A few days ago, Neala and I began our backpacking trip to Switzerland, Austria, and Italy.
We are pretty excited about traveling to Europe together and have had an amazing past couple of days.
It’s felt pretty empowering to be able to get from city to city without any knowledge of the language or cell service, with just our backpacks on our back.
We first landed in Zurich and took a train from the airport to downtown to get to our hostel.
Personally, I had never really heard or knew much about Zurich; we were just landing there so we could quickly get to Saas Fee, it wasn’t necessarily on our “cities to visit” list.
While we were only there for one day, I now wish we had stayed there longer. It was a charming city, with a bright blue river running through the middle and opening up into a sizable lake.
Locals were swimming in the lake, but we were too jet lagged to join them. If I ever go back to Switzerland, I would take more time to visit Zurich.
The next day we took a train and bus to Saas Fee, a small town nestled into the valley of the Swiss Alps. Here we planned to begin a three-day hike through the mountains, sleeping overnight at mountain huts.
Unfortunately, the first hut I had booked was not really along the route we had planned, but we decided to try and hike to it anyway.
After about 4 hours we reached the summit of a mountain, and realized we were in way over our heads; the route we had taken, which was not the originally planned route, was for experienced hikers and required harnesses and equipment to cross glaciers. Needless to say, we turned around and returned to Saas Fee.
Despite the disappointment of having to cut out our hiking trip, it was still very satisfying to summit the mountain; it wasn’t easy terrain, with narrow rocky paths cutting steeply up the sides of the hill.
We also had our 25-30lb backpacks on because we thought we were hiking to our next destination, making it even harder. At least we can say we successfully climbed a mountain in the Swiss Alps!
Although I’m not going to lie, we are both very sore today, and are secretly happy we only hiked one day; I don’t know if we could have done another two days with the same elevation changes and challenging terrain.
After Saas Fee, we headed by train to Zermatt, another small mountain town in the Swiss Alps. Everything in Zermatt was costly, so we only ended up walking around the city and visiting the Gorner Gorge.
The Gorge was beautiful, and it only cost 5 franks to visit. We got to walk along a wooden walkway halfway down the side of the gorge, with large rolling rocks on either side of us.
We were also planning on taking a cable car to see Matterhorn more clearly, but it would have cost almost 70 franks, which is roughly 70 dollars, for a round trip. Instead, we are deciding to spend our money on a nice dinner out in the town for Neala’s 19th birthday.
Overall, Switzerland was a gorgeous (but costly) place.
We planned on spending the least amount of time in Switzerland for our trip because we were aware of how expensive everything is here. I’m not going to say how much it cost because it makes me sad to think about, but we probably spent more in these 5 days than we will for the next few weeks in Austria and Italy.
Despite the cost, it is a country worth visiting, especially if you love mountains as much as I do.