Fun things to do in Switzerland

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Switzerland

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    Rorschach

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 28, 2014

    We knew we were leaving Switzerland by catching a ferry somewhere on Lake Constance. I chose Rorschach because I have a degree in psychology and associated the town with the famous ink blot personality test. In fact that test is not named after the town but named after its creator Hermann Rorschash.

    We did not spend a lot of time here, but had a walk by the picturesque lakeside then boarded the ferry.

    Rorschach. Rorschach.
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    Appenzell

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 28, 2014

    From St Gallen we took the Appenzeller Railway to Appenzell. Appenzell Village is the capital of the smallest of the Swiss cantons. It is surrounded by beautiful mountainous scenery and has some wonderfully painted old wooden buildings.

    We bought some Appenzell cheese while we were there. This was delicious but completely smelled out our hotel room. We ate most of it on the ferry crossing Lake Constance and had to eat it on the outside deck due to the overpowering smell.

    The Appenzeller Railway. Appenzell. Old Houses, Appenzell. Appenzell.
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    St Gallen

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 28, 2014

    After Rapperswil we spent a few days in St Gallen. St. Gallen is in the northeastern part of Switzerland. It is located about 700 meters above sea level and is one of the highest cities in Switzerland. It gets a lot of snow in winter.

    The town of St Gallen developed around the hermitage of Saint Gall which was founded in the 7th century. St Gallen has many lovely old buildings as well as the Abbey of St Gall.

    We also went to the Drei Weieren, the Three Ponds, to swim. These ponds were originally dug out by monks to satisfy the water requirements of their monastery. Later water from these ponds was used to put out fires and as a raw material in the bleaching industry.

    View over St Gallen. At the three ponds. Old Houses, St Gallen. Peter in St Gallen. Old Houses, St Gallen.
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    Cows in Zurich

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 28, 2014

    On our first visit to Zurich there were life size fibreglass models of cows everywhere. We devoted a lot of time to tracking them down and photographing them. We especially loved themed ones. For example on the lake there was one on a diving board heading for a swim, at the hospital there was one on a drip.

    The idea of these cow sculptures originated in Zurich in 1998 and was the brainchild of artistic director Walter Knapp.

    The concept was bought by an American group and renamed Cow Parade. This is now the largest and most successful public art event in the world and has been staged in over 75 cities including: Chicago in 1999, New York in 2000, London in 2002, Tokyo, Brussels and Dublin in 2003, Prague and Stockholm in 2004, Mexico City and Sao Paulo in 2005, Buenos Aires, Boston and Paris in 2006, Milan and Istanbul in 2007.

    At the end of a cow parade event the statues are auctioned off and the money raised by them is donated to a variety of different charities.

    Hospital Cow. Surrealist Cows. Headscarfed Cow.
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    Rapperswil

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 28, 2014

    Rapperswil is located on Lake Zurich. You can get here by train or paddle steamer from Zurich. We spent a couple of nights in Rapperswil and absolutely loved it.

    Rapperswil is also known as the City of Roses and has several rose gardens. It also has a deer park, a castle, a main square where you can find its town hall, lots of churches and monasteries and several places where you can swim in the lake.

    Rapperswil Castle dominates the old town's skyline. The original castle dates back to around 1220. Due to wars and periods of neglect the castle gradually fell into disrepair. In 1870 it was leased by a Polish émigré, Count Wladyslaw Broel-Plater. He had fled from troubles in Poland and settled in Switzerland in1844. At his own expense he restored the castle and opened it as the Polish National Museum in 1870.

    Rapperswil Harbour and Castle. Rapperswil Main Square. Main Square. Deer, Rapperswil.
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    Zurich

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 28, 2014

    Zurich is a beautiful city located on Lake Zurich. There are plenty of places on the lake where you can go swimming. There are also lots of ferry rides.

    In addition to swimming in the lake, we also swam in part of the Limmat River. This had a very strong current. The current carries you along at speed without you having to put much effort into swimming. You have to grab on to something at the sides of the river to get out though rather than getting swept away.

    Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. It is home to many banks and financial institutions.

    Most of Zürich's historical sites are located within the area on either side of the Limmat River, between the Main railway station and Lake Zürich. Zurich has many impressive churches such as the Grossmünster which is a Protestant church with two towers, the Fraumünster Church with its tall clock tower, and St Peter's Church which has a shorter clock tower.

    Zurich has two funiculars: the Rigiblick funicular and the Polybahn funicular. The Polybahn is more central.

    Old Town, Zurich The Fraum��nster Church and St Peter's Church Lake Zurich The Grossm��nster, Zurich Funicular.
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    Basel

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 28, 2014

    We only went to Basel for one day. I remember looking over the River Rhine and walking down to the banks of the river then crossing the river on a little ferry.

    There are four ferries across the Rhine. These are all located between Basel's five bridges. The ferries are called Wilde Maa, Leu, Vogel Gryff and Ueli. These ferries are powered by the natural movement of the river rather than by motors or oars.

    I also remember a large fountain containing various machines that moved the water around. To me the machines looked like spinning wheels and sewing machines. This fountain is known as the Tinguely Fountain. It was created by local artist Jean Tinguely. He specialized in creating moving pieces of art. The Tinguely Fountain is located in front of the Stadttheater. As the water is just moved around pointlessly and repeatedly, some regard the fountain as symbolizing the futility of life.

    Basel Cathedral is a large red sandstone building with twin towers. It is located on a hill looking over the Rhine River.

    Ferry across the Rhine. Rhine River, bridge and cathedral in background.
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    Sargans

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 28, 2014

    We travelled to Sargans by bus from Liechtenstein in the early evening to have a look at the town and find somewhere to eat.

    I remember taking a look at the castle, but unfortunately the photos I took of it are not in Hong Kong and may in fact just be lost all together. What sticks in my mind about the castle is that it had one extremely tall tower jutting out above the rest of the building.

    Sargans Castle dates from 1291. Sargans was once part of the Holy Roman Empire. Over time the castle gradually fell into a state of disrepair. The Municipality of Sargans bought the dilapidated castle building at the end of the nineteenth century and renovated it. Today Sargans Castle is a museum. In 1983 it was the Swiss Museum of the Year. It has a historical restaurant and ancient wine press.

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    Buchs and Werdenberg

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 28, 2014

    We have visited Buchs twice. On our first visit we arrived by bus from Liechtenstein in the early evening. We were really looking for somewhere to eat as Liechtenstein was so expensive. We walked towards Werdenberg and saw the castle and lake, but did not go right up to the castle.

    On our second visit, we had more time and climbed up to Werdenberg Castle. We were glad we did; the castle and surrounding wooden buildings were really beautiful and the view from the castle across the lake was stunning.

    Werdenberg Castle is part of the ancient citadel of Werdenberg. The castle was founded in 1230 by Graf Rudolf the 1st of Montfort. Werdenberg Castle is now a museum and has been open to the public since 1956. The wooden buildings around the castle are also very picturesque.

    Werdenberg Castle. The view from the castle. Werdenberg Werdenberg Werdenberg.
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    The Monument of Dying Lion in Lucerne

    by hopang Updated May 17, 2014

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    The Monument of Dying Lion is arguably the second most popular tourist attraction in the city after the Chapel Bridge. It is simply a "must-visit" tourist attraction when you are in the city of Lucerne for your vacation. This is really a touching monument as Mark Twain once described the monument as one of the most moving piece of monuments in the world.

    The Dying Monument was designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen in the early 19th century and was erected in honour of the more than 700 Swiss mercenary soldiers mostly from central Switzerland who were massacred defending King Louis XVI of France and his family during the French Revolution so that they could escape out of the Palace in Paris in the late 18th century. These Swiss guards died when the revolutionaries stormed the Palace.

    Just above the Monument of the Dying Lion are capital letters carved on the rock 'HELVETIORUM FIDEI AV VIRTUTI' (can be read clearly from our first and third photographs) meaning "To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss". We were surprised to see that the monument was quite large. It measures approximately 6 meter high and 10 meter long and was carved out of the wall of the natural rock just in front of the pond at Glacier Garden. Visitors can sit on the several chairs in front of the pond to admire the monument and its touching story. Don't miss this great monument when you are in Lucerne for your vacation. Admission is free.

    The Monument of Dying Lion in Lucerne The Monument of Dying Lion in Lucerne To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss Snapshot of the Monument of Dying Lion Map of the Glacier Garden in Lucerne
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    Chapel Bridge in Lucerne

    by hopang Updated May 17, 2014

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    The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke in German) is the most famous tourist attraction in the city of Lucerne. It is simply a "must-walk across" attraction but at times it can be very crowded due to many tourists arriving by buses and trains from other cities. Walking across it gives a visitor a fantastic view of the surrounding area of the city especially the Old Town and the towers. Chapel Bridge is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. This iconic historic bridge is also the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world.

    Chapel Bridge has history that dates back to the 14th century. It was constructed as part of the city's fortifications and was named after St. Peter's Chapel. Triangular paintings on the ceiling were added later in the 17th century and many of them are still in perfect conditions although some are missing. These paintings illustrate the scenes of local and Swiss history including St. Leodegar and St. Maurice. There are souvenir shops on the bridge for those hunting for beautiful local souvenirs.

    The iconic Chapel Bridge in Lucerne Chapel Bridge in Lucerne Lovely old paintings of Chapel Bridge in Lucerne Great old painting of the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne Lovely Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
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    Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne

    by hopang Updated May 16, 2014

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    Church of St. Leodegar (St. Leodegar im Hof or Hofkirche in German) is one of the largest churches in Switzerland. St. Leodegar was the son of St. Sigrada and brother of St. Warinus. The Church of St. Leodegar is also one of the more popular tourist attractions in the city of Lucerne. It is definitely a landmark in the city as its twin towers can be seen from many parts of the city especially from area around the lake. The Church was one of the few churches constructed north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War. The church of St. Leodegar was constructed in the early 17th century even though it has history that dates back to the 8th century.

    The Church of St. Leodegar was actually founded in 1874 and simultaneously became a collegiate church and a parish church until today. The white stone interior is decorated with statues and the altars painted in gold. We stumbled into this Church while walking from the Chapel Bridge to the Statue of the Dying Lion approximately one hundred meters north of the Church. The church is opened to the public between 7.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Photography and video recording are allowed inside the Church.

    Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne Interior of Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne
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    Jesuit Church in Lucerne

    by hopang Updated May 16, 2014

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    The Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche in German) is one of the most beautiful churches in Switzerland. Today this baroque Catholic church is one of the major tourist attractions in the city. Jesuit Church is the oldest baroque church to be constructed north of the Alps in Switzerland. The Church was constructed in the year 1666 to dedicate to St. Francis Xavier and was consecrated eleven years later. It was designed by Austrian and Italian architects and was built by Father Christoph Vogier for the Jesuits who were responsible to bring the Counter Reformation to Lucerne in the 17th century.

    Two unusual looking onion domes erected on top of the twin towers were added several centuries later. The Church has two large bells with diameter of almost one meter. Jesuit Church has beautiful Rococco interior and it also contains a small chapel which was dedicated to Brother Klaus. The Jesuit Church has been used for organ recitals and concerts as the religious life of the Church had gradually disappeared over the last century. Visitors can climb up the towers to have a commanding view of the Old Town, Chapel Bridge and River Reuss.

    Jesuit Church in Lucerne Jesuit Church in Lucerne Jesuit Church in Lucerne
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    Rathaus in Zurich

    by hopang Updated May 14, 2014

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    Rathaus (The Town Hall) of Zurich is a popular tourist attraction. It has contrasting architectural styles of architecture especially Renaissance and baroque styles. The Town Hall was constructed in the late 17th century and was used as a seat of government for the Republic of Zurich until the late 18th century. it was later owned by the Canton of Zurich since the beginning of the 19th century. Today it is the home of cantonal parliament as well as municipal parliament.

    Rathaus actually stretches out into River Limmat as you can see from our third photograph. The Rathaus is facing the Town Hall bridge known as Rathausbrücke (depicted on our fourth photograph). Rathaus is also the name of a quarter in Alstadt. Inside the the Town Hall are collections of historical objects and works of art depicting the city's political life. Unfortunately we did not mange to visit the inside of the Rathaus. It is a pity as admission to the Rathaus is free for holders of Zurich Card. We certainly hope to do it in our next visit to Zurich!

    Rathaus in Zurich Rathaus in Zurich Rathaus in Zurich Rathausbr��cke
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    Opera House in Zurich

    by hopang Updated May 14, 2014

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    Opera House (Opernhaus in German) is a great destination in the city of Zurich for those who love opera performances. It is considered one of the best venues in the world for opera performances. Even the locals are surprised that many foreign tourists inquire about opera performances in the Opera House.

    This neo-baroque style opera house is quite small compared to other opera houses in other cities in Europe. We did not watch any opera performances here during our stay in Zurich but we were quite impressed by the architecture of the building. The Opernhaus has a seating capacity for approximately 1,100 spectators. It is home to Zurich Opera since the late 19th century. The first opera performed in the Opera House was Lohengrin by Richard Wagner.

    Today Opernhaus is home to Zurich Opera House Orchestra and Zurich Opera House Choir. The 60 member Zurich Opera House Orchestra was formed in the year 1985. For schedule of performances at Opernhaus, you may visit the below website.

    Opera House in Zurich Opera House in Zurich Opera House in Zurich
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