When I first booked my flight to Basel, there was one question on my mind: “How do you spend three days in Switzerland?” Although Switzerland is only a tenth of the size of California, that doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty to do in the country! I fell in love with Switzerland quicker than you can say ‘fondue’!
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As the airport I flew into was Basel, it made sense to spend my first day in Switzerland exploring the city (Basel and Zurich are the cheapest airports to fly into in the North of Switzerland). If you do fly into the airport, just make sure that you exit the airport in the right country!
Bleary-eyed from the plane and a 4 am wake-up, any exit at the airport looked good enough to me! When I couldn’t spot my friend and was confused as to why all of the signs were in French, I enquired where we were to a local; “We’re in France, duh”. The eye-roll said it all…
A population numbering just under 200,000 residents makes Basel the third largest city in Switzerland. Bordering on multiple countries, the charming city of Basel receives plenty of cultural influence from its surrounding neighbors; Germany and France. The result is a lovely mix of cultures and a Swiss-German dialect. Think museums, quirky architecture and some pretty amazing food! After all, Switzerland is home to some of the best cheese and chocolate in the world…
Particular highlights of Basel include the Rathaus (town hall), the infamous Münster (cathedral- the majority of Switzerland is protestant as a result of multiple reformations in the middle ages) with its twin spires and Läckerli. A special type of gingerbread, the hard biscuit traditionally contains honey, candied fruits, and almonds- you had me at honey…
Surrounding a lake and located at the foot of snow-capped mountains, a visit to the quaint town of Lucerne (in German, Luzern) is always a good idea! Highlights of Lucerne include the view from the luxury Art-Deco Hotel Montana, a trip up Pilatus, the massive mountain that dominates the surrounding landscape, the museum of transport and a Lion Monument carved out of the rock.
Recommended Hotel: The Tourist Hotel
You also can’t miss the famous chapel bridge (In German, Kapellbrücke) and water town situated in the very heart of the city. With its stunning paintings and wooden panelling, a walk across the bridge is both free and must be done! Constructed in the middle of the 14th century, it is the oldest bridge of its kind in the World. Or rather, it was. Tragically, the majority of the bridge burned down in the 1990s. The bridge you see today is a faithful reproduction, the paintings true-to-life facsimiles of the originals.
Constructed in the middle of the 14th century, it is the oldest bridge of its kind in the World. Or rather, it was. Tragically, the majority of the bridge burned down in the 1990s. The bridge you see today is a faithful reproduction, the paintings true-to-life facsimiles of the originals.
If you’re going to spend three days in Switzerland, make sure you make it to Zurich at some point during that time! Adorable architecture is matched by cobblestone roads. To be honest, I can only equate stepping into Zurich like stepping into a fairytale book! Like Lucerne and Basel, German is the predominant language of Zurich, a city that is also situated around a lake.
Recommended Hotel: Alexander Hotel
As one of the largest cities in Switzerland, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of things to see and do in the capital. Think: the opera house, a national museum of Swiss History, and walks around the lake. And if you’re in the market for luxury goods, shopping!