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Fairytales Do Come True {A Switzerland Roadtrip Diary}

Travel

Switzerland Road Trip - Castlegrande in Bellinzona

As we sped our way through Switzerland, one thing that Eric and I kept saying to each other is “this place looks just like a fairy tale.” And of course, no fairy tale would be complete without a castle. Luckily, Switzerland has plenty, and we were fortunate enough to visit three during our stay. First stop…

CASTLEGRANDE

Switzerland Road Trip - Castlegrande in Bellinzona

After spending a few days in Lucerne, we packed up our bags, hit the road again, and made our way south to Muralto located in the canton of Ticino. Situated right on the Italian border, this part of Switzerland had a completely different vibe. The signs switched from German to Italian, the temperature (and humidity rose), and the overall pace got a little bit slower as we headed South. After winding our way through narrow, medieval streets (and getting lost more than a few times along the way!) we finally located our hotel. With a few hours to spare before dinnertime, we dropped off our bags and made a beeline for Bellinzona to explore the grounds of Castlegrande.

Bellinzona is home to not one, but THREE castles: Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro. We only had time to visit one (but hey, now we have an excuse to go back). Castelgrande is located on a rocky peak overlooking the valley, so we were treated to gorgeous views of the surrounding area once we reached the top.

Switzerland Road Trip - Castlegrande in Bellinzona
Switzerland Road Trip - Castlegrande in Bellinzona

SPIEZ CASTLE

Switzerland Road Trip - Schloss Spiez Castle

The next castle we visited was in Spiez, located in the Bern canton of Switzerland. This was hands-down my favorite of the three. While the castles of Bellinzona were mostly ruins with very little of the interiors left intact, Spiez Castle was pretty much move-in ready (at least that’s what I tried to tell Eric, lol). Besides being situated on beautiful grounds, a lot of rooms inside Spiez castle were setup as interactive exhibits, and you really got a feel of what it was like to live within those walls long ago.

Switzerland Road Trip - Schloss Spiez Castle
Switzerland Road Trip - Schloss Spiez Castle

Switzerland Road Trip - Schloss Spiez Castle
Switzerland Road Trip - Schloss Spiez Castle

THUN CASTLE

Switzerland Road Trip - Thun Castle

The last stop on our list was Thun Castle (pronounced like tune as we soon learned upon arrival). We got a bit of a workout climbing the many steps above town to reach the castle grounds, but it was well worth it. Similar to Spiez Castle, there were also a number of exhibits and artwork on display within the castle walls. But the best part was that you were able to climb all the way to the top and weave in and out of  side rooms along the way during your exploration.

Switzerland Road Trip - Thun Castle

Switzerland Road Trip - Thun Castle

Oddly enough, exploring castles wasn’t particularly high on my list of activities prior to visiting Switzerland, and we wound up adding them to our agenda as an afterthought. However, once we visited our first castle in Bellinzona we were hooked! My only regret is that we didn’t schedule in time for more. In fact, I’m adding an extended castle-chasing adventure around different parts of Europe to my travel bucket list as we speak!

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I’m All the Way Up {Postcards from Mount Pilatus}

Travel

For our second day in Lucerne, we took a day trip to Mount Pilatus. Many visitors take the Golden Roundtrip which includes a cogwheel railway (the steepest in the world!), a panoramic gondola, and a boat ride. We opted to just take the cogwheel train roundtrip (the line was much shorter, and we were guaranteed a seat the entire time). I highly recommend making the trek if you can. We spent about 2 hours up top, including lunch on the outdoor terrace at Panorama Grill. The views were stunning beyond belief, so I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

(CLICK EACH PIC TO ENLARGE)

Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland
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1st Stop Lucerne {A Switzerland Roadtrip Diary}

Travel

First things, first – Below is a quick look at what I wore during this portion of our trip.

What to wear in switzerland, how to pack for switzerland

Outfit 1: J. CREW Dress, FOREVER 21 Boater Hat, RALPH LAUREN Bag, MARC FISHER Espadrilles
Outfit 2: DRAKE’S x J. CREW DressRALPH LAUREN Bag, COLE HAAN Loafers
Outfit 3: NORTH FACE Jacket, UNIQLO Top & Leggings, LONGCHAMP Backpack, K. SWISS Sneakers

Over the past few years, Eric and I have developed a love for road trips. We’ve let the wind run through our hair along the Pacific Coast Highway, peeped the fall foliage up and down the New England Coast, and zipped our way along the stunning shores of Oahu. We recently returned from our most epic adventure yet… a road trip through Switzerland!

We covered A LOT of ground in the two weeks while we were there, and I can’t wait to share our journey with you over the next couple of weeks… starting with our first stop: Lucerne!

Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland

We flew into Zurich (for just $370 roundtrip from NYC – thank you Hopper.com!), picked up our rental car from the airport and made a beeline to Meggen (a quiet suburb of Lucerne) where we booked a two-night stay at La Tortuga. This was our first time staying at a bed and breakfast, and it was such a delightful experience that I hope to make into a habit when traveling from now on. The house and grounds were absolutely gorgeous – picture an indoor swimming pool, wet and dry saunas, and a panoramic view of the surrounding lakes and mountains. Our hosts were extremely gracious and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable.

Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland

This is the view we enjoyed from our patio where we enjoyed a fresh, organic breakfast each morning. Not bad, right?!

Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland
Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland

Determined to fight our jet lag, we decided to head into the city to stretch our legs for a few hours and enjoy dinner. From our research, we knew that the city was very walkable. So we left the car behind and hopped the local bus into Lucerne where we were dropped off right in front of the train station.
Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland

Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland
Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland

Right away we spotted one of Lucerne’s most iconic landmarks, the Kapellbrücke (or covered bridge). We took a leisurely (and romantic) stroll across while stopping to take in the artwork (and snap a few photos) along the way. Once you’re across the bridge, there are tons of restaurants along the River Reuss to choose from. After briefly consulting Yelp reviews, we wound up at Hotel des Alpes which did not disappoint. After an early dinner, we continued exploring the Old Town before heading back to our room for a good night’s sleep.

Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland
Travel Itinerary - Luzern Switzerland

Like most cities in Switzerland, Lucerne is pretty compact and most landmarks can be covered in a day or two. Below is the route we took with must-see sites marked along the way…

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