Switzerland is known for a lot of things. Cows, watches, banks and mountains. Perhaps most famous of all is Switzerland’s world class chocolate.
Some of the world’s best chocolate manufacturers come from Switzerland, and it is one of the top souvenirs travelers are dying to try when they visit. Swiss chocolate is great as a snack or paired with espresso. In fact, as a confessed chocoholic myself I have to admit that chocolate is fit for almost any conceivable occasion.
So, if you are in Switzerland why settle for just munching on the best chocolates in town? Instead, why not take your Swiss chocolate experience beyond the plate and dive deep into a world you will never forget!
Also known as the Swiss Museum of Transport, the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz in Lucerne is an interactive museum that opened in July 1959. With the use of multimedia, interactive displays show the history and development of all forms of transportation and communications in Switzerland. It is Swtizerland’s most popular museum, and has many exhibits and themed facilities found nowhere else in the country.
One of the top attractions here is the Swiss Chocolate Adventure, developed in conjunction with the Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation. It is a theme-world multimedia attraction that takes visitors on a journey of discovery through: origin, production, and transport of Swiss chocolates. All senses are tickled during this journey, showing the process from the cultivation of the cocoa bean to the sale of the finished chocolate product. Visitors get to travel all over the world without leaving the museum, and get a chocolate treat at the end as a bonus.
Tickets start at CHF 9 per person, and can be bought online here.
Lidostrasse 5, 6006 Luzern
+41 41 370 44 44
One of the best ways to discover Switzerland is by train, passing through picturesque landscapes and vistas. And because chocolate is such an important part of Swiss culture, there is of course a train ride dedicated to this delicious temptation. The Chocolate Train is a first class ride that runs between Montreux and the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory at Broc.
The train leaves Montreux at 8:57 a.m and runs on the Montreux-Oberland-Bernois Railway towards the medieval town of Gruyères, another town worth stopping at.
After an onboard serving of chocolates and croissants, passengers leave the train for a bus ride to Maison du Gruyère to sample another Swiss icon, the Gruyère cheese. After sampling products and a quick trip to Chateau Gruyère, passengers head to Broc and enter the legendary Maison Cailler. Passengers discover the process of making Swiss chocolates and sample finished product. Something you probably can't wait for!
If you have a Swiss Pass, it will get you discounted train tickets.
Timetables and ticket reservations are available online.
Montreux Gare, Gare de Montreux, Avenue des Alpes 74, 1820 Montreux
+41 21 989 81 90
If first class train tickets are outside your budget, you can skip the scenic ride and head to the Cailler Broc Factory or Maison Cailler directly. As with other tours, a trip here is a must for chocolate lovers with a behind the scenes look at the history and production of chocolates. The tour starts as far back as Aztec cocoa ceremonies, at the time cocoa was discovered, and goes all the way to how chocolate is made today. The exhibits are interactive, so you get to touch and smell beans, watch chocolate production live, and taste different samples.
They also have Atelier du Chocolat where you can "play" with chocolate and create works of art yourself. The best part is, you can take your chocolates with you afterwards.
Maison Cailler is undeniably popular, and peak seasons (July and August) can see waiting hours of up to 2 ½ hours. The whole tour lasts up to 1 ½ hours. Timetables and prices are available here.
Rue Jules Bellet 7, 1636 Broc
+41 26 921 59 60
A museum dedicated to food would not be complete without a section on chocolates, and the Alimentarium Museum of Nutrition makes good on that promise. It is located on the shores of Lake Geneva at Vevey. It has exhibitions and displays of everything and anything on food, nutrition, and the cultural history of eating. The Alimentarium also occupies the building that used to be the 1920's head office of Nestle, one of the biggest food brands born out of Switzerland, that is still based in the area.
Although there is a whole swathe of information on food here, never fear because there is also a lot of chocolate too. Visitors will learn about the discovery of chocolate and the many different ways to produce the product, to its emotional significance and the hundreds of items, equipment, utensils, and objects used to consume chocolate in every manner possible.
Quai Perdonnet 25, 1800 Vevey
+41 21 924 41 11
In the village of Caslano in Ticino is the Alprose chocolate museum, Schokoland. A huge chocolate fountain welcomes visitors upon entering, and takes them on a chocolate journey as only the Swiss can tell it. You can also watch how chocolates are produced (live), as well as experience sampling and tasting that turn this museum into a worthwhile interactive experience. There is an elevated platform above the production line where visitors can also watch, step-by-step, how kilometers of chocolates go through their various stages of processing.
Schokoland is extremely easy to spot, with its bright red buildings and larger than life cow sculptures in the garden and on the roof. There is also a section in the museum that pays tribute to some of Switzerland's most iconic chocolatiers, including Philippe Suchard, Jacques Foulquier, Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann and Henri Nestlé.
All information about museum and shop opening times and tickets are available here.
If you want to take your chocolate obsession event further, head to Grand Hotel Bad Ragaz for the Choco Emotion treatment. It's a 90 minute experience at one of Switzerland's best spas. Cocoa beans take center stage during this luxurious treatment, starting with a bubble bath, then a chocolate scrub and pack, followed by a full body oil application.
If you're visiting with kids, they also have a kid version of the chocolate experience called the Funny Choco.
Bernhard-Simonstrasse, 7310 Bad Ragaz
+41 81 303 30 30
The Läderach chocolate adventure will take you through a journey that starts in the jungle and ends in the sampling of high-quality chocolates. The tour can be done with or without a guide.
The most anticipated part of the tour is the Culinary Path. Here, you can enjoy a sample of various Läderach specialties and see how they are handmade in the factory in Ennenda.
Contact InfoGrabenstrasse 8, 8865 Bilten +41 55 645 77 80
Lindt Chocolate Shop - Courtesy of Alpha
Lindt used to offer factory tours but it is no longer possible.
Never fear though, because if you make the effort to come to the Lindt Factory in Kilchberg, just outside of Zurich you are in for a treat!
This Lindt shop has the largest Pick & Mix variety you will find anywhere, as well as a huge range of both new and exclusive products from Lindt. They also have the usual range of Lindt chocolates and pralinés, as well as a huge bargain section because it is a Factory Outlet.
So, if your aim is to go home with a huge bag of Lindt goodies, including some rare and cheap treats, this is the place to be. And it is only 15 minutes from the center of Zurich!
Contact InfoSeestrasse 204, 8802 Kilchberg, Switzerland +41 44 716 22 33
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!