Recently I was fortunate enough to spend a week driving through Switzerland. No country has ever blown my mind as much as this place with it's stunning, surreal landscapes. With every corner I wanted to stop, get out of the car, take a photo, then continue around the next corner where I'd want to stop again. We explored from one end of the country to the other and found huge waterfalls, rivers, blue lakes and of course the most beautifully jagged mountains and valleys along the way.
My cousin Zac and I embarked on our journey from Geneva not knowing where we were heading. After force learning how to drive manual and on the opposite side of the road, we were finally on our way East. We knew one place we wanted to go, Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.
After navigating through the night and stopping off to sleep somewhere along the way, we found ourselves in the Swiss Alps. Our first day was off to a bloody good start. There is one mountain in Zermatt that everyone has to witness for themselves, The Matterhorn.
The Matterhorn towers over the local ski village and can be seen from almost anywhere. After a baguette for breakkie we were off hiking to get a better view of this beast.
Hiking in the Swiss alps is one of the best ways of immersing yourself in that environment and gives you a greater appreciation for those enormous mountains towering over you in every direction. Stoked on our tour through the area we only had a taste for what was out there waiting to be found so we were off down the mountain and on to find the next location.
The beauty of having your own transport, and in this case a camper van, is you can stop wherever, whenever. We weren't only focused on getting to our next location but would also check out all the sights hidden away and missed if you were to be travelling by public transport.
We pulled into the remote town of Lavertezzo found at the bottom of a deep valley and on the Lavertezzo river. After a long day we swam in the crystal clear water of the river and found a quiet little restaurant/bar with a view of the valley to chill out at. Being such a remote and tiny town, no one spoke English so after a brief moment trying to ask for a beer, we scored a 2 euro pint of the local brew and my word the Swiss know how to make a good beer.
The next morning we had the river to ourselves being up early in the morning. Swimming is a definite must however the water is the furthest thing from warm with the local glacial runoff from the surrounding alps.
Continuing our journey we were in search of Lake Crestasee. This small hidden lake at the foot of a mountain range had the reputation of amazing blue colour and clarity. After losing the road and squeezing through narrow forest tracks we found it. Unfortunately we weren't the only ones and many others had also discovered the lake, no doubt social media had a role to play with people finding these epic little spots. It was a popular swimming hole for the locals, and fair enough!
In search of new landscapes we continued our circuit now passing along the boundary of Switzerland and Austria. We had now found ourselves in the heart of rural Switzerland and probably the most photogenic farmland I've seen.
After following unknown coordinates in our GPS we were led up a very remote country road until we were stopped by a local farmer. There was a difficult language barrier but it seemed like he wasn't going to let us pass and looked like the rest of our trip would be on foot. Still 2 hours away from our destination and only 3 hours of light left in the day we committed to walking, after all we had driven this far already. Hiking at this time of day had its benefits, we escaped the heat of the day and were treated to that ideal sunset light which falls over the landscape and creates a surreal backdrop to be walking into. We were now in the far North-East reaches of Switzerland and as far as hikes go, I think I will remember this one for a very long time.
The following morning we woke up next to a pretty epic lake. Nothing like starting your day with a dip in a Swiss lake, of course entirely fresh water. We found a chairlift that was being run by a local bloke through summer so took the easy way up to see what we would find, you guessed it, more lakes.
One of the good things about European summer has to be the amount of light you get in a day. Being able to do things from 5am until 11pm at night really lets you see a hell of a lot. We were now making our way back to Geneva and driving along roads like Klausenpass along the way was one of the most epic drives I have done. We were taken through valleys and over ridges, along roads dug in to the sides of shear cliffs and would occasionally duck away from the main roads to see giant waterfalls.
Leaving the Eastern landscape behind, we came across Oberhofen Castle on lake Thun. Dated around the 1200's we marvelled at the historic structure right on the lakes edge.
One of our last destinations took us back up through the hills to a pretty special lake, Lake Blausee. The water was as clear as it gets however tourism had really peaked in this place as it was a national park and was a popular sight. I had the idea of going in with the underwater set up and see if I could take a few shots but I was only in there for a couple of minutes before being told off by an angry ranger. I guess not many people have taken photos from within the lake before.
With our road trip through Switzerland coming to an end, we spent our last night camped up next to a pretty epic spot overlooking a lake and drank local beers with the sun setting behind the mountains.
Driving around Switzerland will resonate with me for life. The shear landscapes we witnessed have left me even more obsessed with travelling and especially photography. Being able to document these amazing places is my passion and getting a taste for what's out there has only made me want to explore the world more.