9 DAYS WESTERN SWITZERLAND & THE BALKANS

 

 

Profile: single yuppie male who makes annual trips to Europe and likes to visit a different part of Europe everytime he visits. He is a more discerning sort of traveler who likes the unusual, the special and the "off the beaten track" but also enjoys the occasional spot of luxurious comfort here and there.

 

Brief: a special trip had to be made to Sarajevo for the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and with the Balkans incidental to it, so Serbia can't be missed. Western Switzerland (Lausanne and Geneva) was meant to be the gateway for the rest of the trip and also act as the rendezvous point for his Serbian friend-guide.

 

Approach: As it was to be a history-focused trip, most of the tours and sights were historic in nature, with an especial focus on World War I in Sarajevo. Otherwise it was more to experience Balkan culture. The Swiss leg was more relaxed and general in nature.

 

Cities covered: Lausanne (Switzerland), Geneva (Switzerland), Belgrade (Serbia), Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) & Dubrovnik (Croatia). This is broken down into 3 separate legs so be sure to catch the next 2 legs on the next pages.

Leg 1: The Swiss leg

Lausanne and Geneva (Day 1 -2)

(fr L to R, T to B) Lausanne; Red Cross HQ; League of Nations logo; The former League of Nations building; Brunswick Monument on Quai du Mont-Blanc; Broken Chair on Place des Nations; Lake Geneva;

 

Getting around: Trains run every 6 minutes from Lausanne to Geneva on SBB at CHF22.40 as of March 2015. Within Geneva- on foot is best but there is a good bus system for those podiatrically less-inclined.

Website

 

What cannot be missed: The Palais des Nations or the Palace of Nations. Even if you aren't a fan of international relations and pan-national institutions don't excite you, the architecture of the complex itself is pretty awe-inspiring and I was gobsmacked by the intricate Art Deco interiors still resplendently on display. Guided tours should ideally be pre-booked and costs CHF12. Prebook here.

 

Spot of luxury: Izumi at Four Seasons. Sounds strange to recommend a Japanese restaurant for a French-speaking city in Switzerland but you will understand why once you step into its rooftop venue with panoramic views of Lake Geneva. It's also quaintly cosy and hey food is not too shabby too. Paired with the legendary Four Seasons service (and a great wine list), this is truly an experience in itself.

33 Quai des Bergues | +41 22 908 70 00 | website

 

Spot of local cash (read: casual): Restaurant Les Armures. An institution in its own rights and right smack in the old city which guarantees an authentic Genevois experience.

1 rue Puits St-Pierre | +41 22 310 34 42 | website

    Restaurant Les Armures; Izumi at Four Seasons

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