G. has been asking me to go on a road trip in the Swiss Alps pretty much since we started dating almost 3 years ago. After 2 years of me persistently and masterfully delaying it, I finally agreed on the trip. We set on our little 13-days journey in July ’15 and I realized I’ve been very stupid for saying no for such a long time. We had an amazing time camping in some of the most fascinating campsites across Southern Switzerland!
We didn’t really do much of preparation or initial research, as it would soon become clear from our story. We rather only had some general points of interest and some campsites in mind. Most of the time we improvised and often changed our initial route. Which I think was the best part of it – Switzerland is a great country to improvise in.
We’ve broken down the post into days and have created maps with our route in case someone wants to follow our steps (or tires). Enjoy and feel free to comment if you have any questions!
Day 1 (Sofia, Bulgaria – Camping Lago Di Dobbiaco, Italy)
The first day was marked by a very early wake-up, a fully-packed car, and approximately 13 hours of solid drive. You can view our exact route here. The first half of the day was not marked by anything interesting, other than the ginormous, epic, massive traffic on the Croatia-Serbia border. Luckily for us, it was in the opposite direction and we were fine. However, we felt genuinely sorry for all the folks stuck there and we hoped it wouldn’t happen to us on our way back. It was too early to worry though. Onwards!
When we entered Slovenia, we realized we would pass by the infamous Bled lake which turned out to be the go-to place for half of Europe’s retirees. The lake is beautiful, but pretty tiny and felt a bit suffocating with all the crowds in this hot summer day.
After few more hours drive, we arrived in the amazing Camping Lago Di Dobbiaco in the middle of the Dolomites. We chose to sleep in campsites and did a fair amount of scouting along the way. So, we collected some solid data and will provide a quick overview of advantages and disadvantages of each place. Note, it’s our immediate, often random, thoughts. As we were traveling with a car and sleeping in a tent, however, our perspective is limited. We can’t provide 100% meaningful recommendations for people traveling with RVs or caravans.
We stayed at this place for just one night, as we didn’t want to drive all the way to Switzerland in a single shot. However, the place is really, really amazing. Or maybe the view is what makes it tick.
Camping Lago Di Dobbiaco
+ Awesome location
+ Stunning view
+ Great sanitary facilities
+ Great restaurant, serving breakfast as well
+ Friendly staff, it’s a family run campsite
– Too few tent pitches, may get overcrowded
– No shop
Day 2 (Camping Lago Di Dobbiaco, Italy – Camping Morteratsch, Switzerland)
The second day from the trip started a little later, as we were still pretty tired from the long drive the previous day. And still, the feeling of waking up and breathing in the fresh, alpine air is incredible and powers you up.
We had a quick bite, took some pics of the absolutely breathtaking (btw, prepare to read that word a lot from now on) Toblacher lake and headed to St. Moritz, where were the majority of the campings we had shortlisted.
Today’s route was shaping as one of the most picturesque for the whole trip.
It took us through one of the most beautiful passes in Switzerland. We would pass and the infamous Stelvio. The latter turned out to be a pretty big mistake, as it was indeed the shortest cut for us for Switzerland, but also the busiest. Regardless of the intense drive, the horrible traffic and the fact that we were overtaken by a cyclist several times, we strongly recommend the view! It will basically prepare you for what you’d constantly see and experience in Switzerland.
Despite the crazy uphills, the cyclists in the Alps know their shit and are totally inhumane in their pedalling. Tina was rather perplexed and at almost every curve she was like “Seriously?! Look at this guy” or “Is this person for real?!
After Stelvio you’ll see Livigno – a little but very touristy town. The good thing about it, besides the picturesque passes between it and Stelvio, is that it’s something like a duty-free zone. We didn’t quite research anything about that statement, but we know for a fact that the fuel prices were at least 50% lower.
Today’s route was only short on paper. Half of these 300km were through 180 degree curves and many smiles… at least on the driver’s face.
We approached St. Moritz in the early afternoon, which meant it was time for scouting around the nearby campsites. It’s now a good time to mention that the main website that we used to find and research campings was Euro Campings. They also have an аpp, which requires a couple of euros to download the maps for a certain area.
We had 4 campings to check. Let’s start with our top favourite – the 5-star Silvaplana.
+ Great location, on the lake
+ Great and modern sanitary facilities
+ Surfers campsite
+ Pretty big
– Very windy
– Too close to the main road
Yup, the camping was pretty nice (the above pics are from it) but the wind was way too strong, which made it a perfect place for surfers, but not us.
On to the second option which was quite hard to find.
+ Close to the lake
– Pretty much only old people
– Not well-maintained facilities
– No shop
This one was completely the opposite to Silvaplana – the atmosphere could be compared to a middle-ages plagued village. The lake view was great, but it simply wasn’t our place. We decided to go back and check the backup options.
+ Very nice little houses
– Car not allowed to the tent
– Close to a small airport
– Quite luxurious restaurant, seemed a bit detached from the camping
– No shop
There was no staff to talk to us, other than that the camping looked pretty decent. We were even ready to try a bungalow but there were none available. Hopeless, we headed to our last choice.
+ Awesome location
+ Lake in the camping
+ Great facilities, family bathrooms
+ Restaurant (limited menu though)
+ Pretty big with a lot of tent pitches
+ Friendly staff
+ Wi-Fi (at registration only)
– May be loud if close to the road
Camping Morteratsch became our all-time favorite campsite for the whole trip. It’s location is simply fantastic – we had a river, an amazing lake, and stunning glacier view. You could sometimes hear cars in some areas, but most of the time the camping is super quiet. They have perfect bathroom facilities, well-stocked camp shop, restaurant and pretty much everything you may need. And there are a ton of things you can do around the camping itself. Tina was troubled by a tiny little mountain mouse which came to check in with us every day. Despite that little horrific monster, we literally fell in love with that place, highly recommend it and hope to get back there sooner rather than later.
We had dinner, did a quick stroll around the camp, enjoying the richness of the sunset and snuggled in the tent excited for the first day of real vacation.
Our initial (very limited) research didn’t reveal this place as one full of POIs. On the next morning, however, the friendly guy at the camp reception reassured us that there’s plenty of things to do here. He readily gave us a map and left us to choose between at least 15 different routes. As a first day, we decided on something softer – a 2-3 hour hike to a hut, where we could enjoy a beer or two in a sunlit terrace with a glacier view.
Our gut did not fail us as the route we randomly chose was absolutely marvelous. However, the planned 2 hours per direction actually doubled due to our frequent stops for pics. And these marmots…
Boval Hut is located on a sunlit slope, which revealed a splendid view to the Morteratsch Glacier. The pictures can reveal barely 20% of the overwhelming feeling of size, scale, beauty and freedom that strikes straight in front of your eyes.
Despite the changeable weather, the sun was really strong when we were up there and logically, soon we both got sunburnt. But we didn’t care, at least for now. Now we celebrated the food, the beer and the beauty.
The hike back was much easier and we got back for exactly 2 hours, as the guide suggested. We even managed to shower and do groceries shopping in the nearby town, where we were first introduced to Coop – the local groceries chain to which we would become loyal customers throughout the next days. We stocked up and decided to eat dinner at the tent. This is also the first time we realized how much more expensive everything in Switzerland is. The day before we had a wurst, french fries, a salad and 2 beers for 50 EUR ($60) for dinner at the camp restaurant. The prices in Coop were lower, but still quite surprisingly high.
Joro decided that he can’t miss that view and woke up in the middle of the night to make some night shots, but he wasn’t lucky with the equipment. Here, one to comfort you.
Day 4 (Camping Morteratsch, Switzerland – Camping Eigernordwand, Switzerland)
The next day started in the best possible way – a cup of coffee and this view…
We had initially planned for 2 nights in this area and they turned out to be highly insufficient. However, it was too soon to derail from our plan and we decided to visit one more sight before we move on. The place we chose is called Diavolezza and is a mountain bordering Morteratsch Glacier on the East. Luckily, there is a lift to the peak and we didn’t have to hike it up. The slopes were totally shadeless and the sun was burning. The two-way lift was somewhere around 30 EUR ($35) per person.
Naturally, whenever there’s a lift, there’s more tourists. This however didn’t spoil our enjoyable view and quick hike-stroll.
A tank top at 3000 meters altitude was something pretty standard. At times it gets a bit chilly, but the sun is so strong, that you can’t really feel cold. Also, don’t forget sunblock.
After this refreshing stop, it was time to head to Grindelwald – the pearl in the heart of Switzerland, where the beauty is really difficult to describe, even with pictures. The misconception that the road to there will be quick was one of the not-so-great-things about this trip in the otherwise picturesque route.
Unfortunately, we were racing with time (and the crazy cyclists) and couldn’t document well this trip, but trust me, there’s a lot to see – endless valleys interlinked with tiny little roads, picturesque small villages, endless green fields, slow cows and finally – the Brienz lake in the twilight. We were in a fairy tale.
We knew we had to search for the perfect camping, so we had to start scouting before it was dark.
+ Close to a waterfall in a valley
+ Facilities good, family bathrooms
– Very very touristy, big and loud
– Probably not very sunny
– Not many tent pitches
Camping Jungfrau is a 5-star one and was the first in our wishlist. However, we were quite stunned the moment we entered it. Coming from our quiet, pure mountain camping, this one felt like Sodom & Gomorrah – teens everywhere, a giant hostel for under-aged. We decided we need something more chilled. The next choice was Breithorn.
– Very small
– On the main road
– No restaurant
– No shop
As you can see our rating system is not very adequate, it’s more our immediate thoughts when we visited the campsite. So, the common ground here was a no. The nearby campsites area ended up with Camping Rütti.
– Very small
– On the main road
– No restaurant
– No shop
– Hostile staff
We decided to look around the camping in the car, as the place was just as big as the previous one. On the way out though, we were “greeted” by the man, who started waving hysterically and cursing in Swiss-German. He scolded us for driving through, this was their country and we had to respect their rules, etc. We said we’re sorry and politely apologized. There was no sign saying this was a no drive through. What’s more, we could do that at all the other previous campsites, so we honestly didn’t realize we were making a mistake. This whole story left a pretty bad taste in our mouths and we felt exactly like in St. Moritz. Hopeless and miserable, we headed to explore our last camping option in the area – Camping Eigernordwand.
+ Decent size but not very big
+ Lovely view
+ Great location
+ Very friendly staff
+ Small shop for essentials
– Facilities were ok but not very well-maintained
– Lack of enough shades
Just like a few days ago, we got lucky again and found a magnificent place. The campsite is small, a tad bit crowded and the facilities are not wow, but everything else is just fine. The view and the location are unbelievable. It’s away from the main road and faces the infamous Eiger. Turn your head and you see the joyful Grindelwald.
Happy with the end result, we showered, set up the tent and ended up staring at the Eiger North Face under the blanket with a book and beer. We couldn’t ask for more.
A new day with a new unbeliable view. Oh yeah, the peak is cool too!
We discussed the plan for the next couple of days over breakfast and decided to try the lakes around Interlaken first.
We had packed swimsuits, even though we didn’t expect to actually use them here. Technically, we never dipped in the water, as the temperature was around 18 degrees. It was 35+ outside. We had absolultely no problem “just” sunbathing and contemplating the nature around us.
After the “beach” we paid Coop a quick visit and stocked up for the evening. At this point Tina scolded me for my refusal to take the gas stove with us. She was right, as our food choices were limited to packaged food from the store or eating at a restaurant. If we had the stove, we could cook anything we wanted.
I tried some night shots again, but it was even worse this time, so I gave up.
The sixth day from our trip was one of the most memorable ones. Why? Let me start with that: the temperatures were rather high – around 30-35 degrees, but they felt even higher. If you’ve read about our Seville journey and the heat there, well Switzerland felt even worse. You could barely stay in the tent even at the 6am sunrise. Most of the shady places at the tent pitch were taken and we literally had to hide in the shades behind our car during breakfast. It was really, really, really hot and we had an ambitious hiking plan today. There were more than 30 routes in the area and we had to choose 2 at most to fit in the next two days. We chose the longest, but most interesting for us one. We had to take the lift to Männlichen, then hike to Kleine Scheidegg, where we had a more steep hike up to Eigergletscher. We would descend in the foot of Eiger itself, which would take us about 4 hours. We would catch a train somewhere along the road to get us back in town.
Our hiking equipment was a total joke, as we really didn’t know what to expect (remember, no research in advance). We didn’t even pack proper hiking shoes – who on earth would think your running shoes are OK for Alpine hiking?! BUT! We had a full pack with photography gear. Beat that!
The lift to Männlichen took about 30 minutes. Even if you don’t do the rest of the trail, the view to the valley and the “Holy Trinity” – Eiger, Mönch и Jungfrau makes the lift ride a totally worth experience.
We split from the tourist group and took the slightly more difficult and longer route, which happened to be the more picturesque. The only remaining problem was the heat. And our water supply was also vanishing quite quickly. The next check point had to be Kleine Scheidegg, and the hike to there was a gigantic open field without a pinch of shade. Again, it was freaking hot and I will leave you with an unedited quote from Tina’s notes for this particular day.
“The hike! – Grunt to Mannlichten lift, hike to Kleine something where Joro died, after he resurrected we went to Eiger Gletscher; then the Eiger trail downhill. Train gratis. Then we officially died.”
These lines contain so much painful truth that every time that I read them brings a smile on my face.
Kleine Scheidegg turned out to be quite a lively place, because of the train station which takes you to Jungfraujoch, a.k.a Top Of The Europe. Or in other words – the highest train station in Europe – 3454 meters. As you can probably tell, Switzerland is a pretty expensive country and the tickets to the afromentioned peak do not make an exception. The standard two-way ticket is around 170 EUR ($190). If you have discount cards, it’s significantly lower, but regardless, it’s still worth mentioning some of the price-makers relatives when thinking about this price tag.
Hotel Bellevue des Alpes is also here. It’s probably one of the very few hotels at such location. Btw, if you haven’t seen North Face we highly recommend it. The plot is in this same region at this same hotel and tells the story of a tragic attempt to climb the Eiger North wall.
One does feel small with this view.
We stayed here to get some rest, make a few shots and stock up on some ice-cold water.
A bit higher up on the trail we found a shockingly blue fake alpine lake. But what really impressed us was not the lake itself, but the “alpine jacuzzi”. It consisted of a small puddle 5x3m with three benches in it. Each bench overlooked one of the three peaks – Eiger, Mönch и Jungfrau. The water was super cold, but it was the perfect thing to freshen up your otherwise aching feet.
We reached the Eigergletscher train station, which meant we were in the foot of the giants. We now had a long and lonely downhill hike, because many of the tourists gave up long before this point. Or the trail simply wasn’t interesting for them.
The feeling of being so close to something so majestic and legendary is phenomenal. You feel you can touch the peak top… and yes, we nobly envy those alpinists.
The pain in our feet was horrible. And every step down was a huge effort for both of us. Despite that though and stricken by the beauty of this place, we slowly but steadily made it to the train station. We finally took the train back to Grindelwald, which by the way, was gratis. Yup, it’s strange to have something for free in Switzerland, but the combination of Swiss trust and a doze of absentmindedness resulted in this random situation.
None of us has any vague memories of this evening. We only know that both of us slept like logs.
Today’s awakening was accompanied by a lot of uh-s and oh-s. Everything hurt, but yet another perfect day was ahead of us. We had no time to lose. The plan for today was to head in the completely opposite direction and see how the “Holy Trinity” looks like from afar. We would hike to First.
Naturally, given our pains, we decided to be smart and try our chances with the car. There was a road, however it was only accessible to the locals. After about an hour of wandering and wining by Tina, we had to drive back to Grindelwald and take the lift. It got quite overcast, the horizon was filled with thick clouds, and the view we were hoping to see got quite darker than expected.
The hike today was way shorter and less exciting for sure. The bad weather did not spoil our good mood, but we felt pretty tired. We walked for about an hour and reached a lake, which was supposed to be special, but we didn’t understand why. It started pouring rain.
After a short discussion whether to take the lift back or walk, we agreed on walking. It was still early, we had dedicated the whole day to this trail and the way back was supposed to be through an asphalt road. And it indeed was, but it was such a massive downward hill that it kind of made our feet hurt even more.
The road was pretty long and after we realized our mistake, I suggested we rent trotti bikes on the next lift station. We had seen an ad earlier. It was an amazing experience. The little airplanes flew over the smooth asphalt, and the breaks were barely holding it. The trick was that the downhill was actually on the regular road and it was dangerous as there were cars along the way.
At some point we helped a young Japanese girl, whose rudder was misaligned. That same girl almost ended up crashing in a passing car, but thankfully she got away with just a massive fall over her face and a lot of tears. We saw her in Grindelwald again and she showed us her wound. All of her teeth were in the right place.
The rain got back, this time pouring over Grindelwald. We managed to save our camp setup.
Our last dinner here was a little bit sad, as on the next day we had to say goodbyes with another lovely place and move to Zermatt. It was clear since the first day in Grindelwald that the three days we had were barely enough. But still, we managed to steal a lot of fantastic memories.
Day 8 (Camping Eigernordwand, Switzerland – Camping les Grangettes, Switzerland)
We called the eight day of our trip “The X Day”. It was so bad that we wanted to erase it from the hard drive. At the dawn of day we had an argument whether to stick to the initial plan and spend two nights in Zermatt or skip the area at all. Technically, Zermatt was the last bit of the “mountain” part of the trip. I wanted to stay, Joro wanted to skip it. After all, we agreed on a compromise in the middle, but for that later.
The route from Grindelwald to Zermatt is relatively short.
We arrived around lunchtime and it was time for the usual campsites scouting. The bad news was that we didn’t have any top choices at all and the campings in this incredibly expensive part of Switzerland were not good at all.
+ Nice View
– Very small
– Looked shabby
Camping Grächbiel was the complete opposite of everything else up until this point. It opened up a nice view, but life there had stopped to exist. There was absolutely no one to ask if we could stay. There were a few tent pitches, almost all of them empty. It was pretty sad and depressing. We headed to our next and last shortlisted choice. So far we got lucky with the last campings we visited. Well, not this time.
+ Shuttle to the station
+ Close to Zermatt
– On the main road
– No flat pitches
– Not really good looking facilities
The second choice at least didn’t feel like ghost town and was more lively. It was close to Täsch and respectively Zermatt. At this point we decided we were not going to stay, but agreed to spend a crazy amount of money to go to Klein Matterhorn, from where we could see Matterhorn itself – one of the highest Alpine peaks, famous for the Toblerone chocolate packaging.
Almost immediately we encountered the next problem – in order to get to Zermatt, you have to take a train from Täsch. Pardon me, the journey itself lasts for whole 12 minutes. The distance between the two towns is very short, but of course no cars are allowed. To get a permit, you have to be either local living in Zermatt, or have an entry permit from the Pope. If you still hadn’t got it, let me tell you a little secret – the Swiss make money out of everything, really. We paid 0.50 EUR for parkings several times, just because you have to pay something. In this case, in order to get to Zermatt, you have to leave your car at a parking lot in Täsch, which in most cases has to be paid for the whole day. The price is 15 EUR ($17). Then you have to buy a ticket for the endless train ride, which costs 15 EUR again. Simple math shows that it takes 45 EUR ($50) for two people to get to Zermatt.
Once you get off the Zermatt train station, you start wondering if you were in Switzerland, or at a metro station in Tokyo. The Asians are really a lot there. They actually were everywhere, but here in Zermatt they were the majority of the population. After the quick shock, we headed to the lift which was supposed to get us to Klein Matterhorn. Meanwhile, on our way to the lift, we noticed that the Swiss prices reach new highs here – 45 EUR for a pork chop with french fries and 80 EUR for manicure. Just for scale, the minumum wage in Bulgaria is 210 EUR ($235). I hope you see the gigantic difference in the living standard and why we were so puzzled with the prices here. And we’ve visited plenty of other European capitals.
We finally reached the lift to find the next price surprise – the two-way ticket to the peak was 90 EUR ($100). This was difficult to take, but still we decided to do it. It turned out, however, that the last lift for the day had already departed and there was no way for us to go. Oh well. As you can see from the picture, Matterhorn was in thick clouds nevertheless.
Even grumpier, we got back and silently drove to Montreux, where, for good or bad, we had to get back to civilization.
Leaving the mountain opens up an empty whole. Don’t get me wrong, the region around the Geneva lake is stunningly beautiful itself. But still, we love the solitude and calm of the mountain in general and we missed it. Besides, we had to search for campings for the second time in a single day. Our pre-selection consisted of several places around the lake. We still craved for an alpine bath, but our romantic perception of the place was quickly smashed with the first candidate – Les Horizons Bleus C.C.C.V.
Camping Les Horizons Bleus C.C.C.V.
+ To the lake
– Super packed
– Right next to the road
This camping was everything we didn’t want. Overcrowded, noisy, dirty and located at one of the main roads. The fact that it was on the lake turned out to be a problem too – the mosquitos were very hungry and the humidity unbearable. We quickly headed to the next one.
– No cars allowed to tent
– Close to an aqua park, a ton of kids
– Small tent pitch
Here the situation was a little bit better, but again we couldn’t ignore the disadvantages. There was a waterpark nearby and the case of the noise from hysteric kids was epic. We knew we didn’t have much choice and hoped our last resort was better than the others.
Camping les Grangettes
+ On lake Geneva, swimmable
– Big but packed
– Cars not allowed (but we cheated)
– Facilities pretty bad, just 3 showers
Gigantic, loud, humid and difficult to find. We had no other choice. So, for the first time our luck failed us and we ended up at a not-so-great-place.
A little after we set up the tent and queued for the showers, we survived another shitload – a massive storm. Regardless, we had decided to put normal clothes and go have dinner at a proper restaurant in Montreux. I had spent only a few hours there few years back. However, Tina had never visited, so I decided to show her that it is a very nice and peaceful city. Boom! It turned out that it was the last day of the infamous two-week Montreux jazz fest, which turns the city into one seriously obnoxious place.
The parking took us 40 mins wait. Finding a place for dinner another 40. But something else was more interesting. We were in the French part of Switzerland and you could immediately tell it. Everything was quite dirty, the service was bad and the level of idiotism pretty high. I have a pretty vivid memory of Tina saying: “Dude, where did you take me?”, but I myself was aghast too. We hurried to get back to the camping and be over with that day finally. But the woes didn’t end. First of all, on the way back the Check Engine light turned on, which I am telling you is not a good thing to happen abroad. Second of all, we learned that it’s really difficult, or more so impossible to reason with drunk German people. The unbearable heat and the loud drunk neighbors made us super cranky and we tried fighting them, but it was useless. We fell asleep around 4am. We certainly hoped the day after will be better and we would forget day X.
It was a difficult wake up, given the late night neighbors drama. We had breakfast started making new plans how to get back to the green meadows and happy cows. It was clear we wouldn’t make it another night here, but were not sure what to do. For now, we decided to take advantage of the good weather and do a day trip to Geneva.
The road between Montreux and Geneva is really one of the most picturesque we have ever seen. On the lake side little villages were making way to upscale villas with private piers and luxury supercars parked in front of them. On the other side of the road you could see endless vineyards with chateauxs popping up here and there. The lake itself is incredibly beautiful and the mountains in the rear give it this particular alpine spirit. There were many campings on this road too, so we decided to check them out on the way back.
Geneva is a weird place. There’s not much to see, especially on Sunday. You stroll around banks and hotels. We simply didn’t feel this city. The heat was devastating and the only thing we did somewhat experience was the Jet d’Eau fountain. A few quick pics, some Bulgarian in the far distance and back to the car. We had to check out several campings and time was flying by.
Unfortunately, we don’t have many notes about the campings we saw that day, but the fact is that we didn’t like any of them. Vésenaz was a 5-star one and close to Geneva, but we didn’t like it. It was on the lake, but in such a bad area, with limited shade and was somehow… in the city. Camping de Rolle “Aux Vernes” didn’t have a beach, there was no shade and literally no grass. Camping Le Petit Bois TCS was too much city-like, respectively loud and overcrowded. Camping de la Pichette had the most horrible location – there was a passing train 20 meters away from it and the main road was 50 meters away. Besides, it didn’t have a beach and the water around it was super dirty.
Our plan failed, but one thing was for sure – this was our last night in the current campsite and we had to find a place where we could spend the rest of our vacation.
Passing through Montreux on our way from Geneva we saw that last night craze is now in history and we decided to do a quick stroll on the beach alley. The city had gained back its calm and nice as I knew it.
After we got back to our camping, we immediately started browsing and found something pretty curious to which we immediately said yes! The highest camping in Europe!
Day 10 (Camping les Grangettes, Switzerland – Camping Arolla, Switzerland)
In the very early morning we packed our bags and enthusiastically headed back to the Alps, camping Arolla to be more precise. We had to be there by lunch time and enjoy the tranquility again.
+ Great location
+ Friendly staff
+ Free Wi-Fi, not always working
+ Terraced pitches
+ Restaurant nearby
+ The village is nearby
+ Facilities are great and very clean
– 1 CHF for 3 min shower
– Lack of shades
The camping was really amazing! Small, neat with something like a shop and free Wi-Fi. We finally found something free in Switzerland?! The lack of a camp restaurant wasn’t a big issue as there was one nearby outside the camping. However, the camping and the nearby village are pretty isolated from everything and there was a very limited food choice. So we had to improvise with supermarket food for a couple of days. It was reminded to me, several times in fact, that we hadn’t packed our gas stove.
This was the laziest day of the whole trip. We stayed in the shadows playing with the slowest, most stupid and annoying flies in the world, and reading a ton. Heaven! We would put our hiking shoes on again tomorrow to explore the area.
At the picture below you can see our “plentiful” dinner containing mostly can food and “Naya” wafers brought all the way from Bulgaria. Joro is addicted to them.
As every other day, this one was no exception and started slowly with careful planning of the time and agenda, in true Tina style. While we were researching the area, we found something pretty interesting. It turned out that we were only a handful of kilometers away from the highest “gravity” dam in the world. “You to see” as we would say in pure Bulgarian! There’s a lift if you’re from the lazy ones. As far as I remember, the price was pretty affordable, and the trail was not worth a hike.
The Eiffel Tower for scale!
The view to and from it is really impressive.
We secretly hoped to see marmots here. And we saw one! But sadly, he was too shy and quickly disappeared in his hollow.
There are a lot of trails around the dam which you can easlily wander around for a full day. However, we were already slowing down and only strolled in some of the tunnels around without pushing ourselves too hard.
We thought we had time for a little lake we had spotted a sign for earlier, and we decided to give it a try. The map said 40 minutes of a nice walk to it, however it turned out to be nothing close to a nice walk. An hour of solid, steep uphill climb! Joro died again.
But the view was well worth it! Joro resurrected again.
The lake was incredibly small, but there were quite a lot of families with kids who were dipping and diving despite the low water temperature. The bright blue of the lake was a bi-product of the flowing ice-cold alpine waters.
Our last evening in Switzerland was coming to an end, and we were laying around the tent and talking over everything that happened during those 11 days. We couldn’t cover many of the stories in details, while others didn’t even make it in this post. It’s way too long already.
But if we have to sum it up, we would both say without any doubt that Switzerland is a mesmerizing country. The places we visited are difficult to describe with words, or even pictures. The feeling of freedom, the feeling of scale is really incomparable to what we could put down in words. We can only sincerely wish you to see this beauty yourself and we do hope we’ll be back there as soon as possible. The fact that we covered such a big area is actually quite an advantage. We now know where to go back. South Switzerland and its Alpine part are definitely our thing. The bright blue and bright green are the main color palette here, and we like that a lot. Next time we’ll bring a gas stove!
Day 12 (Camping Arolla, Switzerland – Postojna, Slovenia)
No pics? Well, yeah – the day was going to be marked by driving. We didn’t have a plan where to sleep and how long it would take is to get to…where we were going to sleep. But at least we knew the destination country – Slovenia.
Switzerland waved its rainy goodbyes. Italy was rather quick, we mostly drove on the highways which we purposefully avoided in Switzerland. We drove a bit in Slovenia and we decided it was time to look for a place to sleep. We stopped in Postojna – a city famous for its cave and the nearby castle – both we never knew existed. We found a place to crash on from the second attempt – Sweet Dreams Rooms & Apartments! The rooms were in perfect condition – super clean and new. The landlord was a very nice guy and even recommended us an awesome place where we literally ate like pigs for a total of less than 50 EUR.
Day 13 (Postojna, Slovenia – Sofia, Bulgaria)
The last day of the trip. We planned to get back home before dark and we had 10 hours of driving ahead. We dumped everything in the car and took off. Initially we planned a 16-day trip, but after all we cut it to 13. Regardless, we got back really well-rested thanks to this massive change of scenery.
We got back home with a smile on our face. Yup, this is Joro smiling.
P.S. We know that everyone enjoys reading intriguing travel journals, but what we personally find really useful is travel costs info. We opted in for campings as we both love sleeping in the open and camping in general. Which was great, because this would significantly cut our accommodation spending.
The average stay per night at a camping for two people, a small tent and a car is around 30 EURO ($35). Just for comparison, a regular twin room per night is around 200 EURO ($225). We drove around 4000km and spent around 700 EURO ($780) for gas. The tolls were a total of 120 EURO (20 EUR in Serbia, 35 EUR in Croatia, 30 EUR in Slovenia, 35 EUR in Italy). The gas was most expensive in Italy and Switzerland. The last thing I can tell about our car is that it’s efficient, so if you have a tad more economical diesel car, it’s very likely to fit in 400 EUR. As to food, it’s difficult to average the price, as it really depends on how much you eat. A good rule of thumb would be double to the average of other EU countries. Our average total cost for the trip was around 2800 EURO ($3100).
The selfies were free.