If you're looking for a travel destination that will absolutely take your breath away, go to the Swiss Alps! The mountains are unbelievably beautiful, and the vacation possibilities are endless. I traveled to the Alps with some friends for a weekend holiday in April of last year. While our time there was relatively short, it was the trip of a lifetime. I highly recommend the Swiss Alps to anyone looking for an incredible adventure!
While planning our trip, we quickly learned that there are many different villages in the Swiss Alps to choose from. We did a brief Google search of some different options (and let's be honest, we were mainly comparing the pictures of the mountain views), and ended up choosing Interlaken and Grindelwald. Interlaken is a resort town that is well-known for its plethora of outdoor activities. Grindelwald, although quite smaller, offers views that are much closer to the mountains--and they are out-of-this-world!
We arrived at Interlaken on a Saturday afternoon and checked into our hotel, Hotel Roessli. It's a family-owned establishment, centrally located near lots of shops and restaurants. The hotel gave off a great first impression right away. The parking was free, the customer service at the front desk was excellent, and our room was nicely decorated with a rustic, mountain lodge vibe. Our room also came with a balcony with views of the town and the mountains in the distance. What more could you want?
Interlaken has plenty of outdoor activities and sports to choose from, including hiking, skiing, and paragliding. Since our time in Interlaken was limited, and we mainly just wanted to relax, we chose not to partake in any of the sports on this trip. That's a good excuse to go back, though, don't you think? ;)
We wanted to get a better view of the mountains, so we decided to take the funicular up to the vantage point. The funicular ride is a pretty steep incline up the mountain, so keep that in mind if you're scared of heights. But the ride only takes a few minutes, and the views are totally worth it!
After taking the funicular back down the mountain, we walked around town and checked out a few of the shops. While we definitely saw some high-end stores (Switzerland is known for being expensive), there were also some less-expensive options and quite a few stores with sales going on. After walking around and window shopping for a while, we ready for some food and a good beer ;)
We were in luck, because the #1-ranked restaurant on Tripadvisor, Husi Bierhaus, was within walking distance. It only took us a few minutes to walk there. Husi Bierhaus looked very cozy and inviting on the outside, and it was even more so on the inside. It was also very popular! Fortunately, we were still able to get a table right away.
The customer service at Husi Bierhaus was excellent. Our waitress spoke English and went out of her way to accommodate us. She even recommended specific beers for us individually based on our preferences, and the beer was amazing! I ordered fish and chips for dinner, and it was as delicious as I was hoping it would be. I highly recommend Husi Bierhaus if you're looking for a place with tasty food and a great beer selection.
We woke up early the next morning for breakfast at Hotel Roessli. I didn't have particularly high expectations, since hotel breakfasts are usually hit-or-miss. But this was easily one of the best hotel breakfasts I have ever had! There was a large variety of food to choose from, and it was all very tasty. I filled my plate with fruit, cheese, and a croissant with Nutella on top. A hotel staff member even made cappuccinos for us and brought them to our table--and they were perfect!
Now that we had eaten a hearty breakfast, we were ready to continue our adventure! We checked out of the hotel and started the drive to Grindelwald. It only took about 30 minutes to get there.
As soon as we made it to Grindelwald, we were immediately in awe. The mountains surrounding us were SO massive; it was like a dream! There were quaint little houses scattered on top. As cliche as it may sound, the pictures really do not do it justice. Grindelwald is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever seen!
Since this was our last stop in Switzerland, and my friends were also wrapping up their European adventure, we had made the decision to splurge a little on our hotel in Grindelwald. And I am so glad that we did. We stayed at the Belvedere Swiss Quality Hotel, and it was truly amazing! While it was definitely not the cheapest option, I can confidently say that it was worth it. To give you an example: we arrived at the hotel before check-in time, so our room wasn't ready yet. While we waited on the main balcony and enjoyed the gorgeous views, a staff member brought us complementary champagne and snacks to enjoy!
The hotel was extremely classy and well-decorated on the inside, but we were so awestruck by the mountains--we wanted to spend most of the time looking out the window! The location of this hotel makes it the perfect vantage point for an amazing view of the mountains. If you're still not convinced, see the picture below that I took from our room's balcony ;)
After checking into the hotel and dropping our bags off, we walked to the center of town to explore the shops and restaurants. Many of the stores were closed (quite a few of them had signs saying that the owners were on a holiday break), but we still had fun looking around. We stopped at the cafe below for a light lunch and delicious coffee. My go-to coffee drink is a cappuccino, and this one did not disappoint!
After exploring the town, we went back to our lovely hotel for some relaxation time. My friends took advantage of the luxurious hotel spa. The sun was out, so I decided to lace up my shoes and go for a run. I ran for about 30 minutes and soaked in all the gorgeous scenery. I was not accustomed to all the steep hills, so it was a challenging workout, but every moment was completely worth it. I stopped quite a few times along the way to take pictures (like the one below). I'm glad that I have photos from this epic run!
That evening, we went on a walk to to explore the area around the hotel. One thing that amazed us about Grindelwald (besides the mountains, of course) was the fact that there weren't many tourists around this time of year. Even our fancy hotel seemed to be nearly empty. April ended up being the perfect time of year to visit!
After lots of walking, we were all hungry and ready for a hearty Swiss dinner. We walked back to the center of town and looked at a few of the restaurant menus. We ended up picking a restaurant with lots of rösti options on the menu (Rösti is a yummy Swiss potato dish). I ordered the rösti with fried eggs, bacon, and cheese. It was as tasty as it sounds--the perfect meal for our last evening in Switzerland!
We woke up early the next morning to eat breakfast and check out of the hotel. We were a little bit sad, as our time in the Alps had flown by! But we were grateful for all the fun we'd had--enjoying the delectable food, taking in the beautiful scenery, and relaxing with good friends.
As we drove away, and the mountains filled the rear-view mirror, I couldn't help but look at them one more time. My trip to the Swiss Alps was nothing short of spectacular, and I will surely be back soon :)
- Have you been to Switzerland? If so, which city?
- Where's the most beautiful place you've been?
- Would you rather go to a new place during the tourist season, or when it's colder but less crowded?