With a limited number of days off work in a year, I love to make the most of the bank holidays with prolonged weekends away. For the early May bank holiday last month, I decided to do exactly that!
My close friend Morgane, who I lived with in Australia, is actually studying in Lausanne, a city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This brought up the perfect opportunity to visit a country I had never been to and to reunite with her and another friend I had met in Australia, Charlotte. It was nice because Switzerland has never particularly been a country that I’ve been desperate to visit (there are many other countries in Europe that are further top of my hit list) so heading over I felt relaxed, with no pressure or high expectations.
However, I would soon become utterly impressed with the stunning scenery of the place!
Saturday in Montreux
Awaking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (more specifically, without a hangover), we decided Saturday would be the day we would embark on a day trip out of the city and start a hike. Morgane decided to take us to Montreux, a traditional resort town about half an hour away by train. Even on the train journey I was taken aback by the spectacular views and couldn’t stop staring out the window. The azure-blue water of Lake Geneva filled the windows, and I could spot snow-capped mountains bordering the distance.
Once we arrived, I was almost equally impressed with the quaint atmosphere of the charming town. There were tiny little cafes, colourful buildings and plenty of flowers! Spring was definitely the right season to visit.
We soon arrived at our hike starting point, where we were greeted with a sign informing us that there were 1055 steps to the top – fantastic.
Our climb was undoubtedly gruelling, but even with plenty of photo stops we managed to arrive in good time and were rewarded with incredible views of the lake and town.
Climbing up further we came to the small town of Glion, meeting tonnes of adorable cats on the way. It’s fair to say I enjoyed the walk!
Coming across a sloped area of grass, mid-afternoon we took the time to enjoy our picnic lunch we had bought before catching our train. I have to say, the Gruyère cheese was absolutely incredible! I have been addicted ever since.
After our descent down, we spent a more relaxing hour exploring the town by the lake, enjoying drinks by the rocks and soaking up the sun and the scenery. It was a fantastic day, and Montreux was picture-perfect.
Sunday exploring Lausanne
Nursing a hangover (we ended up joining a uni party Saturday night), we decided to take it a lot easier on the Sunday. No exhausting climb this time! An old friend I went to secondary school with was actually living and working in Switzerland and he was nice enough to take the time to come and visit and spend the day with us. He is living in the German-speaking city of Basel, which is about a 2-hour train journey away from Lausanne.
We all enjoyed brunch together at Morgane’s lovely apartment, before heading off to visit Lausanne’s shores of Lake Geneva.
The views of the lake were even more striking than when we were in Montreux, and it was the perfect day to relax and enjoy the serenity of it all.
Our day consisted mainly of walking around the lake, eating delicious Swiss chocolate (I would recommend Cailler which can easily be bought from the supermarket) and chatting and relaxing on the grass.
By late afternoon we decided to walk up to Lausanne Cathedral, which unfortunately involved a bit more climbing as Lausanne is quite a hilly city!
The Cathedral was beautiful, but what was even better were the views of Lausanne.
It was a fantastic weekend, and it was great to visit a new country. Switzerland was just how I imagined it really, the gorgeous mountain and lake views, the delectable cheese and chocolate, the greenery. I was also really impressed with the efficiency of how the country was run – the trains always seemed to be on time!
The only thing that was really off-putting was the prices, it was unbelievably expensive! A main in a restaurant would be a minimum of about 30 Franks (around £24) and that’s just your run of the mill average restaurant! However I did learn that the wages in Switzerland are incredible, so of course, it’s all relative. Not as great for a tourist – I thought that London was bad!
Switzerland I would say is definitely worth a visit, especially if you have friends or family to visit that you can stay with to save on pricey accommodation costs. I absolutely loved my stay and I only really scratched the surface, the skiing and national parks are meant to be absolutely incredible.