Travel Guide | Switzerland

Switzerland: It’s Not All About the Chocolate

Lock in your trip to Interlaken for a dose of adrenaline and incredible views

If the fact that the town of Interlaken, Switzerland is perfectly surrounded with frosty mountains and clear blue lakes isn’t enough for you to book your trip immediately, then wait to hear about all of the other extreme activities and delicacies it has to offer. I ventured to Interlaken, not knowing what to expect, in the spring of 2013 and had the trip of a lifetime! Coming from a town that is heavily defined by winter sports, particularly skiing, I knew I could not pass up the opportunity to ski in the Swiss Alps; so I did just that.

After a lengthy bus ride through the night with the tour company, Bus2Alps, I woke up to the sight of Switzerland out of my window. When we crossed the border, I remember the officials asking our bus driver if he could turn off the air conditioning because of their mission to be an eco-friendly country. From that point on, I knew I was in for a unique and delightful experience. The very moment my friends and I arrived in the breathtaking town of Interlaken, we hurried over to the ski rental shop so that we could have as much time at the mountain as possible. We stayed at the Balmer’s Hostel, which I highly recommend due to its great hospitality, including free breakfast and wifi. Not to mention, the underground club, Metro, that adds even more fun to the accommodation. Right down the block from Balmer’s is a ski rental shop, which is where we gathered our three star ski equipment, including my hot pink snow pants that I shamelessly wore.

interlaken

Getting to the mountain was an adventure in itself. We finally made it to the mountain after figuring out Switzerland’s transportation system. One bus and two train rides later, we stepped out into the Jungfrau skiing region and knew that the past 45 minutes of travel was more than worth it. We were in awe as we glanced up and down the tall mountaintops and powder trails. We could not wait to take the chairlift up to the top and experience skiing down the Swiss Alps for the first time ever. My first run down the mountain still feels like a dream when I think about it. The scenery around me was so surreal that it brought me pure happiness. After our time was up at the mountain, we headed back to the hostel for a warm cup of hot chocolate to conclude the evening.

If you are trying to stay within a budget, be aware that Switzerland has higher prices. Their currency is called Francs, which is pretty equivalent to dollars, but an average meal there costs about 25 Francs because that is how much minimum wage is for their citizens. They are an independent and neutral country, which is fantastic; however, it is more affordable to go to a grocery store, such as Coop, for meals if you are trying to be as smart as possible with your spending!

The next day was ski day number two and I could not have been more excited to get back to the slopes! The sun was shining bright and it was one of those perfect days when you don’t even need a jacket. We wanted to make sure we explored as much as possible, so we went to a different mountain. Here, we took a gondola ride with picturesque views to the top of the trail and then skied half way down, where we came across a zip line. It is called the First Flyer and it is popular all year round since Switzerland is equally beautiful without snow, too! This was the most exhilarating and fun activity I did while abroad. Switzerland is known for their extreme sports; for example, one of my friends went canyon jumping and others went sky diving, but I stuck to the less terrifying activities! After we soared through the air and landed on our feet safely, we continued our day of skiing while meeting new Swiss friends. At night, we went to a chocolate show! We got to see how Swiss chocolate is made and were even given free samples; it was delicious. No chocolate has ever compared. After the show, we visited the popular nightclub beneath our hostel and then went to bed early so that we could fit in a morning walk before our departure.

 zip line switzerland ski

On our last day, we walked a half hour to the lake. While breathing in the fresh air that Switzerland encompasses, we skipped our way down through the main street of Interlaken to the outskirts that headed to the shoreline. Once we reached the lake, its beauty took me away. I had never seen a lake with so many qualities I love in just one view. This lake was clear and turquoise just like you see in the Caribbean and the mountains in the back were like the ones on the ski mountain. A bit of fog was covering the scene to make it even more mystical. It was a perfect way to end my trip to Interlaken, Switzerland.

lake switzerland

Caitlin McConnell

Marist College | 12 stories

Caitlin is a senior at Marist College studying public relations and fashion merchandising. She enjoys being active, shopping and spending time with friends and family. She is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She has gained valuable experiences through interning at companies such as Seventeen Magazine in New York City and traveling abroad to Florence, Italy for a semester. She fell in love with Europe and dreams of traveling to new places to further explore cultures, languages and traditions!


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