“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.”
– Carl Sagan
Are you a fan of natural spectacles? In that case you might want to consider visiting the Swiss Jura, where you can find this huge, natural amphitheatre, called Creux du Van. The rocky amphitheatre has got a diameter of one kilometre and the walls are 160 metres high, so everyone (and not just mini me) feels very small in this vast natural arena.
Combine it with a visit to nearby Neuchâtel (for some French flair and fine food) and you will have a perfect day out in the Swiss Jura!
Seize the day!
Do you remember that I like looking for sunshine on foggy winter days? Well, not just in winter…
Last weekend the weather forecast in the Zurich area was not looking good: rainy, cloudy and cold. The weather forecast for the Swiss Jura was one full of sunshine and warm temperatures! It was just what we needed to finally take the opportunity and car to drive all the way to Noiraigue, a small village in the Swiss Jura, where the walk to Creux du Van starts.
Creux du Van
Food lover that I am, I did not only prepare the walk, but also looked for great places to eat. While doing so I discovered that you can park your car at Ferme Robert, a restaurant serving traditional Swiss food right at the foot of the rocky arena. Parking there means a shorter and easier walk (less altitude metres) than when you start in Noiraigue. We opted for short and easy!
These photos show what a beautiful are(n)a it is and to be honest: reality beats my photos!
Imagine the same surroundings in winter. That must be an impressive winter wonderland. I saw signs for snow shoe trails, so who knows…
After our walk and picnic lunch at the edge of the Creux (no risk no fun😉) we returned to the parking place of Ferme Robert. Too early for dinner, we just had a drink on the terrace and used the opportunity to change clothes before driving to Neuchâtel.
Neuchâtel’s has got a charming old town and the yellow stone buildings give the city a warm and mediterranean ambience. You will find French flair all around you.
Neuchâtel calls for a stroll along the lake and through the old town, followed by relaxing on one of the many terraces of the central and vivid Place des Halles. Take the effort to walk to the castle from which you will have wonderful views over the city and lake. When we did so after dinner, we stumbled upon some very French scenes: Couples romantically kissing on the castle walls (oh la la!) and groups of people playing “jeu de boules” on the castle grounds. Can it get more French than that?
Happy the weather was crappy
Looking back on our day in the Swiss Jura we were ever so happy that the weather had been so crappy! We had turned a dull rainy Saturday into a sunny day out. What was the last time that a rainy day brought you something special?
- More information about possible walks: click here. Make sure to include the “climb” to the viewpoint “Le Soliat” in your walk, from which (on a clear day) you can see all the big boys, like the Mont Blanc, Jungfrau, Eiger & Mönch. Even on a less clear day, it is worth the small detour.
- You can do this whole day without a car. The walk to Creux du Van starts from the train station in Noiraigue and every half hour there is a direct train from Noiraigue to Neuchâtel, taking less than 30 minutes. The walk from Noiraigue to the farm is the least scenic part of the route though, so when you come by car, I’d advice parking at Ferme Robert.
- Ferme Robert is closed in winter. Always check their website for opening times before you set off for a walk without food😉
- We had dinner on the terrace of Maison des Halles, which is one of most picturesque buildings on the square. Mind you, their website is only in French and German.