Falling in Love with Frutigen
We loved our short break in the small Swiss town of Frutigen. My husband and I spent only 12 days here, as an interim to get to our next destination. When we left we both felt totally relaxed, and adored the friendliness of our hosts and fellow townspeople. So what else made our stay so delightful?
Frutigen is a small town in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland area of Canton Bern. Popular resorts such as Grindelwald, Jungfraujoch, Interlaken and Adelboden tend to attract the majority of tourists to this region. Lesser-known towns and villages like Frutigen are probably only visited by seasonal hikers and cyclists.
I guess it is easy to see why the big resort towns are so popular. They offer so much. Outstanding scenery, hiking, skiing, access to the more extreme sports, restaurants, shopping and much more. All in one accessible spot. They are totally geared towards providing visitors with an all-round alpine experience.
During our stay, we did actually venture out of Frutigen and visited the major towns of Luzern, Lausanne, and Interlaken. Each of them had their own attractiveness and picturesque qualities. But in visiting these larger towns, I do not feel we really achieved our slow travel goals (but that’s another story).
Because at the end of the day when we returned to the fresh-aired Frutigen. We both had a sigh of relief that we were back in peaceful surroundings away from the tour groups and business. It was Frutigen which ticked all of our slow travel ambitions, not the favoured tourist hotspots.
Why we loved Frutigen
Peace and Quiet
As I sit in our apartment with the windows open. The only sounds I can hear are cowbells in a nearby field, children playing around the house and hourly bell chimes from the church. The view from our apartment window was immense offering uninterrupted views of the peaceful towering peaks.
No traffic noise, no large groups of tourists and no late night drunks outside our window. This place was one of the quietest holiday rentals I’ve ever stayed. Even our hosts told us, how everyone commented on its peacefulness. Tranquility at its best.
Hills and mountains on our doorstep
We could not have been luckier with the apartment we chose in Frutigen. It was attached to our family host’s house situated at the foot of hills and mountains on the edge of town.
In roughly two minutes we could pick up one of the hiking footpaths, or start climbing one of the hills. This made it super easy when we wanted to get out for a run or hike during the daytime of our working week. We literally had an alpine playground on our doorstep.
Local food shops
Frutigen only has a couple of small hotels, and of course a few holiday rentals like ours. But the small-town ambience of local shops, restaurants and pubs is one of the things which made this place so special.
The family-owned cheese shop Chäs-Eggä Thönen was a highlight. The friendly owner gave us samples to taste and introduced us to a huge selection of local yoghurts. We settled on some cheese from the owner’s uncles farm down the road. You can’t get any more local than that and it was delicious!
Other great little places our hosts helpfully directed us to were Pizzeria Udacia, run by a lovely Italian man, and hands down the best pizza I have ever had. Schneider’s Backstube Bäckerei, a great bakery with dreamy cakes and tasty bread. As well as the Lollipop bar, a 50’s themed pub with a great selection of beer.
Observe local life
One of the things many people try to see when they visit Switzerland in the Autumn is the alpine descent of cattle. A sort of ritualised procession of farmers herding the cows down from the summer pastures for the winter.
There was no need for us to trek miles to see this fascinating event. We were lucky enough to watch this from outside our apartment thanks to our rural location of being smack bang in the middle of the alpine countryside.
Lots to do near and around
Even though we were in a small town there was still a lot to do in and around the area. As mentioned before, hikes and runs are easily achieved thanks to the trails and footpaths on our doorstep.
Other interesting places to visit include Tellenburg castle, a 12the-century hilltop ruin, and the sustainably engineered Tropenhaus tropical greenhouse.
Very close by is Mount Niesen, reached either on foot or taking the funicular. At the top you can pick up further hiking trails and take in views over Lake Thun. In the other direction, Lake Blausee, the aqua blue forest lake, is a lovely afternoon escape to chill and relax.
Would we stay here again?
Absolutely! Frutigen is definitely on our list of places to return to. We loved it so much we even said we would like to move here one day (although I think the house prices are somewhat out of our league).
If you are looking for a place to relax, slow down and watch local life pass you by then Frutigen is somewhere you should certainly consider. Staying in Frutigen or even a similarly small and local Swiss town is a slow travellers wonderland and the best part of our trip.
What else is there to do nearby To Frutigen?