Categories
Castles & palaces Experience Families For who Friends Uncategorized

Detectives wanted at Burgdorf Castle Museum

This is where you come in. The signet ring must be returned to Burgdorf Castle Museum, but where is it?
Fortunately, the surveillance camera filmed everything and now the inspector is trying to piece together the various leads. And she needs your help doing it.

The commissioner reveals hot information to put you on the right track. ©Burgdorf Castle

Forensics were able to recover a lost notebook. In it, the thief has neatly recorded his or her ideas on what else to steal. The reception desk will be happy to share with you the clues that have been found so far, and to get you started, the inspector will show you a video with tips for your search in the museum.

This family was already on the trail of the thief. Are you the next? ©Burgdorf Castle

On the detective tour you will pass by numerous exhibit highlights and learn interesting background information about the objects. In some of the places you need to be very observant, in others you need patience to find the right solution. After all, you’ll be learning lots about the ancestors of the suspects and the history of the castle.

What role does this cannon play in the case of the missing signet ring? ©Burgdorf Castle

At the end of the tour, the inspector will eagerly be awaiting your new findings, which will hopefully help to solve the case. If your clues lead to discovering the culprit, the inspector will present you with a Master Detective award as a thank you. The Burgdorf Castle Museum is counting on the help of as many sleuths as possible!

Burgdorf Castle Museum is worth a trip even without tracking. ©Burgdorf Castle

The new detective tour is suitable for museum visitors with children aged nine and up. For families with younger children, the family tour with the castle ghost Burdtli and his friends in the museum is an excellent choice. There are also free tour flyers available at the reception for anyone interested in the Middle Ages or globetrotting

Detektivtour_Logo

About the author

Portraitbild von Daniel Furter

Daniel is the museum director at Burgdorf Castle. He really enjoys the unique combination of museum, youth hostel and restaurant, which always makes for exciting encounters. To keep the museum alive, he is always on the lookout for new stories and collaborations. Among the youth hostels, he is particularly fond of the two wellness hostels.

Categories
Action & adventure Destination Experience Families Friends For who Hostel tips In the mountains Couples Stories

Explore Saanenland in winter and take some time out

Everyone has heard of Gstaad. The place where the world’s rich and famous spend their winter holidays. But during my visit to Saanenland, it wasn’t designer ski jackets that caught my eye. Instead, I felt a wholly unexpected, deep sense of relaxation. After all, the Bernese Oberland region is committed to the motto “come up and slow down”, and it is much more than just a marketing message.

Charming Gstaad shows itself from its best side. ©Christina Ragettli

The view from the Gstaad Youth Hostel in Saanenland alone helps me stay grounded: Cosy chalets dot the landscape in the stunning mountain valley surrounded by peaks. Marianne, operations manager of the Gstaad Youth Hostel, also tells me that there is a strong sense of community in the region. You won’t find any large chain companies here – hoteliers and businesses help one another out and everyone is accepted with open arms. This has enabled the region to retain its original charm, which is missing in some other mountain regions.

The youth hostel in Saanen was newly built in 2014. ©Christina Ragettli

But does Gstaad offer in winter?

The region is truly a sledging paradise. There are six sledging routes for different levels and even an option to go sledging at night. You can hire a sledge on-site – and off you go. I tested out the Horneggli Run and was impressed – the trails are in excellent condition and it’s great fun to race down the mountain with a sledge hired in Gstaad.

What are you waiting for? On the sled, get set, go! ©Christina Ragettli

The different ski areas around Gstaad

There are 200 kilometres of trails around Gstaad for skiing and snowboarding fun. I recommend that you choose between the “Oeschseite/Saanenmöser/Schönried” or “Rübeldorf/Eggli/Rougement” regions right in the morning. The Saanenmöser area is slightly larger and there’s more to do. There’s a larger selection of restaurants, you can test your skills at the snow park, and the sledging pass will get a lot of use here, too. The area surrounding Rougement is somewhat steeper and quieter, and several trails pass spectacular cliffs around La Videmanette. If you like, you can even visit the Les Diablerets 3000 ski area – it’s just after Gsteig, but isn’t included in the Gstaad ski pass.

Optimal conditions are in the Bernese Oberland! ©Christina Ragettli

Are you looking for a special experience?

Then I have a great tip for all winter fans in Gstaad. At Saanersloch (above the Saanenmöser mountain station), there’s an igloo village! Here, you can enjoy cheese fondue or do the Mystery Igloo. Mystery Igloo – what’s that?! Mystery Igloo is like an escape room, the popular game you may know from cities. The Mystery Igloo on the Saanersloch is the perfect team or family activity. You have 45 minutes to solve a variety of puzzles – leading you to the hidden ice crystal. Good luck and have fun!

Put a little more effort into your head in the afternoon! ©Christina Ragettli

Catch some rays in the light-flooded Gstaad Youth Hostel

In 2014, the Gstaad Youth Hostel opened its doors as a new building constructed according to the Minergie P-Eco standard. The accommodation merges into the landscape, impressing with its large, open rooms. Practically every room is flooded with light and offers amazing views of the region. This is why the youth hostel in Saanenland has also been awarded the “Watt d’Or” in the category “Buildings and Space”.

By the way, there’s a cosy terrace in front of the hostel – or for waiting for the ski bus that departs near the hostel. Come and put your feet up.

With these conditions, working is directly much easier. ©Christina Ragettli

The Gstaad Youth Hostel also caters to those who would like to work on-site. Fun, relaxation, and work all in one. Because the lobby and dining area are perfect for the “Work`n`snow” offer with wifi, water and mountain views included.

Flooded with light and offering a breathtaking view – the rooms at Gstaad Youth Hostel. ©Christina Ragettli

About the author

Mountain lover Christina Ragettli is from Grison. Besides her job as a marketing & communications manager in the tourism sector, she enjoys hiking and skiing.

On her blog wildmountainheart.ch she takes her readers with her on her adventures. For example, in the summer of 2020, she packed her tent and hiked 2000 kilometres across the Alps alone for almost five months on the Via Alpina.
Her book «VON WEGEN» will also be published in April 2022.

Christina also supports her brother and freeski pro Andri Ragettli in all communication matters, wrote his book “ATTACK YOUR DREAMS” (to be published in spring 2022) and is a volunteer writer for the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) Terri section.

Follow Christina’s hostel stories also on Instagram:

instagram.com/swissyouthhostels
instagram.com/christinara

Categories
Destination Families Friends For who Hostel tips In the mountains Couples Stories Winter

Cross-country excursion to Pontresina Youth Hostel with your dog

The time has come for Nanuk’s first holiday excursion. Nanuk is my no-longer-so-little German Shepherd. And by excursion, I mean a night at Pontresina Youth Hostel. There’s a special reason why I chose this place! The youth hostel in Pontresina isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill youth hostel – it’s also a cross-country skiing centre. The trail is right next to the hotel, and the equipment hire shop is even in the same building. It’s really practical. After all, I’d like to try cross-country skiing with Nanuk

Our cross-country centre at Pontresina Youth Hostel ©Christina Ragettli

A perfect hobby for winter sports fans with dogs

Although I’m still a bit shaky on my skis, I set out confidently on an adventure on this beautiful winter day. After a warm-up lap in front of the hostel, Nanuk and I leave Pontresina and head towards Madulain. It’s home to one of several dog trails in the Engadin. There, I hook Nanuk onto my repurposed climbing harness with his flexi leash and off we go.

Nanuk ready for the track ©Christina Ragettli

Or at least that was the plan. Nanuk doesn’t like the cross-country skiers at all. He barks at them like crazy, and even tries to bite them. The other cross-country skiers watch me and smile. Oh man, this isn’t what I had imagined at all. After a few assertive shouts of “No, don’t bite the skiers, Nanuk!” and lots of patience, we manage our first few metres forwards. Slowly but steadily. Just don’t brake. Nanuk likes the braking sound caused by the skis least of all.

When it runs, it runs! Nanuk is a little cross-country skiing pro after all. ©Christina Ragettli

However, about ten minutes later, everything “clicks” and Nanuk is happily doing laps with me on the trail! Ok, I may have to retrieve him whenever a cross-country skier crosses our path and shorten his radius to keep him at my side. But he seems to really enjoy the dog trail. After a good hour, we’re finished – I don’t want to overtax the little guy on his first time out. And so we return to Pontresina Youth Hostel, feeling happy and tired.

Stay at the youth hostel with your dog

Nanuk is greeted at Pontresina Youth Hostel in the best possible way. Snacks, dog waste bags, a terry cloth towel and a greeting card “Hello Christina and woof Nanuk”. Dogs are definitely welcome here! Tip: Bring your own dog bed if necessary. Youth hostel visitors also need to know that their dog should be registered and is only allowed in private rooms. So, you don’t have to leave him or her alone. Dogs are welcome at almost all Swiss Youth Hostels – with the exception of Baden Youth Hostel.

Nanuk seems to be having a great time at the youth hostel. ©Christina Ragettli

More tips for an awesome winter excursion to Pontresina – with and without your dog

Explore the Val Roseg

A beautiful valley surrounded by the highest of the Engadin’s peaks. The hike to “Roseg” takes two hours. There, you will find a mountain restaurant & hotel. Coaches will also take you back and forth if need be. It’s perfect for everyone whose legs get tired and who find a four-hour hike to be simply too much of a good thing. By the way: There’s also a cross-country skiing trail to Val Roseg.

The Val Roseg in its full glory. ©Christina Ragettli

Val Morteratsch – try pizzoccheri

The trail to Val Morteratsch is a bit shorter than the one to Val Roseg. You can reach the glacier by foot within an hour. Unfortunately, it’s receding further and further, which is being documented with info boards along the trail for some excitement. Just before the glacier, the forest thins out and you can see Piz Palü, Piz Bernina (the eastern most 4,000-metre peak) and Piz Morteratsch. And the Boval Hut is also “within grasp” but closed in winter. So, now it’s back to the Morteratsch mountain restaurant, where I treat myself to a Valtellina speciality common in the Engadin every visit: pizzoccheri.

Pizzoccheri in bright sunshine – what better way to enjoy the day? ©Christina Ragettli

Nanuk seems to like it in the Engadine as much as I do. ©Christina Ragettli

Lej da Staz

Lej da Staz, mentioned once in the St. Moritz blog post, is also just a short hike away. It’s worth a trip, no matter the season.

Ley Staz in St. Moritz im Winter

On her first trip to the Engadine, Christina still experienced Lake Staz in this splendour. ©Christina Ragettli

Coffee and cake break at Gianottis

Back in Pontresina, it was time to do something good for the soul. Right next door to the Zuckerbäckerei bakery, you can make yourself comfortable at the café and enjoy a delicious piece of cake complete with a view of the mountains. The chocolate cake was excellent and the passion fruit cheesecake was also very popular. Tip for Pontresina in spring: The ibexes generally like to visit in late spring (a bit above the valley station). It’s an unforgettable experience to be able to marvel at the animals at close range.

Nothing beats a big piece of cake. ©Christina Ragettli

Skiing in Diavolezza, Corvatsch or Corviglia

You can buy the ski ticket from Pontresina Youth Hostel for a good price. For only 45 francs per person/day, you get the ski pass for the three skiing areas in the Engadin. This makes fun on the slopes in one of the three skiing areas worth it twice over.

Some more impressions of Christina in Engadin

About the author

Mountain lover Christina Ragettli is from Grison. Besides her job as a marketing & communications manager in the tourism sector, she enjoys hiking and skiing.

On her blog wildmountainheart.ch she takes her readers with her on her adventures. For example, in the summer of 2020, she packed her tent and hiked 2000 kilometres across the Alps alone for almost five months on the Via Alpina.
Her book «VON WEGEN» will also be published in April 2022.

Christina also supports her brother and freeski pro Andri Ragettli in all communication matters, wrote his book “ATTACK YOUR DREAMS” (to be published in spring 2022) and is a volunteer writer for the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) Terri section.

Follow Christina’s hostel stories also on Instagram:

instagram.com/swissyouthhostels
instagram.com/christinara

Christina in St. Moritz

Christina has already been to Engadin once, and we also have a youth hostel in St. Moritz. In her experience report on St. Moritz, you can find out what else you can experience in Engadin around our two youth hostels.

Frau auf Steg am gefrorenen See St.Moritz
Categories
In the mountains Presenting... Uncategorized Winter

Our February hightlights for you!

Our getaway tip of the month

TO THE SCHATZALP!

The Schatzalp cable car takes you from the centre of Davos to Schatzalp in just 4 minutes.

The highlight? The view! We thank Walter for this breathtaking shot.

Picture: Instagram @duede

News

Through the winter – without skis or snowboards!

You can still experience the magic of winter to the fullest without your slats or board. Snowshoeing can be quite adventurous and the panorama is just as beautiful!

If you don’t want to miss out on adrenaline completely, you can find our sledging tips here:

Where holidays become accessible for all

Travel should be accessible to ALL. This conviction has always been of central importance to us and is set out in our mission statement. As a result, 25 of our facilities are currently completely barrier-free – and that number is growing all the time.

Learn more about obstacle free stays

 

Celebrate with us

Special occasions should be celebrated as they come! Anniversaries and birthdays deserve to be celebrated properly. Are you still looking for the ideal location for your next event? Let our versatile offering inspire you.

Find out more about exclusive youth hostel rental.

Picture: Sandra Steinmann
Decoration: Hochzyt’s Gugus

Our latest blog posts

Where holidays become accessible for all

It is important to us that all guests feel comfortable at our facilities. In the following interview, Kurt Schempp (responsible for accessibility at the Swiss Youth Hostels) reports on how the Swiss Youth Hostels promote inclusion as well as the benefits of the ginto app.

To the article

Alternative winter sports like you’ve never seen them before

Weekend trip to Interlaken & Bern Youth Hostels – a perfect match: Mountain adventure and city experience combined.

To the article

Hot deals for cold days

Want to get away from city life and move your home office to the mountains?

Have you always wanted to hit the slopes on your lunch break and get some fresh mountain air? Take advantage of our co-working youth hostels, get in the holiday mood and boost your productivity at work.

Read more

This cosy lounge is awating for you in Laax.

There are sledging runs for every taste in the destination of Gstaad

The well-prepared sledging trails take adventurous routes through the snow-covered winter landscape and offer wonderful views of the valley.

Read more

Do you like this article? Then subscribe to our monthly newsletter and be inspired by the latest stories and offers from Swiss Youth Hostels.

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Categories
Behind the scenes Sustainability Stories Uncategorized

More information on accessibility thanks to the OK:GO initiative

OK:GO promotes the availability of information on the accessibility of tourism offers in Switzerland. Project manager Julia chose the newly renovated Rapperswil-Jona Youth Hostel for a photo shoot of the initiative. But the spotlight is on Sara* and her twins.
*the names are fictitious

Together for a barrier-free Switzerland

It’s a cloudy afternoon and we walk from Rapperswil station to the youth hostel. It is beautifully located right in the middle of the fields and only a few metres from Lake Zurich. Our goal: Taking photos of Sara, her big pram and her two cute twins to illustrate the OK:GO initiative.

OK:GO was launched by the Association for Accessible Switzerland and aims to ensure that all tourism service providers in Switzerland inform the public about the accessibility of their offers. In this way, people with disabilities, senior citizens and families with small children can plan their trips more easily and independently.

The newly renovated hostel is located just a few metres from Lake Zurich ©OK:GO

The Swiss Youth Hostels are actively involved in the OK:GO initiative and are pioneers in this field. And so, the accessibility of the youth hostels provided the basis for the OK:GO initiative.

“We participate in the OK:GO initiative because accessibility plays an important role for us and we see it as our mission in the tourism industry to make our hostels accessible for everyone.“ “

René Dobler, CEO of the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism

The commitment to socially responsible tourism has always been anchored in the Swiss Youth Hostels’ mission statement. This is why they design their products and services in such a way that everyone can visit the youth hostels.

The Swiss Youth Hostels are currently collecting information on the accessibility of over 50 youth hostels on site for this reason. Information on the accessibility of the respective hostel is conveniently available to guests at youthhostel.ch.

Thanks to the ramp, access to the youth hostel is barrier-free ©OK:GO

No obstacles for the twin buggy at Youth Hostel

Back to Rapperswil: After a walk along the lake on a beautiful reed-lined path, we reach the youth hostel. Access to the building is easy thanks to the ramp. Inside we are welcomed by Brigitte. As hostess of Rapperswil Youth Hostel, she and her husband have been attending to the well-being of their guests for 30 years.

We’d like to take the lift to the first floor and see an obstacle-free family room. Is it wide enough? It is – and the pram goes in quite smoothly.

The twin pushchair fits easily into the lift ©OK:GO

We enter the family room with its minimalist and elegant design. The pram also fits. The door’s wide enough. The barrier-free bathroom is brand new.

Manoeuvring in the rooms is also no problem at all ©OK:GO

Back to the dining room. The wide space is pleasant for Sara, who has plenty of room to manoeuvre her pram. After the children have had their snack, it’s time to return to the station to catch the train.

Time to recharge before heading home ©OK:GO

Thanks to OK:GO, parents with prams like Sara, people with disabilities or elderly people who find it difficult to get around can plan their trip in advance.

They can check the hostel’s website to see whether the entrance, the lift or the room door is wide enough for them, for example. They can also make sure there is a lift to the rooms or parking spaces nearby.

Relaxed stay for all ©OK:GO

The OK:GO initiative addresses all tourism providers and motivates them to participate in the initiative. The following video explains why this is so important and how exactly it works:

Obstacle-free vacations at Swiss Youth Hostels

We are proactive in promoting barrier-free accommodations in Switzerland. Find all information about the services of our 33 obstacle-free youth hostels.

Our CEO of the Foundation for Social Tourism (SSST) René Dobler was interviewed by the Denk an mich Foundation. The SSST is strongly committed to making our youth hostels obstacle-free.

About the author

Bild-Julia-Vielle

Julia is a project coordinator for the OK:GO initiative. Together with her colleagues Carol and Michèle, she motivates the Swiss tourism industry to participate in the initiative. They are driven by their commitment to more autonomous mobility. Outside the office, she tours Switzerland with her two-year-old son and experiments with pram mobility on a daily basis.

Your trip to Lake Zurich is planned, but you’re missing the right excursion tips? We have put together some family-friendly tips for you.

Categories
Action & adventure Destination Destination Experience Hostel tips In the mountains In the mountains Stories Winter Winter

Ski-in & ski-out hostel Valbella-Lenzerheide

Lenzerheide is located at 1470 metres and is an internationally renowned mountain destination. Whether summer or winter, families, couples or individual travellers – Lenzerheide is just the place for mountain fans.

Right on the piste with a view of the mountains

Accommodation with ski-in & ski-out facilities is a luxury especially for families (and an affordable one at that at Valbella-Lenzerheide Youth Hostel). The picturesque view of the mighty Parpaner Rothorn at 2899 metres above sea level in the Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area also enchanted us immediately as soon as we entered the youth hostel.

Ein ausrangiertes Gondeli im Schnee vor Bergpanorama.

At dusk, the Parpaner Rothorn lives up to its name ©Christina Ragettli.

It can be enjoyed from the terrace, the restaurant, the lobby and in some cases even from the room. Yes, the location of Valbella-Lenzerheide Youth Hostel is certainly luxurious.

•	Das Parpaner Rothorn in den frühen Morgenstunden

The Parpaner Rothorn in the early morning hours. ©Christina Ragettli

Der Ausblick aus dem Hostelzimmer auf den zugefrorenen Heidsee.

Even from the room you always have a view of the mountains. ©Christina Ragettli

Lots of fun on the slopes and a treat for the tastebuds

We visited the youth hostel in the winter 2021/2022 pre-season and many slopes were already open. Only a small part of the more than 200 kilometres of pistes in the Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area weren’t running yet. So, maximum riding fun with few people – perfect.

The Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area joined forces with the new Urdenbahn in 2014. In addition, the west-east connection in Lenzerheide started up operation in 2015, as the ski area is divided between two opposite mountain groups. The cool thing about it is that you take in the first rays of sunshine in the morning on one side, switch sides around noon and end the day with the sunset.

The view from the famous Urdenbahn – the connection from Arosa to Lenzerheide/Valbella.©Christina Ragettli

By the way, my favourite place to stop is Motta Hütte hut. In addition to the delicious Grisons specialities on the menu, Motta Hütte also features an exceptional design: The wooden construction made of light spruce (inside and outside) is a real eye-catcher. Modern meets traditional.

Die Motta Hütte Lenzerheide im Winter

The Motta Hütte: Popular due to its beautiful panorama and delicious food ©Christina Ragettli

Grüne Spätzli im Teller

By the way: Motta Hütte is located 200 metres below the Urden cable car for all those who now have a craving for spinach spaetzle or tree nut gnocchi. ©Christina Ragettli

A feast for the senses in Lenzerheide Magic Forest

During my stay in Lenzerheide in December, a visit to the «Zauberwald» was also on my agenda. Along the lines of «fascination for all senses», visitors are captivated by extraordinary light art.

Logo Zauberwald Lenzerheide

Magic Forest fascination: A highlight in December ©Christina Ragettli

But you will also be spoilt with culinary delights. The experience is rounded off with varied concerts. When I visited, the Swiss artist Nemo and the duo Lo & Leduc were on stage. The light artworks I liked best were the «Light Rainbow», «Moonstruck» and «Blossoms of the Night».

Licht-Regenbogen im Zauberwald Lenzerheide

The «Rainbow of Light» by Hexxadøm ©Christina Ragettli

Installation Mondsucht Zauberwald Lenzerheide

The installation «Moonstruck» by the collective Nominal ©Christina Ragettli

Die Installation Blüten der

«Blossoms of the night» by Vaz / Obervaz (Lenzerheide) school ©Christina Ragettli

Even more reasons to stay at Lenzerheide Youth Hostel

The Valbella-Lenzerheide hostel has even more to offer besides spectacular views and ski-in & ski-out. Culinary delights, for example: The evening menu (vegetarian & meat option) is available for 19.50 Swiss francs. However, those who want an absolute Swiss experience also have the option of booking an additional upgrade for the cheese fondue for two.

Sustainability fact: :
Valbella-Lenzerheide Youth Hostel is the first building in Switzerland to be constructed as a youth hostel. The youth hostel was built in 1932 and extensively renovated in 2006. Naturally according to the Minergie-ECO standard, with a carbon-neutral wood pellet heating system and a solar collector system for hot water. Valbella-Lenzerheide Youth Hostel is both easy on the wallet and good for the conscience when it comes to sustainability. .

Eine Frau spaziert am Heidsee in Valbella Lenzerheide

A walk around the Heidsee with a stop for chestnuts and mulled wine ©Christina Ragettli.

About the author

Mountain lover Christina Ragettli is from Grison. Besides her job as a marketing & communications manager in the tourism sector, she enjoys hiking and skiing.

On her blog wildmountainheart.ch she takes her readers with her on her adventures. For example, in the summer of 2020, she packed her tent and hiked 2000 kilometres across the Alps alone for almost five months on the Via Alpina.
Her book «VON WEGEN» will also be published in April 2022.

Christina also supports her brother and freeski pro Andri Ragettli in all communication matters, wrote his book “ATTACK YOUR DREAMS” (to be published in spring 2022) and is a volunteer writer for the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) Terri section.

Follow Christina’s hostel stories also on Instagram:

instagram.com/swissyouthhostels
instagram.com/christinara

Light Ride Lenzerheide route illuminated

By the way, Jill and her friend have already tested the Light Ride Lenzerheide. Her conclusion: Mario Kart can definitely pack up – the Light Ride is next level fun for all those who are looking for that special tobogganing experience in Lenzerheide.

Categories
Action & adventure Destination Destination Experience Hostel tips In the mountains In the mountains Stories Winter Winter

Winter weekend trip to Interlaken & Bern

 

 

Bern, the Swiss capital. Interlaken – the world-famous town at the foot of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. These two must-visit places can be perfectly combined for a weekend trip to the canton of Bern.

No matter whether you live in Switzerland or visitor to our beautiful country: The Swiss Federal Palace and the picturesque old town as well as the Jungfraujoch at over 2500 metres above sea level are simply a must-see!

Bern Youth Hostel: Between the Federal Palace and a wellness oasis

I am amazed when I arrive at Bern Youth Hostel. Directly behind it, a little above, is THE Swiss Federal Palace. Every photo I take of the hostel has the Federal Palace in the background. If you look to the other side, you can see the river Aare (the youth hostel is about 100 metres from the bank) and a little further away the Gurten hill

E

Photogenic: You can’t miss the Federal Palace in Bern. ©Christina Ragettli

Hostel is located in the famous Marzili district, which was first mentioned in the 14th century. The building was completed in 1956 by the famous architect Peter Indermühle and reopened in 2018 after 16 months of renovation.

Ansicht des Bundeshaus Bern.

Construction of the Federal Palace began in 1852. ©Christina Ragettli

Die Jugendherberge Bern mit dem Bundeshaus Bern im Hintergrund.

Bern Youth Hostel was completed around 100 years later and a new building was added in 2018.  ©Christina Ragettli

Sustainability fact Bern Youth Hostel:

During the remodeling, strict ecological guidelines were followed in the selection of building materials. In addition, the youth hostel was designed to be 100% accessible – in cooperation with the «Denk an mich» foundation. The 172 m2 photovoltaic system on the roof of the Minergie building and the waste heat system also contribute to the positive ecological balance.

Die Frontalansicht vom Neubau der Jugendherberge Bern.

The new building of the youth hostel was equipped with a lift and barrier-free rooms. ©Christina Ragettli

Die Seitenansicht vom Neubau der Jugendherberge Bern.

Large panorama windows offer a view of the Aare or the greenery. ©Christina Ragettli

Ein Doppelbett in der Jugendherberge Bern mit Aussicht auf die Aare.

This allows guests to enjoy lots of light and nature in all the rooms. ©Christina Ragettli

Bern Youth Hostel is in a great location, so I spend a lot of time in the neighbourhood. I use the 105-metre-long Marzilibähnli to avoid the steep road. I take a photo of Marzilistrasse with its small neighbourhood houses and walk along the Aare, imagining the Aare boats gliding by in the summer.

Die Marzilibahn in Bern,.

The Marzilibähnli connects the main road and the Marzili district. ©Christina Ragettli

Der Fluss die Aaare in Bern.

The Aare flows right next to the youth hostel and is also delightful in winter.  ©Christina Ragettli

But I’ve yet to come to another highlight in the neighbourhood: The Hammam & Spa Oktogon. A good 15 minutes before the morning opening, wellness lovers stand in front of the Oktogon ready for a day of relaxation. Luckily, it’s directly opposite the youth hostel and you can practically jump into the pool after breakfast. Hammam means oriental wellness – not to be confused with an ordinary wellness facility. The tradition comes mainly from Turkey.

This is how it works:
After being given a «pestemal» (towel), wellness guests are invited to take a seat in the herbal steam bath for a «cleansing». Cooling down with cold water from a «tas» (tinned, silver bowl) is followed by several trips from the steam bath to the pool, from the pool to the micropeeling area, from the micropeeling area to the pool, from the pool to the soap cleansing area, etc. After visiting the hammam, you feel relaxed on the inside and cleansed on the outside.

Der Eingang vom Hammam & Spa Oktogon in Bern.

Hammam Oktogon is the perfect place for tired legs to rest and recover after a day in the city. ©Christina Ragettli

If you get hungry after your wellness session, I highly recommend visiting the «Stärne-Märit» – if it’s still December. The Christmas market on the elevated «Kleine Schanze» park is one of the most beautiful far and wide.

There are numerous stalls for Christmas gifts and many more fine food stalls. Gingerbread of all kinds, churros, macarons and of course Älplermacaroni (alp-style macaroni), raclette but also all different types of burgers or even Tibetan momos (dumplings). What’s important is that you arrive with an empty stomach.

Special deal: Check in, then check out Bern

Bern Youth Hostel offers a special package for two nights

Bern Youth Hostel offers a special package for two nights or more with admission to the Hammam & Spa Oktogon (for 16 years and up)

CHF 200 for adults in a double room with shower & WC
CHF 170 for adults in a 4-bed room with washbasin.
This also includes breakfast, dinner on the day of arrival as well as the mobility ticket. Period of stay: 03/01/2022 – 31/12/2022

Those staying at the youth hostel benefit from the mobility ticket. This allows you to travel for free in Bern in zones 100/1001 as well as the Gurtenbahn, Marzilibahn (perfect for arrival), the Münsterplattformlift and even to Bern Airport.

Interlaken – exploring Switzerland’s hotspot

We continue by train to the Jungfrau Region. To be more precise, to Interlaken-Ost. There, Ueli, the youth hostel manager, greets me in a friendly manner. I’ve heard a lot about Interlaken – especially abroad. It’s not Zurich, Bern or Zermatt that are mentioned first when people abroad are asked about a well-known place in Switzerland, but: Interlaken.

So it’s time to get to the bottom of this fascination for the small town between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Speaking of bottoms: At 260 metres deep, Lake Brienz is the deepest Swiss lake located entirely in Switzerland. And my first winter activity in Interlaken also starts on Lake Brienz. Namely in a blue winter kayak accompanied by a patient kayak instructor Sean from Australia.

Die Spitze des Kanus auf dem Brienzersee.

Winter kayaking is just the thing to combat the winter blues. ©Christina Ragettli

From Bönigen (a short walk from Interlaken-Ost) we paddle the kayak on Lake Brienz and I learn the technique from the pro. Halfway through the activity, there is a stop at Ringgenberg Castle for a snack before heading back across the lake to shore after 2-3 hours. You won’t freeze in the kayak in winter – the team at the High Tide kayak school makes sure of that with warm equipment.

Eine Frau im Kanu auf dem Brienzersee.

With lots of paddling and the right equipment, you stay warm. ©Christina Ragettli

Back at the hostel, an extraordinary dinner awaits us at the 3a restaurant. The choice is yours at Interlaken Youth Hostel: Set menu from the buffet or à la carte, which is even freshly prepared. Show cooking in the youth hostel? We’ve got you covered!  Chef Ali pampers guests with Italian and Asian dishes. External guests can also enjoy the delicious dishes every day.

Ein Teller mit Pasta und Salat.

Earned: A fine dinner from the show kitchen! ©Christina Ragettli

Sustainability fact Interlaken Youth Hostel

The hostel in Interlaken also has ecological advantages. For example, the new building (opened in 2011) is the first accommodation facility in Switzerland to be built to the Minergie-P-Eco standard, thus meeting the highest ecological criteria. The building is supplied with heat and electricity via renewable sources from waste heat.

4000 m peaks near and far

Another highlight of the youth hostel in Interlaken are the spacious balconies on the third floor. They offer an unobstructed view of the landscape of the mighty 4000-metre peaks – which you can now visit even faster.

Since the opening of the new Eiger Express from Grindelwald in 2020, guests from Interlaken Youth Hostel can reach the Eiger Glacier from Interlaken-Ost station (the hostel is located directly at the station) within 58 minutes.

Die Gondel Eigerexpress in Interlaken.

The Eiger Express tricable gondola takes you to the ski slopes in no time. ©Christina Ragettli

The panorama alone knocks the socks off even die-hard Swiss mountain fans, but that’s not even the best part. Because from the Eiger Glacier, the Jungfraujochbahn takes adventure-seekers up to 3500 metres. Past the Arctic Sea, through the face of the Eiger to the gap between the Mönch and the Jungfrau.

The Jungfraujoch is not just a vantage point – visitors can look forward to the Ice Palace, the chocolate museum, two restaurants and a kiosk with souvenirs. The railway up the Joch was completed over 100 years ago – a pioneering achievement in the Swiss mountain railway industry.

Eine Frau die im Eispalast vom Jungfraujoch läuft.

At the top of Europe and in the middle of the Ice Palace – you can only find that in Interlaken! ©Christina Ragettli

Frau

View of the Jungfrau, while your fingers almost freeze while taking photos on the Jungfraujoch at almost 3500 metres. ©Christina Ragettli

Savings tip

From 2 nights at Interlaken Youth Hostel

Guests of Interlaken Youth Hostel for a minimum of two nights can get the WINTERLAKEN CARD and benefit from many attractive extras. The Winterlaken Card is available for stays of two nights or more from 1 December 2021 to 18 April 2022 and costs CHF 40.00 per day. For children aged 6 to 15 it is available for CHF 20.00.

By the way, Christina has also tested the winter offer around the youth hostels Zermatt and St.Moritz as well as the wellnessHostel4000 in Saas-Fee and has compiled her recommendations in the blog article For all impatient winter fans: Our hostel tips.

About the author

Mountain lover Christina Ragettli is from Grison. Besides her job as a marketing & communications manager in the tourism sector, she enjoys hiking and skiing.

On her blog wildmountainheart.ch she takes her readers with her on her adventures. For example, in the summer of 2020, she packed her tent and hiked 2000 kilometres across the Alps alone for almost five months on the Via Alpina.
Her book «VON WEGEN» will also be published in April 2022.

Christina also supports her brother and freeski pro Andri Ragettli in all communication matters, wrote his book “ATTACK YOUR DREAMS” (to be published in spring 2022) and is a volunteer writer for the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) Terri section.

Follow Christina’s hostel stories also on Instagram:

instagram.com/swissyouthhostels
instagram.com/christinara

 

 

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Winter playground Laax – action and adventure in a winter wonderland

Cross-country skiing is all the rage

Senta Gautschi moved to her second home of Flims/Laax 16 years ago. Inspired by the versatility of nature, she skates through the winter wonderland on her cross-country skis. In the video, Senta shows you what else fascinates her about Laax.

Das Mekka für alle Freestyle Junkies

Die gebürtige Flimserin und Schweizer Freestyle Snowboarderin Sina Candrian, fühlt sich im Freestyle Mekka LAAX puddelwohl. Gian Ragettli, der ebenfalls in Flims aufgewachsen ist, macht den Park in LAAX mit seinen Skiern unsicher. Wieso die beiden nach wie vor ihre Heimat und die Passion zu den Bergen lieben und leben erfahrt ihr im Video.

Fun on the slopes for young and old

Claudio, Fabi, Nando and Lura hit the ski slopes in Laax as a family. In the video, they reveal why exactly they like LAAX so much and which slope is Nando’s favourite.

More action and adventure

Attention summer fans! Winter is simply too cold for you? Laax and the region also offer plenty of adrenaline, action and adventure in summer. Our first part of the Laax series is all about summer adventures.

Discover the wellnessHostel3000

Wellness Tauchbecken Laax wellnessHostel

Surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, we offer rooms with beautiful mountain lake views or a panorama view of the more than 3000 meter high Alps. Aua Grava’s 1’835 square meters include an indoor swimming pool with a children’s adventure slide and a modern fitness center with a course room. The spa area stands for special moments of indulgence: pamper all your senses with sauna, fire bath, herbal steam bath, adventure showers, sound room, Kneipp pool and more.

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Relaxed train adventures – possible thanks to SchweizerStädteTour

Discovering Switzerland by train is actually quite obvious. Sit back in your seat and relax, enjoy the scenery or read a good book. You may also combine several places at once and leave the stress of preparation to us.

Crazy and innovative – that’s us

Outsiders ask if we’re twins, but we only share the same interests and hair colour. We’re two 21-year-old friends from the Linth region. We’ve been exploring the most beautiful places in Switzerland by train for many years. Our highlight was when we explored all the main towns in Switzerland. But we hardly ever wore shoes, our most faithful companion was always our rollerblades.

Even at the main station, the two are on rollerblades ©SchweizerStädteTour

While eating pizza on Lake Lucerne, we had the idea of making our knowledge of planning train journeys available to others. That’s why we’re now planning customised train journeys to your favourite places and other surprise locations in Switzerland. Save yourself the tedious preparations and simply look forward to your departure. And with our many years of experience, you can enjoy every second of your tour.

You can visit the famous Kapellerbrücke on your tour ©SchweizerStädteTour

Why we love trains and why you’ll love them too

You’re adventurous and like to discover new spots? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Right now, many places in Switzerland are aglow with Christmas magic. Maybe you’d like to take a little Christmas market tour and indulge in some mulled wine and treats? With the train you’re prepared for any situation and can enjoy the time with your friends or family instead of being annoyed by traffic jams and red lights. And in no time you’ll be in the next city, where there’s plenty to discover all over again. Which Swiss towns have you always wanted to visit? Tell us and we’ll send you there.

The two have also already visited the most famous mountain in Switzerland ©SchweizerStädteTour

Our secret to saving time? Perfect preparation!

You can experience the most if you make the most of your time in your favourite places. The best way to do this is to catch the best train connections between the cities. With just a few clicks you can fill in the form on our website and within a few days you’ll receive the tour put together especially for you. This includes all connections and information on the cities visited. Entertainment on the train is of course also provided. We put together exciting games, puzzles and challenges especially for you, which can be solved alone or in groups. So follow our motto and enjoy your time to the fullest 😉

Extra kick on wheels

We’re known for always being on our rollerblades because it saves a lot of time in the cities. This way we can experience even more in a short amount of time. And rollerblading is just so much fun. Can you blade too? Then maybe we’ll see each other on rollerblades in a city sometime soon. But please remember that many old towns have cobblestone pavement. That’s not an obstacle, it’s an experience. Instead of rollerblades you can also use a skateboard, kickboard or something similar. An extra kick is guaranteed!

What are you waiting for? Visit our website schweizerstaedtetour.weebly.com and let us plan your personal tour. Because the best time to travel is now!

Satdttor_Bäckerei_Moser_Baden

The spa town of Baden in the beautiful canton of Aargau ©Adrian

Get a taste of city air

You love to discover the most different cities, but want a little inspiration in advance? We have already explored one or the other city in Switzerland for you and have the most diverse experience tips ready for you. Browse through our articles about the cities of Switzerland.

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Sustainability Presenting... Stories Stories Sustainability Presenting...

Swisstainable, Swiss sustainability in tourism

In the food industry, food and beverages have long been certified and their quality standardised. When shopping, we’ve already become accustomed to the various labels and certifications, which also leads to certain shoppers basing their purchases on these labels, among other things. Because ecological production, economic action and social responsibility are important to them.

Finding your bearings among all the labels thanks to Swisstainable

«ibex fairstay, TourCert, Travelife, myclimate, Blue Swallow» – All labels from the tourism industry that we encounter again and again and have already seen on many websites. But, just as with food industry labels, it’s difficult to keep a good overview of the large selection of certifications. Moreover, observers often don’t know which aspect of sustainability the certification is based on.

With Swisstainable, Switzerland Tourism has developed a new sustainability strategy together with the tourism industry. It supports various tourism stakeholders in making sustainability, which has already been practised for a long time, more visible to their guests. Another advantage of the programme is that communication on sustainability is coordinated throughout Switzerland and also gains international appeal.

Three dimensions of sustainability for one goal

Three dimensions provide the basis for the sustainable commitment of the Swisstainable programme: Society, the economy and the environment. The programme is suitable for newcomers to the topic of sustainability as well as for tourism stakeholders who are already actively involved. The aim of Swisstainable is to make the efforts of tourism businesses towards sustainability visible and to simplify the process for guests and increase transparency when booking sustainable tourism offers. With this, the Swiss tourism industry wants to start an effective movement with the vision of Switzerland becoming the most sustainable destination in the world.

St. Moritz Youth Hostel ©Switzerland Tourism

Only benefits for the guests

The Swisstainable programme does not aim to create a new certification, but to offer guests guidance on the subject of sustainability. In addition, it aspires to support the tourism industry and emphasise visibility for sustainable experiences and offers. This means that businesses that are committed to sustainability but have not yet received certification can also demonstrate their efforts to guests thanks to Swisstainable.

Lago Di Saosee ©S©Switzerland Tourism

Tourism businesses that are just starting to address the issue of sustainability also receive support from the competence centre. This joint commitment is intended as an obligation as well as a motivation. Swiss tourism is becoming more sustainable and this should also be appreciated more. Swisstainable reduces the various efforts and commitments to a common denominator, making it easy for guests to understand and find their bearings.

The three levels of the Swisstainable programme

The Swisstainable programme uses three levels to show how committed a tourism provider is to sustainability.

Level I – committed

• No certifications (yet)
• No other sustainability certificates (yet)
• BUT act sustainably and continue to develop it

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Level II – engaged

• Commitment to sustainable corporate governance
• Ongoing development
• ONE certification or other proof in at least one area of sustainability

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Level III – leading

• certifications that cover all dimensions of sustainability and are regularly externally audited
• Comprehensive, recognised sustainability certification

Youth Hostels receive Swisstainable Signet

The Swiss Youth Hostels were one of the first to receive the Swisstainable Signet from Switzerland Tourism. Of these, 44 were awarded the level leading and four the level engaged. Sustainability and responsible business have been part of the Swiss Youth Hostels DNA since 1994 and are firmly anchored in our philosophy. In our mission statement, which is lived every day at around 50 locations, we create the basis for balanced economic, social and ecological business.

With our implemented structural renovations as well as the planned further projects in addition to the consideration of environmental aspects, we can also ensure the quality of our offer, economic sustainability as well as socially responsible youth and family tourism.

Swiss Youth Hostels as pioneers of sustainability

Sustainability is now considered a competitive advantage and at the same time offers real added value for guests. For example, the correlation between employee and customer satisfaction is undisputed. Because not only ecological sustainability with structural measures, but also social sustainability with good working conditions and economic sustainability with long-term financing plans are essential for a well-managed sustainable company. Something that the Swiss Youth Hostels recognised early on. After all, in addition to all the labels and certificates, it is the actions of each individual – people and companies – that count.

The St. Moritz Youth Hostel is equipped with a solar system. ©Switzerland Tourism

The Swiss Youth Hostels are consciously fulfilling their role as role models. René Dobler, CEO of the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism, was actively involved in the development process of Swisstainable and knows the advantages for providers and guests first hand: «I would recommend every tourism business to participate in the programme. Level I is deliberately kept low for newcomers. Of course, it still takes a lot of commitment, but this is where the competence centre offers free assistance. And those who are already committed and live sustainability in their business will benefit from joint communication, nationwide marketing and the motivation and support of the common goal with minimal effort.»

Switzerland Tourism and the Swisstainable programme aim to make sustainable commitment more present and visible to guests. Set out for a new way of travelling and use the Swisstainable label as a guide for your future bookings.

Text: Barbara Materna

The topic of social sustainability is playing an increasingly important role, and the OK:GO Initiative is committed to this. Learn more about the accessibility thanks to the OK:GO initiative at the Swiss Youth Hostels.