Switzerland is absolutely beautiful, I am a little biased but it is truly a magical place. For me travelling to Switzerland was a little more special seeing as my father was born and raised in a small town called Gossau in the German part of Switzerland. I have a lot of family all around the country and we were lucky enough to visit different towns off the tourist trail and stay with them.
You can visit any time of the year and see the magic of Switzerland, the most picturesque mountains, alluring lakes, mesmerizing churches and elegant small towns located no more than 5 miles of each other. The country reminds me so much of our home, New Zealand. I think that’s how I fell in love with it so easily… Not to mention the chocolate is to die for.
See our guide of the top 10 on food and must do’s in Switzerland.
Getting round Switzerland is easy by public transport, all the buses and trains are comfortable and always on time.
We were very blessed to stay with my family around Switzerland saving us squillions.
Top 10 Foods to try
- Raclette – Is a popular dish using slices of Raclette Cheese (made from cow’s milk) and melting them in a pan or hot grill, once the cheese is melted this can be scraped onto of a range of potatoes, vegetables, pickled gherkins and onions. Served as always in europe with, bread. It is absolutely delicious but very heavy and best eaten for comfort in the winter times.
- Cheese Fondu – Perfect meal to share with friends, It is made out of melted cheese, garlic, white wine and cornstarch. Served out of a ceramic bowl with a hot flame underneath to keep it at a constant temperature. Dip in cuts of bread on a long stem fork and enjoy the delicious melted cheese.
- St Gallen Olma Bratwurst – The “Culinary pride of St. Gallen’, delicious white sausage cooked to a crispy brown coat.. Delicious!
- Rosti – Potato dish fried in a pan from grated potatoes and turned into small patties and cooked until crispy. You can add cheese, bacon and onions to the mix if you fancy. Originally eaten at breakfast with eggs an/or sausages.
- Swiss chocolate – Gillian Chocolates are the exports but the rest of Switzerland has superb rich chocolate of all coca strengths.
- Swiss cheese – Yup more cheese but in a country that’s home to 450 varieties of cheeses it was bound to come up. Special ingredient is the Swiss milk… have a go and try either a few or all 450
- Zopf – Most popular bread in Switzerland. We had a go and made a loaf of the Zopf bread out of scratch with help from my cousin. It is a soft white loaf twisted into a plait and baked in the oven until golden. Traditionally eaten on Sundays.
- Polenta – Ticino (Italian part of Switzerland) speciality, maize puree cooked with cheese and served as a main dish. This was not my favourite but it is worth a taste.
- Favourite beer – Try the Appenzeller bier, Quöllfrisch. Its a cloudy full-bodied larger with a delicious swiss/german flavour. Smooth and thirst quenching. Find beers at the supermarkets, as always it is lot cheaper than it is going to be at the pub.
- Kirsch – Cherry brandy liquor made from distilling cherries. You can drink it as it is or use it in fondues or on Cakes. In Ticino they have Grappa which is a grape brandy liquor, that tastes very strong and a nip in your coffee will get you out of bed in the morning! watch out!
We highly recommend
- Freihof restaurant and brewery, Gossau – Home brewed, natural beers available, all beer is brewed on site. Serves delicious mouth-watering Swiss delicacies and has an 18 hole miniature golf course on site.
- Ruti Restaurant in Herisau. Amazing panoramic view over looking Herisau and in the far distance you can see the famous Santis. The food is exquisite, specializing in Swiss gastronomy
- Nuova Pergola, Ticino – Ticino is the southern part of Switzerland close to the Italian border, Pergola serves an unbelievable Swiss-Italian pizza. If you are craving pizza be sure to check this place out. Load it with their signature chili oil if you can handle the heat.
Top 10 Must Do’s
Take the highest railway up to the highest point in Europe – Jungfrau. This excursion is quite pricey, but we all gotta’ splash out sometimes or what is the point in travel! The views on the way up the track through Lauterbrunnen and then from the top really show off Switzerland’s beauty. An amazing place for panoramic views of the mountain range and an awesome photo spot.
Tip – only go up if the weather is nice and clear, no point spending all that money to go up when you can’t see anything.
- Go snowboarding/skiing- The swiss Alps have a reputation for being absolutely pristine, it makes sense then that Switzerland is a popular ski resort destination. With so many lush mountains you can go skiing and snowboarding you can find yourself a deal. We went to Davos, It is one of the best ski resorts in Switzerland with 5 mountains in the area. You will spend at least a whole day at each mountain, we spent most of our time at the Jakobshorn. Davos a big enough town that has everything you need after a long day out skiing and fun pub atmosphere
- Have a picnic at the Rhine falls – Rhine falls is the largest plain waterfall in Europe and found nearby the town of Schaffhausen. With the magnificent waterfall in the background what better place to pull up and have a picnic
- Stroll around the city of Zurich – The global centre for business and finance, this picturesque city has a lot of
must sees, check out old town, Lake Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse and the Grossmunster church.
- Visit the capital Bern- It is enriched with history, taking a stroll down the main old town leads to a stunning cathedral, stone bridges crossing over picturesque rivers and a live bear enclosure make Bern a unique and amazing place.
- Fall in love with Lucerne – Wandering this city like so many others in Switzerland shows off extraordinary sites
- Explore the southern Italian part of Switzerland Ticino – less known on the tourist circuit makes Ticino even more special. Stunning lakes and plenty of hikes through the hills. Perfect place to stop if your entering Switzerland from Italy or Malpensa airport.
- Bike around any of the many lakes of Switzerland. Often in the shadow of some glorious alps.
- Cable car up to the Santis- At 2500m above sea level, you will be guaranteed some breath-taking views, just make sure you go up on a nice day.
- Discover St Gallen. Devour the sausage as mentioned above.
Tips and advice
In Switzerland people often know more than 4 different languages. They learn in school German, then French followed by English and Italian. Make sure when trying to speak the language you get the right one depending what region you are in Switzerland.
- Drink the water from the free-flowing fountains – fresh tasting cold water from the mountains. There is no need to buy bottled water here.
- Official Currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF)
- Shops are usually closed 12pm – 2pm on weekdays, Sundays its all closed.