[This is the first part in the series of my recent travel to Switzerland. I hope my travel diary entices you to plan your next holiday in Switzerland – one of the world’s most beautiful destinations!]
And so I set out on my second trip to one of the world’s favorite (luxury) holiday destination – Switzerland.
Tip: be sure to check out our travel checklist before you plan your trip to Switzerland.
MySwitzerland.com is the Switzerland Tourism website and the go-to place to explore and find your perfect destination in Switzerland.
Quick facts about Switzerland:
- Switzerland is the world’s only country where there are four national languages – French, Rumantsch, German and Italian.
- Switzerland has consistently ranked in the top 10 happiest countries in the world.
- Swiss Alps, one of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges makes up 65% of Switzerland.
- Some of the most popular brand’s watches including Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer, and Rado are Swiss made.
- The Alpine country is also popular for its chocolate, cheese, and wine.
Flying SWISS Business Class
My journey to Switzerland started with the check-in at the Swiss Air business class counter. The check-in was quick and I was told to proceed to the Lufthansa business class lounge inside Dubai airport terminal 1. The Lufthansa/Swiss airport lounge is cozy, comfortable and stacked with premium hot and cold food options, juices and beverages including S.Pellegrino mineral water.
SWISS, the airline of Switzerland is the top choice for travels to Switzerland and is the best way to get to know Switzerland before you even touch down. SWISS connects Switzerland from Zurich and Geneva with over 100 destinations around the world.
A stopover Switzerland lets you combine your SWISS flight to Zurich with an exciting break in Switzerland. You can add great packages, which include accommodation and public transportation.
As this was my first flight with Swiss Air I had high expectations of the ‘Swissness’ that I was going to experience. I can now say that after a close to 7 hours flight on SWISS from Dubai to Zurich, despite lacking the flashiness of its newer competitors like Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways, it was overall good. The timing, food onboard and the service of crew with genuine smile are what I liked about SWISS. The seat, recliner and the flat bed comfort and privacy, especially if you are in the middle 2×2 seating, definitely has got some room for improvement.
The timing of the SWISS flight from Dubai is perfect. LX 243 leaves Dubai at 1:35 am and reaches Zurich local time 6:25 am. You reach the historic city fresh and ready to explore!
Switzerland’s Train System
One of the most admirable things that I found out on my first visit to Switzerland is the country’s train system. The entire train network is so modern, clean, and utmost reliable with second highest accuracy (next to Japan). The swiss rail system consists of some 46 companies and still they maintain the timeliness and reliability, which is really commendable.
As soon as we got down at the Zurich airport, collected our baggage and completed the immigration, we were whisked to the train station. The Zurich airport has got a train station inside it and therefore it’s so easy to travel anywhere in the country straight from the airport.
Swiss Travel Pass
Some of the advantages of Swiss Travel Pass are:
Switzerland’s extensive network of efficient public transport comprises of trains, funicular, cable car, buses, trams and boats. Getting a Swiss Travel Pass is the best way for tourists to travel through 75 towns and cities of Switzerland.
- Unlimited travel by train, bus and boat
- Public transportation in more than 90 cities and towns
- Including mountain excursions: Rigi, Schilthorn, Stanserhorn and Stoos
- Free admission to more than 500 museums throughout Switzerland
There are two ticket classes for the trains – first class and second class. First class is approximately 50% higher than second class tickets. You pay the extra for the comfort and the convenience. My travel was all in first class and the feeling is as if you are onboard a flight’s premium economy with nice seats, plenty of space and great views!
Swiss Travel Pass also offers great flexibility according to your travel plans. You can choose Continuous Travel Days Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex. The benefit of Swiss Travel Pass Flex is that non-consecutive days can be selected individually.
To book your train tickets: Rail Europe is one of the top sites where you can not only book for your Europe train tickets and passes but also plan your journey and activities. This one-stop-shopping site also offers many discounts and promotions.
Swiss Travel Pass Fare
Tip: Download the free Swiss Travel Guide app, which is the perfect companion on this tour. The app is quite handy to discover nearby attractions and landmarks. You can also save some bucks as the app offers digital coupons with discounts.
The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland is something not to be missed. The grand tour route combines the most scenic panoramic lines with the country’s diversity and highlights.
Off to Zermatt
We got on the 7:46 am Inter-city train to Visp via the capital, Bern. The train arrived at Visp on time at 10:02 am. From there we got on a regional train to Zermatt at 10:08 am and reached our destination at 11:14 am. The change over at Visp was seamless and easy. As trains are frequent at regular intervals, even if you miss a connection train, you just have to wait for a little (there’s a train at least every 30 minutes on major routes and every one hour in regional routes) and can carry on with the journey. The added bonus is you get to see and of course click photos from this unexpected stopover – like this one below!