Blog posts about Switzerland

Switzerland, a quadrilingual country in the middle of Europe, has been my home since 2001.

Faulensee, Switzerland

1st August is Switzerland’s national day, and fireworks and communal events are the norm. On Lake Thun, in the Bernese Oberland, the main ships of the local transport company parade around the lake and the surrounding villages time their firework displays to coincide with their arrival.

Faulensee, Switzerland

Unterbergli, Switzerland

At Unterbergli, on the way to the Sigriswiler Rothorn, there is a large meadow on the privately owned alp. Access is on foot only, and entails a 450m metre ascent of a pretty steep path through the forest. Once there, you reach a haven from the world: whilst I was there, I saw mountain hare, red deer and several…

Unterbergli, Switzerland

Spitzi Flue, Switzerland

Spitzi Flue is the very Swiss-German-sounding name of a huge promotory of rock on the “Sigriswilgrat” (or mountain ridge). Although the rock looks a bit small in this photo, it’s actually the tip of a rockface around 500 metres high. (Compare with this photo, in which a climber stands atop the pinnacle.) I hiked up to Unterbergli from Wilerallmi on…

Spitzi Flue, Switzerland

Hörnligrat, Switzerland

I can remember just how much pain I was in when I took this photo. My wife and I take a short holiday for our anniversary each year and in 2012, we chose the Swiss mountain resort of Arosa. Out of practice at hiking, we made the daft choice that it would be easier to get a cable car…

Hörnligrat, Switzerland

Hondrich Hill, Switzerland

There are viewpoints all over the place near where we live. But this one proved to be a bit of a surprise. The sun had woken me comparatively early on a Saturday morning, so I wrapped up warm against the cold, donned my hiking boots, and set off and upwards from home with no particular goal. After crossing under the main…

Hondrich Hill, Switzerland

Sigriswil, Switzerland

I’d heard people refer many times to the “Niesenbänkli”, a bench on the slopes above Lake Thun which afforded the absolute best view from its northern side to the Niesen on the opposite shore. As the weather forecast was wonderful, we packed a lunch and took the ship across the lake from our home to Merligen, then hiked…

Sigriswil, Switzerland

Creux-du-Van, Switzerland

Creux-du-Van is a huge, natural rock amphitheatre in the Jura mountains. A 500-metre-high wall of rock provides safe haven for ibex and birds, whilst hiking paths around the area are a popular destination for walkers of all calibres. When we visited, the karst limestone landscape reminded us strongly of northern England, with limestone poking through the grass of wide-ranging…

Creux-du-Van, Switzerland

Provence, Switzerland

The Jura mountains, on the northern Swiss border with France, are well-known for rocky, forested gorges. But the range of mountains also slopes down into the Swiss Seeland (lake district) through meadows and villages, most of which afford spectacular southern-facing views to the distant alpine peaks. The region is a particularly good destination for seeing cloud inversions in autumn, when the…

Provence, Switzerland

Bire, Beatenberg

The Bire is a rock promontory amongst the cliffs above Waldegg, at the eastern end of Beatenberg. The name – local dialect for Birne, meaning “pear” – will give you an idea of its shape. I saw some photos from the hike to the viewpoint on the Instagram stream of a local holiday chalet owner last autumn, and immediately…

Bire, Beatenberg

Älggialp, Switzerland

The geographical centre of Switzerland is at Älggialp: appropriately in a remote and secluded spot in the mountains. Near Sachseln and across a high mountain range from Melchsee Frutt in canton Obwalden, the precise spot is half-way down an inaccessible cliff amongst forest trees. But nearby, the authorities have made a simple barbecue spot so that visitors can spend time here;…

Älggialp, Switzerland

Spiezberg, Switzerland

Locals to Spiez, on the shores of Lake Thun, are familiar with the vineyards on Spiezberg hill. There is a well-used and well-loved path along the upper edge of the vineyards, which leads along the edge of the forest from the huge Katzenstein rock to the council office and library, and on towards Spiezmoos. It’s a great place to visit in…

Spiezberg, Switzerland

Männlichen, Switzerland

The mountain slopes near the world-famous Eiger are a destination for thousands of skiers and snowboarders in winter. On the Männlichen plateau, above Grindelwald and Wengen, the best time of day for photography is shortly before sunset, when the sports people have left for the day and only cable-car staff and a few sunset-hunting visitors are still on the mountain.

Männlichen, Switzerland

Lausanne, Switzerland

Locals and photographers alike gather on the hill near Lausanne’s cathedral to watch – and photograph – the summer sunsets. The northern shore of Lac Léman is one of the best places in the country from which to photograph the sunset.

Lausanne, Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland

A classic view of the ancient centre of the federal Swiss capital, Bern, photographed from the city’s Rose Garden terrace. Sadly, the view is often peppered with builders’ machinery, including the scaffolding which has been on various parts of the city minster with only a few short breaks since 1950.

Bern, Switzerland