One of our greatest pleasures as an educational institution is introducing our students to some of the most beautiful, sought-after cultural destinations in Switzerland. We take our students on day trips and weekend trips regularly so they can make the most of their time here. While we travel to a variety of destinations both near and far, our top 5 favourites within Switzerland are below!
Geneva is a popular destination for students of Leysin American School. Weekend trips to this city hold potential for so many great opportunities and discoveries. For visitors looking for an educational experience, guided tours of the European UN headquarters or the Red Cross are a great way to spend an afternoon. For those looking to enjoy a day outside, restaurant terraces are widespread, with culinary options to satisfy every taste and preference. On summer days, many locals will spend the day at Bains des Pâquis—a lovely pier with a small rocky beach to relax by, enjoy some tasty food, and, of course, enjoy a view of the iconic Jet d’Eau.
Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, offers a balance of natural, historical, and cultural spots for visitors to enjoy. The most noticeable, as you drive up to the city, is the Aare River. During the summer months, grabbing an inner tube or floating device and jumping into the fast-flowing aqua river is a popular pastime and a great way to cool down after spending time in the hot city. For those who enjoy indoor water experiences better, Bernaqua offers a number of pools, slides, and sensory rooms to navigate and explore. fWithin the city, tourists can enjoy some shopping, weekend markets, admire the historic Zytglogge clock tower, and even go on a UNESCO tour to uncover all the secrets this medieval city holds.
Montreux is the Swiss city famous for being adored by Freddie Mercury. This micro-climate offers warmer temperatures than many of the surrounding lake-side cities. Palm trees line the waterfront streets, which extend as far as the eye can see; relaxing strolls along Lake Geneva may be one of the very best ways to spend a Swiss summer day. During your stroll, you'll likely pass by Chateau de Chillon—a beautiful castle that’s open to the public if you’re looking for a little history lesson. After exploring the castle, if you’ve chosen just the right day, you can get a refreshing swim in!
Seasonally, Montreux offers some great events to enjoy. In the winter, Montreux hosts a beautiful holiday market filled with dazzling fairy lights, handcrafted goods to purchase, and tasty Swiss food and drink to enjoy. In the summertime, the city hosts its world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival. Musicians and music lovers from all over the world gather to listen to some incredible performances; the Jazz Festival has hosted Elton John, Lizzo, and artists from every genre in between.
Lugano has a true Italian feel. If you’re looking to fulfil pasta or pizza cravings, this is the Swiss destination for you! You can also enjoy freshly caught fish from Lake Lugano in beautiful lakeside restaurants. Lugano also boasts warmer weather year-round which means that you can make the most of your time outside.
For water lovers, you can enjoy a relaxing morning boating or swimming around the crystal-clear waters of the lake. Later in the day, you can take one of several cable cars or funiculars to the tops of the surrounding mountains, from where you can take in stunning views of the lake below, grab a cup of cocoa, or set off on a hike. Lastly, a day in Lugano wouldn’t be complete without some gelato and a meander through the stone streets and pastel buildings.
Sometimes the best adventures are those which happen in your own backyard—this, at least, is true for students at Leysin American School. There are so many activities, trails, and restaurants to discover in our mountain home. Time in Leysin is best enjoyed outside, and there are so many ways to do this. What often comes first to mind for Leysin locals is the amazing skiing options, but Leysin shines year-round—not just in the wintertime. During the summer, avid hikers can find a multitude of trails to choose from. The particularly adventurous can enjoy via ferratas (mountain-side climbing routes that use metal rungs and ladders to help climbers along). There are also great options for spelunking, parapenting, tobogganing, skateboarding, skating, swimming, horseback riding, mini-golfing, and more!