About a month to go but Christmas fever is already setting in strong! In Antwerp (and I'm pretty sure all over the rest of Europe), Christmas preparations have officially begun. Shops have stocked up on all things Christmas and customers are already looking for trees, decorations, cookies, sweaters and all things Christmas-y.
Imagine spending this Christmas, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and snow-covered trees, in a rustic old town square that houses a gothic style cathedral, across a frozen lake, an ice-skating rink on the lake and horse-drawn carriages that ride through the brightly lit streets with fairy lights, mistletoes and bells dangling above and a massive, heavily-decorated Christmas tree and a choir around it that fills the town with Christmas songs and spirit. Spend this Christmas, in warm fluffy mufflers, sipping on mulled wine, and binge-ing on candies and churros in the cinnamon scented Christmas market. Ride the Ferris wheel and play games at the fair, go skiing and tobogganing, and end your day with a steaming hot bath in the icy cold outdoors followed by cheese raclette and chocolate fondue!
Tempted yet? Get a peak of my 1-week itinerary through the Bernese Alps in Switzerland here below:*
Arrive in Zurich and leave for Lucerne. After check-in, relaxing and lunch, take a half-day trip to Mt. Rigis for stunning views of the town, lake and surrounding Alps. The summit offers breathtaking 360-degrees panoramic view of the Alps, looking out over 13 lakes and across all Central Switzerland as far as Germany and France. You can do a few winter activities like sledding and tobogganing before heading back partly by cogwheel train, partly by cable-car up till Weggis and partly by boat to Lucerne from Vitzau. Overnight in Lucerne.
Visit the traditional cheese factory in an old monastery in Engelberg. Spend the afternoon at a cheese factory learning how Swiss cheese is traditionally made and sampling different kinds of cheese! Return to Lucerne in time for lunch.
Spend the afternoon taking a boat ride on the Lake Lucerne and walk through the charming streets exploring its famous chapel bridge, lion monument, and old town square. By evening, make your way to the Christmas Market! Spend the evening ice-skating, watching the light show, eating jacket potatoes and drinking cocoa, going on rides (Ferris Wheel) and more.
Head for Interlaken or Grindelwald. (Both are great bases to explore and experience Switzerland in the winter!) After check-in and lunch:
In Interlaken: Take a boat trip to Lake Thun/Lake Brienz or take a scenic helicopter/airplane ride from Interlaken over Bernese Oberland.
In Grindelwald: Take a gondola up the mountain to First and hike to the scenic Lake Bachalpsee that is located amongst mountains tops.
Enjoy a traditional Swiss dinner of hot raclette and bubbling fondue! Post dinner, go bowling or karaoke to a cozy pub! Overnight in Interlaken or Grindelwald.
In Interlaken: Embark on your excursion to Schilthorn. Take a train from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen and then a bus to Stechelberg from where you take the aerial cable car. The Schilthorn Cable Car trip is in 4 stages starting in the valley floor at Stechelberg via Gimmelwald, Murren and Birg up to the top of Schilthorn Mountain. Be awestruck with the white wonderland that surrounds you on the way up. Take a winter hike through the scenic mountains or take a thrill walk on a 200 mt. cliff path on the edge of the mountain walls. Enjoy the 360 degree views from the skyline platform and the snow park activities like sledging, skiing, avalanche training and more! You can also book a James Bond 007-Brunch experience in an Igloo on the slopes! On the way down, take some time to explore the beautiful Swiss town of Lauterbrunnen.
In Grindelwald: Set out on a day trip to Jungfrau. Take the train to Stechelberg and then take 4 cable cars to Jungfrau. On the way up, enjoy stunning views of all the Alps, its snow-capped peaks, mountain lakes and pockets of green valleys. At Jungfrau, visit the panoramic viewing deck and the ice palace, both works of art! Have fun in the snow park that offers zip-lining, snow tubing, skiing, a putting hole (for passionate golfers) and more! On the way back, take a train from Jungfrau to Kleine Scheidegg and then to Lauterbrunnen. Spend some time in Lauterbrunnen before heading back to Grindelwald.
Overnight in Interlaken or Grindelwald.
Spend the entire day on the slopes (skiing or snowboarding)! Or spend the day getting your adrenaline going as you dare to do one of the many adventure activities like paragliding, skydiving, bridge jumping etc.
In the evening, explore the Christmas markets and festivals in the town's main square! Watch the tree lighting ceremony and exhibit of gingerbread houses and taste some butter cookies, s'mores and other sweet treats from local stalls at the Christmas market. Overnight in Interlaken or Grindelwald.
End your trip to Switzerland in luxury in the opulent Gstaad. On arrival in Gstaad, take the chocolate train to visit the Castle of Gruyères and the Cailler Chocolate Factory. You can even book a session to make your chocolates at the factory for a more hands-on experience!
In the evening, relax in an luxury outdoor thermal spa with champagne and truffles in Hotel Alpina. End the day in one of the many pop-up igloos where you can cosy up in blankets, sip warm drinks and roast marshmallows as you listen to a live DJ! Overnight in Gstaad.
Photo Credit: Hotel Alpina Gstaad
Spend the entire day on Glacier 3000! Do the peak walk, slide and sled in the fun park, take a toboggan ride on the Alpine coaster and even book a dog-sledding ride! Head back to your hotel in time for dinner. Tonight, dine at Gstaad’s Michelin-star restaurant! Overnight in Gstaad.
Leave early in the morning for Zurich. Indulge in last minute shopping before your flight back home!
*Contact me for a custom made, über personal itinerary based on your interests and likes!
P.S- Stay happy and warm with these cute knitted thermal gloves!