Stepping back and detaching yourself from studies or work can be difficult for everyone. I find it particularly difficult because of the idea that we should always be reachable.
However, moving to a different country can be overwhelming, so it's important to take a break from paperwork and office visits. My favourite way to do this is to escape to another city, town or the mountains for a day and leave my agenda at home. While cities often have quiet cafés and hidden spots that allow you to escape the hustle and bustle, escaping to an idyllic country setting if a fantastic way to clear your head and forget your responsibilities for a day or two.
Being a small country, Switzerland is the perfect place to have work-life balance. Nothing is so far away that it can’t be done in a day or a weekend. Here are my top five recommendations for weekend adventures in Switzerland.
Zürich: Cosmopolitan, but still full of character
I’m a little biased towards Zürich, but since moving to a new (to me) part of the city, I’ve learned to appreciate the city centre a lot more. There are lots of cute cafés in the "centre centre" and even going a few streets back to the hipster parts, there are some havens to escape to (including Café des Amis in Wipkingen).
Of course, there are also lots of little spots around Lake Zürich, away from the marina and tourists, where you can gather your thoughts.
Lausanne: Understated charm
A very understated (and often forgotten about) city with plenty of charm, Lausanne is another city that offers the best of both worlds. A walk along the lake or a seat in the garden admiring the lake and the mountains is the perfect way to forget about the offices in the streets behind you.
Or, walking through the office-filled streets away from the lake, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the old town, which is a maze of streets twisting round cafés, restaurants, shops and bars. If you follow the streets to the top of the hill, you’ll end up at the Cathedral; arguably the most peaceful part of the city.
Lugano: A holiday all on its own
Moving to the Italian part of Switzerland, Lugano reminded me of a holiday resort. The vibe is so relaxed and, sitting by the lake with an Apéro in hand, it is so easy to slip into holiday mode.
The famous gates in Parco Civico are mesmerizing and if you keep walking right along the lake, there is the tiniest beach on the edge of the city where people sit and ponder their next move.
Jungfrau: The "Top of Europe"
It doesn’t get much more remote than the highest mountain in Europe. Jungfrau might be full of tourists angling to get that perfect holiday snap, but there is something about looking down on the mountains from the highest point on the continent that makes your day-to-day worries insignificant.
It’s not the easiest place in the world to get to, but the views alone are worth it (and train journeys are the perfect time to get your diary out and do some life admin; another way to clear your head).
Mt. Pilatus: Views of the city
Not far from Lucerne, this mountain has gorgeous views of the Vierwaldstättersee and the surrounding region. To reach the top, you can take the world’s steepest cog railway—definitely recommend purely based on the number of Swiss cows with traditional cow bells you will see—or hike all the way to the Pilatus Kulm if you’re feeling energetic.
Once you’ve reached the top, there are some hiking paths that you can follow and also some cafés and restaurants if you just feel like taking in the views.Add this article to your reading list