Aug 25th, 1999, 11:19 PM
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Has anyone been to BOTH of the above and, if so, how would you compare the two scenery wise? In other words, is the trip to Switzerland really worth the extra trouble if I'm much closer to Banff? Thanks!
Aug 26th, 1999, 05:05 AM
dan woodlief
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I have not yet been to Banff, but I just wanted to say that the two cannot possibly be the same. I guess if you want to see mountains alone, you could attempt to make such a comparison. Part of visiting Switzerland though, as with any foreign country, is the cultural experience. Even apart from the Swiss people, I doubt Banff has bell-ringing cows along the mountain sides. I have seen photos of Banff, and it looks pretty spectacular, but I don't think you can equate the two.
Aug 26th, 1999, 05:35 AM
martha python
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Well, depending on Peter's country of origin, Canada may be a foreign country, too.
I think this is a really good question, especially after the Most Scenic thread. I found Switzerland beautiful but oh-so-boring; if I ever get the urge to hike in spectacular mountains, I wouldn't be inclined to haul myself to Europe for the experience if, in terms of scenery ONLY, there's another place that's comparable.
Aug 26th, 1999, 06:43 AM
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I've been to both and found the basic scenery in Switzerland far superior. The biggest difference, though, is in the "wildness" of the two places - the mountains in Switzerland are criss-crossed with trails, trains and ski lifts, and inns/restaurants. The Canadian Rockies approach being a true wilderness. I found all the amenities in Switzerland to be quite enjoyable but those looking for a mountain wilderness (and that includes me, part of the time) would be better off in Banff or in the U.S. Rockies.
Aug 26th, 1999, 06:46 AM
dan woodlief
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Well, I agree with you Martha that the Rockies in general are probably as spectacular, if not more so, compared to the Swiss Alps. If you just want to see beautiful mountains and want to save money, then visit the Rockies. Peter did say Banff is much closer to him. His address tells me that he is likely in either Canada or the U.S. So, for him Banff would not be very foreign in either regard compared to Switzerland. Switzerland is definitely Swiss, but it also gives you a little German, French, Italian, ... Not to mention that it is also easy to visit other countries while there. I guess I am not arguing for either one Peter. It just depends on whether your priority is beautiful scenery or you have something else in mind.
Aug 26th, 1999, 06:58 AM
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Yes I've been to both several times.
It's truly impossible to compare the two.
One is a country and the other is a small town!!
The cultures couldn't be more different.
Switzerland, I'm sure will be more expensive than Banff, maybe not for accommodation, but certainly for meals.

I guess I'd choose Banff. But then I'm European.
So if I was an American or Canadian I suppose I'd choose Switzerland.

Whereever you go, enjoy it.
Aug 26th, 1999, 07:23 AM
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Well i'm a Canadian and a European.I have been to Banff many times and Switzerland once.I would rather go to Switzerland.
Banff is beautiful.Also you have lovely Lake Louise and Kananaskis close by.
The Banff Springs is a lovely hotel and out of season it is affordable.The chateau Lake Louise is also a great hotel. Both hotels are luxurious. We could not afford that standard in Europe.
The trouble is I love to hike I can go miles and miles.In Banff national park I never felt safe because of grizzly bears.
Also I think there is too much wilderness.It gets a bit monotonous after a while.
The alps are much more interesting and scenic.However if you you went to Banff it would be an enjoyable holiday.The skiing is brilliant!
Aug 26th, 1999, 07:45 AM
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I'v enever been to either, but I have one consideration for you: If you're American, the exchange rate with Canada is so favorable that the trip to Banff (especially considering that it is closer) would be far cheaper than Switzerland.
Aug 26th, 1999, 07:48 AM
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Have been to both. Both are gorgeous. As others above have noted, the Canadian Rockies are wilder; the Swiss Alps have more in the way of civilization and amenities. I personally preferred Banff/Jasper/Lake Louise for the sense of isolation and truly being away from it all, plus the opportunity to view lots of wildlife (we saw bears, moose, mountain goats, and lots of deer). But both have wonderful hiking and incredible scenery. I would recommend you go to Banff first since it's closer, then go to Switzerland another time.
Aug 26th, 1999, 08:08 AM
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The Banff area in many ways is similar to the Berner Oberland. Both have magnificent scenery.

Agree that Banff is more 'wild'. We much prefer the Oberland though since we can (at least more easily) get _into_ the mountains and in fact stay in mountain villages that are both reminiscent of days gone by and great spots to view the mountains.

If you want wilderness, go to Banff. For sheer beauty and accessibility the Oberland is the winner ... at least for us.

Some ideas on where to go, what to see and where to stay in the Oberland at

Aug 26th, 1999, 04:36 PM
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Been to both and still think nothing compares to the Canadian Rockies. Of all trips we have taken throughout US,Canada and Europe, that is our very favorite,along with Canadian Maritimes of Nova Scotia,PEI and New Brunswick.
Aug 26th, 1999, 07:56 PM
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Peter- I have been to both Banff and Switzerland. I went to Banff first (I live on the west coast of U.S.) It is fantastic. Drive the Ice Field Parkway from Banff to Jasper. The Banff Springs Hotel is not worth the price. It is old and in great need of a make over. The room I had was somewhat small and pricey. The Jasper Park Lodge however although expensive, well worth the price. Stay there if you can. Lake Louise and the hotel there is nice, however once again like the Banff Springs hotel was built by the Canadian Railroad and in need of a make over. Both hotels are beautiful from the outside! The town of Banff is cute and very walkable. Take a horse drawn carriage for a tour. If possible start your trip in Vancouver and take the train to Banff. It is an overnight trip and like the trains in Europe very different from the American Amtrak.
The dome car allows you a wonderful view of the Canadian Rockies. It is really a wonderful way to get to Banff. Rent a car and drive to Jasper along the Ice Field Parkway. Unforgetable. I agree with others who commented that Banff is "wild" and "rugged". Switzerland is more "green" and more accessable for walking and trails. The Swiss Alps are also extremly beautiful. In my opinion the best way to see this fantastic country is also by train. The nice thing about Switzerland is the number of choices you have on small towns, villages or larger cities nessled within the mountains. The swiss people are friendly and helpful with directions and accomodations. Bottom line is BOTH are worth going to and only you can decide which you wish to visit first. Canada is close, full of wilderness and wonderful people but Europe (especially Switzerland) is well worth the expense, time and effort to see and enjoy. Have a wonderful vacation. Which ever one you chose first, you won't be disappointed. Just check out the other place next time.
Aug 28th, 1999, 04:41 PM
Diane Moll
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I have been to Switzerland four times over the past several years. I depart for Banff next week and will be glad to share my opinion/experiences with you upon my return.
Aug 28th, 1999, 06:31 PM
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Peter, The Canadian Rockies are truly magnificent. I've never been to Switzerland, but I'm sure it is also magnificent. We spent a week in the area and I agree with Les' recommendations. The town of Banff is probably the closest you'll come to civilization in the area. No need to spend time at the Banff Springs Hotel...much to large..far lovelier,smaller hotels in the town. The Jasper Park Lodge is beautiful. The Chateau Lake Louise, unfortunately, was loaded with tour buses and there isn't much of a town. Better off staying at one of the other resorts nearby, just outside of the hotel. If you are looking for wilderness and scenery then the Canadian Rockies are perfect.

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