3 weeks of Switzerland Summer 2021 for a family of four from USA including two adults, two female teens, and a small dog.
*All travel was on public transportation using the Swiss Travel Pass (we’ll never get another pass for the convenience alone- jumping in a train, bus, boat any time we wanted… plus we got the July 2021 25% discount for the 15 day + the 8 day pass)
Days 1-5 We had a 10 hr layover in Zürich and met up with family for lunch and a walk around the city. Then a short flight to Geneva (it was $200 cheaper per person to continue on to Geneva rather than stop in Zürich!) and the next 5 days were spent in Lausanne (Hôtel du Port by the lake in Ouchy- high recommended) where we have family nearby.
We hiked in Lavaux vineyards, went shopping and to markets in Lausanne, visited the promenade of Montreux, Vevey Saturday festival, and Château de Chillon, Tour de Sauvabelin, drank and listened to music at Jetee de la compagnie, visited beautiful Gruyeres and Romont (towns of my heritage), swam in Lac Leman and played in the park by Château d’Ouchy and took out a paddle boat with a slide several times all right across from the hotel, and visited with family for dinners on the beach and in the mountains.
Day 6-7 We stayed at Grand Hotel at Levay les-Bains thermals. We booked on Booking.com at the last minute when it was supposed to rain and the hotel price dropped almost in half. Turned out it didn’t rain, but the baths would’ve stayed open either way. The baths and hotel were fantastic, a real treat. The chalet restaurant there had an amazing Raclette dinner.
Days 7-11 Wengen- we stayed in Arenas Resort Victoria- wonderful hotel!! They had thermal baths downstairs and an amazing buffet breakfast included. We booked on Expedia and got a triple room for 4. We LOVED Wengen. We hiked from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg… amazing (I still dream about that walk). We played the games in the town center, ate delicious meals, swam in the public outdoor pool, went to the Pfingstegg toboggan and Flyer ride, went to Gussbach Falls in Lauterbrunnen, and took the cable car to Grütschalp and then to Murren and then the funicular up to the huge playground and flower park and had lunch at the restaurant. We would’ve loved another week (or a lifetime!) in Wengen! *My daughter lost her phone at a bus stop in Interlaken and three days later we called the town lost and found for a second time and it had been turned in! We love the Swiss honesty systems in place.
Days 11-13 Zermatt- we stayed in Haus Rosa apartment near the center of town and the main street. We went up the Gornergrat for excellent views one morning when it looked semi-clear- up top it was more clear. Enjoyed a delicious beer with amazing views. The next day there were Swiss Nat’l Day events but it rained most of the day so we shopped and explored with an umbrella in hand. Amazing fireworks all around Zermatt that night!!
Day 14 We missed the connecting train to Locarno due to delays with our first train and it was early in the morning so we took a detour and went to Bern and Luzern for the day en route to Locarno. We had wanted to swim in the Aare in Bern but the floods earlier in the month made the conditions unsafe. I would’ve liked to stay a night or two in Luzern, but we continued on to tropical Locarno.
Days 15-17 Locarno and Ascona- We stayed at Ibis Locarno which was nice and a great price. Staying in Ascona would’ve been even cooler because it’s just such a cute authentic old town with wonderful little alleyways for shopping and walking. We took a boat to Isole di Brissago which turned out to be amazing gardens with lots of “hide and seek” play areas that kids also love. It was really a unique place- a must-see. We also took a bus along the steep slopes of canyons to Lavertezzo with gorgeous turquoise clear waters, giant rocks, and a medieval bridge- so beautiful! When we left town we went to Domodossola Italy for lunch on our way to Brig.
Days 18-21 Lausanne- We have family here and we just love being right on the lake so we wanted plenty of time to relax, swim, and boat, etc. back at the same great Hôtel du Port. We took a boat over to Yvoire France a medieval town. We were going to Gruyeres again because we loved it so much the first time but there were train troubles so we stayed in Bulle and had a delicious fondue at La Gruyerien. We went to Bellerive pools/park a couple times- several pools and a lake area plus inflatables on the lake to play on. We also went to Aubonne where my grandmaman is from but there’s also a great outlet mall in the non-historic area. We ate our favorite local dish filet de perche many times but the best was at Brasserie Riviera in Ouchy. There also was a cool market that popped up in front of the hotel through the Ouchy promenade area on the last Sunday.
On our last day, we went to our Covid appointment at Geneva airport for our free rapid anitigen Covid test, then waited in an insanely long line with Swiss airlines. We did not like flying with Swiss. They were very disorganized both to and from and we had trying calling them a month before the flight with a couple question and despite hours of searching we never could find a working phone number that got you passed the first prompts, and never received a reply email. We flew to Zürich and then on United to Washington DC. United was a great to work with and great customer service if we needed anything.
A fantastic vacation.. we cried the whole way home. Can’t wait to go back… maybe even to live one day since my Swiss Dad gifted my daughters and I with Swiss citizenship.