicured grassy areas and an excellent restaurant on site. 

Barry, a preserved St. Bernard that is credited with saving more than 40 lives on the alpine slopes, will greet you at the Natural History Museum. The stones of the earth collection has gold, minerals, stunning crystals and some meteorite remnants. There’s a large collection of animal skeletons and an evolution exhibit called Fins, Feet, Wings. 

Isn’t he a handsome boy?

 Chocolate, commerce, couture and culture 

 You could spend days in Zurich and just scratch the surface of what the city has to offer. The largest city in Switzerland sits on Lake Zurich and is split by the River Limmat. The world center for banking and finance, the city is a fashion and shopping Mecca as well as home to the Lindt Chocolate Museum. As a matter of fact, there are at least 50 museums in the city if you’d like to sprinkle a little history with your shopping. 

Fourteen of those museums cater to children and they focus on dinosaurs, modern science and culture. 

Zurich, Switzerland

Landesmuseum, or the Swiss National Museum has art collections dating back to the prehistoric era and as an added bonus, it’s a castle. There are museums devoted to art, architecture, culture, history, science and photography. 

The Wow Museum is three floors of optical and sensory illusions designed to confound the mind and senses. Kunsthaus Zurich has more than 100,000 works of art including paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings that emphasis Classical Modernism. 

There are great parks including Lindenhof Park which overlooks Old Town. Play chess there with life-size chess figures. 

Great Minister or Grossmünster Church is just one of the fabulous churches in Zurich. It has two spectacular spires and St. Peter, the oldest church in Zurich, has a giant clock face on its spire that is more than 28 feet wide. 

Bahnhofstrasse is a shopping avenue where you will likely see a Ferrari or two while you stand in line to get into the Rolex, Cartier, Tiffany, Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Versace, Louis Vitton and Hermes retail establishments. Or, you can just window shop and dream. There are chocolate shops along the avenue, but Lindt Home of Chocolate, a modern chocolate museum that opened in 2020, will surely feed your chocolate fix. 

Take the chocolate tour (there is snacking allowed) and learn all about the Swiss culture and chocolate. You can make chocolate bars with Lindt master chocolatiers, gape at the 30-foot-high Lindt chocolate fountain and shop in the 5,000 square foot Lindt chocolate shop. In the largest chocolate shop in the world, you can design your own praline packaging. 

 Chocolate, couture, culture, cheese, gorgeous scenery, what’s not to like? Time to getaway to Switzerland with GetAway Travel! Reach us at (262) 538-2140, e-mail: sue@getaway.travel or paul@getaway.travel 




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