Although Switzerland is pretty small, some destinations take a little bit of driving to reach. So it’s taken me this long to get across to Creux-du-Van, in the mountains above Neuchâtel – one of the most famous destinations in the Swiss part of the Jura mountains.
The best time to visit the region by far is autumn – that much became blindingly obvious when we visited the Gorges de l’Areuse for a long hike last year. So Jo’s birthday seemed like a good opportunity and we headed over this weekend. One through the fogginess of canton Fribourg and past the spa town of Yverdon-les-Bains, the road leading up into the mountains quickly took us above the clouds.
Once into the forests, the landscape changed to the more common image of the Jura – rough meadows interspersed with copses, rocky clearings, and the occasional cabin. The landscape here is quite different to many other regions of Switzerland and I particularly like the occasional limestone poking through the grass and the beech tree copses.
The Creux-du-Van cliffs themselves are on the top of the plain above the Val-de-Travers valley; curved to face the rising sun in the east, and a vertiginous viewpoint from the top of the 500m-high drop. In the far distance, the Bernese Alps were visible through the mist and much appreciated not just by us, but also by the dozens and dozens of other visitors. I immediately liked the place despite the crowds – not just because of the wonderful scenery but also by an uncanny resemblance to parts of the limestone landscape in the southern Yorkshire Dales.