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Some Travel Tips

When in Switzerland, make sure you check with your travel agents about hotel bookings. Accommodations can drive you crazy, as this country seems to be eternally booked for tourists.

The currency is Swiss Francs and carry lots of money as this country is highly expensive. In case you are looking for hotel accommodation, then, pick a hotel away from lakes as the ones near the lakes are highly priced.

Swiss is the best place to trek/cycle. There are signposts on roads and a narrow strips of road take you through some breath taking views. So, if you are a trekker then, this is the place for you.

French and German are spoken widely here. French in south and German in North of the country (Don't speak the wrong language in the wrong place - people get offended) Swiss bells and Swiss knives can be bought as souvenirs (if you can afford!).

Switzerland

Enter Switzerland - the land of greenery and romance. Switzerland is every man's dream come true. It is like perfect music lingering in your ears as you drown into Mother Nature's lap and rejoice in unending beautiful landscapes and snow capped mountains.

It is not difficult to get to Switzerland as every airline will take you and also you should plan well, well ahead of time. When in Switzerland, you should know what to see and what to do as this place has something to offer for everyone. I went to Geneva, Luzern and Interlaken so, I will focus on these three places. Tour operators from all over the world focus on these places. Bern is the capital and it also draws some traffic but the most visited are Luzern, Geneva and the beautiful Jungfrau region of Interlaken. Trains are the best means of travel within the country as the roads are too narrow and hence take time to get to places by car. However, if you are a driving enthusiast, then, this is the country where you can aimlessly drive, stop at every resting area, drink fresh air and smell the fresh grass! (Yes. You can actually smell the grass here even as you drive!)

Geneva - the beautiful city is on the banks of the largest lake in central Europe. This city is just an hour's drive from the French border of Annecy. The city is well known as the capital of Peace as it houses a number of international organizations including the United Nations. This is also the birthplace of the Red Cross! Due to this international focus it has, this city has also now become the centre of conferences, exhibitions and fairs.

Geneva's central attractions is the lake. Here in summer, you can indulge in a number of sports like sailing, rowing and water skiing. You can also take cruises. You can spend hours gazing at the Jed D'eau fountain - the symbol of Geneva! December is the month of the Escalade festival when a costumed parade marches its way in the cold town. This is to commemorate the battle which was fought by the people of Geneva in 1602.

The city also has abundance of Nature's beauty with rivers, forests, hills and vineyards. You can explore them on horseback, bicycle or just walk. These excursions are offered by the city tourism. Also, once in Geneva, you have to visit some excellent museums like the museum of watch making and the international museum of Red Cross. I would also suggest walking along the UN building and taking some pictures.

Luzern is not very far from Geneva. You can either drive or take a train. This city is also on the banks of the Luzern Lake. It is relatively colder compared to Geneva but it is beautiful with the right fusion of natural and man made beauty.

The chapel bridge is the symbol of Luzern. This was constructed in the 1st half of the 14th century as a part of city's fortifications. The paintings in the bridge were added in the 17th century and these depict Swiss history. "The dying Lion of Luzern" is one the most famous monument. It is sculpted from natural rock and this is in memory of the death of Swiss mercenaries. There are also some churches that can be visited apart from the water tower, Town hall and the old city squares. There are many guided tours that you can take. The walk tour will take you around the city with its numerous bridges and narrow streets. Luzern is also the starting point of many excursions to scenic places of interest like the shores of the beautiful lake with small villages and the surrounding mountains. There are also many museums like the train museum and a lot of shopping if you want to indulge yourself in any.

In a city like this parking is very difficult and it is even more difficult to find free parking space. White zones are all metered. Parking zones in blue are free for 1.30 hours but must be marked with special parking shields. You can obtain these from tourist information offices.

Interlaken is the best place if you are looking for absolute relaxation. This place has pure Alpine air and unspoilt nature's beauty. Here you can go up the Jungfrau mountain, indulge in nature sports or in wilderswil or just wander in the vastness of greenery. Wilderwill is only 4kms south of Interlaken and this village is an ideal departure point for many hikes and excursions in Jungfrau region and throughout the beautiful Bernese Oberland. Wilderswil in Interlaken is also the place for some of the best sports. Winter sports activities range from skiing, sledging and snowshoe trekking. There are also adventure sports like bungy jumping, rafting, paragliding and ice climbing. There is also a sports centre which offers tennis, squash, badminton and even minigolf.

Saxeton is a small village close to wilderwil in Interlaken where you can go on a hike to a dairy. Here you can see the making of cheese and also enjoy some traditional snack from locally produced cheese, milk, bread and butter.

There are many more things you can do in Interlaken. Having come here, you should visit Jungfrau - the highpoint of your visit. The tour is unforgettable and you will experience snow and ice like never before. There are other mountains you can visit . There is 25-minute journey in a six-passenger cable car from Grinderwald or there is a cableway into the heart of hiking paradise! The best to do is to take the cableway and walk aimlessly. The panoramic view from the top is breathtaking and cannot be described in any number of words.

 
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