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THINGS TO DO IN BELLAGIO, LAKE COMO

Places to visit in Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy, Arzo Travels

WHAT TO DO IN BELLAGIO, ITALY + TRAVEL TIPS

Bellagio, a small town on the shores of Lake Como, is probably one of the prettiest places you can visit at and around Lake Como.

Known for its cobblestone lanes with cute restaurants and cafes, a beautiful promenade, and different villas and parks, it is one of the top places to visit at Lake Como. Whether you do a day trip from Como, Milan, or stay for longer, Bellagio is a must-see in Lombardy. There is just one big “issue“ with Bellagio – it can be crowded. Very crowded. Because it is anything but a hidden gem, it does get busy. 

The “Pearl of Lake Como“ is a tourist magnet. There are many reasons for this, which you will find out about in this post. Here you will find what to do in Bellagio along with important travel tips for your Bellagio itinerary.

Bellagio, lake Como attractions

BELLAGIO TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some quick tips for your Bellagio itinerary.

How to Get to Bellagio

Lake Como´s arms form an inverted Y, and Bellagio is located halfway between the two southernmost branches of the lake at 229 meters above sea level.

  • Bellagio does not have a train station. So, if you get there by public transportation, you most likely will get to Como first by train and then take a bus or boat to Bellagio.
  • To get from Como to Bellagio, it takes about 1 hour by bus/car.
  • If you take the boat, it will take about 2 hours (there is a fast boat service, too, which takes only about 1 hour).

How to Get Around Bellagio

  • The best way to get around in Bellagio itself is on foot. The sights are all located within walking distance and you just have to wear comfy shoes to walk those cobblestoned and holey streets.
  • There is a tourist train that will take you to the main attractions as well, if you cannot or do not want to walk all day.
  • If you want to discover the surroundings, I highly suggest getting around by boat/ferry. The ferry station is just at the foot of the old town and there are regular connections to Como, Varenna, and many more places.

Where to Stay in Bellagio

  • Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is the most luxurious hotel you can find in Bellagio. This 5-star property is located at the end of the Bellagio promontory, with views of Lake Como and the Alps just at the shores of Lake Como. 
  • If you are looking for an apartment with a kitchen, then you might want to check out Diamonds Apartments, which is just a few minutes‘ walk away from the Bellagio harbor. You are close to the main attractions and have wonderful views of the lake – perfect for those who want to cook their own meals or stay with a larger group (up to 7 people).
  • For a more affordable option, check out Agriturismo La Derta, which is located about 1 km from Villa Melzi Gardens. You can book beds in a dorm and have breakfast included. It is a bit farther from the main sights, but if you are fit, you can still walk to see them.

How Long to Stay in Bellagio 

Bellagio is a small town, though it has quite a bit to offer given its small size. In one day, you can see all the attractions – in half a day you can manage to see the main attractions. However, Bellagio makes a good base to visit some of the other stunning areas along the shores of Lake Como. So you can make it your base and stay in Bellagio for a couple of days.

Is Bellagio Worth Visiting? 

Yes, Bellagio is worth visiting! It is actually well worth visiting. The old town and the promenade with its park and gardens make it a great place to visit for a day or so.

Bellagio, Lake Como and the main things to do

BEST THINGS TO DO IN BELLAGIO, LAKE COMO

Okay, here are the best attractions to visit in Bellagio.

BELLAGIO OLD TOWN & GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI

One of the main attractions in Bellagio is the old, small town with its hilly, narrow cobblestone streets. You will find plenty of cafes and small boutiques that sell local products.

Bellagio staircase

The most popular spot here is probably the street of Giuseppe Garibaldi – this very photogenic street can become crowded. When you look at the view, you‘ll know why.

Basilica of San Giacomo in Bellagio

Church in Bellagio, Italy

Another main sight in the old town is the Basilica of San Giacomo, which is centrally located. There is no entrance fee and since it is quite small, it is just a short stop on your Bellagio itinerary.

  • TIP: Since it is a church, dress appropriately.

PROMENADE

My favorite place in Bellagio is actually the promenade – it stretches more or less from Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni to Giardini di Villa Melzi. This one-kilometer-long stretch is the perfect place for an easy walk with amazing views, and if you need a rest, you can just sit down on one of the benches along the way.Bellagio top things to do, Lake Como

Promenade at Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Unlike the promenade in Como, you‘ll find this one beautifully decorated with flower pots.

Promenade at Bellagio, Lake Como, is a must

Stalls at market day in Bellagio

On market days, you will also find small stalls selling cute and unique stuff, as well as fresh food and essential items.

bellagio promenade in lake como

MELZI GARDEN

One thing you might find in abundance in Lake Como are parks and villas. Bellagio won’t disappoint you here – Melzi Garden is a popular botanical garden and park area with a villa as a main attraction.

Villa Melzi in Italy

Botanical garden in Bellagio is a must see

The villa itself, built in a neoclassical style between 1808 and 1810, is not open to the public, but you can walk the long stretch (on different levels) and enjoy splendid views of the lake and the flowers.

Villa Melzi at Lake Como

It is a nice garden, but if you are on a budget, you can skip it and visit the park in Varenna instead.

  • Tickets can be bought on the spot for 8€, with children under the age of 11 free.

LA PUNTA SPARTIVENTO 

A popular place outside the town center is the Punta Spartivento. This famous bridge situated in a park on the Bellagio peninsula is just about a 10-minute walk uphill from the ferry terminal. 

LA PUNTA SPARTIVENTO in Bellagio is a main attraction

The bridge gives you some panoramic views of the lake, but there is also a meadow where you can just chill and rest.

Views from LA PUNTA SPARTIVENTO 

You will also find a restaurant there. While I have not dined there myself, it seems to be a popular place that easily fills up during the high season (so a reservation might be good if you want to eat/have a drink there).

LIDO

The urge to spend some time in the water would be totally understandable – which you can do at the lido in Bellagio. It is located between the harbor and the gardens of Villa Melzi. This private beach club has a sandy beach area with a pool, offering drinks and food during the day and at night.

BELLAGIO TOURIST TRAIN 

Do you rather enjoy sitting on a small tourist train while seeing Bellagio? This is the perfect way to get around for those who cannot or do not want to walk to all the sights. Families with children in particular love this cute train.

Bellagio Train for Tourists

The small train takes you to some of the main sights in Bellagio during its 25-minute long ride. The train departs at the square in front of the ferry dock. Tickets are valid for a full day, which allows you to hop on and off at several stations if you want.

  • A ticket for the train ride is just about 5€ for adults, and children under 3 years ride it for free (children 3-12 years old pay 2.5€).

VILLA SERBELLONI

There is the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and the Villa Serbelloni – both are probably well worth a visit (especially if you can afford to stay overnight in the luxury hotel). But this section is all about the park garden. The park belongs to the Rockefeller Foundation and the villa was built in the 15th century.

These days, it includes a botanical garden that is home to native and exotic species, as well as several statues and terraces. Make sure to book a guided tour prior.

  • From March 12th to November 1st: guided tours every day except Mondays at 11 am and 3:30 pm
  • Closed: from June 19th to June 24th
  • Prices: €10 for adults, €5 for children between 7 and 13 years old, free for children under 7 years old

MADONNA DEL GHISALLO / GHISALLO MUSEUM

Madonna del Ghisallo is a hill in Magreglio at 754 meters above sea level (2,474 feet) and about 10km from Bellagio. Cycling fans will enjoy a visit to the Ghisallo Cycling Museum. It is a museum dedicated to the men and women who have biked both in everyday life and in competitive sports.

Madonna del Ghisallo

If you are not into cycling, then you will at least enjoy another great view of Lake Como as the museum in Madonna del Ghisallo is adjacent to the chapel of the La Madonna del Ghisallo – the patron saint of cycling – offering specular views of Lake Como.

  • Opening hours for the museum: First Saturday in March to early November from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
  • TICKETS: 5€ for adults, 3€ for school children, and children up to 10 years old are FREE.

DINE WITH A VIEW

There is no shortage of nice restaurants with a view in Bellagio. But for great views that come with local food, I recommend having dinner at Trattoria Baita Belvedere“.

where to eat in lake como Trattoria Baita Belvedere

It is seriously the best place to eat in Bellagio (I’m just guessing since I have not tried all the restaurants there) and the prices are quite affordable (organic and regional food offered).

VARENNA 

Bellagio makes a wonderful place to explore, but it is also great for a couple of day trips. 

Varenna has some fantastic villas (Villa Monastero is especially worth a visit), beaches, a charming promenade, a cute old town with historic buildings, and lovely restaurants.

Highlight in Varenna, Villa Monastero

From Bellagio, it is just a 15-minute ferry ride, so it is a must-see place whenever you are in Bellagio.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST BELLAGIO ACTIVITIES

Bellagio is probably the prettiest village/town along the shores of Lake Como – the old town, the promenade, and its vibe, Bellagio knows how to impress. So whether yo stay in Bellagio for one day or longer, you should make sure to add this place to your Italy bucket list.

Things to do in Lucerne in the Winter

Lucerne, Switzerland, in the winter. Best things to do and see in Lucerne in the winter months

Best Winter Activities in Lucerne

Lucerne is often considered the most beautiful city in Switzerland. Surrounded by the Swiss Alps, this small city has a lot to offer its visitors. And Lucerne in winter is not less stunning than Lucerne in summer.

If I had to name a European city with the most stunning scenery, it would be… Lucerne!  The scenery is definitely impressive, but the city/town center also has a few gorgeous places to visit – Lucerne in winter is one of a kind.

While many of the following tips can be done at any time of the year, there are a few things you can only do in the winter. 

After several visits in the summer, I visited in winter and squeezed in many winter attractions in Lucerne. There is just so much to do and see that I did not want to miss out on any of the fun things in the winter.

So, while I have a post about the best things to do in Lucerne in the summer (and fall and spring), this is your Lucerne winter travel guide – which includes general Lucerne travel tips (e.g., where to stay and how to get around) as well as the best activities in Lucerne in the winter. 

Lucerne Light Festival in January

Travel Tips For Lucerne in Winter

Let´s start with some tips for your Lucerne winter trip.

How to Get To Lucerne in Winter

If you fly into Switzerland, Zurich Airport or Basel Airport would be the best choices. From there, it takes about one hour (by car or train) to get to Lucerne.

For your winter trip, I recommend getting around public transportation. It will allow you to get an excellent impression of this country, and even in the winter months, public transportation in Switzerland is superb.

How to Get Around in Winter

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

If you stay in an official accommodation in Lucerne, you will get a Visitor Card. 

  • The visitor card allows you to use public transportation in the city of Lucerne for free.
  • Lucerne itself is small, and you can easily walk, but sometimes being able to hop on a bus and take advantage of the excellent Swiss public transportation comes in handy. 
  • Public transportation in Lucerne is fast, reliable, and on time.
  • However, the Lucerne Visitor Card is only for Lucerne’s city.
  • You cannot use it to get to some of the places I mention here.
  • In those cases, you need to buy a ticket. So, please check the validity of the card for each location.

If you are a non-Swiss resident, you might want to look into a Swiss Travel Pass. I often, even if I road trip, buy them and use them for long distances, my boat cruises (I might have a slight obsession with boat rides), and even mountain rides.

  • You have unlimited bus, train, and boat rides with the Swiss Travel Pass.
  • The Swiss Travel Pass gives you a 50% discount on most of the mountain excursions and the Mount Rigi train ride is even included. 
  • Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.

DRIVING IN LUCERNE

Driving is also a good option because there are some scenic streets. However, parking in the town center will make your travel costs explode. If you stay in the center of town, free parking is available outside the city center. 

Also, many winter activities mentioned here are within the town center of Lucerne, so a car might be unnecessary

Also, keep in mind that driving in the snow might be challenging. While there will be hardly any snow in Lucerne, it might be different if you visit places like Engelberg.

Best Time to Visit Lucerne in Winter

Personally, I think Lucerne is almost always a good idea. I love the summer months when I can actually swim in the lake, as well as early fall or late spring.

After my recent visit, I can actually recommend visiting Lucerne in the winter months, too. So, if you are eyeing winter as your season to visit, here are my tips for that time of year.

  • I haven’t visited Lucerne´s Christmas markets, but I heard about how beautiful they were, so for this reason alone, December in Lucerne would be a good choice.
  • If you are interested in visiting the Light Festival (LILU), then mid-January in Lucerne is a perfect time. It was when I visited the city, and it was perfect because January really is off-season. 

Hardly anyone is around (unlike the summer months when Lucerne is crowded), and accommodation prices are significantly lower than in the summer months. The Light Festival is another beautiful attraction worth a visit (more on that later).

Disclaimer: I was invited to discover Lucerne in the winter by Lucerne Tourism and My Switzerland, but as always views and opinions are my own. Also, some links might include affiliate links. This means if you make a qualified purchase (or book a tour/hotel) I might earn a small commission. There are no extra costs for you. More about it here

Where to Stay in Lucerne in the Winter

Lucerne is quite pricey, especially in the town center, but it is worth a visit.

Luxury Hotels in Lucerne

  • Schweizerhof Luzern is a beautiful and fun 5* hotel located at Lake Lucerne’s shores and a few hundred meters from the old town and main tourist attractions (if you can, book a room with a lake view).
  • Park Hotel Vitznau This is the most expensive hotel in the region. Dogs are not allowed, so I have not had the chance to check it out. However, it looks absolutely gorgeous and is located in a very quiet area but with Lake Lucerne’s view.

Mid-Range Hotels in Lucerne

  • There is not much in that area, as even 3 or 4-star hotels cost quite a bit. If you are on a budget, you can check out prices close to Lucerne, but on my last trip, I stayed at Hotel des Alpes which came with amazing room views. It is located close to the Chapel Bridge. Check out prices here.

Budget Hotels in Lucerne

If you are still unsure where to stay in Lucerne, you can check out my full accommodation guide on the best places to stay in Lucerne here.

What to do in Winter in Lucerne

Okay, enough talking, let‘s talk about the best winter activities in Lucerne.

Discover the Old Town 

I have been to Lucerne quite often, but I admit that I had just overlooked the beautiful buildings in the old town of the center. However, the old town is lovely, and in the winter months (except for December probably), it is much more fun to stroll around. 

Old town in Lucerne in winter

Lucerne in the winter guide

With fewer people around, you actually get to see the buildings. You will find many painted houses with interesting facades and also painted water fountains.

  • Yes, you can enjoy the delicious and freshwater that comes from Mount Pilatus – so, whenever you see a water fountain you can refill your water bottle. If the water is not drinkable a sign will tell you.

Depending on your speed, I suggest planning in at least about two hours for the old town.

Chapel Bridge

One of the main attractions in Lucerne is the famous Chapel Bridge. It is located very close to the old town and within walking distance.

Lucerne with the Chapel Bridge, Jesuit Church and Mount Pilatus
Picture of Chapen Bridge taken from a hotel room of Hotel des Alpes

Okay, I know I was lucky. There is not often snow on the Chapel Bridge. But you might be lucky, too. Doesn’t the Chapel Bridge look lovely in the winter? The flower pots are gone, though (which you will find in the warmer months), but looking at the snow-capped roof of the bridge with Mount Pilatus in the background is charming. 

But even without the snow, you cannot (should not) skip the Chapel Bridge.

In the winter months, it is less busy, and you can enjoy crossing the bridge in a more relaxed way. The wooden bridge, spanning the Reuss River, was originally built in the 14th century before being partly burnt down in 1993 and then quickly rebuilt. 

If you visit Lucerne in December, this is where the magic happens…Kind of. Imagine this place in times of Christmas Markets.

  • TIP: Do not look only to the right and left (to enjoy the beautiful scenery and pretty houses lined up along the promenade), but also look up and enjoy the paintings that are hung on the ceiling.

Boat Tour

If you have read my other Lucerne post (about the best things to do in the summer in Lucerne), then you know I am obsessed with boat riding. Lake Lucerne is amazing – I can´t remember how many times I have done a Lake Lucerne boat trip.

This time, I hopped on a boat after my Mount Rigi trip, and it was dark, so I did not see much. However, a boat cruise in the winter is a perfect activity with its picture-perfect scenery! My tip is to start the boat tour in the morning or afternoon so you can still see the landscape.

Also, I have been asked many times about the most romantic city/town in Switzerland, and I have two answers: one of them is Lucerne. If you do the evening cruise. You will not see much of the scenery, yet you will experience the romantic side of Lucerne in the winter!

  • TIP: With a Swiss Travel Pass, the boat cruise on Lake Lucerne is free.

Jesuit Church

The Jesuit Church, a Catholic Church built in the 17th century, can be visited at any time of the year. But in the winter times, it is probably even more special. This attraction is worth seeing even if you are not religious.Jesuit Church in Lucerne seen from Chapel Bridge

Jesuit Church in Lucerne in winterIt had always attracted my attention since it is easy to spot from the Chapel Bridge but I could not visit because I was traveling with my dog.

When I finally visited, I was surprised by its baroque style! I did not expect so much fanciness in Switzerland, and the outside appearance did not give me any clue about its inner beauty.

It did not take me long to go through, so it is probably easy to squeeze into your Lucerne winter itinerary.

Chocolate Tasting

We all know that Switzerland is the home of amazing chocolate. It is actually my favorite Swiss “food, “ and I have always been impressed by Lindt chocolate.

However, if you prefer more exotic and exclusive chocolate, then you can book a chocolate tasting at Max Chocolatier near Chapel Bridge.

There is also a story behind this chocolate manufacturer: The owners’ son has Down’s Syndrome, and he loves chocolate. So, his parents decided to produce their own chocolate and let him taste their products.

There is another smaller shop in Zurich as well, but only in Lucerne can you book your own chocolate workshop and make your own chocolate.

The chocolate itself is actually unique with very unusual ingredients. I had to get used to such chocolate, but I am sure if you prefer chocolates other than simple milk chocolate, this is for you!

Light Festival

If you visit Lucerne in January, then the Light Festival is the perfect attraction for you.

In January 2019, the first Lucerne Light Festival (LILU) took place, and jas become an annual festival. Does it sound romantic? It actually is. There are around 20 special places/installations/projects lit up from 6 pm to 10 pm. Lichtfestival in Lucerne in Switzerland in the winterThis is a free Lucerne winter activity. You will find some informational signs on each piece to read out about the artists and the ideas behind them. 

You can walk around the city, see all the art pieces, and join some free guided tours (reservations required).

Seeing all the installments probably takes a few hours. While it is very romantic to experience with your loved one, it is also nice for families with kids or people of any age.Lichtfestival in Switzerland in the winter

The highlight of the LILU festival was probably the concert in the Hofkirche. There is an entry fee and the show takes about 20 minutes. I highly recommend buying tickets in advance because most shows sold out quickly. The show takes place several times each evening, and you can actually lie on the church floor and watch this exciting light show accompanied by music.

I am by no means an art expert, but I like lights – and it was interesting to see the art installations beautifully illuminated. This festival is also for people who are no art enthusiasts because it is just…pretty!

  • In 2023, the LILU Festival will take place from 12th to 22nd January.

Christmas Market 

The Swiss love their Christmas Markets. I have only visited the Christmas Market in Basel, but at the end of November until Christmas, Lucerne also has its Christmas Markets at Franziskanerplatz.

If you want to experience this special time in Switzerland, add the Christmas Market to your list.

WINTER SPORTS IN LUCERNE

Are you wondering about winter sports activities in Lucerne? Lucerne’s town center does not offer many winter sports activities, but yes, winter sports lovers will enjoy the area of Lucerne, too!

Head to some of the gorgeous mountain peaks on the shores of Lake Lucerne and you get to have some real winter fun. Since you can do more than just winter sports on the mountain peaks, I will not talk in-depth about sports but mention the mountain highlights where you can also be active!

Mount Pilatus

Mount Pilatus stands at 2,132 meters above sea level and thus offers great views of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. It is one of the most popular day trips you can take from Lucerne – in winter as well as in the summer.

I visited Mount Pilatus in the summer – and totally loved it! It became one of my favorite mountain peaks in Switzerland, and so I could not wait to visit again in the winter. And I was not disappointed when I got to visit. In winter, it is absolutely stunning, too!Mount Pilatus in the winter

Mount Pliatus in winter activities in LucerneOf course, Mount Pilatus is completely different in the winter months from what I had known before. You can experience a totally different world up here.  So, whether you want to enjoy the fantastic views or prefer to do winter sports, Mount Pilatus is the perfect place.

Skiing, snowshoe hiking, snowboarding, and sledding – you can do all this in the region of Lucerne, and especially on Mount Pilatus.

TIP: In the winter months, the cogwheel train ride is not available, so you can only go up via cable car.

  • Tip: You will get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass.

Read more: Find out about the best places to visit in Switzerland.

Mount Titlis in Engelberg

Mount Titlis in winter is fun! It is one of the highest mountain summits in Switzerland that is easily accessible via cable car/funicular. How high is Mount Titlis? 3,238 meters above sea level! So, buckle up for a unique experience.

Titlis in Switzerland in the winter

Winter Guide for Lucerne, Switzerland

To enjoy a day (I would plan in a full day or at least 8 hours for these activities) at Mount Titlis, hop on a train at Lucerne train station, and head to Engelberg train station. 

The train ride gets scenic towards the end! You can either walk to the Mount Titlis cable car station or take the free bus shuttle from the train station. While getting up, you can already enjoy the beautiful scenery but once at the top, you will be blown away.

There is a lot to do at Mount Titlis in the winter: You can go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe hiking, sledding, and more.

You can rent tubes, mini bobs, or balancers without any extra charge at Trübsee Alpine Lodge and then go whizzing down the slopes.

While I saw many kids sliding down fast (which included some falling), I opted for the safer activity. Tubing is really fun and not scary at all.

But it is not only about the views and winter sports. You can also walk in the Glacier Cave (a 150-meter-long walkway below the glacier’s surface) or enjoy a walk over the Titlis Cliff Walk (a suspension bridge that is 3,041 meters above sea level). 

  • Tip: You will get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass. The train ride to Engelberg is free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Mount Rigi

Beautiful, beautiful Mount Rigi. I was impressed visiting in the summer (I have been up there a few times), but visiting in the winter was mind-blowing! It is a mountain massif of the Alps – at about 1,800 meters above sea level – and it is almost entirely surrounded by the water of three lakes: Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz.

What to do in the winter at Mount Rigi_

Switzerland in winter, best sunset Mount Rigi

Mount Rigi is actually one of the best spots to enjoy the sunset in all of Switzerland. The colorful sunset against the white snow…drop-dead gorgeous! The pictures do not do it any justice.

I recommend to arrive at the top just before sunset. Then watch the sunset from the summit. We cannot always rely on clear skies – but if you get a chance to visit Mount Rigi on a nice day… Just do it!

I even added it to my Switzerland in the winter guide because it was just impressive (check out that winter guide here).

There are different cogwheels – the one I took had one compartment with open windows. Yes, it was cold but it was worth it, but I seriously recommend sitting in that compartment just bring your gloves and bundle up!

But you could also go sledding or do other winter sports, like snowshoe hiking or sledding, here as well. 

  • Tip: Free with your Swiss Travel Pass. Bonus tip: start your trip from Vitznau Station – get to Vitznau either via boat or bus.

IS LUCERNE IN WINTER A GOOD TIME TO VISIT?

Spending a few days in Lucerne in the winter is a great idea! There is so much to do and see that you will be busy admiring the beautiful scenery and enjoying the fun activities. Winter in Lucerne is just magical.

So, hopefully, this guide helped you find out about the best things to do and see in the winter!

Whether you visit in December, January, or February – enjoy a wonderful winter break in Lucerne!Safe Travels, Arzo

 

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN LAKE COMO

Places to visit in Lake Como, Italy, Arzo Travels

MUST-SEE PLACES IN LAKE COMO

Planning your vacation and curious about where to go in Lake Como? Well, todays your lucky day because in this blog post, we will provide travel tips on the best places to visit in Lake Como.

Located in Northern Italy, close to Milan and Bergamo, it is easily reachable and since it is surrounded by towering mountains and gorgeous shorelines that are dotted with picturesque villages, its easy to understand why this beautiful lakeside oasis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe!

Not only is it adored for its stunning lakeside views, but also for its warm and desirable Mediterranean climate.Lake Como is the perfect vacation spot to add to your list of travels! And with so many interesting sites to see, from Bellagio to Argegno, there is plenty to do and something for everyone in this charming corner of Italy. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable vacation.

Best places to visit in Lake Como, Arzo Travels

TOP: Please keep in mind, that most (if not all) parks and gardens are closed on Mondays. Also, in the winter months, some attractions are not open. Please double-check when planning your trip.

10 Most Beautiful Places in Lake Como

Without further ado, here are the top places to visit in Lake Como.

Bellagio | A MustSee in Lake Como

Situated at the tip of a rugged peninsula that juts out into Lake Como, Bellagio has long been prized for its stunning natural setting.The town’s winding streets and alleyways are filled with quaint cafes and shops, while its lakeside promenade offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Bellagio staircase

Visitors to Bellagio can enjoy a variety of activities, from exploring the stunning old town with the famous staircase to lakeside boat rides or even hiking in the nearby foothills!

bellagio promenade in lake como

This town has so much to offer and is a mustsee for anyone visiting Lake Como! And since no trip to Bellagio would be complete without taking a dip in the refreshing waters (there is a lido just a few hundred meters from the harbor), be sure to set some time aside for a short swim. Also, the famous Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni are worth a visit!

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an actionpacked vacation, Bellagio is sure to exceed your expectations.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • From Como, you can take a regular ferry (2 hours), a fast ferry (1 hour), or bus (about 1). By car, it takes about 1 hour as well.

Varenna | The Beautiful Villa Monastero

Located in the heart of Lake Como, Varenna is a charming medieval village that offers visitors a wealth of things to see and do.

Highlight in Varenna, Villa Monastero
Villa Monastero

From exploring the charming streets and walking along the lakeshore to visiting the Villa Monastero, there is no shortage of ways to spend a day in Varenna!

The Villa Monastero, in particular, is a mustsee for anyone visiting the area. This stunning villa dates back to the 12th century and is known for its beautiful gardens and lakeshore views!  With its stunning gardens, sweeping views of the lake, and imposing architecture, the villa is one of the most iconic sights in Lake Como!Varenna harbour

And for those looking for a more active experience, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking in the area surrounding Varenna. So if youre looking for an ideal place to relax and enjoy Lake Comos beauty, Varenna and Villa Monastero are the places to be!

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • The best and easiest way to get to Varenna is from Como: You can take a regular ferry (15 minutes). Getting there by car/bus only will make your journey extremely long (50 minutes) due to the geography of the lake.

Como | The Main City in the Area

Como is a beautiful city in Northern Italy that sits on the shores of Lake Como. The Cathedral of Como is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and it is well worth a visit. The cathedral is situated in the center of Como, and it dates back to the 14th century.

Things to do in Lake Como, Switzerland, Arzo Travels

The building is absolutely stunning, and it is filled with beautiful art and architecture. Inside the cathedral, there are three naves, and the ceiling is adorned with frescoes. There is also a beautiful clock tower that overlooks the city.Como Cathedral

Visitors can also take a boat ride on Lake Como, which is an incredibly stunning experience. The views from the lake are absolutely breathtaking, and it is a great way to see some of the other villages that dot the shoreline. Overall, Como is a nice place, but the Cathedral of Como is definitely one of its highlights.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • Como has a train station which makes it one of the best accessible places in Lake Como. You can get there from Milan by train in just 40 minutes. 

Brunate | A Hilltop Getaway

Nestled high in the hilltop of Northern Italy, the scenic town of Brunate offers panoramic views of Lake Como.The town is accessible by a funicular railway from the lakeside town of Como.

Brunate, Lake Como, Italy

Visitors can explore the winding streets and charming shops, or take a cable car up to the observation deck for even more spectacular views. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails in the area, making Brunate the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some fresh mountain air.

And of course, no visit to Brunate would be complete without enjoying a delicious gelato or cappuccino at one of the many cafes dotting the town.

The best time to visit Brunate is during the spring or fall when the weather is warm and sunny – and not hot yet. However, even during the winter months, the town is still worth a visit for its stunning scenery and tranquil atmosphere.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • From Como, take the funicular to get to the top. It is just a short funicular ride (7-minutes) and a return ticket for adults is about 6€. Alternatively, you can also hike one way.

Pigra | The Place For the Views

Pigra is a municipality in the province of Como in the Lombardy region of Italy. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Como, about 10 kilometers north of Como, this small town has a lot to offer, but mostly it is about the views. Visitors can expect to find a variety of activities and attractions in Pigra.

Pigra at Lake Como

Pigra at Lake Como with Arzo Travels

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • From Como, take the bus to the town of Argegno and then take the funicular to get to the top. It is just a short funicular ride (4 minutes) and a return ticket for adults is about 5€. Hiking down is quite popular amongst visitors.

Villa del Balbianello | A HistoryLovers Paradise

Villa del Balbianello is one of the most popular attractions in Lake Como.Situated on a wooded promontory, the villa offers stunning views of the lake and mountains beyond.

Villa del balbianello near Como

It is one of the most ancient villas on Lake Como and it dates back to the 16th century while it was completed in the 18th century. Visitors can explore the villas gardens and enjoy a tour of the house that takes you through some of its most important rooms, including the library, which houses the 20th centurys owner, Guido Monzinos collection of books on exploration!

Villa del Balbianello at Lake Como

It has hosted writers, scholars, and travelers and it was also the filming location for the James Bond movie Casino Royale in 20o6.

And if youre looking to slow things down, the gardens are beautifully landscaped with several walks available to enjoy.Villa del Balbianello near Lenno

Of course, no visit to Villa del Balbianello would be complete without taking in the views from the terraceone of the best vantage points in Lake Como!

HOW TO GET THERE + TIPS

  • From Como, take the ferry or the bus to Lenno. From there, you have to do an additional 20-minute walk to the garden. You can take a water taxi (not included in the day passes for ferries) that drops you off at the lower garden entrance.
  • The ticket price for adults is about 11€ for the garden and another 11€ for the villa.
  • It is closed on Mondays

Lake Pusiano | A Peaceful Getaway

If youre looking for a breathtaking lake to visit near Lake Como, look no further than Lake Pusiano! This beautiful lake is surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, making it the perfect place to enjoy some peace and quiet

There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy, including hiking, swimming, and kayaking.The best part about Lake Pusiano is that its relatively unknown, so you wont have to worry about crowds of tourists – the litte island in the middle of the lake (accessible via electric boats) is an absolute highlight.Isola dei Cypressi a hidden gem in italy

However, there are still plenty of mustsee attractions, such as the 15thcentury church of San Pietro and the Sanctuary of Madonna del Lago. So whether youre looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurefilled vacation, be sure to add Lake Pusiano to your list!

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • From Como, take the bus to Bindella – Canavèe (about 1 hour). From there, it is a short walk to the lake. 
  • By car, it should take about 30-60 minutes.

Nesso | Quaint Historic Charm

Nestled on the shores of Lake Como, the charming village of Nesso is a mustsee for any visitor to the area. Located between Como and Bellagio, Nesso offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life.Nesso at Lake Como, Italy

Visitors to Nesso can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, and picnicking in the beautiful surrounding countryside – there is even a waterfall in Nesso, the Cascata del Budanchen.

The village is also home to a number of historical landmarks you can visit, including the Archpriestal Church of Sts. Peter and Paul or the Chiesa Di Santa Maria di Vico.

Nesso, Lake Como, Italy

And if you enjoy soaking up the charm of quaint tourist towns, prepare to be enchanted by Nessos narrow streets lined with colorful houses, its picturesque stone bridges!

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • Hop on the bus and enjoy a scenic bus ride (about 50 minutes) or take the ferry from places like Como or Bellagio.

Torno | A Taste of True Italy

Settled on the shores of Lake Como, Torno is a charming town that offers visitors a taste of true Italian living. Stroll through the cobbled streets and youll find yourself surrounded by historic buildings and lively cafes.

Tonno at Lake _Como

Be sure to visit the historic church of Santa Tecla which is located in Torno’s Piazza Casartelli or the Cimitero di Torno.Tonno one of the best places to visit in 2 dazs

If youre looking for some lakeside relaxation, head to Lido di Torno, a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.For those who enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails to explore in the surrounding mountains. No matter what your interests are, youre sure to find something to love in Torno.Torno at Lake Como, Italy

You can easily combine a trip to Torno with Nesso since both are located quite close to each other.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • It takes about 30 minutes by bus from Como or 20 minutes from Nesso. You can also take the ferry from places like Como, Bellagio, or Nesso.

Argegno | For The Outdoor Enthusiast

Argegno is a small town located on the western shore of Lake Como in Italy.The town is situated at the base of a mountain, and visitors can take a cable car to the top (Pigra) for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding countryside.

Strolling Argegno at the shores of Lake Como

There are also several hiking trails in the area, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to its natural beauty, Argegno is also home to several restaurants and cafes, as well as a few shops selling local artisanal products.

Aregno at Lake Como

Visitors can also take a ferry from Argegno to other towns along the lake, making it an ideal base for exploring the region. Whether you’re after stunning scenery or beautiful architecture, Argegno has something to offer everyone.

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • It takes about 45 minutes by bus from Como or 20 minutes from Lenno (so you can combine it with a trip to Villa del Balbianello and Pirga). You can also take the ferry from places like Como, Lenno, or Bellagio.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE TOPS TOURIST DESTINATIONS AT LAKE COMO

If youre looking for a breathtaking escape, consider planning a trip to Lake Como. With its stunning lakeside views, charming villages, and abundance of activities to enjoy, Lake Como is the perfect destination for a vacation you won’t forget!

Need inspiration for your Lake Como travel plans? Check out my 2-day Lake Como Itinerary where I go over the best things to do in Lake Como!

So what are you waiting for? Start packing and plan for a scenic, oneofakind experience!

Check out more:

THINGS TO DO IN GRINDELWALD + TIPS

things to do in Grindelwald, Switzerland, Arzo Travels

WHAT TO DO IN GRINDELWALD + TRAVEL TIPS 

Grindelwald is one of Switzerland´s top destinations. This cute village might be small but there are quite a number of things to do in Grindelwald. And if you are planning your Grindelwald itinerary and are wondering what to do, then this post is for you.

This beautiful Swiss village offers many activities: exciting adventures in the snow, beautiful hikes in the mountains, and relaxing activities in the town. It makes a perfect stop at any Switzerland itinerary.

Before we get to the best things to do in Grindelwald, you’ll need some basic information and a few tips.

Grindelwald - beautiful village in mountain scenery - Switzerland
@shutterstock

TRAVEL TIPS FOR GRINDELWALD

The village of Grindelwald is located in the canton (state) of Bernese Oberland, in the region of Jungfrau, just north of the Alps, at 1034 meters above sea level.

  • You can get there easily by train or car. There are paid parking spots (which might fill up quickly in the summer) and the train station is just conveniently located at the beginning of the village center.
  • It is approximately 70 km southeast of Bern (1 hour) and just 20 km southeast of Interlaken (20 minutes). Less than 4000 people live in Grindelwald, but there are hundreds of hotel rooms and apartments available. It gets crowded in the high season – which is in July and August and December and at the end of February!
  • Grindelwald is close to the peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, also known as the Swiss Skyline. To be precise, Grindelwald is at the feet of the north face of the Eiger mountain: it is so famous that Grindelwald is also known as the Eiger village. 

Grindelwald train station
Train station in Grindelwald

Fun fact: this picturesque Swiss village started to be a tourist destination during the late 18th century, and became popular for English climbers in the 19th century. The first winter resort opened in 1888! So, when you visit Grindelwald, you can picture what it must have been like to travel there almost 150 years ago.

Planning to visit Grindelwald in the summer (spring/fall)? Then consider this:

  • The “summer season” starts in mid-April and finishes in mid-October. During this time all cable cars/funiculars should operate – however, some hiking trails might still be closed in April as there can be snow until June.
  • Most of the crowds come in July and August when there are also sports events like bike races and the famous Inferno Race.
  • The weather can still be cold in April (it might even snow!) and will get chilly quickly in September. Instead, in July and August it can reach above 27°C – but on average around 20°C. However, the chance of rain is also high. In general, the weather is quite unreliable in all of Switzerland, so it is hard to predict what kind of weather you exactly will have in Grindelwald. Make sure to check the weather forecast a few days before you go and pack accordingly (though even these forecasts might change).
  • Consequently, pack layers! When outdoors, it will feel warm in the sun, but refreshing in the shadow or in the wind. Bring a pullover or a light jacket for the evenings.

Will you travel to Grindelwald in the winter? Keep in mind this: 

  • The winter season starts in mid-October and ends in mid-April.
  • It can start snowing even in November, and it may snow still in April. 
  • The busiest period is New Year’s Eve, but because of the excellent ski slopes, it’s actually pretty busy all the time.
  • It gets really cold! Temperatures will easily go below 0°C, even when it’s sunny, even in November or March. 
  • Make sure you pack all your warmest clothes, thermals, scarfs, hats and gloves, and shoes suitable for the snow.
  • Check out my detailed Grindelwald in winter post for more travel tips.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN GRINDELWALD

There are plenty of things to do in Grindelwald: hikes for all levels of expertise, thrilling activities, winter and summer sports, and also some relaxation.

Visit the Village of Grindelwald

Don’t miss the center of Grindelwald, which is very beautiful and quite compact.

Grindelwald is one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland

The main street Dorfstrasse is lined with restaurants, hotels, shops, and many traditional Swiss chalets. Stroll among the pretty houses, relax, have a coffee on one of the terraces, and admire the panorama all around you. 

Eiger North Face in the Grindelwald village

Because the town center is very open, you can appreciate the views of the mountains from lots of places around town. As you already know, the north face of Eiger is particularly impressive.

Just above the shopping mall „Eiger Plus“ (a few meters next to the train station) is a square with benches from where you can enjoy some fantastic views.

Discover Grindelwald-First

Grindelwald First is a summit located at 2184 meters above sea level. It is called “Grindelwald First” because the two destinations are very popular together. Another nickname is “Top of Adventure”, as you’ll find so many exciting things to do here (and it’s also the same region of the Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe”).

What tours in Switzerland

In winter, First is the best area for skiing and snowboarding. There are 56 km of pistes in what is probably the sunniest resort in the whole region.
In the summer, there are lots of thrilling activities to do, as well as hikes for all levels of fitness.

Most of all, the views from First are just incredible. It’s a great place to visit in Grindelwald even to have just a snack outside or a meal at the restaurant while admiring the panorama. 

How can I get to Grindelwald First?

  • It is easily reachable from Grindewald train station. Walk for about ten minutes to the Grindelwald-First station (or take a local bus).
  • Then get on the gondola. In 25 minutes you will reach the top station – there are a few intermediate stations, but I suggest you get to the top straight away. No need to change gondolas, you can just enjoy the views and relax (if you are not scared of heights)!

Where can I buy tickets for Grindelwald First?

  • You can buy tickets either online or at the ticket center. You get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass and it is free with your Jungfrau Pass. 

Feel the Adrenaline on Grindelwald-First

Okay, now that you are at Grindelwald-First, you can do one of the many exciting activities.

If you want a taste of adrenaline at your own pace, start by walking on the platforms of the First Cliff Walk by Tissot. It is a high walkway suspended on the rocky side of the mountain, which leads to a viewing platform.

Cliff Walk in Grindelwald in winter

Because of its gridded floor, you can admire the incredible views all around you and even under you! It is fun and not as scary as it looks. 

  • The First Cliff Walk is free of charge, and it is suitable for people of all ages.

Those looking for a more powerful thrill should consider the First Flieger (Flyer) and the First Glider. These two zip lines let you speed down an 800-meter-long cable at 84 km/hour!

First Glider in Winter

With the First Flieger, up to 4 people can fly separately in a sitting position, from First Station to Schreckfeld station. Instead, the eagle-shaped First Glider joins up to 4 people together on horizontal harnesses: it is pulled up to First Station, and then glides back down to Schreckfeld station in an exhilarating run. 

  • There is a weight restriction for First Flyer (minimum 35 kg, max 125 kg) and a minimum height for the First Glider (minimum 130 cm).
  • Tickets cost 31 CHF for each of activity. Discounts are available for holders of local passes, such as the Jungfrau Travel Pass or the Grindelwald Adventure Package. 

In summer, you can also do other activities like the First Mountain Cart which is fun for kids and adults alike. These go-carts have big rubber tires and good brakes, so they are perfect to drive down a 3-km-long track until Bort. They aren’t too difficult to drive, but each has its own, so you are “forced” to learn! 

  • The minimum height is 135 cm.
  • Tickets cost 21 CHF.

Otherwise, try the “trottibike” scooter bike. You can rent this scooter bike without a seat or pedals, to ride from Bort all the way down to Grindelwald. It requires a bit more skill than the cart, because some parts of the ride are a bit steep. 

  • The minimum height is 125 cm, but it can be hard for kids to brake and steer well.
  • Tickets cost 21 CHF.

As you can see, there are plenty of exciting things to do at the Top of Adventure. Here are a few more tips:
Some of these experiences may be closed if the weather is very bad.

In high season, start your trip to Grindelwald First early in the morning, as it gets crowded and queues can be long.

  • You can buy tickets in advance and also on spot for these activities.

Go Hiking in Grindelwald – First

The best way to appreciate the Swiss landscape is by hiking! Oh seriously, these Swiss Alps want to be hiked! And First is one of the best places to hike in Grindelwald. 

Bachalpsee in Grindelwald - not too far from Hotel Caprice

The most popular trail is the beautiful hike from First to Bachalpsee (Lake Bachalp) which is a small, gorgeous lake with a wonderful backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Even though they are far away, they reflect in the blue waters in a magical illusion! The pastures with cows and colorful flowers complete this perfect postcard of Switzerland. Make sure you walk around both the higher and the lower parts of the lake. 

Lake Bachalp is at 2265 meters and Grindelwald-First gondola station is at 2168 meters. The first part is a bit steep, then almost flat.

  • It takes approximately 1 hour to reach the lake from the top gondola station. Add some time for pictures, some rest, and a snack: consider 3-4 hours for this hike, going and coming back. The path is made of gravel, wide and well-kept. It is one of the most popular hikes in Switzerland, so expect a lot of people.

TIP: If you are interested in a longer hike, consider continuing from Bachalpsee to Faulhorn, which is a mountain, located between Lake Brienz and Grindelwald at 2,681 meters above sea level (8,796 feet) It is quite an uphill climb, but you can have lunch at the mountain hut on top, and it’s a round-trip hike.

Also, there are many easy and scenic trails going downhill to Bussalp or Bort, with wonderful views of the mountains of the Jungfrau Region. 

One of the most beautiful hikes from Bachalpsee to Bort is the Flower trail. During this 90-minute hike, you walk among alpine meadows and flowers, along mountain streams, with amazing scenery around you, and even cows!

Männlichen Mountain Top and Hike

The summit of Mannlichen (2,343-metre – 7,687 feet)is the other main destination in Grindelwald for hiking. As you can expect, also the hikes on Mannlichen offer incredible views. 

Two hikes that are very easy but also rewarding are the Royal Walk and the Panorama Trail.

The Royal Walk starts at the Mannlichen gondola station, at 2221 meters above sea level, and leads to the summit of Mannlichen, at 2343 meters. The hike takes approximately 1 hour (round trip).

Swiss Skyline and Lauberhorn at Mannlichen Mountain

The 360 panorama from the crown-shaped terrace on top includes the village of Wengen and Lauterbrunnen valley, Lauberhorn mountain, the Swiss Skyline with the iconic north face of Eiger, and even Interlaken and Lake Thun!

Mannlichen
Mannlichen @shutterstock

This is also a beautiful and easy winter hike! I did this hike in February and thus, there was still plenty of snow, in the summer months there will be no snow.

The Panorama Trail is a downhill trail from Mannlichen gondola station until Kleine Scheidegg. All along, you walk straight towards the impressive Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau mountains: the views are simply incredible. It takes just 1 hour and a half which makes it a perfect choice if you are looking for a simple and short hike.

How to get to Männlichen Mountain?

  • You can reach Mannlichen from Grindelwald Terminal Station station, or from the town of Wengen on the other side. 

Where can I buy tickets for Männlichen Mountain?

  • You can buy tickets on the spot or online – you get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass and it is included in your Jungfrau Pass.

Hike From Grindelwald to Schynige Platte (or Get up Via Funicular)

The Schynige Platte is another popular place to visit from Grindelwald – it is a small mountain ridge that offers great views.

Pro hikers should spend a day hiking from First to Schynige Platte, the mountain between Grindelwald and Interlaken. It takes a whole day, with more or less 800 meters of ascent and 600 meters of descent. 

Visit the Schynige Platte with your Swiss Travel Pass

With its high, rocky ridges and rolling, green meadows, the views from this hike to the lakes and nearby valleys are absolutely worth the effort. 

It is called “the hike of the six pearls” because of the six gorgeous natural sights you will admire: the “blue jewel” Bachalp Lake right at the beginning; the incredible view from the Faulhorn mountain, which embraces beautiful Lake Brienz, and the massive Jungfrau summit; Lake Sagistalsee that you will admire from above; the Güw area and its wild karstic landscape; and finally, the flowers at the Alpine Garden and the flora on the Matten, close to the railway station of Schynige Platte.

However, you can also get to Schynige Platte the easy way. If you get up Schynige Platte via funicular (from mid-April to mid-October) then you will have some amazing views without much effort. The funicular brings you up to almost the top – when you jump off the funicular you have some stunning views of the Swiss Skyline.

Walk further up (and through the Alpine Garden) to enjoy a completely different panorama – the views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz!

Keep in mind:

  • You can do this hike only from mid-June to mid-October. 
  • From Grindelwald, take a train to Wilderswil (10 minutes). There you can take the funicular that takes you up all the way to Schynige Platte. That is also the same way you can get back to Grindelwald.

Grindelwald Glacier Canyon

A fascinating place near Grindelwald is the Glacier Canyon or Grindelwald Gorge (Gletscherschlucht in German).

This unique 300-meters-deep ravine was carved by the river flowing from the mountains over millions of years. An elevated wooden walkway leads for almost 900 meters into the gorge: you walk through short tunnels, near a few waterfalls that sprinkle misty water in the air, above the rushing waters of the river. 

There isn’t anything special at the end of the path, but it’s still quite magical to walk along it. On Friday nights, there is a show of colorful lights that make it even more impressive.

Daring people (and children) will enjoy walking on the huge “spiderweb” net, stretched from one side of the canyon to the other! An even more thrilling experience is the “canyon swing”, a 90-meter freefall with a rope from a platform above the gorge, followed by a swing in the gorge that can reach the speed of 120 km/hour. 

  • Open daily from May to mid-November
  • Prices for adults are CHF 19 – discounts for people under 16 years, groups etc.

Paragliding in Grindelwald

As with many other gorgeous valleys in Switzerland, paragliding in Grindelwald offers a panorama simply unachievable from anywhere else. 

Flights usually start near the First gondola station, at more than 2100 meters of altitude, because it’s the best starting place to admire the view of Eiger and the other peaks of the Jungfrau Region, above the village of Grindelwald.

Even though it’s an expensive experience, it’s one of the most memorable things to do in Switzerland, and possibly in your life!

Flights usually last 15-20 minutes. It seems short, but it’s definitely enough, especially if it’s your first time paragliding.

Companies usually offer a photo and video service for an extra fee: those memories are fantastic, so take advantage of it! 

Enjoy Winter Sports in Grindelwald 

The main locations for winter sports are First, the mountain north of Grindelwald; Mannlichen, the mountain west of Grindelwald (and on the other side there are Wengen and Lauterbrunnen); and the Jungfraujoch.

Winter sports at Männlichen Mountain

At all these locations you can ski, snowboard, go on winter hikes, and sled on long panoramic runs. One unique experience in Grindelwald is riding a Velo Gemel! This wooden snow bike has been used by people in Grindelwald since 1911: it looks like a bike frame placed on two wooden skates, similar to a sled. Rent one out and enjoy the slopes in this fun and weird way!

Eiger Run Velo Gemel with Arzo Travels

Visit „the Top of Europe“ – Jungfraujoch From Grindewald

Going to “the Top of Europe” is definitely a unique experience in Switzerland, and actually in the whole world!

View of observatory from Jungfraujoch plateau with Swiss flag

At the highest train station in Europe, at almost 3500 meters, there are plenty of things to do – besides gaping at the glaciers that guarantee a day in the snow even in the summer.

Ice tunnel at Jungfraujoch

You can walk through the Ice Palace, visit the Alpine Sensation to learn about the history of the Jungfraujoch, and enjoy the views at the Sphinx Observatory. Of course, there are restaurants and a Lindt Shop – it is Switzerland! 

Explore the Cute Village of Lauterbrunnen

Just one valley away from Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen offers a special combination of a cute Swiss town surrounded by alpine peaks and a unique signature: 72 waterfalls. 

Lauterbrunnen Staubbach waterfall a top activity in Interlaken with Arzo Travels

The Staubbach Waterfall is the most famous and iconic one: with 297 meters of height, it is the third highest waterfall in Switzerland. 

Another impressive waterfall is the Trümmelbachfälle: they are unique because they are 10 underground glacier waterfalls, accessible through lifts, tunnels, paths, and platforms. Absolutely fascinating!

  • The Trümmelbachfälle is open only from April to October
  • There is a 12 EUR entrance fee for adults.

A very relaxing walk in Lauterbrunnen is the water trail walk. It goes from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg (or the other way round, if you are coming back from the next attraction, the village of Mürren), along a relaxing mountain stream. 

Head to Pretty Mürren

From Lauterbrunnen, you could continue to the picturesque town of Mürren, a car-free village that is a true Swiss postcard. You’ll find cute Swiss cottages, pretty cafés and restaurants with terraces, and of course, really stunning scenery all around.

Where to visit in Switzerland
Image: Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG

The views from there are seriously spectacular and getting there is an experience in itself!

First, take the gondola from Lauterbrunnen to Alpgrütsch which is nice! But the train ride from there to Mürren is one of the most impressive train rides you can take. It, unfortunately, just takes 20 minutes but the views of the Swiss Skyline – on a clear day – and the scenery is really just top-notch! 

Follow James Bond – Schilthorn Mountain 

Schilthorn is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass. It is 2,970 meters above sea level and lies above the village of Mürren, from where a cable car leads to its summit. Many people actually know Schilthorn and Piz Gloria because it was the filming location of the 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Services“ in 1969.

James Bond trail on Schilthorn mountain

From Mürren, the gondola will bring you to Birg station first which is home to the Thrill Walk. This 200-meter-long walk leads down into the vertical walls of the imposing rock massif. At Birg, you will also find a restaurant and toilets.

Then take another gondola and head to Schilthorn.

Sunset at Schilthorn

The main attraction is the incredible, incredible view of the Swiss Skyline. Wow, what a breathtaking view. Some might argue the best thing about Schilthorn is the famous Piz Gloria restaurant. Piz Gloria is a 360°revolving restaurant that rotates around its own axis in 45 minutes– offering great views and of course, food and drinks. Inside Piz Gloria, you will find an interactive exhibition that is all about James Bond and the film.

Discover the Many, Many Activities in Interlaken

The one thing Grindelwald doesn’t have is a lake. Luckily, nearby there is a town between two lakes which makes for a great day trip: Interlaken.

Harder Kulm in Interlaken and things to do
Harder Kulm mountain peak

As you already understood, Interlaken is located between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It might be difficult to choose what to do in and around Interlaken, there are so many places to see!

However, I strongly recommend cruising on the mesmerizing Lake Brienz, and/or taking the Brienz Rothorn steam locomotive ride up to the top of Brienzer Rothorn mountain. The views are among the best in all of Switzerland.

View from Brienzer Rothorn

Alternatively, explore the town of Interlaken with the stunning park area of Höhenmatte and then head on Harder Kulm mountain (by funicular or hike) which offers great views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. This is also a nice place to watch the sunset.

Day Trip from Grindelwald to Bern

If you had your fill of Swiss natural landscapes, then why not spend a day in the city? The nearest one happens to be Switzerland’s capital, Bern.

Bern Rosengarten View
View from Rosengarten in Bern

Although sometimes overlooked, Bern is a very beautiful city. Actually, it is the prettiest Swiss city – and perfect to visit at any time of the year!

The gorgeous old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site: it’s full of attractions, like the Cathedral, the Clock Tower, the Parliament, the Town Hall, and many more.

You can admire it from above from the Rosengarten Park, and then you could pass by Baren Park to say hello to the bears that live there (which are hibernating in the winter): Also, consider strolling along the Aare river, a beautiful area to relax and enjoy the panorama.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON GRINDELWALD ACTIVITIES IN SUMMER

Grindelwald is a beautiful place to visit with tons to do and see – whether directly in the village and its close surroundings or if you head out to areas near Grindelwald. Especially outdoor activities will love Grindelwald – and once you visit, you can surely understand why it is such a fascinating area!

Stay safe and have great travels.

Safe Travels, Arzo

THINGS TO DO IN ZUG, SWITZERLAND

things to do in Zug, Switzerland, Arzo Travels

WHAT TO DO IN ZUG + TRAVEL TIPS

Zug is a beautiful town in Switzerland that is not on many Switzerland itineraries. It is rather an off-the-beaten-path place – yet, it is beautiful with some lovely and stunning sights.

This post is about the best things to do in Zug, Switzerland – here is what to do + travel tips for your Zug trip.

FACTS ABOUT ZUG, SWITZERLAND 

  • The town of Zug is located approximately in the middle of Switzerland, between Zurich to the north and Lucerne to the south. 
  • It lies at 425 meters above sea level, on the northeastern shores of Lake Zug (Zugersee). 
  • The most spoken language is German.
  • Zug in German actually means “train”
  • With its 30000 inhabitants, it is the capital and largest town of the Canton of Zug. But, honestly, the Canton of Zug is not much bigger than Zug itself! It is one of the smallest in Switzerland. 
  • Something impressive is that a quarter of the inhabitants of the canton are foreigners, and it is one of the richest and safest cantons in Switzerland – which means also in the world.
  • Fun fact: Zug is a tax haven! It was actually the first tax haven ever: the Zurich-Zug-Lichtenstein triangle was established in the mid-1920s. The tax rate in Zug is about half of the average Swiss tax rate, which makes the town and canton an excellent place to establish the headquarters of international companies, and also to live a very pleasant (but expensive) life. 
  • So, just because Zug is more a hidden gem amongst tourists, it does not mean it is cheap. Prices for lunch/drinks are almost as high as in Lucerne or Zurich.
  • How to get to Zug: You can reach Zug by train from Zurich in less than 30 minutes, and from Lucerne in just 20 minutes. The rest of Switzerland is easy to reach from these two cities. 
  • And I highly recommend getting to Zug by public transportation. Parking in Zug can be quite tricky.
  • Check out more general travel tips for Switzerland here.

Lake Zug promenade

TOP THINGS TO DO IN ZUG

There are lots of lovely places to see in Zug. You can see most highlights in one day, but you’ll easily keep yourself busy for a few more days too.

Visit Lake Zug

Obviously, Lake Zug is one of the most beautiful sights in Zug. Approximately 14 km long and just 5 km wide at its widest point, Zug is located on the northeastern tip. The northern half of the lake belongs to the canton of Zug, the southern half to the canton Schwyz, and just a tiny part is claimed by the canton of Lucerne. 

Views of the Swiss Alps at Lake Zug

Lake Zug is very picturesque. The northern and western shores are quite level; green and hilly Zugerberg Mountain is on the eastern side, while Mount Rigi dominates the southern shores with its steep sides. Thanks to pretty towns and a few castles, it’s a lovely sight at any time of the year.

Stroll Lake Zug Promenade

The promenade of Lake Zug is a lovely place for a stroll. You can walk from the old town until the marina, along the “corner” of the lake.

The promenade is very narrow and cramped by the old town, where the large, medieval houses don’t leave much space. But then, it becomes wide and spacious, lined with trees, and with docks here and there to walk a little into the lake. 

Stroll Lake Zug in Switzerland

Don’t miss the “Seesicht”, the famous stairs under the lake! This unique walk-in sculpture by Swiss artist Roman Signer looks like a large, rectangular pipe diving into the lake: it contains a steel staircase leading to a window so that you can look into the lake. When the water is clear, it’s a very cool experience!

Seesicht at Lake Zug and Springbrunnen in background

View from Seesicht

Very close to the Seesicht is the “Springbrunnen”, the geyser of Lake Zug. This water jet is active from spring to autumn. There are other pretty fountains in the old town, but this is the only fountain on Lake Zug. If you won’t make it to Geneva and its famous lake fountain, well, here you have a small version of it.

Springbrunnen in Zug, fountain

Right there, between the Seesicht and the Zug Bahnhofsteg harbor, is a very colorful and artistic section of the promenade. This work of art by Maria Bettina Cogliatti marks the area of the Katastrophenbucht, the Disaster Bay where the lakeshore broke in 1887, which caused flooding in the town and the death of 11 people. 

Colorful buildings along Lake Zug promenade

From there until the marina, the Zug promenade features pretty green areas and sports establishments. 

Basketball court at Lake Zug

The views of the town and the mountains are gorgeous everywhere along the Zug promenade, but it’s even more magical at sunset, because the sun goes down on the other side of the lake. However, be careful with the weather: on stormy days, the lake might flood the promenade.

Cruise on Lake Zug

On a beautiful day, a cruise is a perfect way to enjoy the gorgeous Lake Zug – and to appreciate the scenery from a different point of view.

Boat Cruise on Lake Zug in Switzerland

There are many stops all around Lake Zug.

  • It takes about 1 hour – 1,5 hours from Zug in the north, to Arth am See in the south. 

If you like to be more active, you can rent – in the summer months – little paddle boats and explore the lake on your own.

Paddle boat on Lake Zug

Hike on Zugerberg

The mountains closest to Zug are the Zugerberg, just south of the town on the eastern side of Lake Zug, and Mount Rigi, on the southern shore.

The green, wooded Zugerberg mountain is 1039 meters high. You can reach it with the Zugerbergbahn funicular from Zug: the upper station is at 925 meters of altitude. The views are gorgeous! It’s not steep, so hikes are easy even for families with children – and there’s also a mountain bike trail.

Relax by the Lakeside at the Lido

Just south of the old town “Altstadt”, between the casino and the lake, there is the Zug public beach “Seeliken”: a small park where you can lay down and relax, with access to the lake to enjoy a refreshing swim, plus a bistro for meals and snacks. Entry is free. Check out the website of Seeliken Lido 

Chilling at Lake Zug

In the other direction, on the northern side of Lake Zug, there are 2 other great spots.

The Lido Zug (Stranded Zug) is quite fancy: there is a small sandy beach, a nice café/restaurant, a kids pool, and diving boards to jump in the lake. (ENTRY IS FREE? Lido Zug ).

Lido pool in Zug, Switzerland

The Brüggli Lido Zug instead is located near a campsite, there is grass and sand to lay down, a food kiosk and barbecue areas, and beach volley fields. Entry is free. Check out more about Brüggli Lido Zug 

Stroll the Old Town “Altstadt”

The medieval old town of Zug is definitely worth some time. Stroll around and get lost among the narrow streets and the picturesque, painted buildings. There are cute shops, art galleries, and fountains at every corner. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes to explore the cobblestone streets.

Zytturm Zug, Switzerland

Don’t miss the Altstadthalle, the city hall with a painted facade, and the iconic Zytturm Zug, the clock tower with its roof decorated with colorful tiles. But truly, the whole old town is just very pretty, clean, and well-maintained. It really feels like traveling back in time. 

Old town in Zug in Switzerland building

Unique buildings in Zug near Zurich

Head to Zug Castle

Zug Castle is located a little outside of the old town (5 to 10-minute walk).

Zug Castle in Zug, Switzerland

Walking along Zug Castle

It doesn’t really look like a traditional, medieval, stone castle, but more like a stone-and-timber house on top of a wide base. Inside its decorated and furnished rooms, there is the Museum of Cultural History of the town. 

Animal Watching in Zug

If you are looking for a rather unique attraction you will be pleased to hear that in Zug, just at the promenade are two places you will not find everywhere.

Hirschgehege am Alpenquai in Zug, Deers at Lake Zug

On the once hand you have the “Hirschgarten” – a little park for deers. Yes, next to the lake is this park where deers “chill” within a fenced area. 

Then you have an “aviary” because the ornithological society of Zug keeps many different birds here. 

DAY TRIPS FROM ZUG

There are a few nice day trips from Zug worth considering.

Visit Lucerne

This Swiss gem is located really close to Zug. 

  • You can reach Lucerne by train in approximately 20 minutes by train. 

Best tours on Switzerland

Lucerne is, very simply, just amazing. The picturesque old town full of painted facades and unique fountains, the iconic chapel bridge over the lake, the relaxing lake promenade, and all around the stunning peaks of the Alps: in one day in Lucerne, you can definitely see the highlights. 

If you are looking for a view from above, don’t miss the Musegg Walls and its towers.

Visit Interlaken

You could choose to extend your day trip from Zug: after Lucerne, continue for a couple of hours by train along three lakes – including beautiful Lake Brienz – until the town of Interlaken.

View from Brienzer Rothorn

As the name suggests, Interlaken is located between two lakes: Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. There are lots of things to do in and around Interlaken, so it might be difficult to choose!

My favorites by far are cruising on the mesmerizing Lake Brienz and taking the Brienz Rothorn steam locomotive ride up to the top of Brienzer Rothorn mountain. The views are absolutely incredible and memorable.

Visit Zurich

Why not take a train from Zug to Zurich? 

  • In less than 30 minutes you’ll be in the financial heart of Switzerland, which happens to be a very beautiful city too. 

Solo female travel girl in Zurich in 2 days with Grossmünster in background

Stroll along the Bahnhofstrasse (the most expensive street in the world!), admire the view from the Lindenhof Hill, explore the colorful and charming old town, and rest along the Limmat river or on the shores of Lake Zurich. One day is short, but it’s enough to get a feeling of Zurich.

Visit Bern

Switzerland’s capital is a very beautiful city.

  • It takes 1,5 hours to go from Zug to Bern by train, so it can make for a lovely day trip from Zug. 

Bern from Rosengarten with Arzo Travels

On a nice day, head to the Rosengarten park to enjoy the views of the old town, and then say hello to the bears who live at Baren Park. Of course, at Aare River, you can relax and admire the panorama.

The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and rightly so: it’s gorgeous and full of attractions, like the Cathedral, the clock tower, the Town Hall, the Parliament, and more.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST ZUG ACTIVITIES

Zug is a beautiful town – its proximity to Zurich makes it easily accessible. It is colorful and charming with a perfect mix of beautiful architecture and nature.

So, if you have wondered about the best things to do in Zug, then you have hopefully found your answers here.

Stay safe!

Best Things to Do in Ascona, Switzerland

Ascona in Switzerland a great stop

WHAT TO DO IN ASCONA IN ONE DAY + 

If you are looking for a place that combines the charm of Switzerland with Mediterranean vibes, plus the gorgeous panorama of the mountains over a lake, you’ve found it: it’s the town of Ascona in Ticino, Switzerland.

Find out about Asconahere are the best things to do in Ascona + some useful travel tips.

ASCONA TRAVEL TIPS

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

The whole Canton Ticino is famous for its unique mix of Swiss and Italian lifestyles, and Ascona is just as special.

  • Ascona is located on the shores of Lake Maggiore, in the south of Switzerland, just 10 km north of the Italian border
  • With an elevation of 196 meters above sea level and the lake nearby, the climate is really quite Mediterranean: there are even palm trees! But luckily the summers are not as hot as in Italy. The highest temperatures in July and August often stay below 30°C, and the lowest in winter barely reach 0°C (but it can still snow).
  • The language most spoken in Ascona is Italian, but you will also be able to communicate in German or English with most people.

How to Get to Ascona

Ascona is a small town easily accessible via public transportation. Though it does not have a train station, you can get from Locarno to Ascona by bus – or walk (it is just about 4 kilometers).

You can also take the boat from Locarno boat station and get o Ascona by boat.

How to Get Around Acona

  • You do not need a car. However, If you travel by car, you might have difficulties finding parking (and parking fees can be expensive).  
  • Many activities mentioned here can be visited on footWear comfy shoes because you might have to do some down/uphill walking, plus there are some cobbledstoned streets.
  • You might need public transportation here and there. Public transportation in Switzerland is reliable, on time, and gets you everywhere. And Ascona is no exception. You´ll get to all the recommended places by public transportationas Ascona doe not have a train station, you can take the buses if needed.
  • Also, there are funiculars/cable cars that you can use (I will talk about that later).
  • My favorite mode of transportation isand probably will always be boats. I used boats several times (sometimes just for fun) and had scenic rides. Lake Maggiore is a beauty, and boat cruises are a great way to get around.

Swiss Travel Pass

If you use public transportation, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass. I visit Switzerland often, and most of the time I get one.

  • It is only available to non-Swiss residents and allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs.
  • You can also do boat cruises without additional costs – and you can cruise Lake Maggiore with the regular boats to get around (in the Swiss part of the lake).
  • It also gives you a discount on most mountain rides.
  • You can visit more than 500 museums without any additional costs.

Travel Passes are quite expensive. But it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you. For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides oftenI also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me whenever I have a Swiss Travel Pass. Check out the pass here. 

Where to Stay in Ascona

Honestly, I did not stay in Ascona but just visited a couple of times for a day. So, I have some tips for places to stay in Locarno as well as Ascona.

  • Luxury Hotels in Locarno – I have stayed at a couple of very luxurious hotels, but this is probably my favorite – ever. Villa Orselina is a top luxurious small boutique hotel in Orselina, just a few minutes from Locarno. Check out prices here.
  • Mid-Range Hotels in Locarno – Hotel Garni Muralto. I did not stay here, but it is one of the best-rated hotels in that price range. Find out prices here. It is not directly in Locarno, but Muralto just borders Locarno and you can get there within minutes.

What to Do in Ascona, Switzerland

Ascona is famous for its pretty Old Town full of colorful houses, for the beautiful lake promenade, and for many art museums with interesting pieces. The Mediterranean vibe and the warm climate make it a special place to visit in Switzerland.

It’s easy to spend a day in Ascona, or even longer, relaxing and discovering the town and its surroundings.

Stroll the Borgo (Old Town)

The old town “Borgo” faces Lake Maggiore from the north around the harbor. Its long history is visible in the architecture of the buildings, especially the churches which date back to the Middle Ages.

Ascona sights, church

Streets in the old town of Ascona

The harbor, the main Church of Saints Peter and Paul (first mentioned in historical documents dating back to 1264), and a few surrounding streets compose the “Borgo”, the old town of Ascona

Old town of Ascona

The pedestrian streets are narrow and the buildings are so colorful. Nice boutiques and pretty cafés and restaurants make the atmosphere very lively and charming

Admire the ArtIside and Outside the Museums

Even though I am not very much into art, I couldn’t help but notice lots of art museums, exhibitions, and sculptures around Ascona.

Street art in Ascona, Switzerland

The Modern Art Museum was founded in 1922 when numerous artists who were staying in Ascona decided to donate some of their works to the municipality. The most famous works are by Jawlensky, Amiet, and Klee.

Modern Art Museum – Opening hours – 5 March 2022 – 8  January 2023:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 12 pm / 2 – 5 pm
Sunday and holidays: 10.30 am – 12.30 pm
Monday: closed, might also be closed during some other periods.

At the Museo Castello San Materno, instead, there is a permanent collection of artists of the German area from the late 1800s to the 1920s.

Opening hours – 5 March 2022 – 8  January 2023:

Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 12 pm / 2 – 5 pm
Sunday and holidays: 10.30 am – 12.30 pm
Closed on Mondays + 16.5. — 4.6.22 + 16. — 26.8.22 + 19.9. — 1.10.22 

But even without entering museums, throughout the old town, you will find art galleries and workshops, which foster a very creative vibe.

Art at Lago di Maggioare in Ascona

Also, there are lots of sculptures everywhere, as well as temporary installations: in 2019 there were colorful plastic animals all around, and the area of Monte Verità boasts interesting exhibitions too.

Walk Along the Lake Promenade

Of course, it is just the most relaxing thing to walk along the promenade of Lake Maggiore in Ascona

Ascona promenade with a view

The scenery is wonderful: colorful houses, lush hills, elegant villas, and the mountains in the background

One of the iconic spots is at the “Grand Tour of Switzerland Photo Spot” on the edge of the harbor, with the town on the left: it’s the perfect postcard thanks to the bright houses and the church bell tower.

Ascona Grand Tour of Switzerland

On the other side of the harbor, you’ll find the “I Heart Ascona” sign, another great spot with a beautiful view

I heart Ascona sign at Lake Maggioare

Relax at Lake Maggiore promenade

Promenade in Ascona, CH

The promenade continues towards Locarno, paved wide with stones between the lake and a park. At the end, you’ll find a beach area.

Swing the World

Yes, there is one of the famous Swing the World swings in Ascona! It’s right at the center of the harbor, tied to a massive tree

The swing of the World in Ascona

Make sure you enjoy yourself, take a picture, and share it on social media. If you like them, find the others located in the nearby towns and valleyseach of them offers fantastic views

Enjoy a Boat Tour or Swim in Lake Maggiore

You know me: I love boat tours! So I am certainly going to recommend a boat tour on Lake Maggiore.

Best Places to See in Switzerland

Lago Maggiore in Locarno

Otherwise, you can also head to the Bagno Pubblico Ascona and to the Lido di Ascona: the sandy beach is perfect to enjoy a warm summer day and swim in the lake

  • With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can enjoy free boat cruises on Lake Maggiore –. at least on the Swiss side of the lake. 

Explore the Brissago Islands

Close to Ascona there are two islands on Lago Maggiore: the Isole di Brissago.

Locarno Brissago Island in

Thanks to the unique, Mediterranean climate of the area, the larger island host the only botanical garden in Switzerland. It is incredibly rich in flora and fauna from warmer areas of the world, like Chile and the Americas, Japan and China, South Africa, and Australia

Brissago island in Ticino

Even though it’s a tiny island, it’s a nice place to spend a few relaxing hours. There’s also a restaurant in a beautiful villa and sculptures and fountains around the park.

You can reach the Botanical Garden on Brissago Island by boat from Ascona, Locarno, Porto Ronco, and Brissago.

The park is closed during the winter. It is open from April to November.

Visit Locarno

If Ascona is your base, make sure to visit Locarno which is just next to Ascona. Locarno is also an Italian-speaking resort city on the shores of Lago Maggiore and just 4 kilometers from Ascona. 

Madonna del Sasso in Locarno is one of the main sights

Locarno was founded in the 12th century and is home to the15thcentury Santuario della Madonna del Sasso, an artfilled pilgrimage site overlooking the city. However, it is more to do and see in Locarno – with a day there, you can visit the lovely and lively Piazza Grande, head to Camellia Park with more than 850 different camellia varieties, enjoy the views from Cardada Mountain or stroll the old town. 

Locarno Cardada in Orselina, Locarno

  • You can get to Locarno by bus, boat, or walk there (about 4 kilometers).

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST ASCONA ACTIVITIES

Ascona is a lovely town – combining the best of Switzerland and Italy. Whether you visit Ascona for a day or longer, it is a perfect place to enjoy a mix of culture & art, and nature.

Stay safe!

Safe Travels, Arzo

THINGS TO DO IN GRINDELWALD IN WINTER – ACTIVITIES & MORE

Grindelwald in winter, Switzerland, Arzo Travels

WINTER IN GRINDELWALD

Grindelwald in winter is magical – a real winter wonderland.

As soon as you start planning your Switzerland trip, Grindelwald will pop up in your research. And with good reason: Grindelwald is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland in the winter months!

IS GRINDELWALD WORTH VISITING IN WINTER?

In Grindelwald, you’ll be able to practice winter sports, do some great winter hikes, enjoy unique and adventurous activities, and go on fun day trips without much effort. All of this, surrounded by the stunning Swiss Skyline (which consists of the three impressive mountains of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau). So, yes Grindelwald in winter is very worth visiting!

Eiger North Face in Grindelwald

Winter Travel Tips Grindelwald

In this post, I will share my tips for an unforgettable winter trip to Grindelwald. Keep reading to find out useful information, practical travel tips, and the best things to do in Grindelwald.

Grindelwald is a beautiful, traditional Swiss village – it is a real Swiss postcard. 

  • The town of Grindelwald is located in the region of Jungfrau, in the Bernese Oberland. 
  • It is more or less in the center of Switzerland, closer to the Alps in the south: approximately 70 km (1 hour) southeast of Bern and just 20 km (20 minutes) southeast of Interlaken.
  • Grindelwald lies at 1034 meters above sea level and has less than 4000 inhabitants.
  • Here you have some of the best views of the Swiss Skyline: the peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. As a matter of fact, Grindelwald is at the foot of the impressive north face of the Eiger mountain: it is so famous that Grindelwald is also known as Eiger Village. 

How to Get to Grindelwald

  • Grindelwald is easily accessible via train, but also by car. 
  • From Interlaken Ost station, it is just a scenic 20-minute train ride to Grindelwald.
  • It takes about the same to get there by car.

Grindelwald train station

How to Get Around Grindelwald

The village center of Grindelwald is small and you can walk to the Grindelwald Frist cable car station.

However, there are also buses you can use to get around in and to nearby places. If you stay at a hotel in Grindelwald, you will get a Guest Card and can ride these buses for free.

You will need the train for a couple of activities mentioned here. Trains in Switzerland are amazing – quite reliable, punctual, and all that comes with great window views.

Jungfrau Pass VS Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass is amazing for getting around in Switzerland. It includes a couple of mountain excursions and amazing boat cruises. You get a 50% discount on many other mountain excursions (including some mentioned here).

However, in the region of Jungfrau, you might want to consider getting a Jungfrau Winter Pass because you can actually use the Jungfrau Pass for mountain trips.

You can buy one either as a pedestrian or for skiers/snowboarders. You can use all of the trains of the Jungfraubahn (which will get you to places like Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Jungfraujoch, etc., as well as up mountain peaks without any extra surcharge, including Männlichen, and Grindelwald First. You can choose between two different tickets – one includes a trip to Jungfraujoch, one does not. I recommend getting the specific ticket including Jungfraujoch. a

BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES IN GRINDELWALD

Adventures! This is what you will find in Grindelwald. Winter adventures in the snow – surrounded by wonderful mountains. But, no worries, you can also find relaxing things to do.

Visit the Village of Grindelwald

The center of Grindelwald is pretty small and very beautiful. Along the Dorfstrasse, there are quite a lot of restaurants, hotels, shops, and many traditional Swiss chalets. Going for a stroll and having a coffee or a cup of hot cocoa on one of the terraces while admiring the panorama is definitely a must.

Eiger North Face in the Grindelwald village

The special thing about Grindelwald is that the village center is very open, so you can enjoy the views of the mountains directly from lots of places around town. The view of the north face of Eiger is particularly impressive.

Grindelwald village center

Grindelwald town center

Grindelwald in winter activities with Eiger North Face

Also, because of the high altitude, it is very likely you‘ll find it covered in snow normally between December and February, sometimes even in March! Just the perfect Switzerland winter experience.

Discover GrindelwaldFirst“Top of Adventure”

I know, the name is confusing, so let’s start with that. 

With its 2184 meters above sea level, First is a summit located north of Grindelwald. It’s common to call it “Grindelwald-First” because the two destinations are closely connected and it is easily reachable from Grindelwald town center.

It’s known as the “Top of Adventure” because there are so many exciting things to do here (and it’s also the same region as the Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe”).

Gondola views at First Grindewald

Of course, needless to say, the views from First are incredible, so it’s a great place even if you only have a snack outside, or a meal at the restaurant while admiring the panorama.  The Bernese Alps, including the famous Eiger Mountain, make the view pretty perfect.

Views from Grindelwald First

In winter, First is one of the best areas for skiing and snowboarding. There are 56 km of pistes in what is probably the sunniest resort in the whole region. Snowboarders in particular should check out the snowpark to practice and show off their skills.

If you want to be active, but are not into winter sports, you can hike from First to Bachalpsee. It takes about 1 hour to reach this small, gorgeous lake with a wonderful panorama.

There are also some adventures to experience on Grindewald-First, which I will talk about further below.

You can reach the top of Grindelwald First by gondola in 25 minutes from Grindelwald station, in the center of the town. Just hop on the cable car – there are two stops in between, but to get to Grindelwald, stay until you reach the top.

  • Included in your Jungfrau Pass – you get a 50% discount with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Feel the Adrenaline on GrindelwaldFirst

There are so many exciting activities on Grindelwald-First.

You can have a taste of adrenaline by walking on the platforms of the First Cliff Walk by Tissot, which is a high walkway suspended from a rocky mountainside, with peak and valley views. 

First Cliff Walk in Grindewald

Cliff Walk in Grindelwald in winter

The gridded floor allows you to look down – making it more fun. Yet it is not really scary and suitable for people of all ages.

  • The Cliff Walk is free.

You can speed down an 800-meter-long cable at 84 km/hour with the First Flieger or with the eagle-shaped First Glider.

First Glider in Winter

Up to four passengers float through the mountain landscape at high speeds: The First Glider is pulled backward from Schreckfeld towards First at 72 km/h. Then, on the way back, the eagle really takes off with a speed of up to 84 km/h.

Some of these experiences are available all year round – depending on the weather. The First Flieger was closed due to wind and storm when I visited, but the Glider was open.

It is quite a unique experience, but I probably would have enjoyed the First Flieger more because you can sit upright and have better views of the scenery. But the Glider was still fun.

  • You need extra tickets for the Glider and Flieger 

Ride the Unique “Velo Gemel” BikeOnly in Grindelwald!

It looks quite unbelievable, but I’m telling you it’s real: A Velo Gemel. 

People in Grindelwald have been riding a snow bike since 1911: it’s made of wood, you can steer it, but it has no pedals and no wheels! It looks like a bike frame placed on two wooden skates, similar to a sled. 

Eiger Run Velo Gemel with Arzo Travels

It is really fun to “bike” down a ski slope on such a weird and special bike.

Whether you use the veto gemel to ride down the Eiger Run or from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg, you will have plenty of options to try out your new favorite vehicle. 

Velo gemel in Grindelwald

You can rent these Velo gemels at the rental stations throughout Grindelwald or at the tourism office at the train station. And if you decide to take one of these special bikes home, you can actually buy one for around 600 CHF. Renting is apparently much cheaper :).

Night Sledding at Eiger Run

Sledding during the day is fun – but night sledding is next-level fun. There are a couple of places to do so in the region of Jungfrau, but the best piste is probably at Eiger Run, which is a great sledding run.

Night sledding Eiger Run in Grindelwald
©Jungfrau Region Tourismus AG

Grindelwald velo gemel at night

Between Alpiglen and Brandegg – a 3.5-kilometer long stretch – the steepest section has a gradient of up to 36 percent. Depending on the weather – and the snow conditions – you can head down all the way to Grindelwald at a more leisurely pace. This is an amazing place for sledding but also for you velo gemel.

The views of Grindelwald Village by night are great, by the way.

There are special night trains running every 30 minutes from Grindelwald Grund up to Alpiglen, with a stop in Brandegg.

  • You need an additional ticket for using the “night” train (the regular Jungfrau Pass / Jungfrau Ticket is not valid at night).

Have a Traditional Swiss Dinner

Before sledding down all the way to Grindelwald Grund, have a stop at the Restaurant Brandegg.

This popular alpine mountain restaurant, nestled in the Swiss Alps, just opened in 2021 and now you can get delicious local dishes there, such as various kinds of Rösti or cheese fondue.

Cheese Fondue in Grindelwald in winter

As you might know, I do not consume a lot of animal products and thus Swiss food has always been a red flag to me. Believe it or not, I just tried Swiss cheese fondue at Restaurant Brandegg for the first time.

It was good. Swiss milk cows have a good life, so eating traditional Swiss food (apart from chocolate) was an exception I was happy to make.

I might switch back to vegan food again next time, but if you have traditional Swiss food, then do it in the mountains in Grindelwald.

Jungfraujoch

Oh, one of the most unique travel experiences is going up Jungfraujoch – also known as the “Top of Europe. 

At the highest train station in Europe – at around 3500 meters above sea level – you will have some fantastic views and can enjoy some unique activities.

View of observatory from Jungfraujoch plateau with Swiss flag

After enjoying the views from the Sphinx Observatory (one of the highest observatories in the world), walk the Ice Palace and learn about the history of the Jungfraujoch at the Alpine Sensation.

Ice tunnel at Jungfraujoch

Several restaurants offer plenty of different cuisines, and those with a sweet tooth can get chocolate at the Lindt Shop at Jungfraujoch.

I have been to Jungfraujoch in summer and winter – and winter is the best time to enjoy the panorama! The views of the snow-capped mountains, the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alps), and the many activities you can do up there are worth the trip.

Sphinx platform, Aletsch Glacier in winter

The Jungfraujoch is especially popular as a day trip from Grindelwald – take the gondola from Grindelwald Terminal for the quickest way to go up.

When you get back to Grindelwald, you can include a beautiful winter hike in your itinerary (more on that later).

However, this trip is quite expensive and can cost about 200 CHF (yep). If you buy a winter Jungfrau Pass, make sure it has the Jungfraujoch trip included. This is the cheapest option to enjoy a wonderful trip to the top of Europe.

  • Activities here are all included in the Jungfraujoch Ticket. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can take the train up to Wengen for free and then get a 25% for the ride to Jungfraujoch.

Eiger Glacier to Kleine Scheidegg Hike

From Jungfraujoch, take the train to Eigergletscher (you cannot hike this section and have to take the train) and then start a wonderful and easy winter hike to Kleine Scheidegg.

Winter hike from Eiger Glacier to Kleine Scheidegg

The downhill hike takes about an hour (about 2 km) and you have fantastic views all around. Make sure to also turn around for a view of the Swiss Skyline – a winter hike can be this easy and rewarding!

While this part is also popular amongst skiers and snowboarders, there are paths specifically for pedestrians – the winter hiking trails are marked with pink signposts and well maintained.

The Kleine Scheidegg is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 meters – situated below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks. Sit down in one of the restaurants here or continue your journey to Grindelwald by train.

Enjoy Winter Sports

Skiing and snowboarding, but also cross-country skiing and sledding, and even snowshoe hiking – you can do all this in Grindelwald in winter if you know where to go.

Winter sports at Jungfraujoch : Eigergletscher

The main locations are First, the mountain north of Grindelwald; Mannlichen, the mountain west of Grindelwald (and on the other side, there are Wengen and Lauterbrunnen); and the Jungfraujoch (or better, Eigergletscher/Kleine Scheidegg).

Winter sports at Männlichen Mountain

As we mentioned already, Grindelwald-First is an excellent area for skiing and snowboarding. Experienced skiers should also explore the slopes on Mannlichen, as well as those leading to the nearby town of Kleine Scheidegg.

Snowboarding in Grindelwald

Sledding is available at First and at Mannlichen, too – both during the day and night. 

But the most amazing one is the Big Pintenfritz, the longest sledding run in the world! The adventure starts at the First gondola station: hike to Bachalpsee Lake and then to the Faulhorn panoramic point, and from there, you descend 15 km and 1600 meters of altitude to reach Bussalp and Grindelwald. This whole hiking and sledding experience takes more than 3 hours.

If you would rather practice a winter sport with gorgeous views but no adrenaline rushes, try out cross-country skiing. The beautiful, flat track that departs from the golf course leads through forests and open areas so that you can enjoy the peace and admire the stunning panorama. 

A few winter hikes worth considering are the hike from First gondola station to Bachalpsee Lake, from Mannlichen station to Kleine Schiedegg, and from Mannlichen gondola station up to the Mannlichen summit.

Mannlichen Mountain Excursion

The summit of Mannlichen is the other main destination in Grindelwald for skiing and hiking.  The hikes on Mannlichen (or Männlichen in German) offer incredible views. 

Swiss Skyline and Lauberhorn at Mannlichen Mountain

In particular, the Royal Walk leads from the Mannlichen gondola station, at 2221 meters, to the summit of Mannlichen, at 2343 meters of altitude. In approximately 1 hour (round trip), you can admire a 360-degree panorama, including the village of Wengen and Grindelwald, Lauberhorn Mountain, the Swiss Skyline with the iconic north face of Eiger, and north to even Interlaken and Lake Thun! 

Another very easy hike is the downhill trail from Mannlichen gondola station to Kleine Scheidegg, on the Panorama Trail. You walk straight towards Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau, so the views are always incredible. It takes only an hour and a half.

Grindelwald seen from Mannlichen Mountain

With approximately 103 km of pistes, sports enthusiasts can spend all their winter days here. Many slopes require advanced skills – there is even the famous Lauberhorn World Cup run. 

This very beautiful mountain peak west of Grindelwald can be reached from Grindelwald Terminal gondola station, or from the other side, too, where the town of Wengen is.

  • This trip is also included in the Jungfrau Pass – you get a 50% discount with the Swiss Travel Pass.

Enjoy Spa Time

After all that time outdoors, it is time to relax and come down. Grindelwald might not be best known as a wellness destination, but after a day (or several days) in the snow, you will enjoy some time in a sauna, with a massage, or in a pool. And if the pool comes with views of the Eiger Mountain, then you are in Grindelwald.

Spa area at Grindelwald Romantic Hotel

At the luxurious Romantic Hotel Schweizerhof, you have a nice wellness area. The best thing about the spa area is probably the indoor pool with views!

What else can you ask for after some busy days in the cold? 

Grindelwald has only one 5-star hotel, but you will find several hotels that have nice wellness areas with saunas and more! If you book a hotel in Grindelwald, check out their amenities and facilities.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES 

Winter in Grindelwald is an amazing time to visit. Whether you are into winter sports or not, Grindelwald has enough to offer anyone and is a perfect winter destination in Switzerland.

There is a reason why it is one of the top destinations in winter and once you visit, you will see why!

Stay safe!

Best Things to do in Zermatt, Switzerland

WHAT TO DO IN ZERMATT – PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO IN 2022

Are you heading to Zermatt and wondering about the best things to do in Zermatt? Then this post is for you as it will help you plan your Zermatt trip.

Zermatt is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, and while it is a perfect place to visit in winter in Switzerland, it is actually a great idea at any time of the year.

I have been to Zermatt a few times so far. However, I am neither a skiing person nor overly sporty, yet I enjoy time outdoors and being active.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

Things to do in Zermatt, Switzerland, Arzo Travels

Here are the Best Places to Visit in Zermatt

Ready to find out about the best things to do in Zermatt in summer? Here are my top recommendations for what to do.

Admire the Matterhorn

To say that Matterhorn Mountain plays an important role in/for Zermatt would be a slight understatement. I actually go as far as to say that Zermatt is all (or almost all) about the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps best places to ski
@shutterstock

The majestic Matterhorn straddles the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. With 4,478 meters high is it one of the tallest (but not the tallest) mountains in Switzerland and it is mostly admired for its unique shape. 

And whether you visit a restaurant, a mountain peak, a hike, or a hotel – it all comes back to the Matterhorn.

Rooms with a Matterhorn view are more expensive, bars and restaurants with a Matterhorn view are more crowded! Hikes and mountain peaks with fantastic views of the Matterhorn are the most popular ones.

Switzerland 10 day itineraryBut no worries, the Matterhorn is so omnipresent you can see it from many places in Zermatt. Among all the mountains in Switzerland, this is truly a very unique one!

MATTERHORN FUN FACTS

  • Matterhorn is the German name – in Italian it is Cervino and in French, it is known as the Mont Cervin.
  • Annually, 3000 people climb the Matterhorn successfully.
  • In 1892 the Swiss Federal Assembly approved a proposal for cable car access – but after more than 68,000 people signed a petition against a cable car, the construction was prevented.
  • Want to hike the Matterhorn yourself? Then you should be experienced in rock climbing and alpine hikes – let´s put it like that: most of us are probably not going to climb/hike the Matterhorn! But there are some fantastic hikes that offer great views of the Matterhorn.
  • Check out my dedicated post on the Matterhorn.

Stroll Zermatt Town

If you use this post as a Zermatt itinerary, I suggest starting with the town center which starts just left from the train station. Zermatt old town with Arzo TravelsOne of the first things I noticed in Zermatt: many tourists, many flower pots, and many ads for luxury watches (and shops) everywhere.

Flower pots, flower pots, and flower pots make Zermatt pretty pretty pretty. Strolling this area is one of the top things to do in Zermatt. The houses are so charming and the scenery makes everything more beautiful.

As in all parts of Switzerland, water fountains provide fresh drinking water. So bring your bottle and refill it with try fresh water. 

Walk Along the Matter Vispa River

From the old town, it is not very far from the lovely Matter Vispa River. The Vispa is a river in the canton of Valais with a length of 84 kilometers (52 miles). Best cities to visit in SwitzerlandI really liked the Vispa River with its quite strong current and unusual gray/white color (glacier water). You cannot miss it, and though this is not one of the typical Zermatt tourist attractions, I still enjoyed my walk along the river.

There are many cafes and restaurants along the river where you can sit down and relax – or you bring your own snacks and sit on a bench and enjoy these impressive Matterhorn views.

Head to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise – Klein Matterhorn

Let´s visit a mountain peak (of course, with great views of the Matterhorn). Since visiting Matterhorn itself is always impossible for most of us, here is a great alternative: Klein Matterhorn or Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

While Zermatt is about 1,600 meters above sea level, Klein Matterhorn is almost about 4,000 meters high and has the highest cable car station in Europe.

Matterhorn Cable Car @shutterstock
Matterhorn Cable Car @shutterstock

It comes with amazing 360° views of other peaks & glaciers!

HOWEVER, I was warned before that the altitude might cause some problems but I did not take it seriously. So I went straight up with the cable cars. You have to change cable cars a couple of times, and it takes about 30 minutes to the top. It might sound long, but it is actually very fast to get up so high.

  • I recommend getting out at one of those stops and taking a break for half an hour or so, so you are not up that fast.
  • And to drink a lot of plain water.

Then it should be even more fun because you are less likely will feel sick.

You could start with visiting the highest viewing platforms in the Alps. The panorama view allows you to take in all the 38 mountain peaks towering over 4,000 meters. If you are lucky and the view is very clear, you can even see the Mont Blanc (I was not so lucky).

A little cinema lounge shows videos about the Matterhorn and the Alps – quite interesting to learn more about it!

At the top are a restaurant and shop. The Glacier Palace, which is close to the restaurant, is another main attraction. It is a kind of museum, inside of a glacier, with ice crystals and ice sculptures.

Glacier Palace Matterhorn @shutterstock
Glacier Palace Matterhorn @shutterstock

There is also a snow sports area (open all year). If you have a ticket, the snow tubing is free of charge. I would have loved to do that but I was there with my little puppy and didn’t know where to “park“ him.

Though I didn’t feel 100% well, it was definitely worth seeing Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Even if you are used to beautiful mountain views, I am sure this trip will amaze you.

TIP: Check out the opening hours, because certain activities/places close quite early, e.g. Glacier Palace.

HOW TO GET TO KLEIN MATTERHORN:

  • There are no hiking trails, so you can only get there via cable cars.
  • The cable car station in Zermatt is easy to find – head towards Furi cable car station and start your first part of the trip there. Then you have to change cable cars a few times but it is quite straight forward.
  • It takes about 40 minutes to get to the top (without stops).

Get up Gornergrat

Gornergrat is another beautiful mountain standing at about 3135 meters above sea level (almost 900 meters lower than Klein Matterhorn) with no less stunning views. The “opening hours” are longer than on Klein Matterhorn, so if you start your day later or very early, this might be an alternative.

Places to visit in Zermatt - points of interest in Zermatt Gornergrat
Getting up Gornergrat Mountain in Zermatt @shutterstuck

I got up the Gornergrat by the cogwheel (it just takes 30 minutes) and then hiked down all the way to Zermatt. View from Gornergrat with Monte Rosa in ZermattUp Gornergrat the views of the surrounding mountains and a glacier were breathtaking. Luckily, the sky was clear (unlike when I visited Klein Matterhorn) which allowed me to enjoy this day trip even more. You can see the highest mountain in Switzerland – Mount Rosa (also known as the Dufourspitze) which stands at 4634 meters above sea level.Grand Tour Gornergrat in ZermattTIP: No worries, I could not name all the mountains myself. There are telescopes (free to use) that also give you all the names of the mountains you can see.

Just in June 2021, a new attraction opened at Gornergrat – Zooom the Matterhorn. It is an interactive museum with virtual activities like paragliding.

Virtual paragliding in Zermatt was really, really great. It is just a short experience (3 minutes) but good enough for me.

  • All tickets in 2022 which have the Gornergrat as their start or end station include admission to the Zooom exhibition.
  • If you want to visit Zooom the Matterhorn with a dog, you will need to put him/her in a bag.

HIKING AT GORNERGRAT

Even if you are not into hiking, I highly recommend the short hiking loop at the top of Gornergrat. It takes about 20-30 minutes and you have superb views already.

Additionally, you can also hike down. It takes several hours and it is a quite steep hike – but it is worth it. 

I hiked down – all the way to Zermatt. Amongst others, you will pass Lake Riffelsee. It is a small, yet beautiful lake that – on clear days without wind – has the reflection of the Matterhorn.

Riffelsee in Zermatt with MatterhornMy initial plan was to hike to the Gorner Gorge (which “lies” on the way to Zermatt) but it was closed already. Either way, hiking in and around Gornergrat is a good way to see more of the stunning nature in Zermatt.

The hike was steep downhill and not knee-friendly. I still recommend it, if you are a fit person. It took me about 5-6 hours, but apparently, it will only take 3-4 hours for some more sporty people.

Visit Gorner Gorge

Another place to visit in Zermatt is Gorner Gorge. An astonishing 220 million years old is the rock, greenish serpentinite. You do not actually have to visit the gorge and pay the entrance fee – you will see quite a bit already by just hiking down from Gornergrat. And it looks stunning!

Gorner Gorge a must see place in summer in Zermatt

If you hike down from Gornergrat, then you can add it to your itinerary, as it is “on your way” to Zermatt town.

Some parts are open 24/7 and then you can also go inside the gorge.

  • Gorner Gorge is closed during winter times, making it the perfect Zermatt summer activity.
  • Entry is only about CHF 5 (bring cash).

You can do the above-mentioned activities in 2 days in Zermatt. However, of course, there is much more to do in Zermatt. If you stay longer than 2 days in Zermatt, especially in the summer months, you can spend weeks outdoors exploring the area without getting bored.

Shred the Slopes with Summer Skiing

Okay, you may think of winter in Zermatt as the only time you can ski. But opportunities for skiing in the Alps are year-round.

Zermatt is one best ski resorts in Switzerland
@shutterstock

Zermatt has the largest ski area you can find in the world – it’s also the highest altitude, so fresh snowfall is common, even in the summer months.

You can summer ski at Klein Matterhorn – here you can enjoy snow sports along 21 km of pistes.

Go skiing in the early morning, when conditions are at their best. You can then spend the rest of the day indulging in some summer sun and enjoying a few of the other summer activities on this list.

Summer skiing here is closed at noon so that the snow stays fresh during the hottest part of the day. It’ll be ready for you again in the morning.

Go Hiking Along the Mountain Trails – 5-Lake Walk

Hiking is certainly one of the best things to do in Zermatt. The town is surrounded by incredible mountains, including the – here we go again – iconic Matterhorn. There are over 400 km of hiking trails to explore so you can spend days or even weeks doing just that. 

You can easily embark on a hiking trip on your own or hire a guide for a more informative and directional hiking tour. There’s hiking for all ages and fitness levels, and you’ll always have majestic views and lush surroundings.  You may even spot some of the local wildlife.

The most popular hike is probably the 5-lake hike. As the name suggests, you will see 5 lakes during the hike and it is pretty nice.

I have done two hikes in Zermatt – hiking down from Gornergrat to Zermatt and the 5-lake walk. Both hikes are labeled as “intermediate” – they include a lot of steep downhill or uphill hiking. I got up both times via cable car/cogwheel and then headed down. If you do it the other way around, it includes a lot of uphill hiking.

5-LAKE WALK

The lakes you see during this popular hike are Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Leisee, and Moosjisee- more on the first one later. You can swim in a couple of lakes, which makes the hike a popular activity for families (even though it is not the easiest hike out there).

I suggest getting up with a cable car/funicular to Sunnegga first, and then changing the cable car to Blauherd mountain peak and starting your hike there.

It is a steep walk but doable – not all lakes were stunning. It was a bit too cold to swim when I visited but on a hot day swimming in the lakes could be a fantastic activity.

5 Lake Hike in Zermatt with Arzo Travels
Moosjisee – Puppygak

My two favorite lakes were Stellisee and Moosjisee. The first lake is impressive because you can see the reflection of the Matterhorn (on clear and windless days) and the last – artificial – lake has just an incredible watercolor and you have the Matterhorn in the background.

Head Out on a Mountain Biking Adventure

If you prefer mountain biking, no worries. Zermatt offers plenty of that, too, with over 220 km of signposted trails specifically geared towards cyclists. Zermatt has something for everyone, with a diverse collection of tracks and trails. 

Whether you’re an advanced cyclist looking for challenging technical trails, or just interested in exploring the mountainous area at a comfortable pace – Zermatt is the perfect place to enjoy a mountain biking adventure. Mountain Biking in ZermattIf you do not have your own bike with you, do not worry. There are a couple of bike rentals in Zermatt. Rent a bicycle and head out on a ride.

Getting up by cable cars means that even short rides can start high in the mountains, surrounded by exquisite views. You can also explore further on a multi-day trip, going deep into the mountains. I am no expert, so I leave it here.

Try Rock Climbing in the Alpen Mountains

As mentioned, I am not to sportiest person out there, and climbing sounds like a lot of effort. However, Zermatt really is the perfect place for adventure sports and one of the best things to do during the summer months is rock climbing.

If you know what you’re doing, you can spend days on multi-pitch climbs with phenomenal views and nearly untouched locations. There’s also sport climbing available for the uninitiated to the highly skilled. It all depends on the kind of challenge you’re looking for.

Keep in mind: You do need to be relatively fit. And you shouldn’t try if you have a serious fear of heights. Because you certainly will be high up.

You can also get some practice in at the indoor climbing wall before setting off for the mountains.

Have a Barbeque / Picnic at a Park

Zermatt has some truly lovely parks, which come to life in summer. The Attermenzen campsite and Schweigmatten are both fantastic places to set up a wood fire. 

Surrounded by Zermatt’s iconic wilderness, with the river running alongside, barbequing at the Attermenzen campsite is a wonderful way to spend a summer’s day. You can get all your favorite foods on the fire and relax with a good book – or with family and friends.

With all the adventure and activity of your summer vacation in Zermatt, a little chill time is always welcome.

Of course, a picnic in the park is also a great option, particularly if you have less time to spare. You’ll find tables and benches at the parks, as well as wood for burning if you want it.

Go Flying Through the Trees at Forest Fun Park

Another fun attraction is the Forest Fun Park. It’s perfect for families with kids, but solo travelers will also find it a great deal of fun.  

There are five different rope courses for beginners to experienced visitors. All of them take you through the trees, testing your balance and whizzing you along zip lines. It’s a very unusual experience and one that really gets the blood pumping. 

Expect to spend about three hours in the treetops. You can really challenge yourself with one of the harder courses, or take it easy with the green course. 

Relax at Schalisee Lake

I talked about the lake before when I described the 5-lake hike. The Schalisee is an idyllic lake lying in Nikolai Valley, surrounded by mountain peaks. Its waters are the perfect place to swim for the brave. Even in summer, swimming in Alpine lakes will leave you with a chill till you thaw in the sun. Lake with Matterhorn in background arzo TravelsHave a picnic along the lake’s edge, and catch a tan. You can leave it at this, enjoying some laid-back summer fun.

See the Matterhorn From a Sightseeing Flight

The Matterhorn is one of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the world, covered in snow and surrounded but the majestic Alps. If ever you’re going to explore somewhere by flight, this is it. At least, it is on my own Zermatt Bucket List.

A helicopter flight is definitely pricey – but if you do have the spare cash to splurge on your Zermatt trip, you’ll certainly land with no regrets.  

You can see it all in just a 20-minute flight, but they range from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on just how much you want to see.

Travel Information for Your Zermatt Itinerary

Here are some important travel tips for your trip.

Swiss Travel Pass

If you use public transportation in Switzerland, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass.

  • It allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs.
  • You can also do boat cruises without additional costs. There are no lakes in Zermatt to cruise but if you create a Switzerland itinerary, and visit more places, then you might enjoy those boat cruises.
  • It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price). You can use it for all the mountain rides mentioned here in Zermatt. 
  • Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.

The prices are quite high. But I have bought them myself, and it pays off if you get around via public transportation and are active. If you just plan to visit other places and stay in Switzerland for more than 3-4 days it most likely will make sense financially. 

So, check out prices for train rides and mountain excursions and then calculate if it is a good option for you. For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/ mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland). 

How to Get to Zermatt

  • If you plan a Switzerland road trip, you should know that Zermatt is a car-free town.
  • So you have to leave your car in Taesch, a little village close to Zermatt. There is a big covered big car park, which charges about 13€ for 24 hours of parking.
  • From there you have to take a train that brings you up to Zermatt. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can get up for free. Without a Swiss Travel Pass, you pay around 15€ for a return ticket.
  • You could also hike up or cycle – the distance is about 7 km, and it is not flat but probably great if you want to start with some hike.

How to Get Around Zermatt

Since Zermatt is a car-free town, there are not many choices for the means of transportation.

However, there are cars in Zermatt – but they are electric. Actually, it is full of taxis, shuttle buses, and regular buses. So, do not be surprised to see it full of little cars.

  • Regular buses – there are several stops through the town. Just hop on any bus at one of the few stations. I had a Swiss Travel Pass, so I could use them for free (I only used them once after the hike). Apparently, you can use them for free if you have other cards as well, but please double-check before.
  • There are also taxis – they are also electric and quite small.
  • As Zermatt is geographically not so big, you can easily walk to many places or use a bike. If you are not an experienced hiker, check out my guide with hiking tips in Switzerland.

Where to Stay in Zermatt

Zermatt is known for being an extremely luxurious destination (even for Switzerland standards). There are no real budget hotels (if you like to find out about my best tips on saving money in Switzerland, click here).

  • Luxury hotels in Zermatt: This luxury hotel in Zermatt knows how to spoil its guests, the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
  • Mid-range hotels in ZermattHere is an idea for mid-range hotels in Zermatt: Sunstar Style Hotel. I stayed at this one. The prices were very reasonable (summer prices are normally better than the prices in winter) and the location was great. I even had a great room view of Matterhorn. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend booking a hotel room with a view of Matterhorn even though it might be more expensive.
  • Click here to find my accommodation guide for Zermatt.

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

  • Tips for (solo) female travelers: Zermatt felt so extremely safe and I cannot recommend it enough to travel alone. The altitude caused more problems than being a solo traveler. 
  • Exercise common sense and keep your belongings to yourself.
  • Do not drink too much – even though Switzerland is a safe country, it is always safer to not drink (much) when you travel solo.

What to Pack for Zermatt

If you visit Zermatt, check out my packing guide, where you will find out what to pack for your Switzerland trip

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN ZERMATT

Zermatt is a must-see place that should be on any Switzerland itinerary. I loved every second of my trip, and even though I haven’t managed to do all the above-mentioned activities myself (especially the helicopter ride is a big dream of mine), I believe these are the best things to do in Zermatt.

If you have only 2 days in Zermatt, you clearly cannot do all, but still, you can fit in a lot.

I hope you have gotten some travel inspiration and added some of these attractions to your Zermatt itinerary.

Here are more travel tips for Switzerland:

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

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