The Bizarre Reason Anthony Bourdain Always Refused To Film In This European Country

Anthony Bourdain made a name for himself as a daredevil chef-meets-traveler before his tragic death in 2018. As the host of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" and "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations," the foodie traveled to places all over the world, eating exotic dishes and documenting social issues in the places he visited. In one episode in Beirut, Bourdain even found himself in the middle of a warzone, which kept him trapped in the city for days.

However, there was one popular European country that the TV personality refused to include in his show: Switzerland. During an appearance on Conan O'Brien's talk show, Bourdain revealed, "I have a morbid fear of everything Swiss, like, I don't know why." When O'Brien pointed out how harmless Switzerland is, the chef jokingly explained, "I must've had some, like, terrible childhood experience while watching 'Sound of Music' that I've blocked out because even, like, Alpine vistas, like snow cap peaks with like Lake Geneva or cuckoo clocks or those hats with the feathers, even the cheese, it's scary to me."

In the interview, Bourdain admitted that in 16 years of traveling the world for his work, he had intentionally avoided the country, adding that he was also deeply afraid of yodeling, which is said to have originated in the Swiss Alps: "I mean, you just feel that in your marrow. I mean, it's horrifying."

For most visitors, there's nothing scary about Switzerland

Switzerland may have been off-putting to Anthony Bourdain, but the European nation is anything but frightening to most tourists. According to the 2023 Global Peace Index, developed by the Institute for Economics & Peace, Switzerland is the 10th most peaceful country in the world. Similarly, research by travel insurance company Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection determined that Switzerland is the second-safest place to travel for 2023 and 2024.

In 2023, U.S. News & World Report even ranked Switzerland the best country overall, noting its neutrality and contributions to global society. While the ranking is largely based on lifestyle and local culture, the outlet also highlighted Switzerland as a travel destination. It came in ninth place for solo travel and 13th place for study-abroad opportunities.

Of course, if you have an irrational fear of the Swiss Alps like Bourdain, none of these stats are likely to offer any comfort. However, not all of the country's top destinations are even located in the Alps. Major cities such as Zurich and the capital city of Bern are situated in the Swiss Plateau, a stretch of land that's technically located just north of the famous mountain range.

Other destinations Anthony Bourdain never filmed

Looking at Anthony Bourdain's travels documented for TV, it seems like no place was off-limits. Besides getting caught in Beirut during a war invasion, he also filmed his trips to controversial locales such as Iran, Libya, Congo, and Gaza. Still, there were some spots, like Switzerland, that Bourdain never included in his TV series.

For example, the globe-trotter never appeared on camera in Costa Rica, despite (or perhaps because of) it being one of the most visited destinations in the world. He did, however, make arrangements to visit a few other Central American countries, including Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Another popular tourist spot he seemed to avoid on his show was Athens, Greece. The classical city attracted nearly 6 million international visitors in 2022 (per This is Athens), but when filming for his TV shows, Bourdain chose to skip the crowds and stick to less-traveled Greek islands instead. Other destinations Bourdain never visited with his camera crew include Poland, Norway, Yemen, Wales, and Venezuela (the latter of which he tweeted about in 2018, explaining that he couldn't visit because "insurance companies won't cover us").