Traveling is one of the finest ways to gain knowledge. Many people love to travel very often, and I am one of them. I want to visit every creation of God. Switzerland is one of the most beautiful, panoramic, and much-loved travel destinations in Europe and even in the world. Indeed, many of us have been fascinated by the natural scenery of different places in Switzerland in calendars or movies. Surrounded by hills, mountains, lakes, valleys, and alpine forests, this country is as if the creator has left everything untouched. It’s a snowy wonderland where the Swiss Alps play the protagonist. Anyone will be impressed by the first sight of this country which is more beautiful than imagination. This small Switzerland is like a piece of paradise on earth, considered one of the best travel destinations in the world. This country has been ranked as the best country to visit in 2018. There are countless reasons to travel to Switzerland; everyone says traveling here is the best lifetime opportunity. Being located in Europe, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Before leaving Bangladesh to travel to Europe, I planned to go to Switzerland after completing my trip to Sweden. So, after completing my trip to Sweden, I flew directly from Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden to Geneva Airport in Switzerland. I have organized this article based on my travel experience in Switzerland, which is rich in a combination of spectacular mountain peaks, magnificent glaciers, vast lakes, picturesque quiet villages, and green pastures.
Usually, passionate travelers always have a good preparation with proper planning before traveling. Because choosing the location and accommodation arrangement, along with an appropriate transportation plan, is very important to make the trip enjoyable. Another thing is that even though the dream country of Switzerland is a Schengen country, it is more challenging to go around here. One of the causes is that everything here is three or four times more expensive than in other European countries. I plan in advance and make notes on my smartphone. First of all, I checked the dorm rooms of the hotel as per the plan and booked the seat because I decided to travel alone. In this case, if you plan to do a group tour or family tour, renting a room in a local people’s house a little away from the central city is better for a paying guest. Because it is challenging to find a place in the central city and more importantly the rent is very high. After arriving in Geneva after a nearly three-hour flight from Stockholm, I finally checked into my hotel. Then freshened up and with a bit of rest, I set out to explore Geneva.
It may be possible to describe Switzerland’s exquisite beauty, but it requires the imagination of the Scheherazade of Middle Eastern folk tales. Beautiful as an artist’s painting, Switzerland’s snow-capped peaks of the Alps rising from the shimmering blue waters seem to penetrate the clouds. The mesmerizing view of the snow-crowned peaks of the Alps and the fairy-tale villages or Emerald Valley wrapped in a vast carpet of green are one of the hallmarks of Switzerland.
Geneva: My main plan for this trip to Switzerland, a great example of natural beauty, was to focus on the city of Geneva, where the offices and headquarters of various organizations, including the United Nations, are located. I tried to visit this small but significant city of Geneva for two days. Geneva, which is very important in terms of world conferences, has the headquarters of World Telecommunication, the Research Institute of World Scientists, the World Meteorological Office, the center of the Red Cross, the ILO, the headquarters of the United Nations Refugee Agency, etc. Other tourist attractions in this charming Geneva include Lake Geneva, Jet d’Eau, Patek Philippe Museum, Natural History Museum, Museum of Art and History, Cathedrale St-Pierre, Parc Des Bastions, Palais des Nations, Jardin Botanique, Jardin Anglais, etc. Clean and magnificent, this city is also known as the “City of Parks” or “Green City.”
Bengali community: Geneva city is home to around two lakhs to two and a half lakhs people, out of which there are only three to four hundred Bangladeshis. Almost all Bangladeshis work in restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping mall shops, and some search for better jobs. While roaming around Geneva city, I met Shyamal Bhai from Tangail, who operates Monsoon Super Shop at 7/8 locations and a restaurant in Geneva city. It is usually very challenging to find Bengali food in Switzerland. I asked Shyamal Bhai about Bengali food, and he showed me the location of a Bengali restaurant near the city station. There I finished my dinner with lamb meat and rice, which was quite expensive.
United Nations (UN) or Palais des Nations: On the second day, I woke up fresh and explored the official area of Geneva. The main branch office of the United Nations is located in Geneva, also known as the Palais des Nations. Flags of all the United Nations member countries are hoisted in front of the head office of the United Nations, and the flag of Bangladesh is on pole number 11 of the 2nd row. There is also a memorial sculpture of a wooden chair with a broken leg as a protest against the use of Land Mines and Cluster bombs right in front of the UN Gate. This twelve-meter-high sculpture was created by Swiss artist Daniel Berset using 5.5 tons of wood to warn visiting politicians about their activities.
Geneva Street Food Festival: Wandering around, I made my way to the Jardin Anglais, where the final day of the four-day Geneva Street Food Festival was taking place. Various food trucks and restaurants from different countries were arranged in a friendly atmosphere. Visitors can roam around and enjoy the food according to their choice. There is also the opportunity to enjoy beer and wine tastings from the stands of various production companies.
Lake Geneva and Jet d’Eau: Lake Geneva is the largest lake in the southwestern part of Switzerland. There are many boats on the shores of the lake that tourists can hire to explore. On one side of the lake, big rocks remind us of Patenga beach in our country. At that time, a giant white swan was floating in the lake. By the end of the day, I arrive in front of the Jet d’Eau, a water fountain. This fountain on Lake Geneva symbolizes the ambition, power, energy, and dynamic vitality of the city of Geneva. I have never seen such a fountain of water rising so high. This water fountain, one of the highest in the world and 140 meters high, stretches towards the sky with the excitement of touching the sky throughout the year.
One thing that comes up first when it comes to travel is the cost figures. And we all know that traveling to any country in Europe is quite expensive. And if it is Switzerland, then there is no question. Because this country in Europe is so self-sufficient in its beauty, it attracts more tourists. That’s why the travel cost to Switzerland is much higher than in other countries. My flight from Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden to Geneva Airport in Switzerland cost 50 dollars, equivalent to 46 swiss francs when converted to Swiss currency. Dorm rooms in hotels usually cost around CHF 40 to CHF 50 per seat, while budget hotels will cost a minimum of CHF 115 to CHF 120 per room. The food price in restaurants is very high here; for example, I had to pay 30 CHF for a meal with lamb meat in a Bengali hotel, while I got 3 CHF worth of rice for free. Transportation costs more unless you purchase a pass. For example, passes for one, two, or three days for transportation and museum visits can be purchased for CHF 24 to CHF 48.
Some Essential Tips for Switzerland Tour:
- When traveling to Switzerland, cleanliness should be the top priority. As they have kept their country clean, I have not seen any dirt on their roads till now. So, we should pay attention to cleanliness while traveling to Switzerland and leave a positive impression about our country.
- You can rent a house through Airbnb or stay with the locals to reduce housing costs. It will give you a lot of fun and save you money. Try adapting to the people there and following the country’s rules.
- To reduce the cost of transportation and museum visits in Switzerland, you can buy passes for different periods according to your plan.
- Train travel in Geneva, Switzerland, is affordable, and different train ticket passes are available. So, it will be beneficial to save money.
- There are many historical sites in Switzerland that you can explore on foot. Also, if necessary, you can book a car through the ride-sharing app without directly hiring a taxi.
- Meat prices are relatively high in Switzerland, so try to exclude meat items from the menu to reduce costs. Also, as a paying guest, if you stay at a local people’s house in Switzerland, kitchen facilities are available to cook and eat at your convenience after shopping at the supermarket.
- Don’t try to spoil the environment in any way, don’t behave disorderly, and keep yourself away from smoking.