Unveilling Switzerland’s Mountain Magic in 5 days

A whirlwind trip to the most beautiful country on earth

It all started with a dream. Not in an patchouli oil, fisherman pants kind of way. A literal dream. I awoke at 3:01am on a Wednesday from one of the most vivid dreams I’d had in my life. I was standing in the Swiss Alps, gazing at the mountains before me, with a massive grin on my face….then I woke up. I needed to go Switzerland and I needed to go there immediately.

36 hours later I was on a plane to Geneva.

As with most things that happen spontaneously, this has been one of my favourite trips in years. I had some airline points to use, I flew into Geneva on a Thursday afternoon, much to my absolute delight it was roasting! 27c ….yes, Summer in September!


After landing in Geneva, I jumped on the train direct to Nyon, approximately 20 mins outside of Geneva nestled onto the shores of Lac Leman (aka Lake Geneva). Bags dropped at the hostel, it’s time to explore. The weather was unusually (and delightfully) warm, a promise of things to come for the next few days, perfect for exploring this lakeside town.

First stop, Chateau de Nyon this 15th century castle stand out against the old town, dominating the view towards the lake. Boasting a museum and a gallery with ever-changing exhibitions, it is a great place to start Nyon – entry for adults is CHF 8.

Spend an hour or so exploring the old town, which is very charming indeed. Work your way towards the lake side and stop at La Jetée for a sundown beverage.

Not a bad view to have a beer. @ La Jetee Bar, Nyon

My accommodation for the evening was the Nyon Hostel (Chemin des Plantaz 47, Nyon) is located approx 15 minutes walk from Nyon station. It is one of the cleanest, modern, and spacious hostels I’ve stayed in a very long time. Each bed has built in plugs (very handy), in room lockers, and an in room toilet (with showers being at the end of the corridor).

Nyon is a wonderful jumping-off point for any trip to Switzerland, and is a short 20-minute commute to Geneva, and also much cheaper than Geneva itself.


In a bid to start hiking at midday, it was an early start for me – filling my boots with a free hostel brekky I was off again towards the Bernese Oberland.

Train to Interlaken early doors. I tell you for someone that lives in the North of England having trains that run; a. Regularly and b. On time is possibly the most wonderful thing in the world. Just like the famed accuracy of a Swiss watch the public transport in Switzerland runs on time to the second. 

It is just under 3 hours from Nyon to Interlaken (via Bern). On most long train trips I tend to go straight to sleep – but in this case (a first!) spent most of the time, nose pressed against the window, muttering “wow” to myself at regular intervals, eyeing off the Mountains in the distance I knew that I would amongst them later in the day.

Balmers Hostel would be my base for the next 3 days. Interlaken is a great place to base yourself if you are exploring the Bernese Oberland region. In comparison to the Nyon Hostel the facilites are far more basic, BUT the atmosphere, other travellers (and of course the bar) do make this is a super fun and reasonably priced place to stay. There are several accommodation options at every budget in Interlaken click here for more information.

Bags away, I was off to spend the afternoon lurking in the shadow of the north face of the Eiger, hiking the Eiger Trail, a spectacular trail starting at Eigetgletcher Station along the foot of the Eiger into Grindelwald in the valley below – you can read all about this hike here

On the Eiger Trail, Switzerland


My entire Sunday was spent on the Hardergrat, one of the most spectacular (and challenging)  hikes I’ve ever had the joy to do. Check out my post on hiking the Hardergrat you wont be disappointed

view to the Bernese Alps, Switzerland


Day 4 begins with another sunrise adventure, this time at 2970m.

Schilthorn – Piz Gloria is the site that was used as a location for the  969 James Bond Film, ‘On her Majesty’ Secret Service’. The highlight is a spectacular 360 degree viewing platform bringing you almost eye to eye with the Jungfrau, Monch and of course Eiger.

We begin our journey to Schilthorn-Piz Gloria travelling through the magical valley waterfall filled outside Lauterbrunnen, to arrive at the Schilthorn Gondola Station at Stechelberg.  From here, you will take 7 gondolas (yes, truly 7) to get to you Schilthorn-Piz Gloria.

Up and up we went, racing the sun to the top of the mountain. it was a very clear morning – although as the sun started to creep over the top of Monch, the clouds started to rise, by the time I alighted gondola at Piz Gloria I was greeted by the scene below.

View from Schilthorn, Piz Glloria Switzerland, Clouds cover the mountain range

If the weather is poor, do spend some time in the Spy World exhibition and cinema to completely immerse yourself in the world of James Bond. Entry is free. If you come here in the early summer, If you arrive here in early summer, do take the time to stop at Murren and wander down the Murren Valley Flower trail to see meadows bursting to life with wildflowers as far as the eye can see.

It was now time to warm up, back on the bus heading to Lauterbrunnen station – what was I going to do next?


Lunch in Zurich? yes, why not, and I jumped on the next train from Interlaken. Seriously, who just pops over to Zurich for lunch? me apparently. 2 hours later I was in the private bank capital of the world.

Zurich Hauptbahnhof

Sun shining and stomach rumbling, it’s time for lunch. Hitl Dachterrasse (88 Bahnhofstrasse) is a vegetarian restaurant with two leafy roof terraces, a quick 5 minute walk from the station. This is a self-service affair: grab a bowl, fill it up with all manner of delicious things, weigh and pay. The roof terrace here is glorious on a Sunday, a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle below.

The remainder of the afternoon is spent wandering around the charming old town (Aldstadt) and along the river Limmatt soaking up the sunshine.


Altesch Glacier

I was due to be in Lausanne mid morning to check out an outdoor visual art festival that was happening. Not quite done with mountains, I backtrack and took a 2.5-hour detour to the Altesch Glacier.

Nothing can prepare you for the size of this. The Altesch Glacier is the largest in the Alps, at a gobsmacking 24kms long, it is the width of a 6 lane highway and in places is 900m deep. There are a number of hikes you can do around the glacier but since I was short on time, I just sat and stared at it in utter awe for quite a long time.

Right then, Lets to go Geneva.

A quick aside: On the train back to Geneva, there were a couple of older women sitting behind me, conversing in a brain melting mix of French, German, and English…that is life goals right there.

I had great plans for Geneva. Namely going to CERN (and letting my nerd flag fly) but due to the last minute nature of this trip all of the tours were well and truly booked out.

I had great plans for Geneva. Namely going to CERN (and letting my nerd flag fly) but due to the last-minute nature of this trip this did not pan out for me. CERN ( The European Organisation for Nuclear Reseach) operates the largest particle physics lab on the planet, in layman’s terms they essentially study how the universe is made.  It is the home of the world’s largest particle collider that straddles the Swiss and French borders (very cool!)

For those of you who are fascinated by Physics and Engineering this is place to go! The Science Gateway offers a number of fascinating exhibits. Guided Tours are offered on a first come first served basis at the Science Gateway and cannot be booked online.

CERN is located at 1, Esplanade des Particules 1217 Meyrin and is open 09:00 – 17:00 which last entry at 16:00. Do check the website https://visit.cern/hours for any exceptional closures and access updates

To plan your visit: https://visit.cern

My second tourist failure of the afternoon was the Palais des Nations, the second largest office of the United Nations, I simply turned up in the hope of jumping on a tour which it turns out you cannot do. All tickets must be booked in advance (they sell out well in advance too). So I without an option in hand I was resigned to simply look through the gates.

Tickets for for tours of Palais des Nations cost CHF 22 for adults and can be booked via the Palais des Nations website 

Palais Des Nations, Geneva

Across the road from the Palais des Nations stands the ‘Broken Chair’ sculpture by Swiss artist Daniel Berset. At 12m high, it was constructed in memory of landmine victims cross the globe, an incredibly moving piece.

It was 30c in Geneva. Hot weather in Switzerland = Swimming. Swimming in the lakes here is truly one of the greatest joys in life. Stop for a dip, some food and an ice cold beer at Bain des Pâquis Located in the heart of Geneva (Quai du Mont-Blanc 30, 120) entry for adults is a mere CHF 2 and is mere metres away from Jet d’Eau, There are also several free beaches dotted around, but in terms of facilities this is the best, but it does get very busy in the summer.

Jet d’Eau, Geneva

Accommodation for the evening was at the Geneva Hostel (Rue Rothschild 30). This hostel is very large and very noisy but it also budget friendly. There are plenty of options for accommodation in geneva to suit your budget, and noise level tolerance.

My final evening in Switzerland, was spent with an old friend of mine – grabbing a bite to eat on Rue de Lausanne, then heading to the fantastic Black Sheep bar for cocktails.

As with the last few days, my trip would not be complete with a final sunrise and an early morning walk before heading to the airport. Sunrise on Lac Leman is stunning, and taking advantage of the city whilst its quite, I can not recommend enough, wander to the old town and grab a pastry and coffee from one the bakeries.

Geneva is one of those cities that you could see yourself living in. It is very easy to get around, and is simply beautiful, that said it can be also eye wateringly expensive but worth every penny.

Sunrise over the mountains above lake Geneva, Switzerland
Sunrise on Lake Geneva



I used a 4 day Swiss Travel Pass (approximately £200) to get around Switzerland during my trip (with airport transfers paid serparately to this). This is definitely the most cost effective way to get around with all the major train and bus routes included, or 50% discount for those that are not. The Swiss Travel Pass also includes admission or heavily discounted entry to a number  of museums and galleries across the country.

The Swiss Travel Pass can be purchased via the SBB website there are a number of options available, so have look and decide which is the best option for your style of trip to Switzerland.

TIP: Use the SBB Mobile App – This is the easiest transport app to use and navigate i’ve ever used. Your Swiss travel pass can be uploaded to the app making everything nice and easy


Accommodation in Switzerland can be outrageously expensive (even hostels) during the high season but deals can be found – Particularly in cities, there are often excellent Airbnb options available, but the best locations do book out very quickly.


  • Bring a reusable water bottle. Switzerland boasts some of the cleanest and tastiest water in the world. There are public drinking fountains everyone, take advantage of these.
  • Book your tours in advance, if you can. The UN in particular sells out months in advance.
  • Bring your hiking boots. The Eiger trail and the Hardergrat need to be done in proper footwear and not flip flops.
  • If you are on a tight budget, take advantage of street vendors, supermarkets and bakeries for cheap eats.
  • Do treat yourself to a swim in Lac Leman – it’s wonderful for the soul!
  • The languages do change depending on what part of the country you are in (Geneva – French, Zurich – German). Most people do speak English but do have a few phrases in French, German, and perhaps Italian up your sleeve.


Sunrises, mountains, emerald green lakes. Switzerland is one of those countries that surprises you, you think you know what to expect, then you’re stood at the top of a mountain in utter awe of what only can described as Disney scenery. There is so much to explore here and I’ve barely scratched the surface.

I will definitely be back.

2 thoughts on “Unveilling Switzerland’s Mountain Magic in 5 days

  1. Crystal says:

    I absolutely LOVE that you did this trip spontaneously! That has always been my dream. To just pick up and go. Also, I love that you saw real nuns and took a sneaky pic of them. I definitely need to head to Switzerland – I want to see those cows from one of your older posts!

    • meetmeatthepyramidstage says:

      Oh the effort to get a pic of those nuns without a. them seeing me b. not get 600 chins in the photo, was quite the challenge bahahaha

Comments are closed.