In the fall, I went on a European road trip/honeymoon with C. It started in Colmar, France, and then we continued driving south toward Zurich, Switzerland, and then onto Lago Maggiore, Italy. We also stopped in Lucerne, Switzerland for another night on our way home to break up all of our driving. Both cities in Switzerland were quick stops, but I fully enjoyed getting to experience a new country, as I had never been to Switzerland before.
The absolute hardest part about visiting Switzerland was not breaking our travel budget. I really could not believe some of the prices, even McDonald’s was expensive. We did a lot of research before hand on reasonable restaurants, so I’ve included our choice in this post. Switzerland is certainly worth the visit, I just recommend planning in advance if you know you need to stick to a certain price range.
Hotel: Guesthouse Anwandstrasse
We booked this trip fairly last minute so we didn’t have many options of hotels. (This was before a friend introduced me to Hotel Tonight). Guesthouse Anwandstrasse was reasonably priced and seemed nice enough. Overall, I thought it was a decent hotel. If you are looking for a place to stay, my only complaint would be that it seemed to be in a sketchier area of Zurich and was around a 20 minute walk to the center city. Also, if you are planning on driving into Zurich, you may want to look into the ParkU App. Through the app, you can rent a parking space from someone for a set amount of time and a predetermined price. It was such a convenient way to park in a city where the parking prices were extremely high.
I mentioned above that we did a lot of research on cheaper restaurant options in Zurich. We knew we weren’t going to splurge on 50$ per person fondue, but we ended up finding a restaurant that was well priced and had an interesting history and ambiance. Zeughauskeller was built in 1487 to house military weapons and armaments of war. From 1867 on it was used as a residence, and finally in 1927 it became a social meeting place and eventually a restaurant. The menu is full of traditional Swiss dishes. I had the Alpine Macaroni, which is like a mac and cheese with potatoes and sauteed onions. Another unique aspect of the restaurant is that you will sit at a long table with other guests, so you have the chance to socialize if you want to meet some locals or fellow tourists.
Favorite Sight: View from University of Zurich
C and I spent most of the day just walking around the city, that’s my favorite thing to do. He wanted to walk uphill to see if we could get a nice view, and we ended up stumbling upon a beautiful lookout on the University of Zurich campus. To be more specific, it’s located on top of the SV Restaurant Polyterrasse ETH Zürich. I’ve also read that this is a great place to get a cheap beer or snack while you look out over the city.
Driving Through the Swiss Alps
I have to include a small section on driving through the alps. If you are planning your own European road trip, then I absolutely have to recommend doing this. The scenery is stunning and I felt like I was driving through a movie the entire time. Plus driving from Zurich to Lago, Maggiore in Northern Italy was only about 3 hours and it was so much more enjoyable than it would have been via plane.
In my mind I thought that driving through the Swiss Alps might be a little terrifying, kind of like driving through some of the mountains in the midwest of the U.S. But it was actually just smooth highway the whole time, no near death twists or turns.
One tip, no matter what country you are planning on driving through, make sure to check the traffic laws and also rules for the highway. Specifically for Switzerland, you will need to purchase a highway pass for around 50 CHF. You can find more information on the pass here.