Traveling to Switzerland Off-Season Part 1

Sister got a really good deal on her flight from San Diego to Zurich. I'm talking cheap, and I think there is a reasonable explanation.

Switzerland is generally a year-round tourist destination because the summers are lovely and in the winter people love the idea of skiing in the Alps. When you look on any Interlaken adventure sports website you'll find that they divide the activities into two categories: summer and winter. However, you'll find that there are a couple of "off" months that don't fall into either of these categories: April and November. Apparently, winter here is from December to March and summer is from May to October.

Not knowing about this unusual classification of the seasons, Sister came during the off month of November. Some hiking areas are closed for the winter by this time. Ski resorts are not quite yet open. Zip-lining in Ticino? The cable car in Ebenalp? Closed the whole month of November for maintenance. Still, as I said in a previous post, we managed to find enjoyable ways to spend our time together.

Day 1: Pick up Sister in Interlaken. The plan was to watch her jump out of a helicopter, but the clouds were not cooperating that day. Isaiah and I met up with her at the Balmer's hostel (pictured above), which she said was adequate but more known for its nightlife (including the only bar in the vicinity) than its facilities. A walk into "town" revealed that there isn't much to the town of Interlaken except for watch shops, a casino, and adventure sports outlets. We ate Döner Kebap and then hit the road. On our way back to Au, we stopped in Luzern. By that time it was already dark, so we got to see the city all lit up for the holidays. Beautiful. We walked all over the old town and across each covered bridge before heading home.

Day 2: Thanksgiving Friday, hike and eat. Friday morning we all slept in and enjoyed a late breakfast feast. Since it was too early to start cooking our Thanksgiving meal, Isaiah suggested we head to Wasserauen for a hike/stroll. From the train station, following a (steep) paved path, we arrived at Seealpsee after about an hour. Because Seealpsee is one of the starting points for further hiking and not one of us was prepared for hard-core hiking, we walked only half the perimeter of the lake and then turned around to head back to the car. It was lovely to be outdoors, squeeze some fitness into our day of gluttony, and show Sister one of our favorite places to hike. Once home, I set Lauren to some major chopping duty: yams, green beans, onions, leeks, etc. Three hours of cooking later, we sat down for our Thanksgiving meal. Hearts warm and bellies full. (Or in Spanish, "Panza llena, corazon contento." Literal meaning: "Full belly, content heart.")


Stay tuned for Days 3 and 4...


  1. It really was a nice hike. Cold at first then it warmed up, my legs were killing me! Xxo Lauren

  2. Sounds like a really packed getaway, which are the best in my opinon. Never thought about Switzerland in November or April either. You just want to be there in snow or summer, in between doesn't capture as much excitement.

  3. Hi Sister - I am glad you liked the hike!

    Fly Girl - you know, unless you have specific sporting activities you want to accomplish while in Switzerland, I believe you can visit year-round and still capture that Swiss excitement. Since it rains all the time here (luckily not at all during their 4-day visit), even skydiving cancellations in summer are a possibility. Lack of snow and closures just meant we would have to experience everything Swiss in other ways: chocolate, cheese (boy did they eat cheese), hiking, and city visits. One more thing, the end of November is the beginning of the Christmas market season, so at least we had that!


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