What To Do in Madrid?

Andrea Rojas Fernandez. Spain.

Madrid is the famous city in the capital of Spain. In this wonderful place you can find many places to visit. There are a lot of museums, parks, historical places and you can discover the magic nights of Madrid. You have to enjoy the fantastic gastronomy that we have here and enjoy the typical afternoon eating “tapas” with your friends, family…

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One of my favorite places to pass a fantastic afternoon or night with a couple or my friends is Salvador Bachiller. It’s a place where you can enjoy a fantastic cocktails and also a fantastic dinner with a beautiful and cozy atmosphere.

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The most important place that you have to visit is “Puerta del Sol”. You are going to find the statue of “El Oso y el Madrono”, also you are going to find “El Reloj de la Casa de Correos” is the clock with which we celebrate the new year’s chimes. This place is the Kilometer 0 of Madrid because it is where all the radial roads begin.

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An important museum in Madrid is The Prado Museum which is the main Spanish national art museum. It is widely considered to have one of the world’s finest of collections of European art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also has important collections of other types of works.

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A place that is going to impress you also is the Royal Palace of Madrid. The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 square meters of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area.

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In my opinion, you have many places to visit in Madrid, but you cannot leave without seeing these wonderful places and experiences. I’m sure you’re going to want to go back to this gorgeous city.

The Perfect Thanksgiving in San Francisco (on a budget)

Luna, Belgium

Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall/winter holiday season in the U.S. This year I’m going to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco, so let’s see what activities I could do during this little trip!

WEDNESDAY 11/21/2018

Arriving on Wednesday evening, the best thing to do first is to check into the Airbnb : cheaper option than a hotel. A nice and free evening activity  in San Francisco is walking to the Golden Gate Bridge and see it completely lit up with a beautiful sunset. Enjoy the breathtaking view with a nice hot chocolate or coffee to take away from Philz Coffee!

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THURSDAY 11/22/2018

Thanksgiving is already here! To make the most out of this celebration you need to make sure to wake up a little early. This way you can enjoy the city when it’s calm and empty. In the morning you can visit the Japanese Tea Garden which is a really peaceful environment. For lunch, enjoy a nice picnic in the park in front of the Painted Ladies. In the afternoon a nice and not too pricey activity is the cinema ! This year, Disney made a movie based on the Nutcracker story and this certainly is a must see during the wintertime. If you’re not into musicals you can always go see another movie in the winter sphere. Ice skating is also something on your To Do list especially in front of the Macy’s Christmas tree, it’s a magical sphere.

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FRIDAY 11/23/2018

BLACK FRIDAY! This is a day you want to wake up super early to be in front of the stores cause this happens only once a year. Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanks Giving in the unites states, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952. Essentially, it’s a huge event where all the stores open early, close really late and  have a lot of sales and deals. If you don’t feel like being in a really crowded mall they also have plenty of deals and sales on their websites. There have been some scary stories in the past from people fighting about products and especially electronics but I still think it’s something you need to experience when you’re in the USA.

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In San Francisco the best places to go shopping are:

  • Union Square
  • Union Street
  • Market Street
  • Stonestown Galleria
  • Pier 39
  • Embarcadero Center
  • Ghirardelli Square

SATURDAY 11/24/2018

Take a day off! Try to make this day as chill and cozy as possible. Wayfare Tavern is one of the cutest restaurants that is really going to put you in the winter sphere. It has a beautiful fireplace and delicious winter food. You can also just enjoy the city and visit the most popular places like the Alcatraz prison, the Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and travel around the city with the cable cars.

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SUNDAY 11/25/2018

Every Sunday morning at 10am, you can catch the two-hour Champagne and Mimosa cruise around the SF Bay. This relaxing ride offers amazing views of the SF Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Sausalito. You will also ride past the Palace of Fine Arts, Angel Island and Fort Point National Historic Site.

Farmer’s Markets are an important start to Sunday in San Francisco. Each week, you will find several throughout the city. Here are the details on the largest and most popular (all are year around unless noted):

  • Heart of the City in the UN Plaza in Civic Center: 7 am to 5 pm
  • Divisadero’s Farmer’s Market on Grove at Divisadero: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Fort Mason Center Farmer’s Market: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
  • Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market in the parking lot between 8th and 9th Avenue south of Irving Street: 9 am to 1 pm
  • Glen Park in the parking lot of the Glen Park BART Station: 10 am to 2 pm; Late March though late November

If you love live music, then you are in luck! Every Sunday night, you will find at least four of five live shows in San Francisco. Larger shows are at venues such as The Warfield, The Fillmore and The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. However, you will also find smaller shows at The Independent, Slim’s and The Great American Music Hall.

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If you are planning on living this experience, which I highly recommend, enjoy it as much as you can whit your love ones. And be thankful !

Animals Facing Extinction

by Malena Julia Banjavcic, Switzerland

Help. What does help mean? Who needs help? And what help do they need? What can we do to help? These are questions we should ask ourselves every day. We are not alone in this world, even if it sometimes feels like it. There are people, who need help, but also animals. And we all need to start to ask ourselves how to make a change, because there are animals facing extinction and their time is running out.

So what does it mean when animals are in real danger facing extinction?

Plants and animals which are facing extinction are called Endangered Species. Particularly, it says that these species are very likely to become extinct in nearer time.  Of course, there are reasons in nature why animals become endangered, but for the most part we, humans, are the reason. Evidence of this is provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to it, we are now losing animal species at more than 1,000 times the normal rate. In 2012, the IUCN featured 3,079 animals and 2,655 plants as endangered worldwide. Whereas back in 1998, the figures were 1,102 animals and 1,197 plants.  People often don’t even know that animals, which are well known, are critically endangered. Examples of species which are facing extinction are the Amur Leopard (pic. 1), the Bornean Orangutan (pic. 2) or the Malayan Tiger (pic. 3).

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If nothing changes, we put ourselves in danger, too. The world is a whole, big ecosystem. Ecosystems depend on healthy plants and animals. Without them an ecosystem is not even possible; they are the foundation. When one of the species becomes endangered, the whole system slowly starts to fall apart. So every loss of a species triggers the next. Just like animals and plants, we, humans, also depend on healthy ecosystems like forests, oceans or grasslands. So we’re risking our health and environment when we don’t do anything about the contamination.

We, humans, cause the extinction of a lot of species only by living, but this can be changed. We have to live together with the animals. I once heard someone saying “it’s not our world, we just borrowed it” and I think that is the truth.

I  think something important to do is to educate. We need to teach people and especially children about what is happening right now. If people do not know about the problem, they can’t do anything, but it’s also the job of our governments. How do people still sell furs and skins of all these endangered animals without being punished for it? Another thing which helps, is ,of course, the support for several organisations which work on this problem. Support can mean financial for those, who either don’t have the time or the will to go to the affected places where help is needed, but volunteer work is also support. Not only do you help, but you also experience beautiful countries and learn something about our world, the different cultures and also about yourself. “Work” doesn’t always mean it’s not fun.

It’s not that difficult to change something, so why isn’t there a change going on? – Ask yourself.

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A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Future Self,

You are probably reading this, maybe ten years later from the day you’ve written it to yourself. You might remember the day you were sitting in class at the EF school in Santa Barbara, and got the assignment to write about something you’d like. Then you came up with the idea to write about the most exciting experience of your life so far, to give yourself something to look back on when you’re older.

When you were only fourteen years old, you first visited the United States. After growing up in such a small country as the Netherlands, coming to the States was a huge eye- opener; it was the real experience of seeing everything big, bigger and biggest. You loved it, and from the first visit on you already knew you’d be coming back to this country one day. That whole plan started to come together during your last year of high school. You really din’t know what to study after your graduation, so you decided to take a year off from school. First a few weeks of hard work to make some money, then off to the USA for three months to take an English language course with EF.

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That’s where we are now. Let’s help you out a little: the day you wrote this letter, was your 12th day in Santa Barbara. The arrival wasn’t completely as expected; you had some struggles with your visa at the border and the welcome in your host family was not what you’d hoped for. Anyways, the first week of school was full of fun activities and you already met lots of new people, so there wasn’t any moment left to actually think about home. The second week you slowly started to settle in; the jetlag was over and you started to get familiar with the everyday school routine. You couldn’t believe that almost two weeks had already passed, and that you’d be flying to Miami Beach in five weeks to stay there for another seven weeks.

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And after that? I can’t tell you yet. I decided to take every day as it comes, and to not worry too much about ‘what will happen next.’ I can only tell you about my hopes. I hope my time in the States will be so memorable, that when you are reading this in the future, you will still look back on this time as the best time of your life. I also hope, that this year off from school helped you to figure out what you wanted to study at university in the next school year, and I hope that this trip helped you to become the person you are today. In this moment, I have already met a lot of people, but I believe there are way more people to get to know, and more beautiful places to be explored. I truly hope that all these new connections will slowly turn into true friendships that will last for a lifetime. How amazing would it be, if you can say that you’re still seeing people you’ve met during your time in the USA? I can only hope for the best.

Lot Steenvoorden, The Netherlands

 

Things To Do in Switzerland

Alyssa Knutti, Switzerland

Switzerland is officially the second happiest country on the planet, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report. And while you read this article you’ll soon realize why Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There are so many things you can do in this small country from exploring the Swiss Alps to passing the spectacular Rhine Falls or sailing around Lake Geneva.

  1. Go skydiving

An amazing place where you can skydive is Interlaken. Interlaken is close to the capital city and is surrounded by peaks of the alps. It’s one of the most spectacular spots on earth to go skydiving.

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2. Take the Glacier Express

You should definitely ride with the famous Glacier Express through the mountains. Riding the train is pretty spectacular because it has huge panoramic, glass windows. If you want to take the whole ride you have to get in from Zermatt and then you go out at Davos or St. Moritz.

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3. Visit the James Bond Restaurant

The famous James Bond restaurant in Switzerland is located at the top of the Schilthorn, a 2970 meter high mountain in the middle of the country. The restaurant is called Piz Gloria. It is where the 1969 James Bond movie was set. It’s also a revolving restaurant. That means you can eat and the view changes all the time.

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4. Get soaked by the waterfalls

If you want to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Switzerland you have to go to Lauterbrunnen and take the one hour hike to Trummelbach. You’ll actually pass about two or three other waterfalls along the way. Trummelbach is the most famous waterfall. It has been formed by the melting snow breaking through cracks in the rocks.

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What You Can Do When You Visit Amsterdam

Floortje Klein Schiphorst, the Netherlands

History
Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands. Amsterdam has a population of 851,373 within the city. Amsterdam’s name comes from ‘Amstelredamme’,  of the city’s origin around a dam in the river Amstel.

Facts
– There are 17,620,000 visitors per year
– More then 100km canals
– Daily use public transport: 747,000
– There are 881,000 bikes
– 63% of the people who live in Amsterdam travel everyday with the bike

Things to do
There are a lot of things that you can do if you visit Amsterdam.

Canals of Amsterdam
There are 165 canals that combine for a length of over 100km (about 60 miles). There are 2,500 houseboats in the canals. You can book a boat tour through the canals. There are many different canal cruise companies. You can choose many different types of tours, like hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tours or night time cruises with food and wine.

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Shopping
Amsterdam is a excellent city for shopping. Most of the brands are on Kalverstraat and Leidsestraat. Kalverstraat is close to the ‘Dam of Amsterdam’, also a part that you need to visit. Another nice shopping area is ‘The Nine Streets’ (De Negen Straatjes). It called that because this area, located in the heart, has nine narrow streets. There are a lot of great restaurants, cafés, art galleries, jewelers, boutiques and vintage stores.

In heart of Amsterdam you have also a lot of typically Dutch souvenir shops.

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Parks
If you want to enjoy the sun, you can buy some food at the supermarket and go to a nice park. The most famous park in Amsterdam is ‘Vondelpark’. In the summer, there are also a lot of people from Amsterdam and it is close to the heart of the city.

Located in Amsterdam West is ‘Westerpark’. It’s is a nice place to walk, skate, relax or have a picnic with friends.

Also ‘Amstelpark’, located in the south, or ‘Rembrandtpark’, located in west, are both good parks to go to.

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Museums
There are several museums you can visit in Amsterdam.
– Amsterdam Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular museums. They have historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals, and the most famous one of Rembrandt ‘ The Night Watch’.
– Stedelijk Museum is at the Museumplein. It presents the best of modern art in Amsterdam.
– Van Gogh Museum is one of the most popular museums in the world and presents all the work from Vincent van Gogh.
– The Anne Frank House is at the Prinsengracht 263 where she lived in hiding with her family for more than two years during World War Two.
– Hermitage Amsterdam is rotating their collection of art from the Hermitage in Russia.

In addition to these museums, there are a lot of other ones like, Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Nemo Science Museum, EYE film, etc.

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In the Night
If you want to go out at night you can go to Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein in the heart of the city. There are a lot of bars and clubs. In Amsterdam South you have also a lot of nice bars, in the neighborhood ‘de pijp’. If you want to know what kind of parties there are, you can go to: https://www.djguide.nl/events.p?city=amsterdam&language=en

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Other things
You can go to ‘Olympic Stadium Amsterdam’, which was built for the Olympic games in 1928. You can also go to the zoo in Amsterdam ‘Artis’. If you go in April, you need to go to King’s Day, on the 27th of April. We celebrate the birthday of the king and wearing all orange clothes, and there are parties everywhere on the street.

Nice places and restaurants 
There are a lot of nice places in Amsterdam that you can visit. We have a lot of festivals in the summer, but you can also relax on a terrace. The best spots in Amsterdam are Hannekes Boom, Waterkant, Cafe de Jaren, pllek, Café de Ceuvel, Tolhuistuin, Canibal Royal, Westergasterras, Foodhallen, Sumo Sushi, etc.

I AMSTERDAM City Card
A good website you can use for research: http://www.iamsterdam.com
There are a lot of good tips and they tell you where you need to go if you want to know more things that you can do in Amsterdam. They also sell a lot of tickets for places to visit. There is a special card you can buy when you are staying in Amsterdam. You can choose a card for 24, 48, 72 or 96 ours. It includes free entrance to over 50 museums and attractions, free unlimited public transport in Amsterdam with tram, metro or bus, free canal cruises, free giveaways and discounts and a lot more things. So you can check the website for more information and prices.

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Why Should We Travel Alone?

Beatrice Esposito, Italy

Going on a trip with your friends or with your family can be really awesome because you can share your experience with someone else who is close to you.

But have you ever thought about traveling alone? 

Here are 4 reasons why you should travel alone.

Focus on your destination

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You can totally choose the destinations that you like the most; you are not influenced by anyone, so you don’t have to go somewhere that you are not interested in. In addition, when you go on a solo trip you can concentrate on what you would want to visit without being influenced by other’s opinions.

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Meet locals

Since you are alone, you can’t talk with your friends or family when you have nothing to do, so you have to interact with people who live in that country. That can be a good thing because they can show you what are the best things to do in that place or you could even become friends with these people in order to experience the locals’ life.

Build confidence

At first it is absolutely scary and I can tell that it is true! I came to Los Angeles to study English and I flew from Rome to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Los

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « build confidence traveling »Angeles all the way alone. That scared me a little bit because I was scared I would take the wrong flight or I thought that something bad could happen. But at the end, everything was fine and I became more confident!

Learn about yourself

Last but not least, during your solo travel, you have to face who you are and you will better understand what you are interested in.Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Learn about yourself traveling »

 

So traveling with others you will find great friendship and you will have fun, but traveling alone you might find yourself.

Appenzell

Raphaela Vogel, Switzerland

Appenzell is a region in the northeast of Switzerland. I will show you some of the places you have to see:

Mountains: Alpstein

In Appenzell, there are a lot of mountains. Altogether they are called Alpstein. The biggest mountain in Alpstein is called Saentis, which is 8,216 feet (2,504 m).  In the summer, there are a lot of hiking trails. In the winter you can go skiing and go for a winter walk in the snow.

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One of the most popular mountains in Appenzell is called Ebenalp. It became very popular because of a restaurant on the way up. The restaurant is called Aescher and it was built precariously into the face of the rock.

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Cheese factory

Another typical thing for Appenzell is the cheese. We have our own cheese called “Appenzeller cheese”. In a little village called Stein, we have our cheese factory. Overthere you can look over the shoulders of the cheesemaker and you will see how they produce their cheese. And if you like, you have the possibility to make your own cheese. Of course, there is also a restaurant and a shop where you can eat something or buy some cheese or a souvenir.

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Appenzell (City)

The capital of Appenzell has the same name as the region. In this city, you can see some typical houses for this area. And, of course, you can spend some time in this cute city. If you would like to learn something about the culture of this region you can go to the museum. There they will show you all about their lifestyle and their culture.

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Silversterchlausen

There is something that only exists in Appenzell. It is called Silversterchlausen. Each year at New Year’s Eve, some groups of six men (Silversterchlauese) go from house to house. First, they will sing together. After that, they will wish you a lucky New Year!

There are two different kinds of Silversterchlaeuse. We called them “The Beautiful Ones” (picture on the left) and “The Ugly Ones” (picture on the right).

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Wallis

Kevin Oliver Theler, Switzerland

I want to introduce you to my home canton in Switzerland. Here are some facts:

-The location is on the south of Switzerland on the border of Italy.

-Wallis joined Switzerland in 1815

-Population: 339.060

-Area: 5’224km2

Wallis has a lot of mountains and activities. In the winter you can go skiing, snowboarding, free riding, ice climbing and much more. It’s a big nature adventure park, especially for adrenalin freaks. For example in Zermatt, their ski slopes are  360km long. You can ride with your skis over the border to Italy, and go eat a original Italian pizza.

In the summer, you can do big hiking tours, and get up to the top of the mountains. When you are searching for action you can go skydiving, downhilling and paragliding. The views from the mountains are amazing, and to get there is really easy. From the main train station you only need about 45 minutes, and 15min with the cable car. Then the world of the mountains are open for you.

My favorite ski resort is Saas-Fee, because there is a big freestyle park for skis and snowboards because it  is near my hometown. I just have to go to the bus, ride it for an half hour and the I arrive already. I love to ski and do some flips in the park.

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Traditional dish

Cholera

Yes you read it right, we have a dish that has the same name like the bacterial infection. The dish got the name when the cholera broke out in 1830 in Wallis, because the risk of infection the people would’t leave the house. That’s why the people have to make the food with the ingredients they have in the pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 500 g Puff pastry
  • 40 g Butter
  • 200 g Potatos
  • 200 g Apple
  • 200 g Leek
  • 200 g Onions
  • 250 g Swiss Raclette Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

-Cut the onions in to thin slice and stew in the pan with butter

-Cut the leek lengthwise and wash under the cold water. Then cut the halves into strips of 2 to 3 cm and blanch them for a maximum of 3 to 5 minutes in lightly boiling salted water. Drain and quench under running cold water to stop the cooking process.

-Cut the apples into small cubes and fry in a frying pan with butter. Increase and season the onions, leeks and apples.

-Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 25 minutes.Then cut the potatoes in small cubes of 2 cm. Add this to the Apple and Leek onion mixture.

-Rub the cheese in to the mixture.

-Lay out a deep dish with puff pastry and spread the mixture on it. Cover with puff pastry. Bake in the oven for one hour at 170 ° C.

 

Must-See in Switzerland

Gabriel Martins-Switzerland

Bern “City of Fountains”

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Located in the heart of the Bernese Mittelland on the Aare River in northern Switzerland, Bern is Switzerland’s capital. The structure of Bern’s city center is largely medieval, and  was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. It is also known as the “City of Fountains” for the more than 100 fountains gracing its streets and squares. Bern is also ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life.

Must-See: Old-Town (Clock Tower), Museum of Art, Bern Cathedral, Gurten

 

Luzern 

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Lucerne, the gateway to central Switzerland, sited on Lake Lucerne, is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama. Thanks to its attractions, its souvenir and watch shops, the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn, the town is a destination for many travel groups and individuals on their journey through central Switzerland.

Must-See: Mount Pilatus, Old Town, Swiss Museum of Transport, Chapel Bridge, The Lion Monument

 

Interlaken

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Interlaken lies in the Bernese Oberland, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The vacation destination, which is presided over by the three mighty mountains, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, is the starting point for numerous activities.

Must-See: Hiking trails, Paragliding, St. Beatus Caves

 

Zurich

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Zurich is abuzz with activity day and night with its countless events, diverse museums, own food festival and Switzerland’s most vibrant nightlife. And if you’re after rest and relaxation, you can be in the Swiss mountains in less than an hour.

Must-See: Old Town, Museum of Art, MyKugelhopf Sweet Zurich Tour

 

Grindelwald

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This mountainscape and the numerous lookout points and activities make Grindelwald one of the most popular and cosmopolitan holiday and excursion destinations in Switzerland, and the largest ski resort in the Jungfrau region.

Must-See: Amazing Hiking Trails