Claudio Zemp – Director of Americas for Switzerland Tourism
Website: www.stnet.ch and www.travelshows.com for a chance to win a trip to Switzerland!
Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Switzerland
What makes it unique: Nestled in between mountains and lakes but still a decent size town. Surrounded by mountains, dense forests, alpine meadows and glaciers, with numerous hiking and skiing trails.
Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa – Luxury and a grand hotel
Hotel Interlaken – 4 star with excellent location to alps, amazing views
WineArt – Part bar, part lounge, part restaurant and part DELI. Chandeliers and over 600 wines to choose from.
Goldener Anker – Swiss meals including fondue which is big in Switzerland
Activities: Hiking, Eating Swiss cheese chocolate and wine, any mountain sports, explore Interlaken Castle
How to get around: Walking or by public transportation (trains are great)
How to get there:
Switzerland is about a 9 hour flight from Chicago, with nonstop, roundtrip flights starting around $600 this time of year.
The closest airport to Interlaken is Bern Airport, 45 minutes away by road and about an hour and a half by train. You can also take a flight to the Zurich Airport and then a train from the airport to Interlaken.
When to visit:
The high season is July to August, when the weather in Switzerland is the warmest it is in the entire year, but you will have to face a lot of tourists, and over 50% increase in prices.
Winter (between December and March) is low season in most parts of the country, as there will be intense snowstorms.
Spring is a beautiful time to visit Switzerland. Not too many tourists, decent prices, nice weather, flowering trees, etc.
Tips for visiting:
The mountains can be chilly. Make sure to bring layers and extra clothes for evening.
Learn a little basic German before you go.
What makes it unique: Lucerne is located in central Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by the Swiss Alps, notably Mount Pilatus and Rigi. With its placid water and towering alpine vistas, Lucerne embodies what tourists think of when they hear “Switzerland.” Lucerne has a population of just under 60,000 people. Lucerne is in the German-speaking. Clean, quaint, gorgeous views of the mountains.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel National Luzern, Lucerne
This palatial hotel is a 10-minute walk from Chapel Bridge, a 13-minute walk from the Lion Monument and 2 km from the Swiss Museum of Transport.
Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs and minibars, plus safes, en suite bathrooms and Nespresso machines. Some rooms have sitting areas, fireplaces and/or balconies.
Amenities consist of 4 restaurants, a bistro and a cafe, plus a bar, and meeting and event space.
There’s also a wellness center with an indoor pool, a gym, sauna.
An airport transfer, breakfast and massage services are available.
Luftseilbahn Grindelwald Pfingstegg – https://www.pfingstegg.ch/index.php/en/
Enjoy dinner with an incredible view of the mountains, while floating from this cable car suspended over the gorgeous backdrop of Switzerland!
Schiffrestaurant Wilhelm Tell – Lucerne’s Floating restaurant
Built in 1908, this nostalgic paddle steamer has been lovingly restored to its original splendour, and is now permanently anchored at what must be the most beautiful spot in the whole of Central Switzerland – in the Lucerne bay.
Look out across the charming Old Town, the lake and the mountains while choosing from our mouth-watering menu.
Explore Lucerne’s Old Town on foot, passing churches and bridges and venturing into narrow cobbled streets and colorfully painted Renaissance squares.
Also check out Mount Pilates and Sein in lake Lucerne
How to get there:
Lucerne doesn’t have an airport; Zurich International Airport is the most frequently used by travelers to the area.
How to get around:
Public transportation is the best. Lucerne has a central rail station with frequent connections to other locations in Switzerland and some international destinations. Buses and trains always run perfectly on time (“Swiss time”).
Rent bikes too in the warmer months.
Tips for visiting: Discount Card – The Lucerne Card, available for durations of 1, 2 or 3 days, offers free public transportation within Lucerne and discounts on many other museums and attractions.
“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”
What’s in Your Suitcase?
MOFT phone stand and tablet stand – $24 per stand or two-pack for $34 at MOFT Indiegogo Indemand
MOFT (MOFT stands for “Mobile Office for Travelers”) has released the World’s First Invisible Laptop Stand. MOFT is the lightest adhesive laptop stand around, perfect for travel, and follows the “invisible design” philosophy: unseen when attached, unfelt when worked on, unnoticed when carried. It acts as a natural, seamless appendage of your computer, and comes in 5 different colors: Silver, Space Grey, Gold, Rose Gold and Diamond.
What’s on your phone?
Rome2rio: Trip Planner – Free on iOS and Android – https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rome2rio-trip-planner/id569793256
Rome2rio searches any city, town, landmark, attraction or address across the globe with thousands of multi-modal routes to get you from A to B. Compare your options: plane, train, bus, car, ferry, bike share, driving and walking directions all in one search (with hundreds and thousands of routes and airlines available). With over 186,000 app users worldwide already on board, you know you’re in good company!
What’s the tip?
How Women Can Stay Safe Traveling Abroad
Uber has just released a safety report that shows 3,000 sexual assaults and 9 murders in the US in 2018 and more around the world. What’s more, in 2019 we saw horrifying reports of women attacked or killed while traveling in Costa Rica, Morocco, Thailand, Australia, and more. Here’s how you can stay safe:
Have a Panic Button – Apps like ICE Contact (“in case of emergency” Contact), and the Bsafe app provide panic buttons, alarms and alerts you can send to contacts back home alerting them of trouble or can store your emergency medical information or have direct access to the country’s emergency contact lines. The State Department’s Smart Traveler is an enrollment program that includes frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more.
Monitor Crime Around You – When traveling through the U.S. apps like Crime and Place and Citizen give you crime hotspots and real time alerts, and even video to keep you informed wherever you go.
Stay With Hosts You Feel Safer With – We recommend misterb&b, an LGBTQ home sharing site. Users of this site have expressed they feel “safer” staying at the homes of other straight and non straight women and also feel safer when gay men are their hosts. Additionally, women hosts on the site say they feel safer hosting only women or gay men as guests.
Use Booking Sites With Stringent Safety Protocols – Many booking sites rely only on guest reviews and hosts are rarely verified thoroughly. misterb&b gives the gay community freedom to book homes, rooms, and hotels through gay/gay welcoming hosts, so that they can be sure they are in a safe, gay-friendly space and neighborhood.
Always Be Connected – Purchase necessary phone plans and download wifi messaging apps like WhatsApp to stay connected. It also might be a good idea to make sure you have a tracking app on your phone and that at least one person back home can access it so someone knows where you are.