Everyone is excited about Christmas holidays and so was I, but considering the fact that Switzerland is so expensive at that time, seeking a good and a budget trip was a challenge. Yet sitting at home was never an option (although my husband convinced me to watch Love Actually twice!). Anyways, I researched, planned and finally managed 2 budget day trips from Geneva to best Switzerland destinations, summarizing best Christmas holidays ever.
DAY TRIP 1: GSTAAD AND EGGLI
Switzerland is known for its snow laden mountains, exquisite natural beauty and delightful panoramic views. No questions on that! But this time, I wanted to do more than just to enjoy the beauty (like participating in an adventure sport). So begun my research for best Switzerland destinations which were not too crowded during Christmas break and that also offered a cheap adventure option.
Travel to Gstaad
Well, in no time I found the place and the sport that I was looking for. I settled for Gstaad, a Swiss chalet village that boasts of a superior lifestyle and a superlative experience. It is the hub for style ikons and fashion fiestas who do not compromise on trends and perpetuate their own vogue. It is also amongst the best Switzerland destinations for hosting popular romantic Bollywood movies. Ofcourse eating out in Gstaad is hardly an option if you are on a budget. One can find the best of restaurants and hotels in Gstaad that have hosted the celebrities from all over the world. As an honest tip, even a glass of red hot wine from a local kiosk costed me 6 CHF. So, please depend on Montreux or nearby villages for eating out.
Having said that, Gstaad promised me an experience of a lifetime. Beauty is incomparable (pictures do not justify the magnificence of the place) and so was the sport that I chose: ICE SLEDGING.
We bought the day pass from SBB which is valid on most trains, buses and trams. The options and the prices can be checked here. The trains operate till Montreux after which we shifted to MOB (Montreux Oberland Bernois) trains for a more regional and local experience. There are more villages in the same route, each with its distinguished beauty (popular ones being Rougemont, Saanen and Zweisimmen). Interestingly, there is also a panoramic train (Golden Pass) on this route that one can enjoy with the same day pass!
From Gstaad to Eggli and sledging
After a stroll across villages and Gstaad, we headed towards Eggli to try my first-time ever sledging experience. We got no-horse open sleighs for a rental price of 15 CHF per adult from a shop which was very close to the ticket counter. We bought tickets for the cable car to go up and the prices for the same can be checked here.
Sledging down was almost a 2 hr or 5 kms trekking route which was quite calm and slow (and perfect for beginners like me) as it freshly snowed. It’s just the first hiccup on the very first slope (I went down terribly) but one or two miles down with the sledge and one is a winner in no time. Sledging is easy and is fun- just get your proper snow boots and winter wear. It was exciting as I had never tried it before and sloping down was thrilling. I got tumbled down once, bumped into other twice and swivelled like a champion thrice. Hurray!!!!
P.S. This is the video of my very first slope. Please don’t judge me! 😛
DAY TRIP 2: LEUKERBAD
Leukerbad has its own distinctive, chronic and unsurpassed beauty that could definitely be compared to heaven. Sun and snow added extra splendour to the majesty of the place. I have to admit Leukerbad scores in my list of favourite places in the world. Symmetrical huts on a river bank protected under the arms of Swiss Alps, lit up lanes with Christmas lights promising breath taking view at every curve, Leukerbad brags to be a paradise on earth.
Just like the first day, I again bought a day pass from here that entitled me for the train and bus service. There is a direct train from Geneva to Leuk or with one change at Sierre. There are designated buses that take the passengers to Leukerbad from Leuk. The total journey is close to 3 hours.
Although we did plan for a trek in Leukerbad but thigh pain from sledging last day was enough to push us into the inviting hot water of the thermal bath. And there with no further delays, we immediately went inside Leukerbad Therme. A property divided in three floors, Leukerbad Therme has indoor pools, outdoor pools with various types of Jacuzzis, kids playing area, water slides, professional swimmers area, food joints, showers and changing rooms.
The cost for 3 hours is 25 CHF and for full day, it’s 30 CHF per adult. I bought the pass for the whole day as I did not wish to restrict myself from such an intriguing pleasure. A quick shower and in no time I was inside the pool. Each floor has its own offering in terms of entertainment and alluring the customers.
Ground floor has an indoor pool, outdoor pool with some promising views of the mountains and a kids’ area. Both indoor and outdoor pools are connected and it’s advisable to start with the indoor pool to make the body adaptable to the water temperature. Before exploring the other two floors, I took a feasting break and there are two restaurants inside the property to choose from.
First floor has better gigantic views of the mountains, amazing fountains and a relaxing lounge. The best part was the Christmas decorations. The lounge had 2 huge Christmas trees on either side of the pool. Both decorated and celebrated in the season greetings. This floor also has one restaurant, changing rooms and shower area.
And finally the third floor which has the kids’ zone, a restaurant and my favourite, THE WATER SLIDES. There were two water slides and both kids and adults can enjoy them. All three floors had benches laid to enjoy the warmth of the pools inside and to enjoy the panoramic views outside.
Tip: Please carry your own costume and toiletry kit. Hair dryers are installed there, hence it is easier to step out in the freezing cold weather. Finally, do not forget to carry an extra bag to get all your wet clothes back.
These are my two favourite and best Switzerland destinations that made my Christmas merrier. Share a thumbs up and comment if you enjoyed my article. Feel free to connect to know more about these places.