Switzerland for newbies

(The parts in bold are the things I would do before any others on this list)

French speaking part:

  • Easy walking in the Lavaux (vineyards) part of UNESCO World Heritage
  • “Fête des Vignerons” => Huge event in Vevey on the shore of Lake Geneva. Happens only once every generation. The main shows are quite expensive, but lots of stuff, and drinking happening everywhere in town. From July 18th to August 11th. Expect a lot of people.
  • Come and visit my home area (Bulle). Area known for easy hiking, cheese and chocolate. Cheese (Gruyère) and chocolate (Cailler) factories only 5min away from my place…
  • Visit the “Valais” and the multiple small valleys like “Val d’Anniviers” or “Val d’Herrens”.

German speaking part:

  • Still in the “Valais”, go to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn and maybe go up to the Gornergrat or to Riffelsee either by foot or by train. The train to Zermatt is included in the Interrail Pass. The train from Zermatt to Rifelsee and Gornergrat is not included in the Interrail Pass.
  • Saas-Fee is in a small valley right next to Zermatt and is less expensive. But you can’t see the Matterhorn from Saas-Fee…
  • Go hiking in the Bettmeralp and Riederalp region where you have incredible views of the Aletsch Glacier (largest glacier in Europe).
  • Go hiking at the beautiful Oeschinensee just above the town of Kandersteg.
  • Go to Interlaken for some hiking. I wouldn’t go to Grindelwald because it’s very touristy and expensive. Stay near Interlaken or Brienz and do some hiking in the area.
    First hiking option: from Harder Kulm, follow the mountainous ridge above Lake Brienz to the top of Augstmatthorn and then take the trail down to Habkern and the bus back to Interlaken. The area is home to one of the largest wild colonies of Alpine Ibex.
    Second hiking option: hike from the top the Brienzer Rothorn to the Brünig-Pass where you can catch the train back to Brienz or Interlaken.
  • Hike the trail from Melchsee-Frutt to Engelberg. It passes by 5 beautiful alpine lakes. 25% discount on the cable car up to Melchsee-Frutt with Interrail Pass.
  • Take the cogwheel train or cable car to Mt. Pilatus or do some hiking on the mountain. The cogwheel train and cable-car are not included in Interrail Pass. 50% discount with Interrail Pass.
  • Take a boat ride on Lake Lucerne (50% discount with Interrail Pass)
  • Hike from Urmiberg to Rigi-Kulm. (Beautiful hike just above Lake Lucerne). All info about the hike on the website of Mt. Rigi.
  • Visit the city of Zurich including a quick trip up to Uetliberg (local mountain of Zurich accessible by S-Bahn).
  • Go hiking in Appenzell to see the lake “Seealpsee” near Wasserauen. Right nearby is the world famous “Bergrestaurant Äscher”.
  • Go to Graubünden and enjoy the tons of hiking available. My personal favorites are the hike from Valendas to Versam in the Rhine Gorges (Swiss Grand Canyon), hiking in the Bernina Pass region, hike in the Val da Camp (bus stop: Sfazu, fermata) and go see Lago di Saoseo and Lagh dal Val Viola.
  • Go to Sta. Maria Val Müstair in the Swiss National Park to go hiking. Very nice hike from the Umbrailpass down to Sta. Maria Val Müstair passing by Lai da Rims.
  • Stay in “Le Prese” and enjoy being on the shore of Lake Poschiavo.
  • In the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, you could visit Lugano or Locarno which are nice little cities.

Obviously take trains on the famous Glacier Express, Bernina Express or Goldenpass routes. For the Glacier Express and Bernina Express, do not take the actual panoramic touristic train where you have to pay for an expensive reservation even with the Interrail Pass. Just take one of the hourly regional train which runs on the same line and is much more fun. And you can also decide to get off spontaneously which is not possible with the special touristic trains.