Hello darling Dame Travelers! My name is Mandy and I am going to share with you my top 3 destinations to consider adding to your list when planning to visit the beautiful country of Switzerland.
1. St. Moritz
Typically known as a winter wonderland for the elite traveler, St. Moritz is surprisingly just as magnificent during the summer. Actually, it’s better. We felt as if we had this beautiful gem of a village all to ourselves. The sun was shining, flowers were in bloom and the only sign of bustling tourists was a dusting of snow left on top of the Alps from the previous ski season.
Walking along the cobblestone streets among intimate coffee shops and more haute couture store fronts, we made our way to the Chantarella funicular, a cable car with views that make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
2. Monte San Salvatore
My girls trip continued on to the Italian speaking part of the country in Lugano, bordering Italy to the south. Our group included my mom, her mother and sister, and our cousins. You can imagine how many times someone thought they saw George Clooney’s house in Lago di Como on the road going there. We nearly started knocking on doors to see if he was home. When we arrived at the lovely Carlton Villa Moritz Hotel, we decided to take a rest by the pool.
Immediately the views took our breathe away. The hotel is perched in the hills surrounding Lake Lugano and the diversity in nature could be seen from every angle. It’s been said that Lugano’s nickname is the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”. It certainly had that vibe as we explored the scene the next day. Everywhere you went there were fountains, palm trees, beautiful restaurants,
shops, and residential mansions to admire by the water.
La Cucina di Alice for an amazing lunch or dinner (with a view). The small harbor is home to cute little paddle boats, casual cruises for day tours, as well as yachts. As if that weren’t enough, the lake’s center featured a
huge jetted fountain that could be seen from the top of the Italian Alps surrounding it.
After a warm sunny day cruising around the lake with my family, I thought Lugano could not get any better…and then we stepped into another funicular. I had no idea where it was taking us. When we reached the top of the mountain, we discovered Monte San Salvatore. There was a very small, very old white church on this mountain. The roof of the church is an outlook point offering you a 360° view. In order to reach the top, you must go yo a set of concrete stairs attached to the exterior of the building. The views are absolutely incredible.
3. Village of Gruyères
Cheese, cheese and more cheese! Oh, and a castle. Heading towards the west and French speaking side of Switzerland, one must stop in the medieval town that is Gruyères. Perched on a hill in what at first seems like the middle of nowhere is a tiny village with completely crooked and uneven cobblestone pathways that lead you up to a 13th century castle. The castle is now a museum showcasing the area’s historic valuables and is a popular tourist site for good reason. The old architecture of the castle and town’s buildings look as if they come straight out of a fairy tale storybook surrounded by green Alpine foothills. The region around Gruyères has always been rural and agriculture is most important. Having been a Swiss resident for some time, one of my relatives said we must come here to try “REAL Swiss cheese”. Words cannot even begin to describe how glad I am that we did! Many people are already familiar with the popular cheese or chocolate fondue made in Switzerland. But you have done nothing right gastronomically speaking should you skip the Gruyères experience. Even if you end up arriving on an unfortunately dreary and cool day as my family did, nothing can rain on your parade here. The castle is fascinating to walk through and its gardens are bright and elegant. The cows in the fields rest adorably with large, ornately decorated, Swiss bells worn around their necks (I wanted to adopt one but TSA probably wouldn’t have let me). There are a couple of places you should check out besides the castle. One is La Maison du Gruyère to of course sample the famous cheese and get an insider’s look at how it’s all created. Another absolute must is .…wait for it…. the famous Maison Cailler (Nestlé) chocolate factory in Broc. And yes, they have a gift shop.