The Ultimate Swiss Winter Road Trip

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Christmas in Switzerland. Is there anything that says winter wonderland more than this? We returned from our week long road trip through the Swiss Alps and France just a couple days ago, and we want to return immediately! Everything was a dream come true. I will post more detailed accounts of what we did each day in separate city posts.

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Our trip initially began the day after Christmas, but after a long, somewhat dull December we couldn’t wait one more day. Matt suggested adding Zurich to our list for an adventure on Christmas Day. I’m not one to decline a headstart on vacation, so we cooked a delicious Christmas Eve dinner, made lots of treats to take in the car, and packed our bags. We had included Zurich in our trip at first, but we decided we could take a day trip there before we leave in March. I was so happy to get to see this amazing city!

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After spending Christmas night in Zurich, we got up early and drove a couple hours to Lucerne, a gorgeous lakeside town. We walked around the lake, took photos on the many bridges, and had lunch (Swiss cheese panini…yum).

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Following Lucerne, we made our way to Interlaken. This turned out to be one of our favorite cities on our entire trip. Our bed and breakfast was high in the hills looking over the snowcapped mountains and charming blue-green lakes below. It was in this city that we started our little routine of taking a morning  walk around the city. We could see our breath in the frosty morning air, but the excitement of exploring a new city trumped any desires to go inside away from the cold. We spent the evening walking into the main part of the city, visiting the Christmas market, and watching ice-skaters and people playing Bavarian curling.

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Lausanne was the next quick stop on our adventure. Pepperdine has a study abroad program in this city, and many of our friends lived here so we decided to check it out. This Swiss city was the first place they spoke French instead of German. I was in love! The French influences were remarkably different than the German Swiss towns. It is incredible how one country can speak two languages solely depending on the geography. Lausanne wasn’t quite what we expected. It was the first city in pretty much all of our European travels we felt like we walked into a “weird” part of town. Nevertheless, we walked to the Pepperdine school, took a few photos, and wanted to head to our much awaited next destination: Annecy, France.

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Wow. France. Neither of us had been to France before. Matt is anti-French everything, but I am so relieved to say that after our two nights in Annecy is a full out Francophile. Okay, maybe not so much. But, his urging to get a cappuccino every morning and his love for the food does tell me that he warmed up to France more than he thought. 🙂

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We also found that the French people were way nicer than the stereotypical talk of Frenchies being rude. Every barista, waiter, and person we ran into was very helpful and sweet. I love Annecy! I want to live there. The cobblestoned alleys, charming lakeside, and to-die-for food could win anybody over.

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One night around 5pm we wanted to grab some dinner, but all of the restaurants were closed! They didn’t open until 6pm (or 18 if you want to be correct) so we waited. The most delicious pizza and steak awaited us. We are still talking about that dinner today. It absolutely ranked on our top 10 list.

Although we spent 2 nights in Annecy, we took a day trip to nearby Geneva, Switzerland. We had wanted to stay in Geneva overnight but the accommodations were a bit pricey given that its the hub of finances in Switzerland. We took a FlixBus (highly recommend for any transportation needed around Europe) over the border and took in all Geneva had to offer. We walked a total of 15 miles that day according to our health app on our phones. FIFTEEN. Exhaustion set in at the end of the day so we spent the last couple hours relaxing in a coffee shop until our bus arrived to take us back to Annecy.

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Our last day in Switzerland consisted of a 3 hour drive to Zermatt to see the famous Matterhorn. If you want a ski trip and you want to do it right, Zermatt is most definitely the place to be. The mountains, little baby skiiers, and the Swiss chalets captured us. We attempted to use hotels’ saunas and pools but they regretfully told us that this weekend was just too busy with the New Year. Boo.

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Zermatt is a car-free village so we needed to take a 12 minute train into the snow city from nearby Tasch where we parked our car. Near the end of the day, we delved into some cheese fondue.

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On Friday, we made our way home with a 6 hour drive back to Herrsching, Germany. We stopped in the smallest country ever – Liechtenstein – for a total of 20 minutes. It was so crazy to see different license plates for only a few miles. We ate lunch in Feldkirch, Austria on the way back (cutest little town) and finally arrived back home without incident.

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Switzerland in the wintertime is simply the best idea ever! Despite its high prices (a burger is like 20 francs!), a short road trip is very doable.  It is something we’ll be talking about for many years to come and always wishing to go back. Our first Christmas together is something we will remember forever.

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