Best place in Switzerland?

Feb 18th, 2007, 08:10 AM
  #1  
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Best place in Switzerland?

My husband and I are taking a 2 and a half week European vacation...the last leg of which leaves us 2 days in Switzerland. What town do you recommend for the best Swiss experience?
acloonan is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Do you like lakes or mountians, hiking with cows, or city culture?

Luzern would give you an opportunity for all of the above. Personally, I prefer the smaller car-free mountain villages like Wengen and Mürren. Others will recommend lakeside towns along Lac Leman, or villages situated in the green countryside of the Engadine. It's a matter of what Swiss experience you are looking for.
enzian is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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If it's a city, I think Lucerne is good. Lausanne is also good. If you want a "Swiss" experience, your choice will not go to Geneva. Every single Swiss person I know says "Geneva is exactly the same as France."
kerouac is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Hi acloonan,

In addition to your personal likes & expectations for this portion of this trip, it would be helpful to know where you're coming from. I assume you're leaving from Zurich?? So, are you coming from Austria, Germany, Italy, France?

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Are you flying out of Switzerland? Is there any consideration of needing to be near Zurich or Geneva your last day?
suze is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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If you want a "Swiss" experience, your choice will not go to Geneva. Every single Swiss person I know says "Geneva is exactly the same as France."

I bet they also say that Basel is exactly the same as Germany and Locarno exactly the same as Italy.

IMO Lucerne is certainly not the ultimate real Swiss experience with its hordes of tourists. I'd pick aless visited town such as St Gallen, Freiburg, Winterthur, Bern, Neufchatel, etc... from which it is be easy to make day trips. From Freiburg one can easily drive to Lausanne, Montreux, Gruyères.
From Bern one can visit the Oberland, etc.




Pvoyageuse is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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we are coming into Switzerland from Italy and are looking for more of a relaxing setting rather than a city...from what I have read, it seems Bern and that region might be my best bet. My only concern is it being too touristy??
acloonan is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Our return flight is out of Germany...so we have no need to be in any of the bigger cities of Switzerland, and my husband loves mountains and biking, etc.
acloonan is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Hi alcoonan,

I think you have at least two choices for your Italy-Switzerland-Germany portion.

One choice is to stay in Brig, which is an underappreciated area with few tourists. It is a small town that is surrounded by mountains and from which you can see Zermatt as well as the Aletsch glacier.

The second choice is to go from Milan to Tirano, then over the Bernina Pass (Bernina Express) into the Engadin area. You can stay in Pontresina or in one of the small towns around St. Moritz (Sils, Silvaplana), or even up in Scuol. This area is pretty unknown to American tourists; in fact I didn't even see a souvenir shop in Zuoz the week I was there.

Good luck!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Feb 18th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Thanks so much, I am researching those areas right now! I appreciate everyone's input!
acloonan is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Let's be honest, folks -- this is 2 days in Switzerland out of a 2 and 1/2 week vacation, and the last 2 days at that. Frankly, I doubt there is ANY place that can give a "best" Swiss experience in that amount of time. After all, Switzerland is really a mix of many tongues and backgrounds, and no single place (regardless of what you all say) is representative of the whole.

So having said that to the risk of being shot down by all the other advisors, I would say you need to pick an area dependent on the most important of the following items to you:
-Your own heritage.
-The time of year (you never said).
-The kinds of things you most want to do (for instance, if biking is important, most mountain areas are a bit dicey). You can, of course, find some beautiful valleys between the mountains.
-Other factors that you consider important in a vacation experience -- if Switzerland is worth only 2 days, maybe the whole thing isn't that important. Want to take pretty pictures of mountains and lakes? Want to see some beautiful cathedrals and cityscapes? Want to collect souvenirs?

All in all, you need to get yourself at least one good travel book and try to decide what you want. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 11:09 AM
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For mountains and bicycling, I would recommend the town of Kandersteg, which is right on the train line between Milan and Bern. You can rent bikes at the train station and ride into the Gastertal, a beautiful and unpopulated valley with cliffs and waterfalls. The road is not open to car traffic, and part of it passes through tennels (with windows) above a gorge. Here is a description of the route:

http://tinyurl.com/2lxcmf

There are several small rustic hotel/restaurants in the valley if you want a bite to eat.

You could also ride the chairlift or walk up to the beautiful Oeschinensee, a mountain lake surrounded by high peaks:

www.oeschinensee.ch (click on "sommer" in the upper left to see photos of the area in summer).

Kandersteg is home to an international scouting center, but I would not call it "touristy". There are some wonderful hikes I can recommend if you are interested.
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