Historically, a Swiss vacation is invariably round cheese, sweets or mountains. The plush inexperienced pastures and crisp mountain air is what attracts many people there. I additionally suspect that for many of us in India the dreamy Yash Raj Productions have a big function to play right here!
However there’s a facet of Switzerland that hardly ever takes centre stage – its historical past, each medieval and up to date. Having spent three weeks traversing the nation lately, I’ve been in a position to uncover many such hidden gems which have contributed to the evolution of the nation to what you see at this time.
A go to to those historic locations in Switzerland helps you perceive how historical past formed the nation’s geography, and know-how modified its topography. You will discover that Switzerland continues to be soaked in traditions however embraces the modifications that fashionable occasions convey with open arms.
Unknown to many, there may be an historical heartland in Switzerland that’s usually misplaced within the glitzy and glamorous boutiques of Zurich and Geneva or the peaks of Jungfraujoch and Mt. Titlis. Attending to this heartland is what provides a brand new dimension to an in any other case typical Swiss vacation.
Museum of Horology, La Chaux-de Fonds
Thought-about the hub of watch-making, in Switzerland, there’s a entire city within the Jura mountains that was arrange round this craft within the 16th century. Even at this time, La Chaux-de-Fonds has quite a few corporations and artisans working in its few quiet corners, making essentially the most unique of watches on the planet.
It’s, due to this fact, an apt place for the placement of Musée Worldwide d’ Horlogerie, a museum devoted to the artwork of watch-making. An interactive area, the museum homes intricately designed items from the second timekeeping began till its fashionable days.
Inside this really distinctive up to date constructing, guests will discover the world’s most various assortment of watches and clocks. Every one of many timepieces is fantastically exhibited with particulars of its functioning and origin talked about alongside. As soon as there, vacationers can select to be an observer or use a number of the interactive items to get a greater understanding of the artwork that makes watch-making such a fragile career.
Whereas in Switzerland, be sure you plan a go to to a Swiss watch maker’s atelier. It’s the excellent alternative to go behind the scenes and expertise the fascinating means of watch-making first hand.
Salt Mines, Bex
Though it could really feel like a enjoyable experience in a theme park, using the prepare into the 800m deep salt mines at Bex is the actual deal. The prepare connects a labyrinth of 50,000m of underground tunnels that home wells and galleries showcasing the story of salt mining which began right here within the late 1600s.
Given their love for the mountains, it’s no shock that the Swiss have managed to dig so deep to extract salt that has been buried underground for greater than 200 million years.
Constructed proper contained in the oldest salt mine within the nation, this fascinating attraction arranges guided excursions giving instructional insights into the historical past of the white gold (salt) and the mining performed right here.
The Bex mines are nonetheless totally operational, though the salt concentrations are a number of the lowest on this planet. The tunnels are positioned about 45min from Lausanne and are a simple day journey.
Gandria – the final Swiss village earlier than the Italian border
Gandria is the final Swiss village on the border with Italy close to Lugano. Sitting on the northern shore of Lake Lugano, it’s an enthralling historic city with slim cobbled alleyways and cute little buildings tightly packed collectively, making for a picture-perfect setting.
A few of these buildings date again to the 16th century when the village was identified for its olive timber and oil manufacturing. Sadly, all of those timber had been destroyed within the frigid winter of 1709 and will by no means develop once more.
In the present day, some stays are seen on a hike referred to as the Sentiero de Gandria. Working alongside the lake, the path hugs olive rising hills. A typical Mediterranean flora that features century-old olive timber, laurel oaks, cypresses, and myrtles welcomes you on this adventurous journey.
It’s on this journey that you simply additionally come throughout a protracted line of linked buildings which have defied time, and cellars the place residents used to retailer wine, cheese, and cured meats earlier than the convenience of refrigeration. A few of these cellars at the moment are taverns which are a welcome respite by means of the hike.
Additionally, closeby is an intriguing Swiss Customs Museum. Because the identify suggests, it shows in life-size installations, the strategies used and challenges confronted by the Swiss Customs officers. Positioned alongside the lake, it’s located in an previous border submit and boasts an attractive view of Gandria by means of its viewing gallery.
Chur – Switzerland’s oldest city
With a settlement courting again 5000 years, Chur is among the oldest cities in Switzerland. Full of a cluster of historic buildings, the traffic-free village is surrounded by the Alps on all sides, and is extra than simply your gateway to the glamourous St. Moritz.
Chur has among the many best-preserved Previous City within the nation which kinds a backdrop for vibrant weekend markets in the summertime. The St. Martin’s Church right here has develop into a landmark with its distinctive spire. For a peek into the historical past of the city and the area, a go to to the Rätisches Museum is extremely advisable.
A stroll by means of the previous city is like strolling by means of a vibrant gallery taking you thru stunning boutiques, heritage buildings, conventional eating places, and relaxed bars. Because of this, Chur serves as an ideal base to loosen up for a few days earlier than heading increased into the Alps.
After visiting the city and absorbing its allure, you may hop on the Bernina Categorical that departs from Chur all the way down to Torino, Italy. The prepare passes some breathtaking views alongside the Swiss Engadin Alps and in addition runs by the World Heritage Web site of Rhaetian Railway within the Albula / Bernina cross.
Whereas Switzerland presents spectacular pure magnificence and world-class journey actions, such cultural symbols that type the material of this nation add to its extra endearing classic allure.
In regards to the Writer: Namrata is a author for Ticker Eats the World. Getting misplaced within the labyrinths of historic cities is her ideally suited vacation. She has a penchant for distinctive and off-beat experiences and embraces sluggish journey. She writes about her private journey experiences on her weblog happypheet.in. You may as well observe her travels on Instagram.
Pictures – Writer and Unsplash