8 things i learned in the 8 days i spent in switzerland

  1. They don’t call it Swiss cheese here. Each region has its own cheese. Raclette and Gruyère were the two cheeses I saw on most menus. The cheese with the holes that Americans eat is actually called Emmental.

    La Maison du Gruyere 11
    The cheese room
  2. Weather can be temperamental. During the first week of September, Zurich was rainy and in the 50s, and we never saw the sun. Everywhere else we went outside of Zurich was still 50s but it was sunny and beautiful

    iPhone Sept 2017 21
    Zurich, Switzerland
  3. The four main languages are German, English, French, and Italian. Depending on which region you’re visiting, the street signs and the language you hear people speaking will vary. For example, if you visit Zürich, you’ll mainly hear German since it’s closer to Germany. However, if you stop in Montreux, you’ll hear French because it’s closer to France.
  4. Switzerland is expensive. They weren’t lying when they said it’s one of the most expensive European countries. If you plan on eating out at a restaurant, expect to spend at least 75 CHF for two basic entrees with two drinks. Dining was probably the most expensive part of our trip. If you can, rent an Airbnb or one of those serviced apartments so that you can at least cook a few of your meals.
  5. The Swiss loves students. Don’t forget your student ID. A lot of attractions have a student discount, even if it’s just a couple of CHF – every bit helps.
  6. If you plan on visiting multiple cities throughout Switzerland via train, you should look into the Swiss Travel Pass. Depending on how many cities/attractions you plan to hit up, it might be more worth it to get a Swiss half pass. You pay 120 CHF for the pass, and then you just pay half the price of a train ticket. It works for both first and second class. This site was EXTREMELY helpful in helping me decide which pass to get. The pass also works for scenic train rides, railways, pretty much everything within the Swiss Travel system, which is super efficient and clean.

    Geneva to Zermatt 6
    First class is more expensive but sometimes, it’s worth it to not have to deal with the crowds – especially if you have heavy luggage with you
  7. Sending your luggage from city to city if very convenient. The Swiss have figured out how to make it simple and efficient. You could get your luggage as soon as the next day. We sent our luggage from Lucerne to Geneva (12 CHF a piece which was completely worth it) and the process was seamless.
  8. Get a free bus pass in certain cities. If you stay at a hotel in a city (i.e. Montreux, Geneva, Lucerne), a free bus pass is included and works for the duration of your stay. If you’re not sure whether or not the city offers it, ask the receptionist at your hotel.

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