10 Days In Switzerland

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Dec 27th, 2001, 01:33 PM
  #1
Glenn
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10 Days In Switzerland


My wife and myself will be spending 10 days in Switzerland next summer. Flying into Geneva, leaving from Zurich. Fill in the dots! Cites? Restaurants? Hotels?Sights? Rental car or train?
 
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Dec 27th, 2001, 02:32 PM
  #2
Cheryl Z.
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You've picked my favorite country to visit, and you'll love the beauty and serenity. The trains are easy and efficient to use, but a car will allow you more flexibility. And with a train, you really do have to pack light. Be sure to visit the whole area from Geneva to Montreux, including Gruyere. I think Interlaken and surrounding area, and Zermatt are musts, as are any lake cruises and train/tram up to whatever mountain is available. I'd skip Bern, and especially the Bear Pit. Always found good food; be sure to try the raclette which is a Swiss specialty. As you probably know, the Swiss people speak three languages depending on the section of country you are in; German, French and Italian, so try to learn some phrases in each. And be prepared for road signs etc to immedately change from one language to another!
Have a great trip!



 
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Dec 27th, 2001, 05:05 PM
  #3
s
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Glenn,

Not only have you picked Cheryl's favorite country, you've picked my favorite place to begin your trip. I love Montreux and visit there often. I have written a type of travel log with details on activities & excursions, and information on some hotels; you can see it (and photos) at http://www.igougo.com/planning/journal.asp?JournalID=7825

If this address does not work, go to www.igougo.com, then look for travel journals in Switzerland & Montreux.

Anyway, I would spend about seven days there (yes, way too much for most normal folks) visiting the villages around the lake as well as the mountain villages of Aigle, Leysin, and Gstaad. Like Cheryl, I think you should not miss Gruyeres. When you're ready to move on, take the train from Montreux to Interlaken and transfer to one of the villages of the Berner Oberland (Grindelwald, Wengen, or Muerren). After a few days there, move on to Lucerne, which is only about 90 minutes from the Zurich airport.

You don't say exactly when you're travelling, but Montreux holds a famous Jazz festival in July and a classical music festival in late August/early Sep.

You also might want to surf around the Switzerland pages of www.twenj.com, which is a personal travel site by someone who loved Switzerland. There is a lot of information on the whole country, but most of the information centers on the Berner Oberland.

I disagree with Cheryl about the rental car. In all of my visits, I've only rented a car twice and found it to be a hassle (parking, getting lost, tiny mountain roads, road construction, etc). I found parking & traffic to be especially troublesome in the crowded summertime. I really don't think you can beat the feeling of relaxing on the train, enjoying the scenery, and eating chocolate! If you do have a lot of luggage, you can easily check it on the train (directly at the airport -- and there's a way to check it through to your Swiss destination from your US airport). The cost for checking bags is about 13 CHF(more if checking from the US) per piece. I do this a lot and have not had any problems (you can even send your luggage, say from Montreux to Muerren, while you take a detour to explore Bern).

If you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me.

s
 
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Dec 28th, 2001, 06:12 AM
  #4
Ingo
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S: very good recommendations! Of course I know your preference for the Lake Geneva region and I like to be there, too. For a better overview of Switzerland’s different regions, cultures and languages I would recommend to cut off 2 or 3 days in Montreux to visit the canton of Ticino, the towns Locarno, Ascona, Lugano or Bellinzona. To my mind this area is a must for everybody who visits Switzerland. It is very different from the other parts of the country – just italian atmosphere and Mediterranean vegetation with Swiss perfection.

I agree with s that travelling by train is more comfortable than by car. Even because the public transport system is perfect. When you come back later you might rent a car to find some secret spots (nature or culture) but for your first visit it is not necessary.

Bye Ingo

P.S. s, people had problems with the spelling of “JournalID” . I think the 7th letter is a small “L” and the 8th is a big “i”. You know what I mean? Maybe you’d better type in “JournaliD”.
 
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Dec 28th, 2001, 08:08 AM
  #5
top
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ttt
 
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Dec 28th, 2001, 08:32 AM
  #6
Kay
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Don't miss Interlaken, Grindelwald, Ascona, & Lungano. I definitely recommend a car.
 
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Dec 28th, 2001, 10:54 AM
  #7
Dave Anthony
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We did much the same thing at the end of Summer 2001. Spent 4 days in Zermatt, 3 in Locarno / Lugano, 3 in Lucerne and a week in the Bernese Oberland (Grindlewald, Murren, Wengen etc) We rented a car from National @ Geneva and returned it to Zurich -there's no extra charge for returning to a different airport...a car will give you a lot more freedom (although certain places will obv. only be accessible by cable car / mountain railway!)

Lauterbrunnen Valley and Murren are two
of my favourite places in the world. Zermatt (for the Matterhorn) is another must-see. Lake Lucerne is also incredibly pretty but lacks the spectacular peaks of the Bernese Oberland. All offer picture-postcard Switzerland but can get crowded at peak times, which can somewhat spoil things! As long as you get the weather, the scenery is absolutely stunning...enjoy!
 
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Dec 28th, 2001, 11:43 AM
  #8
s
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To Ingo:

Yes, my love for Lake Geneva is not well disguised!

Unfortunately, I am not patient enough or careful enough to type in that web address; I only copy it from the web page & paste it here . . . I'm very sorry if it is a problem. I guess I should add that folks can copy it & paste it onto their browser?

Anyway, I do envy you your European residence!

s
 
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Dec 28th, 2001, 01:57 PM
  #9
NR
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Dont miss Wengen - in the Bernese Oberland, above Lauterbrunnen and Murren. Stay at Chalet Trogihalten, run by Clare and Andy Regez - there is a website for their chalet. Or ask the tourist info at Wengen for their number. Just returned from this place today and it was MAGIC. Tell Clare Natalia sent you!
 
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Dec 29th, 2001, 10:56 AM
  #10
jw
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I wonder if Glenn is a real person, or if one of the Swiss fan club posted that question just so we could indulge in writing about our favorite country? Glenn, are you there? If you are, I'd like to know if your trip is ten days on the ground or ten days including the flights? Makes a big difference. I recommend staying no less than three nights per place -- I usually try for four and dream about the time when I might stretch it to seven. I am already to blurt out 'train, train, train', and then I think 'what if these folks carry a lot of luggage?' S, are you sure that training would still the way to go? My friends and I have always limited ourselves to a small carry-on bag, so we could hop on and off those marvelous Swiss trains quite briskly. But I do agree wholeheartedly that it is such a pleasure to ride those trains while eating Swiss treats and never, never, never having to look for a parking lot. Ingo, you know how much I love the Ticino, but if Glenn's time is limited, I don't know if I'd try fit that in. I operate under the assumption that once they get a taste of Switzerland, they'll be hooked and can give Ticino a real visit on a future trip. . . also, I'm wondering if it might be quite warm in July? Glenn didn't pin down the month. I've loved Lago Maggiore in June, but would not have wanted the days to be any warmer than they were then. So what's my vote? I guess it's three nights in the Montreux area, three in the Oberland or on one of its two little lakes, and three in Rapperswil on Lake Zurich -- or another small place near Zurich (good day trips to Appenzell or Schaffhausen, or Stein-am-rhein, or even Lucerne), and one night nearer the airport (Zurich or Dielsdorf or Bulach) -- ten days total.
Bye y'all. Keep this thread going, I still have a few days before I have to go back to teaching. J.
 
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Dec 29th, 2001, 11:46 AM
  #11
s
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For jw re: trains,

I've never been a great packer (I'm just now struggling to fit my concert clothes & shoes and walking clothes & boots into a 24" bag for my seven-night Salzburg trip in four days). I'm no spring chicken, but I always (usually) take the train.

In Switzerland, this is easy, as I noted, because I check my big bag. I began doing this with my seven-night ski trips to Grindelwald & Wengen -- I would arrive with a 26-incher filled with ski boots, ski pants, ski parka, sweaters, long johns, hiking boots, hat, socks, etc & etc & etc. And yet, all alone, I did fine with the trains, even on my first trip before I tried checking my bag. Subsequent trips, however, I learned to check my big ski bag from the Zurich airport to my ski destination, then after I exhausted myself skiing I would fill up the bag again and send it back to Zurich airport, following two or three days later after sampling some alpine walks & Interlaken shopping!

Even without checking bags, however, it's still fairly easy. I can handle both my big rolling bag & my carry-on back pack by myself, only huffing somewhat getting onto the train. I've found that most European trains have some kind of luggage area at one end of the car, so I haven't had to try to wrestle the bag onto an overhead rack.

I guess I'd rather suffer a few moments of exerertion and enjoy a few hours of peaceful scenery-watching than a few moments of convenience and then days and days of stress and confusion. It's all a trade-off.

Well Glenn, has any of this touched you? Give us your verdict!

s
 
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Dec 29th, 2001, 01:34 PM
  #12
Ingo
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I agree that everybody who got a taste of Switzerland will visit this country again and again. Don’t worry about the weather in Ticino. You are right, it is warm and sunny in summer, but (almost) never too hot. The difference between June and July is not as much as you might think. There is a special local climate influenced by the mountains, especially a cool wind blowing from midnight to the morning from the mountains. Anyway, I prefer spring and autumn for my visits, although I also had great vacations there in early July.

Jw, I am not sure about Rapperswil. It seems to me it is quite similar – not considering the mountain scenery - to the Berner Oberland – it is in the German speaking part of Switzerland, too. In case Glenn would not go to Ticino, I recommend the Lake Lucerne region for the final days in Switzerland. It is the perfect place to put your nose into Swiss history and the airport Zurich-Kloten is reachable in two hours by train.

Or what about a trip to the Engadin? But this might be too special for a first visit. It is more for experts – and the lower Engadine valley is still a kind of a secret spot, I don’t want to share it with others!!! (just a joke)

S, I really enjoy living in Europe. And sharing experiences on Fodor’s or somewhere else makes me appreciating this again and again.

Ingo
 
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Dec 29th, 2001, 03:11 PM
  #13
jw
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And speaking of Engadine, Ingo, were you not the person who was going to give me a few more details about that mysterious part of Switzerland? Guarda? Ardez? Still waiting. I promise to be really quiet when I finally get there; you won't even know I'm around. I do think Lucerne's lake is spectacular with its green water, but each time I've departed from the Zurich Flughafen, I needed to be at the airport early -- two hours away is a bit far. How about a compromise, just the last night in Dielsdorf with a little afternoon visit to Regensberg? Or even Zurich, at one of Ursula's hotel recommendations (see other Zurich postings, Glenn) S, OK, I'm convinced -- trains are the way to go hands down. Have a wonderful time in Salzburg. J.
 
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Dec 29th, 2001, 03:18 PM
  #14
Glenn
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Yes Virginia there is a Glenn. He exists not only in the mind, but in the flesh!!Thanks for all the advice, still going through it.
We will be on the groung in Switzerland for ten days; using frequent flyer points so the dates are locked in.
Keep those card and letters coming!!
 
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Jan 4th, 2002, 06:07 AM
  #15
jw
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Hello again Glenn. Trying to boost this back to the top for you (who am I kidding, and for me as well). Have you told us a bit about what you like to do when you travel? Do you want to be in a Swiss city with lots of hotels, restaurants, interesting architecture, historic sites, churches, museums, shopping opps, or are you a quaint, rural, scenic panorama sort of couple? You didn't mention if you're looking for luxury accommodations or village two-stars, either. If you can elaborate, the folks who visit this site will be able to give you excellent info. I represent the frugal, got-to-stretch-that-penny-if-I'm-to-go-
at-all traveler. That's why I love the Swiss Pass. I work the heck out of that little gem, staying in small places and day-tripping by train in all directions. I use the great bus system where trains don't go and ride the wonderful lakeboats whenever possible-- that is the most delightful way to enjoy magnificent scenery and visit beautiful towns as well. Two more things: 1)If you do love cities, then I have to change my recommendation to say Zurich is indeed a great place for your last few nights. On my last trip, I discovered the beautiful narrow streets of the old city (between the Bahnhof Strasse and the Limmat)and was delighted. By the way, there's a Schweizer Heimatwerk shop tucked in there somewhere--quality gifts to bring home (on second thought, there's a smaller one at the airport I think). 2) memo to Ursula and Ingo--Everytime I mention Dielsdorf and Regensberg, no one ever comments--I've never been either place (I've stayed in Bulach as my night-before-departure stop). But I was thinking that Dielsdorf's Hotel Lowen would be a nice place near the airport with the possibility of visiting little Regensberg on my last afternoon. No?
Ok, Ok, I'll stop. Continued planning pleasure to you, Glenn. J.
 
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Jan 4th, 2002, 07:38 AM
  #16
Ingo
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jw, I am not an expert for fly in/out Zurich Airport, so I do not know about where to stay nearby.

Sorry, no comments on this.

Waiting for Glenn specifying his interests.

bye Ingo
 
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Jan 5th, 2002, 01:20 PM
  #17
Glenn
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Hello again,

Thanks for all the interest. Simply put, I enjoy everything. Love visiting cities with all the excitement that that entails, as well as scenic areas. But mosy importantly, love eating!! Everything from a fine restaurant to walking down a street with a pastry in my mouth!
Concerning hotels, we are not ones to rough it, but do enjoy staying in places that reflect the local area.
We're from NY, we're up for anything!
 
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Jan 6th, 2002, 07:38 AM
  #18
Ingo
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O. k. guys, let’s create an itinerary for Glenn!

He is flying into Geneva, why not to stay there for 3 days? There are so many things to see, it will not become boring. And it is a good place for fine eating!

Some of you will not forgive me, but I would not stay in the Montreux area. I recommend to go to Zermatt or Interlaken area via Montreux, with a short stop for a visit of the castle Chillon (2 or 3 hours). Stay in Zermatt or Interlaken area for 3 days.

Then take the train to Locarno/Ascona or Lugano region. I definitely recommend to visit the Canton Ticino. 2 days might be enough for a first impression. This Italian atmosphere and fantastic food you should not miss. The Via Pessina street in the old centre of Lugano is famous for its food (expensive). The Ristorante Centenario in Locarno is one of the best in Switzerland. It is also very expensive, but not more than a good restaurant in NYC. You also should have a simple, but very good meal with cheese, salami sausage, bread and red wine in a grotto under chestnut trees. A unique experience!

Finally you should add some days in Lucerne or Zurich. I stayed in both cities and would prefer Zurich. There are some museums and other places I haven’t seen yet …

Ingo
 
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Jan 6th, 2002, 10:15 AM
  #19
Barry
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Hi Glenn -

Looks like you have gotten some very good advice... Switzerland is one of my favorites...Lucerne is MY favorite city; we plan on renting a home or apartment there for a month or so in Spring (of "some" year" gt;). There are good hotels very near the main train/boat/bus station. You can get several really good "loops" for day trips out of Lucerne. We did a combo of train-fenicular-boat up into the mountains, down to Interlaken, Thun, Mt Titlus, etc. Lucerne just makes a great "base of operations".

Have a great trip gt;)

Barry
 
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Jan 6th, 2002, 07:12 PM
  #20
jw
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Hi Glenn, you've got your work cut out for you, choosing among the various suggestions for itineraries. Wish swandav were here to give you the pitch for Montreux and surroundings. I loved Geneve, but would stay somewhere along the lake between there and Lausanne and visit Geneva for the day (and don't forget Lausanne and Bern). From there I'd follow Ingo's advice to one of the mountain areas, then Ticino, and finally to Zurich. We're beginning to repeat ourselves. You simply cannot go wrong in Switzerland. Have you had a chance to read other Swiss posts? J.
 
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