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-   -   Geneva, Lausanne, or where to stay 1 nt between Avignon & Zurich by train? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/geneva-lausanne-or-where-to-stay-1-nt-between-avignon-and-zurich-by-train-1661853/)

lisa Dec 30th, 2018 04:58 AM

Geneva, Lausanne, or where to stay 1 nt between Avignon & Zurich by train?
 
DH and I are spending 20 nights traveling throughout Switzerland next September (basing ourselves in Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, Luzern, and Bern, with daytrips to surrounding towns) and are then spending 10 nights in Avignon, France with family. Upon leaving Avignon Sept. 30 we plan to take a train to Geneva and stay our last night in either Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, or somewhere else on the lake, and then take a train the next day to Zurich for our evening flight home on October 1. Since it's only for one night we just want wherever we stay to be convenient to the train and/or boat, as we'd like to squeeze in a boat trip for a few hours of final sightseeing on the lake (and possibly try to see the Chateau de Chillon if we have time), either in the late afternoon September 30 or the following morning before our train to Zurich October 1. We will both have Swiss Travel Flex passes. Thoughts/suggestions?

Dukey1 Dec 30th, 2018 06:22 AM

Ordinarily I might suggest a splurge hotel in Lausanne but if Chillon is a must then I would stay a bit closer to that. The only problem with staying in Montreux or Vevey is that when you do take the train to Zurich you will almost inevitably end up backtracking to Lausanne and changing there.

We've actually taken one of the lake boats directly to Chillon from Lausanne (we took the train back) but that might not work for you.

One advantage to leaving from Lausanne (or changing there) is that you can get one of the timings which goes to the airport without having to change in Zurich.

Assume you are familiar with www.sbb.ch/en

lisa Dec 30th, 2018 06:25 AM

Yes, thanks, I was leaning toward Lausanne in part because of the direct train connection to ZRH.

neckervd Dec 30th, 2018 07:31 AM

There are direct trains from both, Lausanne and Geneva to Zurich airport
Lausanne dp 5.15 until 19.15, every hr, 2 1/2 hrs journey
Geneva dp 5.42 until 16.42, every hr, 3 hrs journey

The main problem will be the weather, however. October mornings over the lake are often foggy, so that it wouldn't make much sense to go by boat.

A direct train ride from Avignon TGV to Zurich (main station) would take 5 1/2 hrs via Mulhouse or 6 hrs via Geneva.

suze Dec 30th, 2018 08:41 AM

I think it would be worth it to stay in Vevey or Montreux even if the train connection was a little more effort. Because of the size of Lausanne in comparison it was hard for me to see any 'charm' factor there, although Ouchy (neighborhood in Lausanne down on the lake) was more picturesque.

Vevey and Montreux and both more walkable and an "authentic" Swiss feel more than in Geneva or Lausanne which seemed more "international" less village-y because of size and overall "vibe".

Dukey1 Dec 30th, 2018 09:35 AM

Expected answers above but those mists on the lake DO lift after a while

PalenQ Dec 30th, 2018 10:57 AM

Yes Vevey is about 5 minutes by train from Lausanne and a smaller quainter town every likes - ditto for Montreux and just do a boat ride to nowhere. For lots on trains check www.sbb.ch - www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts.

kja Dec 30th, 2018 11:15 AM


Originally Posted by PalenQ (Post 16847090)
Yes Vevey is about 5 minutes by train from Lausanne

Vevey is 15 to 20 minutes from Lausanne.
It is 5 or 10 minutes from Montreux.

PalenQ Dec 30th, 2018 12:56 PM

thanks for correction - point anyway was it would not cost much time staying in one of those two towns and from Montreux they could take the Golden Pass scenic train to Spiez - much more scenic than faster way thru Lausanne to Bern and Zurich - about an hour longer but so much more scenic and you get to experience one of Switzerland's fabled scenic trains.

GoldenPass

suze Dec 30th, 2018 03:26 PM

City order heading out of Geneva by train goes: Morges, then Lausanne, then Vevey, then Montreux and yes more than "5 minutes" apart.

Nothing wrong with staying in Lausanne if you aren't looking for smaller or quainter ... it's a nice city. But with such a short stay your day trip out to the castle in Montreux adds on time with the Lausanne choice. That said, if by some crazy chance you have extra time in Montreux, consider Rochers de Naye if the weather's clear (spectacular view).

Hambagahle Dec 31st, 2018 01:26 AM

The area around the end of the lake - "Vaudois Riviera" - where Vevey and Montreux are located rarely gets the fog that is common on the plateau and on most of the lakes in October. it has a micro climate. Staying in Montreux would be ideal if you want to go to Chillon. However do you know about Chaplin's World? This is an extraordinary museum and well worth a visit. It is at Corsier, above Vevey and located in Charlie Chaplin's old home. I never cared much for his films but my goodness this place is an eye-opener and you learn so much about this extraordinary man. Opens at 1000 daily. Visit takes about 2 hours. Would be possible to do in a morning, followed by Chillon (which also takes around 2 hours) in the afternoon.

Staying in Lausanne for someone who doesn't know the town is always a big mistake. The town is spread out over a long hillside and the centre is far from the lakefront. Getting about can be complicated because of the different levels. Once you get to know the town you know where the lifts and escalators are but a first timer won't know that!

For Montreux and Vevey see www.montreuxriviera.com

Yet another option would be to stay here in Martigny. then travel to Zürich via Visp which is a very quick connection. Martigny is a Roman town with lots of Roman ruins to see. We have a world class art museum - Fondation Gianadda - which has a lovely sculpture garden. There is also the Museum of St Bernard dogs - with dogs always present! Lots of info there on the history of the pass as well.

kja Dec 31st, 2018 01:29 PM


Originally Posted by Hambagahle (Post 16847326)
Staying in Lausanne for someone who doesn't know the town is always a big mistake. The town is spread out over a long hillside and the centre is far from the lakefront. Getting about can be complicated because of the different levels. Once you get to know the town you know where the lifts and escalators are but a first timer won't know that!

Hmm... wouldn't that mean that no one could ever visit Lausanne?!? ;)
In any case, I visited it and am glad I visited it, and found the lifts and escalators exactly where my guidebooks said they would be. It wasn't a big deal.

PalenQ Dec 31st, 2018 02:22 PM

Lausanne is a nice city - camped there for several nights once and used as a base. But though it does have a neat seaside area the main part of town is rather modern - nice as every Swiss town is but lacking the charm of smaller Vevey and Montreux both of which have great lake fronts - most IMO would prefer either of those to Lausanne.

kja Dec 31st, 2018 02:53 PM


Originally Posted by PalenQ (Post 16847630)
Lausanne is a nice city - ... But ... the main part of town is rather modern

??? I seem to have visited a different part of Lausanne than PalenQ. I visited it's old town.

PalenQ Dec 31st, 2018 03:11 PM

I too visited the old town which does IMO have some neat areas of old-world charm around the cathedral area but the vibrant commercial areas are like any Swiss city's but done in a very pleasant modern style. Did not mean that Lausanne was not beautiful in its own way - especially as the town literally spills down to the lake. But still IMO most tourists would love Vevey or Montreux much more.

kja Jan 1st, 2019 01:44 AM

I think that whether to stay in Geneva or Lausanne or Vevey / Montreux really depends on what one wants to experience. They all have some delightful elements, and IMO, there’s no bad choice in the lot. They are different, and they offer different experiences, and I would encourage any traveller to learn more about each to decide what best suits his / her / their interests (and I do so without making assumptions about what those interests might be).

My point was that I, personally, wouldn’t rule Lausanne out simply because of its geography. I hope that point wasn’t lost in an unnecessary digression.

suze Jan 1st, 2019 08:54 AM

My preference of Vevey and Montreux is based mostly on size and the way they each sit right on the lake. Both those towns/cities are very walkable in their central area. Easy to see the street farmers markets (if you are there on those days), walk to shops, grocery store, find cozy family-style restaurants, cafes, bakeries, etc. without much preparation at all.

While for Geneva or even Lausanne it felt to me more of an urban experience so would take a little more planning. I don't think it would work to see Geneva just by "wandering around" is my point. In both places I was shown around by a friend who lives in Switzerland, so I did end up with an overall positive impression of these cities as well.

PalenQ Jan 1st, 2019 02:40 PM

My preference of Vevey and Montreux is based mostly on size and the way they each sit right on the lake.>

And they are smaller towns and this is why I do think most tourists would enjoy them more - I've stayed in all three and to me all are fine for me.

Hambagahle Jan 2nd, 2019 12:59 AM

Wherever you end up staying your first call should be to the local Tourist Office. They can give you maps etc. But more importantly point out things not to miss AND give information about walking tours. A walking tour is the best way to explore any Swiss town or city. Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux all have "vieille ville" - old town areas - and walking around those, learning about the history and how come the town got to be built where it is etc is fascinating. The Vevey and Montreux tourist offices both offer these tours and I think the Lausanne one does too.

As I pointed out before - Lausanne is on a long sloping hillside. No matter where your hotel is located you are going to have to take the metro or buses to get to other parts of the town. Vevey and Montreux are eminently "walkable". For Geneva - should you visit - taking a walking tour of the old town is essential. Parts of it date back to Roman times and you can't see those without a guide. I have written a guide to a walking tourof Geneva on another travel forum but could not include the Roman wall because it is not easy to find nor to access! An essential stop in Geneva is the Maison Tavel which houses the museum of old Geneva. This is in the vieille ville not far from the Hôtel de Ville...and on all the maps.


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