A little preface to this blog post: I do not plan these trips, nor can I take credit for the itinerary or leg work that goes into them. I am in charge of snacks and it’s a role I take quite seriously, but other than that….I’m a beneficiary of Drew’s research and planning.
I’m going to keep the bulk of this post related to the itinerary and travel details with a few comments and tips along the way…..the photos can do more describing than words afterall.
A few details— we pack a LOT into our trips. Drew and I slept in 8 beds in 16 days— we were not staying put very long, but that’s in an effort to see as much as we could! For some people this would probably be more exhausting than vacationing, but everyone is different! We were also splitting lodging with two other couples and that helps save money! We shopped at grocery stores for breakfast and lunches at every stop we made! Switzerland is an expensive country, so it’s important to save where you can!
Day 1: Flights: Greenville - Newark- Geneva
We arrived at 7:45 am, but it was the only day we had in Geneva, so we wanted to make the most of it! We hit most of these that day!
Day 2: (rental van)- Geneva- Chamonix, France- Zermatt
This was a travel day, so I knew I wanted to wake up and get a workout in. It ended up being a little more of a memory than I anticipated with an encounter that left me upset, but here’s the full workout written up in this IG post.
I also have to include a funny story (and second workout from this day). When we arrived in Zermatt, we already knew that no cars were allowed in the city. You can taxi in small electric cars or walk. We had been sitting all day and are all fairly adventurous, so we decided to walk to our aribnb with all our luggage. Little did we know it was actually a 30 minute hike to our Chalet on the side of a mountain. We were all sweating and laughing and dying by the end and we joked how easy of a walk it was the rest of the time since we felt so light without our baggage.
Day 3: Zermatt
Zermatt is the place I find my mind wandering back to the fastest— it had all the charm, the amazing Matterhorn and it was absolutely the highlight of the trip for me and the place I feel like embodies Switzerland
We took things a little easy in the morning and went for our daily trek to the local grocery store which was down in the town (about a 15 minute walk). We usually ate out one meal a day, so breakfast and lunch everyone bought what they wanted and it worked great! I know that lots of people get a little overwhelmed with travel and then trying to find healthy options in new places and it can be tough! I will say that the U.S. prioritizes snack foods (especially health-conscious options) much more so than I found in European grocery stores, but I always make sure to bring my own protein bars because the rest is easy to find elsewhere! I really enjoyed by stash of ONE Basix bars (there is actually a 20% off discount through this link!) for hikes and just snacking! There was so much chocolate being tasted and shared because we were in the Mecca of Swiss chocolate, but having a chocolate chip cookie dough bar made it that much easier to take a taste, but then be done knowing I had a great alternative!
20MOVESONE Saves you 20% on the bars!
That afternoon, we did the “Five Lakes Hike” as a group. It was beautiful and not difficult or strenuous for anyone. We played a game the whole week that started on this hike-- one person chooses a category “favorite ______” and everyone answers. By the end of the hike it was pretty much anything that anyone wanted to know, but it was hilarious and we all learned some things to say the least.
Day 4: Zermatt
Helicopter Tour- This was such a neat experience! We all said it was worth the money for the 20 minutes and it felt like plenty long to be up in the air. We got to fly all around the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks!
Later that day, we took the Gornergrat train to the top for amazing views of the Matterhorn and decided to hike down to the town. In retrospect, we probably wouldn’t recommend this just because it was the downward incline for so long was tough on everyone’s knees. There was just no relief or many flat portions at all, so it got rather old after 6-7 miles. I will say that the views were incredible for almost all of the hike (especially the first 3 miles).
I will just insert that eating out 1-2 meals a day can get tough, and for the majority of the time we kept it to once a day, but it’s easy to feel like you are unable to make healthy choices while traveling and it’s just not the case. After this hike, we went to a restaurant and I got a grilled chicken sandwhich (protein + carbs), without cheese or condiments (I always recommend adding your own) and they let me substitute a side salad for the french fries. When I got back home, I had oatmeal with some peanutbutter and was plenty satisfied. It’s just being willing to take the time to adjust a few things, keep portions in mind and do the best with your current options. What more can you do?
Day 5: Zermatt to Grindewald
Stopped at Oeschinen Lake, took a gondola up and then walked about 30 minutes to the amazing lake!
Ended up taking a train that evening to Wengen for sunset and dinner. It’s an amazing view down into the valley of Lauterbrunnen and we had some delicious pasta at a restaurant in town appropriately called “Pasta and More.” One funny thing we noticed is that you kind of have to hunt down your waiter if you ever want to pay and leave. We tried lots of tactics throughout our trip, so if someone knows the proper way to wrap up a meal in Europe, let us know! We always felt like we were those “hasty Americans who never relax.”
Day 6: Grindewald
Our friends decided to travel to Bern for the day while Drew and I opted for the gondola ride up First and the 10 mile Schynigge Platte hike. Truly an amazing hike that I couldn’t recommend more! The first 2-3 miles are the toughest climb, but if you’re in good shape or are willing to take breaks, it’s stunning! I truly think this hike is in my top 4-5 and we have done quite a few epic hikes!
Day 7: Grindewald to Mennagio, Italy
We stopped and toured the Aare gorge on the way and also made a pit stop at an epic bridge and jump off rocks in Lavertezzo
I’m going to save the Italy part for a second blog post, but hopefully this will get your mind turning for some travel plans-- Switzerland was truly a fairytale and I would recommend it to anyone!