Dec 31, 2015 - 7:29 PM
Dear forum readers,
I have just returned from my Switzerland trip from 10 - 28 December 2015 and it was a lovely trip! We had no problems with the travel passes (I bought Swiss Half-Pass) and were able to get around with English. The trains were on time and runs through Christmas eve and on Christmas day itself! It was excellent! We took the forum's recommendation to stay at Grindelwald instead of Interlaken and stayed at the Derby Swiss Hotel, which proved to be an excellent choice because it was right beside the train station and offers excellent views of the Eiger. Another excellent accommodation find is Kafischnaps in Zurich. It is located a little further away from town but it was worth every penny as the hosts were excellent and the rooms and toilets were clean and heated. The prices were also not exorbitant and reasonable.
This forum is an excellent source and is up to date with the information! As suggested by the moderators, I decided to purchase light hiking waterproof footwear from North Face, which I purchased for less than 100 euros, and they were very useful in keeping the feet dry in the wetter regions, i.e. Swiss Alps. Another good recommendation that came from the forum was the SIM card - I purchased a 2 GB mobile data SIM card, valid for 1 month, from Sunrise (tele provider) for 25 CHF. The mobile data proved to be very useful in finding out the train connections, timings, number of stops and occasionally platform numbers - the SBB app crashed a few times so thank goodness I was able to use google maps! On the last day of my trip, I decided to change the itinerary to visit another city (Bern instead of Mt Titlis - we were tired of mountains since we have already gone to JFJ and Schilthorn), so having mobile data on the go is useful if you encounter changes to you plans. However I met someone on the trip who bought her SIM from 3USIM which provided 12GB of mobile data for 1 month! And this SIM card can be used in various countries in Europe - something to consider if you are planning to visit multiple European countries.
As I visited Switzerland in December, Christmas markets were one of the highlights of my trip. Just to share, I loved Basel's Christmas markets the most, but Montreux's Christmas markets are also worth mentioning/visiting. It was quite extensive and offers a lot of yummy hot food in cold winter. Zurich also had Christmas market though I felt it was milder compared to the other two (but this is just my personal opinion).
One last thing, if you are an Asian traveller like me (I'm from Singapore), and will be travelling for 2 weeks or more, do prepare some cup noodles. Soup and Asian staples (e.g. rice and noodles) are hard to come by and sometimes you just need some comfort food for a break. Cup noodles are sold in the local supermarkets (e.g. COOP, MIGROS), but the selection is severely limited.
Lastly, I would like to thank Arno, Annika and Slowpoke for their suggestions and helping to refine my itinerary :) We did not find a catholic church for Christmas in the end but that's ok.
I would strongly recommend this forum to anyone who is planning their Switzerland itinerary.
Happy New Year 2016!