Switzerland presents a completely distinct cultural experience for Pinoy adventurers.
When we think of Switzerland, images of crystalline lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks, and luxurious chocolates and cheeses come to mind. This picture-perfect country may not be top of mind when Filipinos visit Europe, but it should be. Trust me—I speak from experience.
Before I finally moved here in 2019, I visited Switzerland multiple times. Each time, I fell in love with it all over again. But it was still a tough sell convincing my friends and family to come visit, and one big factor is that it’s one of the most expensive countries in the world.
That perception changed a few years ago—especially since the k-drama series Crash Landing on You (CLOY) took the world by storm, igniting a newfound curiosity to explore the stunning Swiss Alps. It sparked an interest in this enchanting country that I now call my home, and it goes far beyond the screen. Switzerland received over 11 million tourists in 2019, and that number ballooned after the world opened up following the pandemic.
Switzerland: More than meets the eye
Switzerland’s image as an “only-luxury” destination is gradually fading. Nowadays, travelers are increasingly discovering the diverse range of experiences it has to offer. With proper research on places to visit, the journey is undoubtedly rewarding!
Each Swiss lake feels like a hidden oasis, embraced by pristine waters and lush forests, offering a tranquility that truly enchants the soul.
One of the exceptional characteristics of Switzerland is its year-round appeal. For someone hailing from a country with only two seasons, experiencing all four seasons can feel truly magical. Whether you’re traveling to witness the enchantment of snow-draped winters, the abundant blossoms of spring, the mellow beauty of autumn, or the lush greenery of summer—Switzerland always has something extraordinary waiting for you.
Here are my top 5 favorite destinations that are a must-visit whenever my family and friends come to Switzerland—at any time of the year.
1. Zermatt: Where winter never ends
Picture a haven of ski slopes open 365 days a year. Zermatt brings this winter wonderland fantasy to life, where winter and summer collide in the most captivating way. Have you seen those popular breathtaking TikTok videos in Switzerland? Yes, most of them are taken by influencers in that same majestic small town.
Zermatt isn’t just about skiing; it offers a range of activities during the winter and transforms into a haven for bikers during the summer months. The view of the iconic Matterhorn peak is the cherry on top of this alpine delight. The allure is simply irresistible.
2. Blausee: Nature lovers’ paradise
Forget beaches—Switzerland boasts over 1,500 lakes, each offering unparalleled scenic beauty! As all CLOY fans know, Iseltwald has captured the hearts of many. Unfortunately, this specific filming location has become quite crowded in recent years, with the government even starting to charge CHF 5 entrance fee for tourists, whereas a few years ago, it was entirely free.
While Iseltwald has its charm, my heart has always belonged to Blausee. Though I’m not typically a fan of lakes, Blausee simply took my breath away. I’ve often wished I could brave its chilly waters! Nonetheless, the lake’s incredible clarity makes it a mesmerizing sight. You can almost see your own soul reflected in its waters—no kidding! Each Swiss lake feels like a hidden oasis, embraced by pristine waters and lush forests, offering a tranquility that truly enchants the soul.
Another option is Interlaken, nestled between the stunning Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Here, the hearts of thrill seekers are sure to race with all the open-air activities on offer. It’s no surprise that the Swiss Alps, covering about 60% of Switzerland’s total land area, provide the backdrop for these breathtaking experiences. It’s a destination that invites you to explore its hidden treasures, and for nature lovers like me, it’s a paradise waiting to be discovered.
3. Glacier 3000: Experiencing the “7 Wonders” charm
Imagine standing on top of the world, surrounded by snow, ice, and clouds as far as the eye can see. Glacier 3000 is an otherworldly experience that feels like being part of the “7 Wonders of the World” without actually being one.
Take a cable car ride to reach this snowy wonderland, revealing panoramic views that will steal your breath away. Don’t forget to bundle up; it’s literally going to blow anyone away. It’s also noteworthy to mention that, aside from the view on top of the bridge, you can ride the beautiful Siberian huskies around the Alps. One experience to check off anyone’s bucket list.
4. Montreux: For music lovers and festival enthusiasts
If you’re a music lover and a festival enthusiast, Montreux is the place to be, whether it’s during the sun-soaked days of summer or the magical winter wonderland of Christmas markets. During the summer, Montreux comes alive for a week-long celebration with the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival, and what is truly remarkable is its stunning location along the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva.
Summertime in Switzerland is the home of a lot of popular music festivals around Canton Vaud and the country, drawing in artists and enthusiasts from across the globe. But the music doesn’t stop with the changing seasons. Switzerland offers unique outdoor music festivals in the Alps during the end of winter to spring.
St. Moritz and Leysin offer music festivals on top of the Alps and aperoski events. Picture yourself on top of the world, enjoying a live performance while the sun sets over the majestic peaks, creating a mesmerizing backdrop of snow and ice for an unforgettable musical experience. So, if you have a love for music and a passion for adventure, let the melodies of Switzerland serenade your soul. It’s not our typical Filipino karaoke, but it’s definitely something we Filipinos would love to enjoy with a drink or two.
5. Zurich and Gruyere: Foodies’ havens
No visit to Switzerland is complete without indulging in the nation’s culinary treasures. My top favorite is the cheese-goodness in Gruyères, where the world’s best cheese is made. Try the traditional cheese fondue in the heart of the Alps in Verbier or Gstaad, surrounded by grazing cows and breathtaking views. It’s an experience that will leave your taste buds dancing.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, Switzerland is chocolate paradise. Zurich is home to some of the world’s most renowned chocolate factories. Names like Lindt, Läderach, and Cailler are synonymous with exquisite Swiss chocolate craftsmanship. Indulge in a chocolate tour, chocolate making sessions and taste the magic that has made Switzerland famous worldwide.
Switzerland’s warm welcome
La Suisse, once a distant dream for most Filipino travelers, has never been more accessible. The Swiss Alps alone attract more than 2 million visitors each year. This captivating country offers a diverse palette of experiences tailored to every taste and season.
The community of Filipinos in Switzerland may not be as large as in other countries, but it adds a unique touch of warmth and familiarity to your journey. When you meet fellow Pinoys on your Swiss travels, you’ll find a sense of camaraderie and a welcoming spirit that transcends borders. Besides, if it helps, you can communicate in English with everyone here.
Don’t be deterred by the price tag and costs associated with Switzerland. Contrary to popular belief, traveling on a budget is indeed possible. It may not be the easiest task, and it took me years to figure out the secrets, but there are discounts and cost-saving options available (but that’s another story).
If you’re planning to travel in winter or for next year, put Switzerland on your list—it’s something very different from home, a hidden beauty waiting to be explored, and it’s ready to welcome you with open arms.