Switzerland’s Secret Islands: Part Two

Das Urner Reussdelta von oben, fotografiert am 30.8.2015 vom Seedorfer Wald aus.

With lockdown easing up in Switzerland, the prospects of visiting some of their secret islands is becoming more hopeful each day. If you haven’t read Part One of this post, please check out some of the beautiful islands filled with so much history and nature before deep diving into this post. Switzerland, although an expensive country to live in and visit, has so many hidden gems that it has made me appreciate this Alpine country even more. Here I will be sharing some of Switzerland’s secret islands including Island in Lake Cauma, Lorelei Islands and Ogoz Island. If you haven’t seen part one, don’t miss out on some great islands.

Island in Lake Cauma in Graubünden

Lake Cauma is known as the the jewel of Films, a municipality in the canton Graubünden, it is one of the most beautiful Swiss lakes. It translates to ‘lake siesta’ meaning that it is a great place to relax and chill in the Swiss countryside, surrounded by greenery and forests on all sides. It is located about 1000 metres above sea level and has a water temperature of 20 – 24 Celsius in the summer. There’s a myth that the lake water has healing powers. In the 19th Century, many people came to Lake Cauma for a ‘healing stay’ and would bathe in the lake noting that the healing process of their illnesses accelerated. Whether or not that is true, it is a place that is throughly enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.

How To Get There: If you would like to spend a long weekend in the Swiss countryside, this would be a great place to stop for a visit. Zurich is the nearest airport and you can take a train to Chur, then hop on a bus to Films Waldhaus, Caumasee. Once you arrive, it takes 15 minutes to walk through the scenic forest path to Lake Cauma and the island.

What To Do There: The best question to ask is what can’t you do there? You can swim in the lake, you can paddle board or canoe, or explore the lake via a pedallo. If you can hike or bike through the forest paths, take the funicular or you can sunbathe and enjoy the views. You can go for a picnic with friends or eat at the Restaurant Caumasee on the terrace. There is an entry fee to enjoy the lake and the forest area. As of 2020, the prices were CHF 18 for an adult and CHF 9 for children. If you are staying in a hotel in the area, you can bring your hotel card and get a reduced rate.

Where To Stay: There are a variety of options for accommodation such as hotels and holidays. It seems like this place is extremely popular in the summer so I would opt for staying in the surrounding villages or smaller cities such as Chur, Laax or Films. I am all for Air Bnbs so I would definitely keep that in mind if it is hard to look for places to stay.

Can you tell that I’m excited to visit and explore more of what Switzerland has to offer?

Caumasee Films

Lorelei Islands in Canton Uri

The Lorelei islands, also known as the three bathing Lorelei islands, were constructed and inaugurated in 2005. They were created from reclaimed rock and gravel excavated during the building of the Gotthard Tunnel, the largest tunnel in the world, connecting Switzerland to Italy, to renature the Reuss River Delta after it was eroding rapidly in the eighties. These bathing islands allow the locals and tourists to sunbathe in the area without disrupting the flora and the fauna of the Reuss Delta.

How To Get There:

You can get to these islands by train or boat if you don’t drive. From Lucerne main station, you’ll need to take a Tell bus to Flüelen-Eggberge cable railway stop and walk about 25 minutes to the islands. You can reach the Reuss Delta by car via Seedorf or Flüelen.

What To Do There:

It seems like it is more of a day trip area, so lots of swimming in the river, relaxation and maybe a picnic and/or small BBQ with friends and family. If you would like to make more of a trip out of it, I would say spending time in the city of Lucerne or taking a trip to Rhein Falls and visiting the small town of Rhein Am Stein. Check out my staycation trip to Lucerne to find out more about the area.

Where To Stay:

There are hotels, camping grounds, bed and breakfasts, hostels etc. in the surrounding areas and Lucerne. I think that as renaturing the area was a big project and they don’t want to disturb the flora and fauna, all the accommodation spots are roughly 17km away from the islands.

Badespass im Urner Reussdelta

Ogoz Island in the Fribourg Region

Lake Gruyère is one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Switzerland, it is an artificial lake that lies between Fribourg and Bulle. Ogoz island is an island in Lake Gruyère, located in the canton of Fribourg. There is an old castle and a small chapel on the island, where wedding parties are frequently hosted. In order to get there, a small boat trip is needed but during the winter and spring, the water levels drop lower revealing a piece a land that makes it possible for people to walk from the shore to the Oguz island. As it is a small island, I would recommend visiting as a stopover as there are many activities to do in the area.

How To Get There:

The closest major airport is Geneva. From Geneva, you can take a train to Palézieux and then switch trains to head to Bulle. From the nearest big cities, Lausanne and Fribourg, you’ll need to take a train ride to Bulle and then a bus to Charmey (Gruyère) village.

What To Do There:

Oguz island may not have a lot of activities to do there but Gruyère region is a very popular place amongst locals and tourists. Gruyère is a medieval town and if you are like me and love history and food, you’ll love visiting the town. There is La Maison du Gruyère, the cheese factory, where you can watch them make cheese. I went there once after I visited La Maison Cailler, the chocolate factory, in Broc, which is about a 20 minute train journey from Gruyère. There is a 13th Century castle, a Tibet Museum and a lot of restaurants that serve traditional Swiss dishes such as fondues, röstis, soups de chalet, macaronis de chalets etc. If you enjoy hiking tours and/or winter sport activities, Gruyère has something for you too. On the western side of the lake lies the Gibloux mountain and on the eastern side lies a family-friendly winter sports resort, a winter park, a toboggan run and many more activities. It’s a beautiful place to visit, I still haven’t been able to visit the whole area yet. It’s definitely a place I would like to explore more in the summer.

Where To Stay:

As it is a popular area, they have the usual accommodation choices such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, chalets and holiday apartments, camp sites, Air Bnbs and alpine huts. If you are looking for an experience, they have special accommodation choices such as wood-houses on stilts and stay-in-the-hays. I have no idea what that is but it sounds very Swiss, here is the link to find out more.

Ogoz Island

Using this downtime to plan potential staycations in Switzerland has brought me so much joy that I’m actually ready to visit all these islands this summer if it is safe to move around the country. Once I visit, I will share my travels as usual with you. Even if you are not in Switzerland but would love to visit, bookmark this post and add these places to your list. Switzerland has so many hidden gems scattered across the country but I hope to visit at least half of them in the next few years.

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