Thursday, July 23, 2009
The Top 8 Undiscovered Swiss Towns
To help you avoid the getting caught on hundreds of other vacationers’ souvenir snapshots this summer, here are eight undiscovered Swiss towns (brought to you in a two-part series, click here for Part 2), that all offer something unique—from a spa with the most mineral-rich water in Switzerland to three grand Roman castles you can call your own.
Baden means, “to bathe”, and this medieval spa town boasts the most mineral-rich water in Switzerland. Complete with bubbling lounge chairs and rows of jets carefully measured for a complete massage, the Baden spa is also lit by candlelight on weekend nights in the winters. So let the rest of the tourists flock to Vals for their wellness escapes. Baden, (the choice of Goethe and Nietzsche) is where exapts (and travelers) looking to avoid the crowds relax today.
Gandria (pictured above)
Palm and olive trees frame this colorful cliff-clinging town on Lake Lugano. Narrow lanes, locals that greet you with “Buon giorno,” and restaurants that cook with the locally produced olive oil, make Gandria an atmospheric boat trip from Lugano —especially if you plan on stocking up on handmade ceramics. But for those that depart without heavy bags, a well marked, (but not too well-traveled) olive tree trail winds back along the lake.
Mix fine wines, watches, and yellow limestone buildings, and you’ve got the recipe for a town Dumas described as being carved out of butter. Only 12 miles from France, Switzerland’s French-speaking university town comes complete with a Gothic cathedral and a 15th century castle. Walk along the lake, admire the fountains in the old town, or take a hike through the vineyards—anything to work up an excuse to eat at a brasserie.
Find the middle of nowhere and make it the center of the universe. That’s pretty much how it feels standing in front of the Hallwyl Castle in Seengen. Complete with a moat and a grassy courtyard, the castle also holds performances of operas and plays. From the castle, it’s only a 15-minute walk to Lake Hallwil, where the day can be completed via a boat ride, a swim, or a stroll past the many vineyards.
Stay tuned next week for Part 2. But in the meantime, what do you think? What are the best undiscovered Swiss spots you’ve found?