3 DAYS IN THE SWISS ALPS WITH RAILEUROPE
Switzerland has always been a dream of mine- jaw dropping snowy Alps, mouthwatering Swiss fondue and chocolate, fresh mountain air, and some of the friendliest people on the planet. I teamed up with Raileurope to see as much as I possibly could in our 3 days in Switzerland. We flew into Zurich and then made our way down through Bern and Interlaken to the Bernese Alps where the stunning village of Grindelwald sits. I've always had a bit of a fascination with country. In a small country of only 7 million people, 4 national languages are spoken and every region varies greatly. I was thrilled to explore the German region and immerse myself in the overwhelming beauty of some of the worlds most impressive mountains.
BERGHAUS BORT GRINDELWALD
The Alpine hotel sits high in the mountains at a whopping 1,600 meters above sea level. We took a beautiful gondola ride up from Grindelwald to stay at Berghaus Bort for 2 days. The 4th generation family hotel was built in 1947 and has remained in the family ever since. The "ski in/ski out" chalet is right next to the first stop of the Gondola line on the way to "First" surrounded by hiking trails, sky slopes, and green rolling hills. The hotel has recently been remodeled- retaining the traditional infrastructure but with fully luxurious and modern amenities. The views from all the rooms are straight out of a dream. Each morning I watched the clouds roll over the hills below us and the jagged mountaintops disappear and reappear before my eyes. If you're a nature lover like me, then this is the perfect hotel for you. You're close enough to the village to shop and hang out but far enough away so you can have peace and quiet. You can hike, bike, and ski, along with wander in endless nature. My favorite part was hanging with the Swiss Cows who roam around the hills with their bells making music in unison. The hotel has a restaurant so you really don't ever have to leave. We did the "half board" option where you have a breakfast buffet and then an incredible 4 course dinner. The food was fresh, modern, and exactly what you want after a day on the slopes. We ended our last night after a long hike with a pot of Swiss Fondue and white wine- truly a memory that I'll never forget.
GREULICH DESIGN & LIFESTYLE HOTEL
On our last day we headed to Zurich. I immediately fell in love with Greulich the minute I stepped foot into our "Living Design Loft Room." The hotel is warm and welcoming, making you feel like you belong. It's found in the fashionable 4th district surrounded by one of the trendiest neighborhoods around. The cozy atmosphere quickly makes you feel like you're at home. The hotel has 28 rooms surrounding a courtyard, giving you a small escape from the bustling city life. They offer free bike rentals (very stylish ones, I must add) which we took advantage of to explore the old town of the city along with the stunning lake. Our more than spacious room was bright and airy with a minimalistic design yet offering all the amenities you would need. With a full kitchen, dining room, comfy living room, and wall to wall windows, the room is perfect when you're ready to get comfortable and make yourself at home.
Upon arrival, we made reservations to attend a work out class in the yoga studio within the hotel. It was so nice to just slip on some comfy clothes and the house slippers provided and wander down to the studio. I was so excited to get a good work out in, especially after several days of delicious fondue and Swiss Chocolate. We were immediately greeting by friendly faces (regulars to the class) and had one of the most amazing work outs of my life. We had the honor of David Suivez, a young yogi, skater, and DJ, lead our class called "Play Date," which is an "Investigations and sharing on Play-Fighting and Contact Improvisation." It was absolutely one of the most exciting and exhilarating few hours of my life. I cannot recommend this class enough.
We ended our evening at HERMAN'S LIVING ROOM, the cozy restaurant in the hotel, drinking wine, enjoying a cheese and meat plate along with a superfood salad. It's one of those hotels that you never want to leave.
GETTING AROUND: RAILEUROPE AND JUNGFRAU- TOP OF EUROPE
Everyone was right when they said Switzerland is the most efficient and punctual country in the world! I was totally blown away by how easy the trains were to navigate and how simple it was to use my Swiss Travel Pass from Rail Europe. With our passes, we were able to quickly jump on trains, boats, and buses without having to worry about waiting in super long ticket lines or having cash to use the ticket machines. We simply just kept our passes along with our passports safely tucked away in our backpacks so we could freely jump on and off as we wished. The pass also includes entrance to more than 500 museums for free! I truly have never seen more jaw dropping views. In some of the carts on the slower speed mountain pass trains, you can pull the window down for some fresh alpine air. Every train has a monitor listing the stops and letting you know where to switch, what platform to go to, and how many minutes you have left. Out of all my travels, I have never had an easier time getting around. We loved traveling 1st class as well which has even more perks like the restaurant carts, never having to worry about standing, and charging outlets. Another favorite aspect of the trip was that the train stations have super easy to use lockers to store your luggage right outside of the train. We were able to explore Interlaken on our day trip back to Zurich from Grindelwald. We also had a giant (American sized) suitcase which even fit in the locker. It's the perfect way to see more and get the most out of your trip. Rail Europe provides all kinds of options for passes depending on the amount of time you're traveling and how many countries you wish to see. The passes also make a brilliant gift for graduation trips, honeymoons, or even birthday gifts.
Another highlight of our trip was taking the gondola with Jungfrau up to our hotel which was the first stop from Grindelwald to First. Grindelwald is world renowned for it's adventurous activities and everything is accessible from the station First. You can zipline, ski, mountain bike, ride mountain carts, take a glider with birds of prey wings for 800 kilometers above the rolling hills- literally anything your heart desires. There are tons of trails for hiking that are accessible from the top along with the stunning Bachalpsee Lake. We also loved enjoying a beer and some warm food at the restaurant with dramatic Alp views. If you're brave you can try the Cliff Walk by Tissot that was so high up I think our knees were shaking. I would recommend getting a pass so you can hope on and off as you wish throughout your stay.