The Mountains near Luzern which you can go up

Luzern is a must-see location for people travelling to Switzerland. It has everything – charm, history, great restaurants, cool bars, superb hotels, lovely shops, interesting museums and is small enough for people to enjoy in a couple of days.

Personally, I say it’s history and geography rolled into one and it’s the geography side I will concentrate on here.

A not to be missed adventure is to go up a mountain and near Luzern there are 4 of them which are close by and accessible. Here we go with a brief description of all them

Mt Pilatus

The closest to Luzern, Pilatus, the “house” mountain of Luzern at 2132m is a very popular destination and in particular the golden round trip which you can do from Luzern by taking the boat to Alpnachstad, the steepest cog wheel in the world to the summit to admire the views. Take some refreshments at the top or even stay at the hotel before heading down on the opposite side with 2 cable cars, stopping half way to check out the 1 mile mountain roller coaster or the rope park before completing your journey by taking the bus from the cable car station to Luzern – a wonderful day out.


Mt Rigi

Mount Rigi’s majestic peninsula on Lake Lucerne is the perfect setting for an authentic Swiss mountain experience with unforgettable views of over 13 lakes and the spectacular snow-capped Swiss Alps. Located 10 miles from Luzern, Mt. Rigi at 1832m can be quickly and easily reached by boat or car. It is the Swiss people’s favourite mountain destination, can be accessed via Europe’s first ever cogwheel train (est. 1871) and is renowned for its numerous cogwheel railway and aerial cable car routes. You can visit Mt. Rigi 365 days a year and there’s plenty of outdoor action on offer, including 120km of hiking trails. The numerous lookouts, delightful terraces and the Mineral Baths at Rigi Kaltbad also ensure there are plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation on the Queen of the Mountains.


Mt Titlis

Mt Titlis at 3339m is the jewel in Central Switzerland’s crown, the highest accessible mountain and the only publicly accessible glacier in the area. You will feel on top of the world as you take in the spectacular panoramic views of snow-covered mountains and unspoilt Alpine landscapes. The Titlis ski area is home to more than 80 kilometres of pistes, with slopes to suit every ability. The season lasts from October until May. And in the summer, the mountain is a mecca for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Do not miss the Rotair – the world’s first revolving cable car taking you to the summit, the glacier cave, the Ice Flyer and the Titlis Cliff Walk


Mt Stanserhorn

The exciting trip up the Stanserhorn on the CabriO cableway and funicular railway, which dates back to 1893, is like taking a trip through cableway history.  The combination of an old funicular and new a(n open air cable car) technology is something to cherish as you climb to 1800m for superb views of the Swiss Alps and the 100 kilometer Alpine chain, 10 Swiss lakes, Stanserhorn rangers, marmots, a plant protection area with enchanting flora and fauna, culinary delights in the Stanserhorn revolving restaurant, the specialty Älplermagronen from an edelweiss pot and lots more are just waiting to be discovered on the Stanserhorn.


Typically Swiss Tours hits 150 5 ✰✰✰✰✰ reviews from 150 Reviews

Typically Swiss Tours like most service industries relies heavily on customer reviews which will grow business.  TST’s uses the most trusted and popular platform in the Tourism business – Trip Advisor.
TST has been fortunate to receive many positive reviews since trading started back in 2018.  Reviews clearly work and the more positive reviews TST has received, the more business TST receives.  In fact TST has come to the conclusion that by doing your job well and giving customers excellent satisfaction and value is the best and most cost effective piece of marketing a company can do.
Easy relationships and simply having a good time with clients will normally end in a (positive) review being given by the client which when added to several more, is simply the best form of advertising for a company.
So just this week, TST was fortunate enough to receive the 150th 5✰✰✰✰✰ review – this time from a client from Chicago below, with a couple of pics.  I know for sure there are not many operators with such a record !!
Chris is an exceptional tour guide! He is very knowledgeable and amazing at what he does. From the moment we booked this tour, Chris was immediately in contact with us to go over all the detail and any requests we might have. Traveling with children (11 and 18 years old), I wanted to make sure we had a safe driver that could take us to see places that we wouldn’t have been able to get to on our own without renting a car. Chris delivered big time! We would highly recommend him for your next trip and will book with him again the next time we are in Switzerland!



April 2021 will see the 2nd in the MASSiVE Series of Promotions and this month the focus will be on the Swiss Drinks Industry which is obviously a very big sector and very wide ranging with multiple brands across the hot and cold and non alcoholic and alcoholic sectors.

When it comes to the age limit, the legal drinking age in Switzerland is 16 for beer, wine and cider and 18 for spirits.  Coffee is the most popular hot drink and the coffee culture defintely exists here in Switzerland wth the likes of Starbucks and mutilple pop up coffee outlets springing up in towns and cities. In fact Switzerland are amongst the worlds biggest coffee drinkers with famous brands like Nespresso and Movenpick. 

Tea on the hand is less popular and like cofffee, sales are increasing especially green and herbal/fruit teas and together with hot chocolate and a swiss brand Ovalmaltine make up the majority of the hot drink market.

The soft drink market is also very well defined with the usual array of international brands mixed in with some national drinks such as Rivella and Apfelschorle (apple juice and sparkling water)

Alcohol plays a strong role in society and drinking like in most western countries is a popular activity both at home and going out which the Swiss like to do on a regular basis in restaurants and bars and at events.  The variety of alcoholic drinks available is very diverse and has increased in line with other western markets.  Whether it`s beer, wines or spirits, you will find a great selection of drinks and here I am very proud to showcase  6 drinks makers in Switzerland who produce some of the finest drinks in the land.  


Together they form MASSIVE DRINKS and will be promoted heavily during the month of April. I have a craft beer brand from Luzern – Luzern Brauerei, a wine grower in Luzern – Kaiserspan, 2 gin makers from Entlebuch in Frakmont and Studer, a Vodka maker Turicum in Zürich and Langutan, a Swiss Whisky maker from Kanton Bern

We start with Luzern Bier which was founded in 2008 and the beers are brewed to the old cradt tradition.  Over the following 2 years the brewery grew and the necessary equipment was purchased to enable the first Luzerner Beer to be produced in 2010. The entire production process, from malt grist and brewing to bottling and labeling. There is a good selection of Lagers and Ales and various other brews at certain times of the year.

All beers are characterized by their unique taste and freshness. They are not filtered, not pasteurized and not treated in any other way : a natural fresh product from the region, brewed in a very authentic way.

David Schurtenberger, Business Leader runs a team of devoted beer lovers and craftsmen taking pride to brew and deliver top quality beers to the local market.

Back in 2013 Merlin Kofler and Oliver Honegger had the idea to start a distillery and after taling inspiration from their visits to English gin distilleries, they started their “drinks”  journey together with their friends Philip Angst and Oscar Martin in Zürich where they reside. 

Less than 2 years later, they realised their dream to create «The goal was to create a gin that represents Zurich’s spirit and that caters to the locals’ taste, celebrating our city beyond its limits».  Local and regional ingredients such as Juniper, coriander seeds, lime blossoms from Lidenhof (the epicentre of Turicum, Zürich`s ancient name in Roman times, handpicked fir buds as well as rose hips from the region.

As well as distilling, the company offers Gin workshops, guided tours and events in their premises. 


Kaiserspan Weinbau owned and managed by couple Edith Mächler-Britschgi and Andreas Bachmann have been producing high quality wines in Seetal in Kanton Luzern for over 20 years. Growing conditions are excellent for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Muscat Oliver and Riesling Silvaner grape varieties. Red, white, rosé and sparking variations are produced.

This family run business prides itself on producing wine with passion and years of knowledge and experience resulting in high quality drinks experiences for wine lovers all over Switzerland.

Frankmont is the brainchild of 4 young swiss entrepreneurs from Luzern, Carlo Fischer, Philipp Businger, Robin Odermatt and Mathias Näpflin.  A few years ago, they decided in partnership with Studer Distillery in Entlebuch to create a new Gin brand for the Swiss market.

The Frakmont Dry Gin inspires with its fine, classic juniper flavor, the light citrus note and a finish which is refined by the clear mountain water. The native herbs, which also come from the foot of Mount Pilatus, come skillfully to the fore. The crisp, harmonious note of rosemary with a hint of ginger brings the legend to life in the mouth. A mystical piece of Lucerne in all senses.

Langatun is the Celtic version of the name Langenthal, a settlement that can be traced back to the year 861. The name means ‘the fortified place on the Langa’. The word ‘Langa’ is an Old European name for water. Water is one of the most important ingredients in whisky making. The name of Langatun whisky is therefore a tribute to the area’s first settlers and brewers in this area.

This traditional business produces distillates of the highest quality by using old artisanal methods. The home of the Langatun distillery is the historic, listed Kornhaus in Aarwangen. The long history of Langatun (since 1857) is above all the history of the people, the region and the products, which reflect the company’s core values: Honesty, Quality, Commitment and Innovation.

Langatun whisky is awarded and drunk all over the world. The high quality of the casks, the precise method of distillation and the passionate commitment of the employees give Langatun whiskies their incomparably soft, complex and delicate character. The details of the production process are a well-kept secret to which only a few people are privy.

It was in 1883 that the four brothers Robert, Gottfried, Hans and Josef Studer set out from Switzerland to travel the world and learn the fine art of producing liqueurs and spirits in France, Spain and Scotland, among other places. Today, almost 140 years and four generations later, and with a wealth of specialist experience under its belt, the Entlebuch region between Berne and Lucerne is still dedicated to the production of the finest and most noble spirits. The small but subtle difference: today, the tradition-rich Distillerie Studer is not only one of the best distilleries within Switzerland, but rather plays in the league of the best distilleries in the world.

At Studer & Co AG, the master of the finest distillates, quality, tradition and craftsmanship are of paramount importance. To this day, the various fine spirits that the extensive range of products has to offer are distilled by hand in Studer’s manor house according to recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation and according to old fathers’ customs. Only the best ingredients are used, primarily from regional cultivation in Switzerland. And this is noticeable in many ways. Quite apart from the fact that the noble spirits with fine nuances know how to pamper the tongues of connoisseurs and lovers in a very special way, the fine distillates all enjoy an excellent reputation and are regularly awarded prestigious prizes and awards in national and international competitions.


As TST Tours are few and far between these days, TST has tried to adapt and has become relatively successful in some digital or social media marketing. TST has reached out to several organisations and activities across Switzerland and has tried to create partnerships.  These have included with Tourism Agencies and mountains so that thy receive some free advertising in return for some competition prizes.  So for example last month saw a joint promotion with Graubünden Tourism and in return for 6 interesting FB posts and Linked In exposure, the Tourism organisation offered a night`s accommodation in a lovely hotel and for a first prize a 1st class trip for 2 on the amazing Glacier Express.

So this theme continues into March and as Easter is on the horizon, I thought it would be a cool idea to run a mega campaign all about one of Switzerland`s most famous export.  The campaign is called MASSIVE CHOCOLATE as it all to do with Chocolate and it will be Massive.  The start date is March 5th and  activity will be posted on Facebook all through March culminating on April 1st with the TST Newsletter featuring an interview with Urs Furrer from Choco Suisse, the Trade Organisation representing the best chocolate makers in Switzerland.

The plan is to offer 3 Facebook posts to all of the participating chocolate making companies which will hopefully provide some interesting insights into the world of chocolate. Here is some more information about the participating brands in MASSIVE CHOCOLATE.

Lindt is probably the most recogniseable Swiss Chocolate brand founded in 1845 by Rodolphe Lindt at its headquarters are near Zurich.  Lindt pioneered the conching method which evenly distributes cocoa butter within chocolate to enhance the flavour.  Their 2020 Home of Chocolate is the largest Chocolate museum in Switzerland and contains the world`s largest chocolate fountain at 9m in height.

Aeschbach Chocolate is a smaller family owned Chocolate factory based in Luzern. Aeschnbach`s chocolate is hand made and uses the freshest ingredients.  At there factory there is  the excellent Choco World where the history and production of chocolate  is superbly exhibited.  You  can make your own chocolate bar and of course sample some delicious chocolate and enjoy a drink in the cafe.

Cailler, the oldest Swiss chocolate brand still in existence since the early 1820s, is nestled in the foothills of Gruyères. Its chocolates are produced at Maison Cailler. In 1929 Cailler merged with Nestle and produces a range of brands. You can learn about their chocolate through a multi-sensory experience and of course take time to sample their chocolates and buy some product in the well stocked shop.

Läderach first started production in Glarus in 1962. Discover all you need to know about Läderach and much more in the new House of Läderach. Experience an unforgettable day in our new event location with café, factory store, chocolate museum, live production and a walk-in atelier where you can make your own chocolate.  Läderach is famous for it`s different slabs of chocolate in Läderach shop windows across the land.

Aquilino Maestrani was one of the founding fathers of a chocolate culture that survives to the present day. In 1852, the ambitious entrepreneur and inventor founded the Maestrani company and helped shape the history of Switzerland. The factory in Flawil covers 4 famous brands – Minor, Munz, Maestrani and the Chocolarium which is an interactive experience showing us how Happiness makes it`s way chocolate !!

For more information on MASSIVE  CHOCOLATE  go to or check out Linked In or the TST Newsletter out 1st April in tine for Easter,


Why Choose a Private Tour in Switzerland

Tours are a wonderful way to experience what any destination has to offer.  Typically Swiss Tours (TST) is no exception.Typically Swiss Tours

There are multiple tours for every budget and interest level. These can be a simple one day set itinerary tours to more complex multi-day tours taking in several locations. Clearly embarking on a tour with a local tour company with experience will certainly add value and take away the hassle of trying to organise it on your own.

A major advantage of booking a Private guided tour is the option for a personalised , tailor-made tour.  Typically Swiss Tours, like most tour companies has many pre planned options on the website – However TST offers clients to personalise or customise tours which means you can choose exactly what you want to do and see and how long you want the tour to be.  Some good examples are a tour that takes in an activity such as water skiing or a paraglide or wants to visit a particular town or village.

Typically Swiss Tours

For those clients who either have or have not done the research a private tour guide will get to know you and take the time to plan a day according to your wishes.  Perhaps there are certain important aspects about mobility and diet which are important to the tour which clearly can be added to the discussion to base a tour around the guests. And with technology being what is it this days, there is really no excuse not to build up a good relationship with clients so that when the day, there is no need to break the ice.

Typically Swiss Tours

The size of the private tour really depends on the size of the vehicle the Guide has and in TST`s case it is a 6 seater, Mercedes V Class. Tours are always exclusive to the party and arrangements are made as much in advance of the tour as possible, normally by a Zoom call so people can get to know each other. The in terms of the day itself, the guide will ensure that the places discussed are covered and then will try to always add on elements as surprises. All with the intention  of giving the guests a truly memorable day.

Typically Swiss Tours

Luzern and its Mountains

Lake Luzern with mountains in the background

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Typically Swiss Tours is often asked by people visiting Luzern, which Mountain should we go up ? To be honest it`s a very good question as the 4 Mountains in question- Mt Pilatus, Mt Rigi, Mt Stanserhorn and Mt Titlis are all super excursions and if you had the time and the money, I would recommend a visit up all of them. They are clearly different in many ways but each has its own charm and attraction and one thing is clear, the views from the top of the Swiss Alps are breath-taking and memorable.

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This blog will aim to describe each mountain attraction and showcase the primary features which attract thousands of visitors each year.

Mt Pilatus is Luzern`s house mountain as it dominates the Luzern skyline. At 2132 or 7000ft above sea level, the views from the top of the Swiss Alps are amazing and worth the trip up either by the steepest cog wheel railway in the world or by 2 cable cars stopping half way at Frakmuntegg where several activities take place such as the longest toboggan in Switzerland and a rope park amongst the many hiking trails and fire pits.


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Mount Rigi is known as the Queen of the Mountains and was the first mountain railway built in 1871. 3 years earlier Queen Victoria made it to the top on horseback. There are hiking trails galore on Rigi and panoramic views stretch for over 150km. Rigi can be accessed by train from Vitznau and with gondola from Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad. Boats sail from Luzern to both ascent points from Luzern.

Mount Stanserhorn has been attracting visitors since 1893 and has always been a two trip activity. The journey starts in Stans on wooden funicular wagons which take you 1/3 of the way up the mountain. Then you transfer to the impressive and the world’s first [7]  “CabriO” double deck open top cable car which transports you to the summit at 1898m. Travelling on the CabriO is a unique experience, being outside in the fresh mountain air until you reach the top where a revolving restaurant awaits you and some marmots, not to mention the stunning views.

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Last but not least is Mount Titlis which is the tallest of the mountains at 3238m. It`s a 45min train or drive from Luzern. One reaches the top by 2 cables cars, the second one being the first rotating cable car in the world which travels over the glacier. Here you can visit an illuminated glacier cave from an entrance within the cable-car station, which also includes shops and restaurants. Also at the top enjoy the Ice flyer and the Cliff walk as well as the breath-taking views. The summit of Titlis is located above the snow line, thus it has a cold, snowy climate with permanent snow cover and freezing temperatures.

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All 4 of these majestical mountains will no doubt provide visitors with a fantastic day out in the fresh mountain air. Add some stunning views, some impressive engineering and some delicious food, then your Luzern mountain experience is complete. It’s very difficult to choose one, so my summary is if you want snow, it`s Titlis, if you want walks, It`s Rigi, if you want activities, it`s Pilatus and if you want engineering it`s Stanserhorn. If you want a great day out, it`s all of them.

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If you fancy a trip up any of these mountains, please contact Chris at Typically Swiss Tours. We can provide you driving and guiding tours to most of the top destinations in Switzerland. Please call +41 79 286 0451 or write to [email protected]

Tours of chocolate factories in Switzerland

[su_row][su_column size=”2/3″ center=”no” class=””]Chocolate is loved by millions of people around the world and for several reasons, the main one of course, is because of its unique, rich and sweet taste. You can buy it in all the countries of the world and it is relatively cheap. No wonder Chocolate consumption continues to grow year after year. In 2019, total world consumption reached 7.7 million metric tons (an enormous sum). Of this figure, Switzerland not only accounts for a large percentage of the production of chocolate, but—and perhaps and not surprisingly—is the biggest consumer of chocolate per capita in the world eating 9 kilos of chocolate every year.

Today, we’ll learn a brief history of chocolate and focus on its development in Switzerland and why chocolate is synonymous with Switzerland. I will analyse the latest data about whether chocolate is good for you and lastly I will take you on a whistle stop tour of 4 chocolate factories which are open to the public and where you can indulge in this delicious treat.


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A brief history of chocolate

The origin of chocolate goes back 4,000 years to Mexico where the first cacao plants were found. The Olmecs, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. They drank their chocolate during rituals and used it as medicine. Centuries later, the Mayans praised chocolate as the drink of the gods.

Mayan chocolate was a revered brew made of roasted and ground cacao seeds mixed with chillies, water and cornmeal. Mayans poured this mixture from one pot to another, creating a thick foamy beverage called “xocolatl”, meaning “bitter water.”

By the 15th century, the Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency. They believed that chocolate was a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl, and drank it as a refreshing beverage, an aphrodisiac, and even to prepare for war.

Chocolate reaches Spain

No one knows for sure when chocolate came to Spain. Legend has it that explorer Hernán Cortés brought chocolate to his homeland in 1528. Cortés was believed to have discovered chocolate during an expedition to the Americas. In search of gold and riches, he instead found a cup of cocoa given to him by the Aztec emperor. So this is how chocolate came to Europe and later in this article, I will inform you about how Switzerland became so important in the development of chocolate as we know today.



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Facts about chocolate

First though, some facts about chocolate and our health. Here are some well known facts:

  • Chocolate consumption has long been associated with conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.
  • Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants.
  • Some studies have suggested chocolate could lower cholesterol levels prevent memory decline.
  • Chocolate contains a large number of calories.
  • People who are seeking to lose or maintain weight should eat chocolate only in moderation.

Recent research suggests that chocolate may have some health benefits which go against the traditional view that chocolate is bad for you. The main reason chocolate receives this bad press is because of its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

However, there is a growing amount of evidence showing that cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate contains biologically active phenolic compounds (antioxidants) which may have a range of health benefits such as

  • lowering cholesterol levels
  • preventing cognitive decline
  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems

One element that is widely recognised is the higher the cocoa content the more health benefits there are, so dark chocolate clearly is the healthy option if there is one and one must also take into account the other “less healthy” ingredients, such as sugar and fat.



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Why Switzerland and chocolate are synonymous with each other

So why do Switzerland and chocolate go together like hand-in-glove? Well there is no major reason apart from a group of Swiss chocolate pioneers starting in the 17th Century started to “play with” and process chocolate which at that time did not resemble the chocolate we enjoy today. Only in the 1800s did we see the first significant improvement in chocolate production, starting with the first mechanised chocolate factory in Vevey by François-Louis Cailler who had worked as an apprentice with Italian chocolatiers in Ticino. Cailler’s machinery began churning out the first mass-produced Swiss chocolate.

Then came Rodolphe Lindt based in Bern merging with the Sprungli family in 1892 which is the basis of the modern day Lindt brand we see today. Lindt was responsible for creating the conching method which gives chocolate its creamy smooth texture and Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé added milk powder to produce milk chocolate. In 1908, Tobler produced his famous triangular shape Toblerone bar with nougat, almonds and honey and in the 1930s Nestle launched its white chocolate milky bar.

So those are the main elements in the history of why Switzerland and chocolate have a long history. To give you an idea of just how big this industry is – the Annual revenues of chocolate production in Switzerland are about 1.5 billion Swiss francs (about $1.5 billion) and the Swiss produce about 180,000 tons of chocolate per year.



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4 of the most well-known chocolate factories to visit in Switzerland.

So where does all this chocolate making take place and can you see it all happening? The good news is that there are over a dozen such places in Switzerland where you can visit and see how chocolate is made and naturally sample and buy as much chocolate as you can afford!! Here are some of the best places I know personally and take my guests there as well.

So here are 4 of the most well-known chocolate places to visit in Switzerland. There are over 10 other chocolate places located all over Switzerland such as Alpenrose in Lugano, Laderach in Bilton, Chocolat Frey in Buchs and Camille Bloch in Courtelary.

There is a relatively inexpensive entry fee for all the places listed and all are well worth a visit whether you are a chocolate lover or not. I am sure that after a trip to one of these chocolate-filled places, you will agree that Switzerland produces the best chocolate mainly because you might just have sampled more than you should have 


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Aeschbach Chocolate – Root near Luzern

Swiss chocolate tour at Aeschbach, Switzerland
Swiss chocolate tour at Aeschbach, Switzerland

This small family run chocolate factory prides itself on producing fresh chocolate for large and small companies as well as its own brand. A  large production facility and a mouth-watering café, there is Choco world which gives visitors an insight into the world of chocolate, the history and just about everything you need to know about it. It is customary at all these tasty places, there are plenty of sampling stations including 3 chocolate fountains – delicious !!


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Lindt Chocolate or the Home of Chocolate – Zurich 

The Lindt Chocolate Factory tour in Zurich
The Lindt Chocolate Factory tour in Zurich

This massive facility opened on September 13th this year and will boost a multi-media and interactive exhibition, a research facility and show production. Furthermore, the world’s largest Lindt chocolate shop, a Lindt café and a Lindt Chocolateria for chocolate courses. A special highlight, however, is the world’s largest chocolate fountain in the entrance area which is more than 9 metres tall.


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Cailler Chocolate Factory – Broc 

Maison Cailler Chocolate factory tour in Broc, Switzerland
Maison Cailler Chocolate factory tour in Broc, Switzerland

Explore the story of our chocolate through a series of interactive, multi-sensorial experiences, and maybe uncover a few secrets along the way.
Our unique museum tour of about one hour leads you through the history of chocolate, from Aztec cocoa ceremonies to the innovations of today. Discover how we use exquisite cocoa beans and high-quality ingredients to make the finest chocolate creations, and indulge your palate with an amazing variety of flavours during a chocolate tasting.


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Maestrani Chocolate – Flawil 

Maestrani chocolate tours in Switzerland
Maestrani chocolate tours in Switzerland

Discover the chocolate factory independently and solve the secret of how happiness gets into chocolate. Enjoy a sweet journey through the fantastic world of discovery. Product sampling included!



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So there you go, 4 of the most mouth-watering and delicious chocolate experiences in Switzerland. If any one of them has whet your appetite to visit, check out our Chocolate, Cheese & Drinks tour for more information. 


Everything You Need To Know About Swiss Wines

Swiss Wines

During the Corona crises, I have been trying to think of new ways to attract customers. One of the ideas I have had is to add a wine experience to the Cheese and Chocolate Tour. Therefore, I have been learning about Swiss Wine, a very interesting subject and certainly an experience that guests will enjoy.

So the question is why is Swiss wine an enigma and seemingly not very popular outside of Switzerland? Many people do not even know that wine is produced here. However, I can confirm that many good quality wines are produced here in several regions and over the past 20 years Swiss winemaking has come a long way with a focus on quality as new grapes were introduced and older varieties resurrected. Swiss winemakers took off to the USA, Australia and New Zealand to learn winemaking techniques and bring their skills back to Switzerland to cater for a growing market of wine drinkers both here and from abroad.

So today there are approximately 15,000 hectares of vineyards in Switzerland across several Kantons in Switzerland. 58% is red wine and 42% white with Pinot Noir and Chaesselas the 2 most common varieties.

Switzerland’s Six Wine Regions

  • Valais (33% of total wine volume produced) In the heart of the Alps, with vineyards extending over 100km along the Rhône river.
  • Vaud (25%) Predominantly along the shores of Lake Geneva, with some vineyards at the southwestern end of Lake Neuchâtel.
  • German-speaking region (19%) Widely scattered across 17 German-speaking cantons from Basel and Aargau in the northwest via Zurich, Schaafhausen and Thurgau, to St Gallen and Graubünden in the east.
  • Geneva (10%) In the foothills of the sub-Alpine Jura mountains and both banks of the Rhône as it leaves the western end of Lake Geneva.
  • Ticino (7%) On the southern side of the Alps close to the Italian border, with abundant sunshine tempered by lake-effect rain from its proximity to Lakes Lugano and Maggiore.
  • Three Lakes (5%) Mostly on the slopes of the Jura along the northern banks of Lake Neuchâtel, with the balance on the equivalent shores of nearby Lakes Biel/Bienne and Murten/Morat.

I have picked out a couple of regions and winemakers that Typically Swiss Tours has met and will be taking customers to should they wish to visit a Swiss Vineyard to possibly complement a visit to a chocolate factory and/or a cheese dairy.

I have chosen the Kaiserspan vineyards at Hitzkirch, 25 mins outside of Luzern. Here, Andreas and Edith carefully turn Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling Silvaner into delicious red, white and rosé wines. Not far away on the banks of Lake Luzern with superb views Tony Ottiger produces the same varieties and Sauvignon Blanc and Rosenau as well. I envisage a day up Mt Pilatus, followed by a stroll round Luzern followed by a mid to late afternoon vineyard visit to be a lovely day.

Likewise, in the Lavaux region, Typically Swiss Tours has teamed up with La Crausaz vineyard which is situated on the south facing hills above Lake Leman, near Montreux. This perfectly located vineyard produces Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir amongst many selections. A trip here would complement a day in Montreux or even better round of a perfect culinary trip to Cailler chocolate and Gruyere cheese, located 30 mins away.

All three vineyards offer an introduction as to how the wines are produced, a small tour around the vineyard and a sampling of some selected wines and perhaps some lunch if ordered in advance. Naturally, there will be an opportunity to purchase a couple of bottles to sample later or take back as souvenirs. I have personally visited all 3 places and can confirm that this experience is not one to be missed. The views across the vineyards with lakes and mountains provide a perfect backdrop for a wonderful Swiss wine tasting experience. And why do this …….

Well, Swiss wines are becoming more popular year on year. The Swiss say themselves they cannot produce enough for their home market, never mind the foreign one and consequently only 1.5% of production is exported. A trip to a vineyard will certainly open up your eyes to the quality and increasing appeal of Swiss Wines.

One thing is for certain, a trip to a Swiss Vineyard will not disappoint and certainly add value to any culinary trip here in Switzerland.

What To Expect From Switzerland & The Swiss When You Arrive Here

The Matterhorn, Switzerland | Typically Swiss Tours

I have been here for 20 years so perhaps I am used to the living standards and
environment, let alone the Swiss people themselves. However, I have racked
my brains and after having talked to a few clients, I have picked out a few
common observations that your average visitor here would surely point out
when here. Therefore, if you do come as a tourist, and I strongly advise that
you do, this tips you will prepare you for your trip to Switzerland.

1. Cleanliness

So on arrival at either Zürich, Basel or Geneva airports, you will be struck just
how clean and even how sterile airports are compared to other airports in the
world. This sets the tone as Switzerland has to be one, if not the cleanest
countries in the world. On a stroll down a street in Switzerland, lots of people
have remarked to me about the absence of any litter and it is absolutely true. I
had one guest, a guy from the USA who set himself a challenge to find a piece
of litter during the 2 days he was with me and his colleagues. Let’s just say he
could not reach the challenge. So towns, mountains, lakes and basically
everywhere is clean. This cleanliness comes down to doing things right and
orderly and professional and organised and efficient and clean and ultimately

2. Crossing The Road

Secondly there`s crossing the road. No jay walking here, people press the button and religiously wait for the green man. There could be no cars coming for miles on both sides but no one crosses and if somebody does jump the gun
and cross before the green man appears, it`s probably a foreigner!!

3. Prices

Third and you probably know this already, it`s very expensive. Wages are high
and I suppose this means, the cost of just about everything from Hotels, to
food and drinks to trips up mountains is high with very few exceptions. An
example would be a pizza margarita costing 17chf, a glass of wine 8chf and a
trip up a mountain 75chf which by anybody’s standards is expensive. Basically
if you here with family for a week and you are keen to do things, you must be
wealthy as a week could easily cost over 5000chf depending on your style of
stay etc. Luckily there are Airbnb`s here and you can buy transport passes
which will save you for trips etc and you can always do picnic lunches.

4. Languages

Forth is the language. Now if you do end up on the west side or the French side
or the South-East side, better known as the Italian part, you are fine if you
speak those languages and in general you are fine anyhow as the Swiss are a
very educated race and those working in Tourism will speak English and at
least one other language. However, if you end up in Central Switzerland where
I am in Luzern, do not expect the locals to speak German and you can practice
your A level German with them. No, they speak a strange dialect of German
called Swiss German which is simply nearly impossible to understand and I
would not even bother trying to! Best of speaking English.

5. Timing

Fifth is surprise, surprise is timing. Everything runs on time here. Trains and
meetings etc. If a train is due to leave or a meeting or concert is due to begin
at 2.45pm, then it will leave or start at 2.45 in 99% of cases. So never assume a train will be a minute late as you will simply miss it. Likewise, for dinner
reservations, always let the restaurant know you will be late and as a couple of
side notes, do not be too surprised to see a dog or dogs in the restaurant and
when it comes to tipping, remember that service is included in the bill so no
need to tip unless the service is really exceptional.

6. Low Crime Rates

Sixth, there is hardly any poverty and people are by and large well looked
after and civilised, educated and have jobs. In general unemployment is very
low, inflation also and the country is simply very well managed. Going further,
Switzerland is not in the EU and the borders are controlled so you will not see
many immigrants or refugees here. Entry and works permits for foreigners are
tightly controlled. Society is orderly and crime is very low too and the chances
of a tourist being a victim of crime are very low indeed.

7. High Fitness

Lastly you will be struck by how fit most people are. There are exceptions to
this for sure but if you do see overweight people, there is a good chance they
are tourists. The Swiss watch their diet and most do have some form of fitness
regime and participate in a number of sports and ski and hike on the Swiss

So there`s a few fairly common idiosyncrasies you will definitely find here in
Switzerland. Nothing too bad, in fact most are pretty positive and make
Switzerland the fantastic country it is. To summarise you probably have the
impression Switzerland is high end and high cost. It is. In a way, you pay for
what you get here, hence the high standard and cost of living. However I would
strongly encourage anybody to visit Switzerland – just save up before you
come !

How Coronavirus Is Impacting Switzerland: Our Response

Lake Luzern with mountains in the background

Like most countries in the world, Switzerland has been affected by Coronavirus. At the time of writing there were over 25,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.

Here’s a simple summary of what has been going on here.

Covid-19 in SwitzerlandAnti coronavirus measures have been in place since March 16 and will be extended to April 26. These measures include a 

  • recommendation to all citizens to stay at home, especially the sick and elderly. 
  • A ban of gatherings of more than 5 people and social distancing at 2meters between people.  
  • The economy has collapsed and the government has brought in measures to support the economy.
  • An extraordinary situation is in place, resulting in a ban on all private and public events and closing bars, restaurants, sports and cultural spaces; only business providing essential goods remain open. Schools are closed nationwide.

Due to this situation, the government can take over certain powers from the 26 Cantons to impose measures. This is a first for Switzerland.  On March 25 Switzerland closed its borders and therefore only Swiss Citizens, swiss residents, those entering the country for professional reasons, and those transiting through can enter the country. The Swiss army has been mobilised to control the borders.

In addition, for the first time the Swiss army is deploying a hospital battalion to support other civilian hospitals; it can welcome 200 patients. To cope with the expected increase in the number of sick people, many cantons have also mobilised civil defence volunteers. 

Major cancelled events have so far included the Geneva International Motor Show and the Baselworld watch fair. Art Basel, originally scheduled for June, has also postponed the fair until September.

All top-flight Swiss football and ice-hockey games have also been called off, as have numerous local social, political and cultural events. The ice hockey World Championship, scheduled to start in Switzerland from May 8, has also been cancelled.

Economics Minister Guy Parmelin has warned that averting a recession will be extremely difficult despite the measures taken. The government said it wanted to help the economy “quickly and unbureaucratically.”

The Swiss stock market has been heavily hit by the panic over the virus.

The tourism and event industries also fear heavy losses. For March and April, Swiss hotels are expecting turnover to fall by up to 90%

As you can imagine the consequences for Typically Swiss Tour have been very bad with several tours being cancelled and no bookings for the summer period. Bookings still exist for mid-summer and time will tell if these tours actually take place. The good news is my product could be one f the lucky ones as and when the crises is over as I give private tours which due to health and safety fears could be more in demand than say, large bus tours.

In any case, Typically Swiss Tours is doing all that it can do to work on marketing so that is ready for the inevitable recovery.