Out There: Spectacular Switzerland

Simply everything is unforgettable in Switzerland. The melange of French, German, Italian, and Austrian cultures, the legendary gruyere and raclette, mountains taller than the clouds, and charming villages lend this European nation, much like its revered cheese fondue national dish, a melting pot of character.

Recently, Club Adventures Associate Marketing Specialist Rachel Jordan visited this legendary destination and shared her story with us.

Spectacular Switzerland – By Rachel Jordan

Do you ever have those surreal moments in life where time seems to freeze, and you just soak up every ounce of your surroundings? After a nearly two-year hiatus on all travel, I found myself in one of those moments, sipping a delicious local Riesling, bobbing my head to “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas, and watching an elaborate air performance of paragliders welcoming people back to Switzerland.  

Back in October, I hopped over the pond to attend Switzerland Travel Mart, an extravagant gathering and celebration of the travel industry showcasing everything that Switzerland has to offer from high-speed adrenaline-pumping activities in Interlaken to watch-making and fondue-eating in Gruyere. And, while I could easily write a book on all the incredible people I met and experiences I had in just one week, I’m going to cut it down a bit and highlight just the top 5 experiences I had during both the conference and my post-convention trip to Zermatt.  

Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe)  

Seeing the Swiss Alps on a sunny day makes you feel like a kid on Christmas – the snow is sparkling, everyone is smiling and taking photos, and it’s one of the most breathtaking views in the world. While sipping hot chocolate at the top of Europe (literally) was an amazing experience it was what followed that made the day truly spectacular. Not only did we get to explore glacial tunnels and try our hand at curling, but also, on the gondola ride back down the mountain, I lucked out and ended up in the VIP gondola where the group of us celebrated the gorgeous views and popped a bottle of champagne for the trip!  

Five Lakes Hike – Zermatt  

Definitely a trek, but worth every step. I love hiking, especially when there is a great view involved, and with panoramic views of the Swiss Alps and the Matterhorn at every turn, you can’t get much better than the Five Lakes Hike. At a mere 45 degrees, the hike was extremely comfortable as we trekked up the terrain for a few views of the Matterhorn’s reflection on glacial lakes. The hike down offered stunning views of Swiss fall foliage, but the highlight for me was our lunch stop at Chez Vrony, a quaint, yet shockingly full, mountainside restaurant with by far the best view around. The food was traditional and delicious, and the rest was much needed for our continued hike back to town.  

The Hotels 

Switzerland knows how to do luxury, and in both Interlaken and Zermatt, the accommodations were comfortable, beautiful, and had amazing views. In Interlaken, I stayed at the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, on the more historic side of the hotel, and my room was better than I ever could’ve imagined. Just a short walk from the train station positioned right on the main road across from where all the paragliders land and offering mouth-watering breakfasts each day, I honestly wished I would never leave. In Zermatt, I stayed in the Schweizerhof hotel which has a more modern flair than the Victoria-Jungfrau. After a tasteful renovation, the hotel has a semi-traditional, yet very stylish interior and the exterior features balconies with a classic Swiss façade of dark wood paneling and a plethora of colorful flower boxes. I lucked out yet again and had a corner balcony facing the Matterhorn that offered beautiful sunset scenery. The meals here were also spectacular – my favorite being the Matterhorn-shaped mousse we had for dessert, but the best part was the spa on site. Soaking in a hot tub and visiting a sauna after the Five Lakes Hike was simply pure bliss.  

The Gornergrat  

I have dreamed of seeing the Matterhorn most of my life and catching the first glimpse of the mountain on board the Gornergrat is something I’ll never forget. The cogwheel railway itself is charming and relaxing as it makes its way past several smaller stops on the way to the top, offering stunning views at every turn of a corner. However, the views from the top at station Gornergrat can’t be beaten, and it’s the perfect place to have a picnic lunch to enjoy your surroundings. 

Dinner(s) and a show  

There’s a reason that Switzerland Travel Mart only happens once every two years – they pull out all the tricks to win over their visitors (it worked). The surreal moment I described at the beginning of this was one of the dinners I’m writing about because it was so extravagant and well organized that I paused to cherish how incredible our industry is. Little did I know what was coming. On the final night of the convention, Switzerland Tourism threw a grand event at the Victoria Jungfrau that I’m sure would rival any royal ball. Perfectly crafted hors d’oeuvres, lines of canapés, decorate desserts, and a Swiss pop star to finish off the night.  

A trip to Switzerland is a must-do at least once in your life, and I am so thankful to work in an industry that allows me to experience other cultures and parts of the world in order to share these moments. And, after two years of not traveling because of the pandemic, I can tell you that now more than ever, Switzerland is ready to welcome you and your members with open arms!  

Ready to go on your own Switzerland adventure? Click here to discover a variety of tours and deals available with AAA Travel. contact your Travel advisor today!