Oberhofen Castle, Switzerland
When you visit Switzerland with your Eurail pass, it will be easy to see why 3 of its cities (Bern, Geneva and Zurich) list in the Top 10 Best places to live in Europe. Breathtaking beauty, friendly people, delicious chocolate and plenty of things to do make Switzerland an ideal rail destination. Come aboard, and discover all the places you can see in Switzerland.
Beauty and history in Bern
Switzerland’s capital is filled with centuries-old tradition, and modern-day flair. From the Gothic, 15th century cathedral Münster of Bern (Berner Münster), which took more than 460 years to complete, to the high street shopping and current fashion, Bern is a traveler’s best-kept secret. Be sure to visit Historic Old Town, with the Zytglogge clock tower. The old town, built in the 15th century, is now a UNESCO Heritage Site. View more things to do in Bern.
From Bern’s Central Station, the Zytglogge clock tower in the Historic Old Town is about a 10-minute walk.
Natural wonders in Interlaken
Nestled deep in the Alps, Interlaken may be known for its skiing, but there’s something to do all year round in this mountain paradise. Interlaken lies at the foot of three mountains – the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau – and between two lakes. Do not miss the Trümmelbachschlucht subterranean waterfalls (yes, underground). Ride a glass-ceilinged cable car into a 500-meter gorge and see the glacial waterfalls up close.
Use your Eurail pass for a discounted journey to the top of Jungfrau – it’s the highest railway station in Europe, and the view is unlike any you’ve ever seen.
Zurich’s energetic excellence
Switzerland’s largest city offers excellent food, endless shopping, and a busy downtown feel. The Bahnhofstrasse has the best shopping in town. Beautiful churches, like the Fraumünster (built in 852) and the Grossmünster (built in 1100) help tell the story of Zürich’s past. After an afternoon on the Lakeside Promenade, visit the Niederdorf – unique shops and busy craftsmen by day, excellent food and exciting clubs by night.
The Bahnhofstrasse begins just outside of Zürich’s main station (Zürich HB).
Real and retail paradise in Geneva
Geneva has something to offer every visitor. Boating, biking, hiking, and water recreation are just the top of the list. Geneva also offers phenomenal skiing and unforgettable shopping. The Rue de Reve and Rue de Rhone are very high-end shopping streets. The Salève is Geneva’s backyard mountain, and you can take a gondola ride to an observation point where all of Geneva is visible, surrounded by the Swiss Alps. Don’t miss it.
The shopping area is a 15-minute walk from Geneva’s Central Station.
Home to the International Olympic Committee since 1914, it’s easy to see why the Committee chose Lausanne, with its rolling, vineyard-covered hills and place on the edge of Lake Geneva. Don’t miss the old town and the Lausanne Cathedral – Switzerland’s finest example of Gothic architecture. There’s a wide selection of museums, including the Musée de L’Art Brut (art created by psychiatric patients & convicted criminals).
A metro will take you to the old town and cathedral.
When to go
Switzerland’s wide offering of activities ensures year-long visitation by various tourists. Ski slopes will, of course, be busier in the winter months, and lakefront towns a bit busier in summer. For the most part, though, any time of year is a good time to visit.
Cool mountain breezes and clean air ensure that temperatures remain moderate for most of the year. Summers don’t tend to get warmer than 80º Fahrenheit (26º Celcius). In fact, the sky is so clear, it’s sometimes even possible to sunbathe in the winter!
- February 9-24, 2013
This carnival attracts over 15,000 costumed and masked participants, filling the streets of Lucerne. Expect music, mayhem and partying on the streets.
Lucerne is a 1 hr train ride from Bern and Zurich. The festival takes place across the whole city, which can be reached via the main train station.
Caliente Latin Festival
- July 5-7, 2013
Each year at Zurich’s Latin festival the whole city bursts into song and dance, with a mix of salsa and samba by day and pumping beats by night.
The festival is held in venues across the city.
Montreux Jazz Festival
- July 5-20, 2013
This festival is known around the world as one of the best places to hear the masters of rock and jazz. Just 1 hour outside of Geneva you can experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Free shuttle buses operate between the festival site and Montreux's train station.
- December 6-8, 2013
With Fête de l'Escalade, the Swiss celebrate their successful defense of an attack by Savoy forces in 1602. Food, music and dancing are part of the celebration. Be sure to join in on the traditional confetti fight.
Most festivities take place around Place Neuve, which is a 15-minute walk from Geneva's main train station.