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Text and photos by Aurea Fagel

Autumnal blues kicking in after an active eventful summer under the sun? Hmm… what to do next? In Switzerland, that last question is met with a chockful of goody ideas! Of course, TONS of stuff always to do around this beautiful country. And the onset of the cold season does not even hamper the spirit! So allow me to give you my 2-cents on what to explore on a weekend – the day-tripper, overnighter and the long weekender - good itineraries to get your autumn vibes going.

Day Tripper - Easy Hike to Arboretum, Vallon de l’Aubonne

My Scrabble group took a day hike to the famous national park Arboretum in Aubonne last summer and we covered about 3-4 interesting trails for around 3 hours with a picnic lunch. But I bet in autumn, there would be a magical display of colors on the trees and reflections on the lake promising a wonderful walk or hike!
We followed the trail “Parcours Sylviculture” (Forest Discovery trail) on the way up to the main picnic area. Then on the way back, we traversed through the trails “Sentier de la Vaux”, “Séquoias” and “Sentier du Bois-Guyot”, before coming back to the park’s central space. 
Fun Fact: Wild roses bear fruit and they are called rose hip or rose haw (in French it is called cynorrhodon). They are edible and can be made into jams and infusions!

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The Overnighter - Stay at Blausee and discover Kanderstag’s Lake Oeschinen, Bernese Oberland
Kanderstag is in the beautiful Bernese oberland region and is famous both for summer hikes as well as winter cross-country skiing.
There is this breathtaking deep-blue lake called Oeschinen (Oeschinensee) which can be easily reached by taking the cable car up followed by a 20-min stroll towards the lake itself. Try to target to reach at lunchtime and enjoy a nice Swiss meal at the restaurant. Then, you can just either stroll lazily around the lake, take one of these boats for hire, or follow one of the several trails around the lake. The shortest trail is around 1-hour which lets you go around the lakeside and enjoy some spectacular views of the Blüemlisalp massif and the blue lake, while discovering some wild flowers and formations along the way, and if you are lucky, see some people going for a brave swim! 

Consider a stay at Blausee for 3 reasons: the trout fish, the walk around the lake and the splendid views and tranquility in your balcony/patio. The exclusive Blausee Hotel and Restaurant is situated beside a small serene lake whereby trouts greet you by the numbers. The view is breathtaking and relaxing as you watch the fish slowly dance its way to meet you. They are known for their freshwater organic trout which you can savor at their restaurant. Otherwise, try to visit the organic trout farm beside the hotel, look for the rainbow trout and learn a bit about them! The Blausee trout lives in a mineral-rich clear water and is bred in a strictly organic stress-free environment, free from harmful artificial and chemical feeds.

There are short trails around its lake that you can easily discover after breakfast or before dinner and during autumn, will be breaming with golden colors. You must also try their spa and afterwards, relax there or at your patio looking at the splendid mountain or lake views. Enjoy some peace and quiet.

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Long Weekender – Iseltwald and GrandHotel Geissbach & Geissbach Waterfalls, Brienz
Take a drive towards Brienz with a stopover in Iseltwald then head off at the famous and historic The GrandHotel Geissbach & its famous waterfalls.
If you haven’t tried a historic hotel in Switzerland with an idyllic setting, then The Grandhotel Geissbach ticks all boxes and is one of the hidden gems of Switzerland. It calls for a leisure stay, as both the place and the region has a lot to offer.

But as you have opted for a 3-night, 4-day stay kind of weekend, you may wish to start this magnificent trip by visiting first another jewel called Iseltwald either just a day trip or one-night stay.

Iseltwald is part of the list of Swiss Heritage Sites. Rightly so, the small town itself is very pretty and picturesque from all angles. One needs to just leisurely walk around the whole place to discover the beautiful homes, gardens, the people, the village, castles and the alluring water in the peninsula. 

Your next-level stop is at the GrandHotel Geissbach and its famous waterfalls. Right away after arriving at the venue, the roar of the majestic falls captivates you as you make your way to the enchanting Belle Epoque scene, almost as if they were curtains opening to show you another time and place. The rooms and suites offer spectacular views of either the forest, the Lake Brienz, or the Geissbach falls (my choice).

I highly recommend taking the Geissbach Nostalgic Pass, which will ensure your visit gets all the highlights. This will include an all-day boat trip around the Brienz Lake, taking the Brienz Rothorn Railway, free visit to the Ballenberg Open-air Museum (ideal in autumn!), a special ride on its historic Geissbach Funicular and a visit to the School of Wood Sculpture in Brienz. The sunset in the evening provide a romantic backdrop and the dinners at the hotel are exquisitely prepared.

I will not give spoilers on this wonderful journey you are about to take. I can assure you will not be disappointed. And before you awaken from the nostalgia and come back to the present, don’t forget to make that small trip to the base of the waterfall and then cap it with a souvenir Grand Tour photo!

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Author bio

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Aurea Fagel - A keen photographer and former expat who loves to travel, discover food, wine and cultures, does a bit of feng shui & home design and plays Scrabble & Gateball. She has been living in Switzerland since 2000 and would like to share her experiences, photos and perspectives on all of the above! Her blog caters to Swiss locals.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.