All photos credited to Courtney Gallant.
Ah, cheese. Crumbly, sharp, gooey, sweet, melty, fresh, aged…I love it all. So where to get the best varieties? Well, friends, you are in luck. I’ve done the legwork and researched the top spots in Europe and discovered why it’s worth country-hopping solely to sample the native cheeses. It was tough work, but since cheese-tasting is where I really shine, it only seemed right to share the wealth of information.
Interlaken: There’s more than just Swiss cheese in this Alpine haven (although that’s delicious too). Melty, gooey, absolutely delicious fondue is the perfect accompaniment to chilly days. What’s cozier than dipping bread in melted Gruyere cheese after a night sledding down the Alps or a day of snowball fights?
France: Saying you have to go to France to try the cheese is a little obvious, but it’s worth repeating, because the cheese there is everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Snacking on brie and a baguette in front of the Eiffel Tower is one of life’s greatest joys. Venture away from the capital to the Riviera, and you’ll find farmer’s markets galore, each one rife with fresh cheese for the picking. Sample a nice Salers de Crandelles for a sharp bite, or a truffle brie for a special spin on a favorite.
Amalfi Coast: All over Italy, you’ll find mozzarella that will make your mouth water but the Amalfi Coast really takes it to another level. Chow down on a Caprese Salad in Capri and you’ll see what I mean. Soft, bursting with flavor and the perfect complement to some fresh tomatoes and basil… you may never want to leave the island.
Prague: You might not think to travel to the Czech Republic for delectable cheesy treats, but you would be wrong. One of Prague’s most traditional foods is, in fact, smažený sýr, which basically translates to fried cheese. At any number of street vendors and sit-down restaurants alike you’ll find this on the menu, and if you’re like me, you’ll be a little surprised when they serve it to you on a bun like a hamburger. But slap some ketchup on it and embrace it for what it is, and TGIF’s mozzarella sticks just might have some competition.
Greece: Soft, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth little nuggets of goodness, feta goes with literally every food you might want to sample while in Greece. Fresh feta is a wonder to be savored, and it should be a personal goal to eat it at every meal if you’re lucky enough to travel to this country. Let’s just say it: the feta is betta in Greece.
Ireland: Pub food is all well and good, but Dubliner cheese is really where it’s at in the Emerald Isle. Similar to a white cheddar but even more scrumptious, you can practically taste the fresh mountain air of the rolling green hills that characterize this charming country.
Budapest: Cheese and chocolate? What, where? Budapest brings the greatness of the two together in the candy Túró Rudi. Look for white and red polka-dot wrappers at any grocery store in Budapest, and enjoy a chilled candy bar that’s essentially cheese encased in chocolate. Weird? Yes. A surprisingly delightful combination? Also yes.
If you simply sat in the middle of the field in the center of downtown Interlaken for the entire weekend, this trip would be worth it simply for the unmistakable beauty. Though it is impossible to not take part in the activities of this adventure capital. Skydive, bungee jump, paraglide into the clouds, or zipline through the trees. Adrenaline not your thing? Relax in a hammock, take a hike through the alps, hit the Swiss spa, paddleboard on glacial blue lakes, or have a night out for traditional Swiss fondue. Plus, its Bus2alps’s home base. Make this a get-away you do not miss!
1) The word “Interlaken” is derived from the Latin words inter lacus, meaning “between the lakes”. Logical, as this picturesque getaway in Switzerland sits between the majestic Lake Brienz and Lake Thun.
2) Interlaken, Switzerland is the original Bus2Alps destination, hence the company name. In 2003, students studying in Florence traveled by bus to Interlaken to ski the Swiss Alps, and Bus2Alps was born!
3) Searching for your adrenaline fix? Look no further! Interlaken is considered the adventure capital of Europe and third best adventure destination in the world (only behind Queenstown, New Zealand and Victoria Falls, South Africa)!
4) Attention chocolate lovers! The Swiss eat the most chocolate of any country, a whopping 22 pounds per person annually. At the Grand Café Restaurant Schuh in Interlaken, they have been making chocolate since 1818. You can learn the incredible Swiss art of chocolate making and most importantly, sample the best chocolate in the world!
5) The town is surrounded by 3 well-known peaks of the Jungfrau region of the Alps; the Eiger (13,020 ft), the Mönch (13, 474 ft) and the Jungfrau (13, 642 ft) which can be seen easily from over 1/3 of the town of Interlaken.
6) Though the Eiger is the smallest of these 3 peaks, it is infamous for the aptly named “Death Wall” on its northern face. From just 328 feet below the summit, the mountain becomes a sheer wall, falling abruptly for approximately 6,000 feet. This challenge attracts expert climbers from all over the world.
7) Need some last minute souvenirs for mom and pop? Look no further! Interlaken has the highest concentration of souvenir shops in Switzerland. Watches, Swiss army knives, chocolate, woodcarvings, Swiss music boxes, and other quaint items your friends and family are sure to love!
8) Is skiing the Swiss Alps on your bucket list? Interlaken is the home base for more than 93 miles of ski runs in the Jungfrau region, making it one of the top winter resorts in Europe! Sitting down more your style? Take a ride on a sled (or sledge) on any of the 9 miles of trails around Interlaken!
9) Don’t mind if I “fondue”! Invented by the Swiss in 1699, cheese fondue is considered a national dish of Switzerland. No trip to Interlaken is complete without indulging in this cheesy heaven. Bebbi’s Restaurant in the heart of Interlaken serves a chocolate edition as well!
10) Living up to it’s adrenaline hype, Interlaken is one of just 3 places in the world where you can jump off a cliff into a canyon… and survive. Canyon jumping here will test your bravery as you attach yourself to a 279-foot rope. Prepare to free fall 3 full seconds and then swing at high speed, suspended over the canyon floor!