Switzerland is famous for its most beautiful mountain panorama and being able to spend the night in a campervan watching this breathtaking scenery makes the country a great campervan destination. This is our 1O days experience in the German-speaking part of the country.
DAY 1 – LUCERNE, KAYAK ON LAKE BRIENZ
We arrived in Switzerland on a Saturday morning after crossing the border from France to Basel. However, we directly continued our road to Lucerne, a city in central Switzerland situated on Lake Lucerne. We took our bikes to reach the city center and walked around its colorful streets. The famous wooden Chapel bridge (Kapellbrücke) which crosses the Reuss river and contains paintings from the 17th century was definitely the highlight of this short visit.
In the afternoon, we continued our way to lake Brienz and its beautiful mountain panorama for some kayaking (we always have our inflatable kayak in the camper). We were the only kayak on the quiet lake and extensively enjoyed the beautiful view and the crystal clear water.
Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a place where it was not forbidden to stay for the night so we were able to spend the afternoon at a beautiful spot next to the lake but had to spent the night in a parking lot elsewhere. We tried to get a place at one of the official camp grounds but even in September and outside the holiday season this was mission impossible.
DAY 2 – HIKE FROM MÄNNLICHEN TO WENGEN
In the morning, we took our camper to the parking area of the church of Lauterbrunnen and took a train to Wengen, a small mountain village without cars. From there, we took a cable car all the way up to Männlichen in order to start our hike.
On the top of Männlichen, the first thing to do is to reach the crown, a small walk uphill to the panoramic platform. From there, it is all downhill enjoying the most beautiful mountain skyline until the first stop at Grindelwald after a 1,5 hours walk.
From there, you can either take the train or continue the walk all the way down to Männlichen.
Back at the parking area, we continued our road with the camper to Steinsee where we found a most beautiful campervan spot just next to a glacier and with a view on the lake.
DAY 3 – GLACIER HIKE AT STEINSEE
The next morning, we started to discover the surroundings of this beautiful spot. We walked along the lake, found ourselves in the middle of a flock of sheep and went up the street. A bit further, we took a small path to the right and went uphill for a beautiful and lonely hike. We finally ended up in the village down the road to buy some local cheese and other products before getting back to our van for lunch.
After extensively enjoying this amazing spot, it was time to hit the road again, direction the famous Aletsch Gletscher.
We parked on the big parking area of the suspension bridge and discovered its surroundings. In order to visit the bridge, you have to follow the road back down and then turn to the right. There are a few restaurants and cafés before you reach the bridge. If you are not too afraid of heights, crossing the bridge is really fun. We decided to stay for the night with a few other camper vans.
DAY 4 – ALETSCH GLACIER HIKE
On our first day in the Aletsch Arena we did a most beautiful panoramic hike to visit the glacier without taking any risks.
You can read more about this experience and how to best visit the arena in our post Aletsch Glacier panoramic trail: Hiking along the greatest glacier of the Alps.
We definitely recommend this excursion.
DAY 5 – E-MOUNTAINBIKE IN ALETSCH ARENA
We enjoyed our time in the Aletsch Arena so much that we had decided to stay two days instead of one and we took the opportunity to try an activity that we had planned to do for a while already, so we rented some e-mountainbikes at the shop Aletsch Sport Mitte at Riederalp and discovered the arena by bike. We went up and down and enjoying this fun activity, always with a view on an incredible mountain panorama.
We left the area in the evening in order to get closer to our next destination.
DAY 6 – Road to LIECHTENSTEIN
We couldn’t come to this area without visiting Lichtenstein, this small Principality surrounded by Switzerland and Austria with its beautiful Alps panorama and its castles.
We spent a beautiful evening at Burg Gutenberg where we stayed the night on the parking area just next to the park.
DAY 7 – LIECHTENSTEIN, ST. GALL, CONSTANCE
Today, the rain finally came and messed with our initial plans. We still went to Vaduz, the capital, in order to discover the somehow artificial city center with its banks and luxury shops.
It was more the curiosity to discover a new country than the tourist attractions themselves that led our decision to visit the country but we were quite unlucky with the weather and could’t do the main activity that we had planned: hiking. The weather was so bad that we decided not even to walk up to the Vaduz castle and to change our plans instead. But this is also the great advantage of van life.
We decided to go to St. Gall where we visited the famous and most beautiful Abbey library which seduces with its unique and wooden style. The highlight of the visit for every world traveler is its Terrestrial and Celestial Globe from the 16th century (even though it is a copy) that shows earth and stars on a huge globe. Unfortunately, the rules to visit are quite strong and it was impossible to take any pictures.
After this quite educational visit, we crossed the border to Germany, discovered the city of Costance and enjoyed some German food in a restaurant with German prices (much more affordable than a restaurant in Switzerland).
DAY 8 – CONSTANCE, ZÜRICH
As the rain had not stopped the next day, we decided to spend the morning in the thermal bath of Constance, a public bath with several outside and inside pools with a water temperature of more than 30°. It was probably the best thing to do on a rainy morning in the city.
We then crossed the border again to drive all the way to Zurich which we would discover the next day.
DAY 9 – ZÜRICH
Zürich is a global center for banking and finance and this is probably the reason why we were so surprised by the beauty of the place. I guess we imagined huge and modern buildings but we were surprised by the colorful small streets and the quiet nature that we found.
DAY 10 – Rhine Falls
The next morning, we visited the last place of our Switzerland road trip: The famous Rhine Falls just 45 minutes outside Zürich and not far from the German border.
We wrote about it in our blog post Rhine Falls in Switzerland: Visit the most powerful falls in Europe.
It was then time to start our road back to Belgium but not without a short stop in Stuttgart to see its beautiful public library.