A Purposely Planned Swiss Itinerary with Accidentally Wes Anderson
In the Land of Milk and Honey, a traveler is afforded a plethora of places for a grand tour. But how to visit them all? We agree it can be confounding, but in Switzerland, the solution is quite simple: A Swiss Travel Pass. A pass in one’s pocket unlocks the possibility of riding trains, boats, buses, and mountain-hugging funiculars, so in making an itinerary, our eager crew at Accidentally Wes Anderson of course intended to use the magical tickets to their full potential. Roving through great peaks and lakes, we begin our adventure discovering the treasures of the country’s three distinct regions — along with visiting a photogenic vista quite dear to our hearts.
Lake Geneva Region
Day 1: Cruising the Lac via Belle Époque
In a steamboat paddler almost 100 years old, we tour Switzerland’s largest body of water, Lake Geneva. But bright blue waters aren’t the only attraction to this regal French-speaking region. Searching for Andersonian symmetry in the streets of Geneva, we find inspiring exhibitions at the city’s Musée d'art et d'histoire and Musée d'histoire des sciences.
Day 2: Fawning Over Funiculars
From the basin of Geneva, beautiful spots like Montreux and Fribourg are within reach–with the help of robust (and steep) railways. We grab a seat on the old Les Avants funicular and watch the peaceful valleys slowly pass us by. Patient travelers are then rewarded with easy access to the fortified walls of Chillon Castle and Montreux Palace Hotel. With all of this mountain climbing, resting our feet aboard the luxurious Golden Pass Belle Epoque train not only takes us to a new destination but transports us back to another era with its charming antique interiors.
Day 3: 2,300 Hours of Alpine Sunshine
Venturing to the Swiss southern border, an entirely different wardrobe is necessary—this Italian-speaking region has the warmest climate in the country. Stopping in the Mediterranean-like Locarno, we ride the royal blue funicular up to Madonna del Sasso, overlooking the lakeside town. After marveling at the Madonna, we meander over to Bellinzona, where we find a peculiar cultural center. The only 19th Century Theatre in Switzerland, we spend the evening at Teatro Sociale.
Day 4: The “Swissness” of Doing Nothing
While Italy may be across the border, the feeling of “Dolce far Niente” still rings true on this side of the lake. Sleepily sailing on a cruise through Lake Lugano, the cultures of Italian and Swiss blur into a beautiful cocktail of structures and scenery that eventually takes us to the small village of Morcote. Next, just like one needs to fit in a last-minute picnic atop Monte Brè, our bus squeezes through a tunnel in Carona on the way to our next grand train ride. The Treno Gottardo transports us through the 120-year-old Gotthard line—into the German-speaking side of the mountains.
Day 5: A Building that Inspired a Book Cover
Zipping through the curved roadways of Furka Pass in our automobile (slightly slower zipping is possible via PostBus), we happen upon an old friend: The Hotel Belvedere. Featured as the cover of Accidentally Wes Anderson (the book), we fondly look upon this fantastic viewpoint. Spending some time in the bustling capital city of Bern and its historic Zytlogge, we venture out to the idyllic Jungfrau region with its imposing mountaintop towns like the ever-cozy Mürren. With no Bern-style clock ringing to help us, we leisurely lose track of time in the lower altitudes of the area, staring at the towering waterfalls of Lauterbrunnen.
Day 6: Getting Comfortable with Travel Uphill
Rising early on our final day of the journey, we take the smooth-running Luzern-Interlaken Express for panoramic views of the mountainous countryside all the way to Lucerne. Situated on yet another glittering lake, we have another chance to navigate the crisp waters by boat. Don’t mind if we do. Our buoyant vessel lands at the terminus of the Rigi Railway, the oldest cog railway in Europe. The day becomes a lesson in traveling to new heights, from open-air cable cars in Stanserhorn to learning the art of riding the Buiräbähnli.
Sadly, all journeys must come to an end, but we hope you enjoyed our expedition as much as we loved traversing this beautiful country. The bags full of Swiss chocolate we brought home are also helping us cope. While we may have covered a lot of ground, there are still thousands of peaks, places, and points of interest that may become the highlight of one’s own adventure, so we urge you to keep exploring. Whether riding up a railway at 30% grade or exploring the historic streets of a Swiss urban center, you may just accidentally happen upon a Wes Anderson-style vista yourself.
Written by: Seamus McMahon at Accidentally Wes Anderson