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2 weeks in September Switz/Italy/France - what to do!?

2 weeks in September Switz/Italy/France - what to do!?

May 31st, 2011, 03:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
2 weeks in September Switz/Italy/France - what to do!?

My husband and I are both active & adventuresome, in our early 40s. We prefer hiking, experiencing the culture of places, drinking wine/enjoying scenery and immersing ourselves in our surroundings over visiting museums and churches. Last year we took a two week trip to Switzerland: Luzern, Lauterbrunnen (we also visited Lbrunnen in '09) & Montreux. We loved hiking in all three areas. We enjoy staying in nice accommodations (hotels or apartments in the $200 or less per night price range.

This year we are interested in visiting more of Switzerland. I was considering the Bernina Express route. I'm also interested in a visit to N. Italy or France and am simply overwhelmed with the choices. I'd like to get a railpass and not have to deal with driving anywhere. The Jungfrau Marathon was going on last year when we were there and that was great to see, but I really feel like we should see more of Switzerland instead of visiting our favorite Lauterbrunnen for the 3rd year in a row!

Who has some good ideas & suggestions for us? I hope I provided sufficient information for everyone to give advice. Fodor's friends helped us plan the last 3 vacations so I am counting on a tremendous fourth!!
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  
May 31st, 2011, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
I am a big fan of renting cars when traveling in Europe (but not the big cities...).

If you chose it my way, I'd start in the Alps of Switzerland, cross into Northern Italy (taking one of those small "passes" on a sunny day will be something to remember!), do the lakes region, (try to squeeze in Venice for couple days), and drive to the Provence in France. 2 weeks may be a bit tight, but if that's what you want to cover, the 3 countries, that's what I would suggest....

...Or, since you've tasted Switzerland already, use those 2 weeks better, and skip it altogether...
mamamia2 is offline  
May 31st, 2011, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 207
I've been to Switzerland several times, but keep going back. I'm especially fond of Lauterbrunnen and am headed back there for 6 nights this August. This year's trip also includes a few days in Zermatt (where I've been once before) and the Italian dolomites. The Matterhorn is striking and Zermatt is an interesting cultural mix. The menus at most restaurants are in 6-8 languages. This is my first time to the dolomites - so I'm looking forward to that. I'm staying 5 nights at Castelrotto (a short bus ride from Bolzano). I, too, am a big hiker and really enjoy the alpine scenery. I love taking the trains - to me it's so much easier than driving. The train rides are half the fun in the alps. Have fun!!
mjnbrown is offline  
May 31st, 2011, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,671
Hi ButterflyGirl,

That's a great idea! Switzerland has a ton more to offer than just the Jungfrau area. I recommend you follow your instincts and do the Bernina Express route (and yes, do rely on the trains -- for more fun and more green!!).

From Zürich, you could go right to the Lower Engadin (Scuol, Guarda) and stay for four or five nights. There are lots of hikes or gentle walks to do, mountains to ascend, or villages to visit.

Then go on to the Upper Engadin and settle into one of the villages nearby St. Moritz for four or five nights-- if it were me, I would go to Sils (because it's car-free) or Pontresina. Again, lots of hiking or villages to visit (Soglio, Fex Valley) or mountains to ascend.

The Engadin Valley follows the Inn River, and it's a perfect place to ride bikes; there is one long bike route that runs from St. Moritz north all the way to Innsbruck!

After your time in the Upper Engadin, head south on the BE, maybe stopping in Poschiavo for a few hours, then continuing to Tirano and then Milan.

You can get more information at these sites:


Have fun!

swandav2000 is online now  
Jun 1st, 2011, 05:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 207
I agree - if you want to go on the bernina route - Pontresina is a great little town to stay in. I stayed there once for a few days. There are lots of hiking routes from there and it's easy to get on the train to go down to Italy for lunch on the Bernina Express.
mjnbrown is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 05:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
Thank you! Do you have any hotel suggestions for Pontresina? ~ $200 US per night or less. Would love a place with a balcony to enjoy the view.
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  

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