Virtual Vacation: Wander Through the Peaceful Village of Iseltwald in Switzerland

By Rosunnara RothLast Updated Oct 25, 2020 7:37:55 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

Found along the southern shore of Lake Brienz, Iseltwald is a small, beautiful village with only about 400 residents. It’s not a center of tourism, especially when compared to nearby Grindelwald and Interlaken, but it’s a popular stop for skiers and backpackers in the Jungfraujoch region of Switzerland. Iseltwald is the perfect getaway for some rest and recreation — under normal circumstances.

However, Switzerland took some heavy hits during the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe. As a result, real-world travel to Iseltwald may remain a future dream for a while, but that doesn't mean you can't experience Iseltwald’s majestic mountains, turquoise lakes and peaceful village atmosphere through a virtual vacation. The best part is you don’t even have to leave your couch. Join us as we explore Switzerland’s hidden gem!

Virtually Tour Iseltwald’s Natural Beauty

Even on a cloudy or rainy day, Lake Brienz continues to be a showstopper. The lake’s turquoise water and enchanting surroundings make it the picture-perfect backdrop for all kinds of outings. You can enjoy the scenery by hiking around the lake or hopping on a passenger ship. Since 1839, boat rides have been a popular way to see Iseltwald’s forested landscapes, scattered houses and the former fairytale castle of Seeburg.

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Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

Just like other bikers and hikers, we’re also going to tour the Faulhorn and Bachalpsee. Many travelers who visit or pass through Iseltwald add these two destinations to their list, and it’s easy to see why. Located between Lake Brienz and Grindelwald, the Faulhorn is a mountain in the Bernese Alps. Hiking enthusiasts call it a mesmerizing experience. You pass by glaciers, wildflowers and Bachalpsee Lake on your trek. If you keep going to the summit, you will be treated to breathtaking views. It’s normal to get hungry after a long hike, so let’s get some grub.

Indulge in Delicious Swiss Cuisine

Thanks to Lake Brienz, the townspeople in Iseltwald have caught and consumed fresh fish for years. It sounds like the village must have mastered cooking fish, right? Yes! Iseltwald’s Strandhotel Restaurant is a hotspot that specializes in fish dishes, such as fish with pesto and fried fish. Thankfully, it’s easy to make your own fried fish at home.

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Photo Courtesy: Claus Ableiter/Wikimedia Commons

When in Switzerland, you have to try rosti, a national delicacy that originated with farmers. To make a delicious, crispy rosti, thinly grate potatoes using a simple boxed grater and fry them until they’re golden brown. Many folks add their own flair to it by throwing in cheese, apples, onions, scallions or bacon. Let’s allow our stomachs to digest while we sit back and enjoy some shows.

Watch a Love Story Set in the Fishing Village

It’s easy to fall in love with Iseltwald, thanks to its friendly residents and jaw-dropping scenery. In fact, the South Korean drama series Crash Landing on You chose the enchanting village as one of its filming locations. Audiences swooned over the love story and the beautiful Swiss backdrop.

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Photo Courtesy: Netflix

The story is about a South Korean businesswoman who crash-lands in North Korea and meets Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok. Although the series is also filmed in South Korea, viewers can spot Iseltwald and other Swiss locations in many episodes. The binge-worthy Netflix series beautifully captures the fishing village and takes viewers on a romantic journey across Lake Brienz.

Next, let’s explore the country’s most famous music.

Tune in to Switzerland’s Exciting Music Culture

Switzerland is known for its folk music, but other genres are making some noise and getting national attention too. Res Schmid is a talented Swiss folk music accordion player. The artist has teamed up with family members and joined many bands to perform across the country. Rap, yodeling, folk-rock and choral singing are a few other projects he has worked on.

Photo Courtesy: Thomas Niedermueller/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty images

If you prefer pop or electronica, move to the rhythm of DJ BoBo. He’s the mastermind behind hits like "Everybody," "Chihuahua," "There Is a Party" and "Love Is All Around." With more than 14 million records sold, this artist is going to keep partying and making music.

Transport Yourself into a Book

There’s nothing like staying up late to read a good book. Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger is considered to be one of his best James Bond novels. The story follows agent 007 as he investigates Auric Goldfinger, a crazy-rich man from England. His assignment takes him to Switzerland, where all the action goes down.

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Photo Courtesy: Amazon

A Farewell to Arms is about an American ambulance driver in Italy who falls for a gorgeous English nurse during wartime. Ernest Hemingway’s unforgettable novel also takes place in Switzerland, where the couple flees to escape their dark realities. This book will be hard to put down. After all, it was Hemingway’s first bestseller.

Support Thoughtful Organizations

We’ve wandered through Iseltwald’s dreamy landscapes and discovered extraordinary novels set in Switzerland. This virtual trip is almost over, but there’s a great cause that’s worth discussing and helping in Switzerland.

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Photo Courtesy: Pro Natura

The country is known for its beautiful, thriving nature, and one significant non-profit organization helps protect it. Pro Natura encourages people to work together and advocate for the environment. According to its website, "Pro Natura is the oldest nature preservation organization in Switzerland. We love nature, defend its interests and give it a strong voice. The natural diversity of animals, plants and habitats needs to be preserved and improved!"

Thanks for coming with us to explore Iseltwald. If you’re looking for more virtual vacations in the future, check these places out.