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, heading to Lausanne in Switzerland.
My close friend Morgane, who I lived with in Australia, is 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 of ours, Charlotte. It was nice because Switzerland was never a country that I’d been desperate to visit. That meant heading over I felt relaxed, with no pressure or high expectations.
However, I would soon become utterly impressed with the stunning scenery of Switzerland.
Saturday in Montreux
Awaking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (more specifically, without a hangover), we decided Saturday we would embark on a day trip out of the city to hike. Morgane chose to take us to Montreux, a traditional resort town about half an hour away by train. On the 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 the right season to visit.
We soon arrived at the starting point of our hike. We were greeted with a sign informing us that we must climb 1055 steps to reach the top – fantastic.
Our climb was gruelling, but even with plenty of photo stops, we managed to arrive in good time. On the way up, we were rewarded with panoramic views of the lake and town.
Climbing up further, we arrived at the small town of Glion, meeting tons of friendly 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 a picnic lunch we had bought before catching the train. I have to say, the Gruyère cheese was incredible. I’ve been addicted ever since.
After our descent, 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 memorable day, and Montreux was picture-perfect.
Sunday exploring Lausanne
Nursing a hangover (we ended up joining a university party on Saturday night), we decided to take it easier on Sunday. There were no exhausting climbs this time.
Oliver, an old friend I went to secondary school with, is living and working in Switzerland and he was kind enough to take the time to come and visit to spend the day with us. Oliver is living in the German-speaking city of Basel, which is about a two-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 ideal day to relax and enjoy the serenity of it all.
Our day consisted of walking around the lake, eating delicious Swiss chocolate and chatting and relaxing on the grass. When it comes to Swiss chocolate, I recommend Cailler which you can buy from the supermarket.
By late afternoon we decided to walk up to Lausanne Cathedral. This, unfortunately, involved a bit more climbing as Lausanne is quite a hilly city.
The Cathedral was beautiful, and so were the views of Lausanne.
It was a fantastic weekend, and it was great to visit a new country. Switzerland was how I imagined it, with the gorgeous mountain and lake views, the delectable cheese and chocolate, and the greenery.
I was also impressed with the efficiency of the country. The trains always seemed to be on time, unlike in the UK.
The only off-putting thing is the prices, Switzerland is very expensive. A main in a restaurant would be a minimum of about 30 Franks (around £24), and that’s your run of the mill average eatery. However, I did learn that the wages in Switzerland are high, so of course, it’s all relative.
Switzerland is worth a visit, especially if you have friends or family to visit that you can stay with to save on pricey accommodation costs. I loved my stay, and I only scratched the surface of Switzerland. The skiing and national parks are meant to be incredible, and I’d love to visit them one day.
Want to discover more of my European adventures? Here’s what I got up to in Italy.