Switzerland: Off the Beaten Track written by WhereisPim

Known for its abundance of natural resources, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. The great lakes and high mountains and the breath taking scenery brings in several tourists and travelers into this tiny country every year. Although many people would stick to the c

Switzerland: Off the Beaten Track

Switzerland: Off the Beaten Track

 Wednesday, January 29, 2020 10:15 AM

 Travel date:  Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Known for its abundance of natural resources, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited. The great lakes and high mountains and the breath taking scenery brings in several tourists and travelers into this tiny country every year. Although many people would stick to the common route to see Jungfrau, Interlaken, Zermatt, and Luzern, there are so many other places as beautiful as, if not more, than the typical attractions. I spent 2+ years in this country and spent a lot of time exploring it and so I thought I would compile a small list of unseen or non-typical places I think are worth a visit.

Caumasee

                                                                                                     Caumasee from above


The bright green lake situated in the middle of a mountainous area of Flims in Graubuenden is definitely one of my favorite places in Switzerland. Summer here is heaven. I would say driving is the easiest way to get here but a combination of train and bus is also an option. Taking a train to Chur then take a bus from the train station. The bus takes around an hour and it takes you up there. Then you spend 10–15 minutes walking down to the lake. At this lake you can just RELAX. Bring a picnic basket with you and lay down next to the lake (there is also a restaurant there). Read a book or go take a dip in the crystal clear water. You can rent paddle board there. You can stay there the whole day then take a bus back the same way you came. There are hiking trails around the lake area if you wish to do more than just relaxing.


Öschinensee

It is a lake in the Öschinen mountains which is located in Kandersteg. Take the train to Kandersteg station then walk through a little village for around 20 minutes and you will see the sign to the cable car and just take it. Or you can hike up (I think). When you are up there it takes around 15 minutes of walking until you are actually at the lake and it is just WOW. I would recommend a hike to see the view from the top. Go to the back of the restaurant and you will see the trail Hueber-Oberbergli-Unterbergli. Hiking this trail is everything! It’s the most essential factor in experiencing this lake, in my opinion. For the non-hiker, you might feel intimidated at the beginning of the hike as the elevation gets high pretty quick and if it rains, it can be super slippery. The first section takes around 40 mins to an hour depending on your fitness. But once you are pass that, you get to be on the front row of the most beautiful panoramic view. The rich blue lake below, the Blumlis alp is in front, little waterfall dripping down from the wall next to you, eagles are flying in the sky and if you are lucky, you might get to see an ibex up there too. It is just so peaceful (I was there on a weekday). The hike takes around 4 hours until you come down on the other side of the lake. An amazing 4 hours!

                                                                                      view of the lake from below

Elm

                                                                                                  Chueboden lake at the top

A small town in Glarus. Full of beautiful chalet-type houses. Once you are there, you can take a cable car up to Ampachlialp. There is a big restaurant (on the weekend they have traditional music performance) and from there you can start your hike up to a lake called Chueboden up in the mountain. The beginning of this trail is easy, more like a walk in the park. You'll see cows chilling. After a while the elevation will start to hit you and all of the sudden your legs are sore. Takes 4 hours to go up and down. It is a beautiful trail with big trees in the beginning and the higher you go up the landscape turns into grassland with small streams running through. I was lucky enough to spot a Marmot up there. The route to go down is a different route than when you go up but it also takes you back to the restaurant. But before you decide to take the cable car back to Elm, I have another option to introduce. MOUNTAIN CART. Yes, you can go down to Elm riding your own mountain cart and damn it is fun and it sure goes fast. Be careful with the sharp turns but other than that you will have fun.

                                                                                                 on the mountain

Trift Bridge

                                                                                                           Trift bridge

This 170 meter long bridge crossing the Trift gorge at the height of 100 meters is located in the middle of nowhere of Switzerland, in a little town called Gadmen. This place is often overlooked by travelers due to its difficulty to get to. That did not stop me! It took me around 3 hours to get there from Zurich. I got on 3 different trains and 1 bus and 1 cable car (Zurich-Luzern-Merrigen-Innerkirchen Grimseltor-Triftbahn). I had lost so much energy just to get there and the hike hadn’t even started yet! The starting point of this place is the cable car at Nessental, Triftbahn. A bright red gondola takes you up to the mountains passing the green forest, flowing rivers and waterfalls. A very scenic ride. The hike to the bridge is not difficult. You walk through this greenery with small plants and blue river running through in the middle. Takes you only an hour to the bridge. easy-peasy. Crossing the bridge part, not so easy. The strong wind will push you and when you walk, the bridge ‘bounces’ so 170 meter distance seems longer. Plus you have to be considerate to stop to let other people coming back from the other side go first as the bridge is not so wide. From here you get to see the gigantic glacier. But due to global warming, you can already see that some parts are melting away. #stopglobawarming For more adventurous hiker, you can hike on from the other side of the bridge. Not sure where it will take you but it is for sure not for the inexperienced as the blue hiking sign suggests.

Creux Du Van

Located in Nuchatel, Creux Du Van is a natural high rock of 150 meters deep created by water erosion. To go up there, the starting point is a tiny train station called Noiraigue. From there, you need to look for the sign yourself! There was no definite sign at the station (or at least I didn’t see one). You need to walk out a bit to see it. The trail is through a dense forest. It was raining when I was there so everything looked exceptionally fresh and cool. There are many small animals along the trail especially birds both in the bushes and on the trees. The trail is not too bad but the rain made it a bit slippery. When you get up to the top you will be able to see the majestic scenery. An ibex was up there :) This is where you can find an original absinthe, which you can get at a local restaurant up on the top.

                                                                                                          An ibex

Verzasca Valley

                                                                                                             The valley


This last place is in the southern part of Switzerland in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. It’s a village with many rivers running through it. It might be difficult to travel here without a car because the public train does not really take you to the valley. I’m pretty sure you can take a bus though. Besides the magnificent natural scenery, 007 Golden Eye movie was shot here at huge dam, which now you can bungee jump off of it (the highest one in Europe, 220 meters). Other than that hiking is a popular activity here due to its is beautiful landscape. You can also opt to do canyoning in many waterfalls. This region is definitely a place for all kinds of outdoor activities. I did not get to do the bungee jumping, hiking or canyoning. I was there to do scuba diving! Sounds strange right? Scuba diving in Switzerland? YES, you can scuba dive in Switzerland. Mostly they do it in lakes but in Verzasca Valley, I did it in rivers. I was there specifically to get certified for river diving and it was something else. The water is crystal clear but damn it was cold!!


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