Alps - Which country to choose?

Old Jun 12th, 2013, 03:42 PM
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Alps - Which country to choose?

I'm trying to plan a European trip next year that includes the Alps. I would be traveling with my husband and we would have 10-12 nights. We enjoy hiking (not strenuous), wildlife viewing, dining and visiting 'REAL' cities where we can enjoy some of the culture of the location. We generally prefer B&B's or small inns over large hotels and resorts. Our trip would be either mid-May or mid-September, although I think we'd prefer the fall.

Hubby requested the Alps, but now I need to determine which location we should choose. I've been to Italy (w/o DH), but not the northern part. Neither of us have been to Austria, Switzerland or Germany. We would be open to two countries with the Alps as the main focus, or one country with part Alps and part other cities.

For those of you that have visited the Alps in multiple countries, which country is your favorite and why?
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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Bernese Oberland (Grindelwald, Murren etc) and Lucerne would be my choice for your preferences ~ perfect in mid September

The hiking in BO for the most part is non-strenuous and BEYOND amazing
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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The Dolomites are spectacular and do not have Swiss prices.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 10:47 PM
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Hi Deb15July,

Agree that Switzerland might work best for you, as they've made Alps experiences super user-friendly (terrific infrastructure).

Also, Switzerland has no damage from WW2, so its cities are more intact and more "original."

s
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 11:12 PM
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What? The French Alps is not in contention?
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 01:57 AM
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We live in Bavaria, and our Alps are the best. And it is cheaper too.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Well, I also live in Bavaria (in Garmisch, looking at the Alpspitze right now!). And yet --

s
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Switzerland, especially the Bernese Oberland, for a first time visitor. Scenery is not to beat, the villages are picturesque, the towns are 'real' (not damaged in the past couple of hundred years).

Sure, prices are quite high, but you can cut cost with rail passes, renting an apartment instead of staying in a pricey hotel ... and so on.
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Hi Deb,

We've done a few trips through Bavaria, Austria and the Dolomites. With 10 to 12 days, I'd fly into/out of Munich and do "loop" trip including: Salzburg, the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse into the Dolomites, around to the Innsbruck area and then back to Munich. We've done this trip before.

Just my thoughts.

If interested, we have plenty of pic's at:

http://www.worldisround.com/home/pja1/index.html

Paul
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 02:55 PM
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My favorite is the val d'Aosta, because it is so easy to find your own peace and quiet amid spectacular scenery. Not many people know about it. That said, you won't find cities there, nor will you find cities in the Dolomiti, where the town are far more touristy (unless you try the Alta Badia).

If you want Alpine *cities*, I think Switzerland is the best bet, or maybe Austria.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 06:50 PM
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I agree with Swandav and Yodababe, Bavaria is hard to beat. If you go to the area around Neuschwanstein you can stay at a farm B&B just on the Austrian side of the border in Unter Pinswang called Guthof Zum Schluxen. A charming place with animals including pet deer. I understand you can hike from there to Neuschwanstein and Hohen Schwangau.

Another beautiful place for hikers is up on Mt Pilatus outside of Lucern. You can take a cable car up to the half way point to hike or ride the Sommeroddlebahn. You can take a second cable car to the top.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I still have no decision, but I'm leaning towards mainly Switzerland with possible a few nights in Italy. Keep the suggestions coming while I try to make a list of my top priorities!

Fodors is the greatest!!!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:14 PM
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I can recommend the route of the Trans Jura cross country ski route. Lots of alpine meadows, little hotels and larger towns. In both Swiss and France
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion bilbo, but I don't think the Trans Jura area will work into our plans now. We will concentrate on Switzerland...Bernese Oberland, Graubünden, Lugano and maybe Cinque Terre or Venice in Italy.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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If you want REAL cities, then le Cinque Terre and Venice have almost come to define once-real places that have been disneyfied and destroyed by mass tourism. The only "culture of the location" is a mass tourist culture. Many visitors still find them rewarding and beautiful despite that, but thought I would point that out to you, given what you specified in your first post.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 02:23 PM
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I agree with poster(s) above, you should include Lucerne in your Switzerland plans. It is IMO one of the prettiest places on earth.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 03:05 PM
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Another vote for Switzerland.

We just returned last week from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we climbed the Zugspitze (over the rail, ahem) and really enjoyed it. Frau Fraundorfer took great care of us and worked very hard to make our stay memorable! However, having visited Bavaria, Austrian and Swiss Alps, I much prefer the Swiss Alps in Bernese Oberland because there are endless things to do and services for hikers.

I've not visited the Dolomites but they are quite a bit less travelled than the areas in the heart of the Alps.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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steve,
I can see your point about Cinque Terre and Venice...although I thought CT was still a little off the beaten path (maybe I'm reading out of date information). I've been to Venice, but hubby hasn't. I want to give him the choice since he's the one that wanted a little time in Italy.

Toucan,
Bernese Oberland will most definitely be on the itinerary. Even though the Dolomites sound wonderful, I'm afraid they will have to wait for another visit due to the other things we'd like to see on this trip.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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We love hiking. Our two favorite hiking trips ever were to the Berner Oberland and the Dolomites. Toss a coin between the two, honestly. Can't go wrong, either way.

Bring a good camera.
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 03:01 AM
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I think that the drive to Venice from Grindelwald would be about 6hrs, you'll loose the better part of a day unless you fly open-jaw.

We were in Venice last year for the first time. It is a city like no other!
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