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Catherine11 May 21st, 2008 05:28 PM

Help - First time to Switzerland

Fellow Travelers, I need your assistance. My husband, 11year old daughter and I are traveling to Switzerland for the first time. We are seeking your advice and below is our tentative itinerary. We are hoping to travel throughout Switzerland using RailEurope

1. Geneva 7-10 July with day trips to Lausanne Montreux - Travel by train from Geneva to Bern
2. Bern 11-14 July - Travel by Bern to Lugano
3. Lugano 14-17, July

We would appreciate any suggestions and/or alternate ideas. Much thanks

bob_brown May 21st, 2008 08:53 PM

I suggest you look at a Swiss Rail Pass. has a lot of schedules and answers.

Sounds like you are doing the usual American tourist bit: Visiting cities. The glory of Switzerland is in the Alps. You can have the cities except for Lausanne and Luzern.

Bern is good for 3 hours on a rainy day.

I have been to Switzerland many times and I visit the Berner Oberland around Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald and Kandersteg as well as the Pennine Alps around Saas Fee and Zermatt and Zinal.

Luzern has a few nice places ti visit; good for perhaps a whole day.

There are some nice boat rides on the various lakes, but for me the Alps are the focal point of all of my visits. We have visited other areas, but alpine Switzerland is what defines the trip.

swandav2000 May 22nd, 2008 06:03 AM

Hi Catherine11,

Yes, I agree with bob brown above on a few points.

First, you would probably enjoy your trip if you stayed in the smaller towns & villages of Switzerland rather than the big cities. No worries about getting there -- the train system is easy, convenient, and fun!

So for your days in the Lake Geneva area, you might want to look into staying in Morges (nearer to Geneva) or in Vevey or Montreux.

For your time in the Berner Oberland, I really favor the car-free villages of Wengen and Mürren to get better views (from up high in the mountains) as well as the special ambiance of a car-free town.

To get between Lake Geneva and the BO, look into going on the Golden Pass route via Gstaad and Zweisimmen. It's just lovely. Information at

Though know that many trains go on that route that don't require connections.

You can find all your train schedules at the Swiss rail site,

Have fun!


Cathinjoetown May 22nd, 2008 09:32 AM

I agree with Catherine11--the cities, no offense to Bern and Geneva, aren't that interesting. Lugano has an Italian feel which is fun and the lake is lovely. You can find cheap, immaculate B&B's or zimmer frei up in the mountains, acutally all over. There are accommodation booking agents at many train stations. Another good thing, the trains are synched with excellent buses so if, for example, you take the train along Lake Geneva, you can then connect with a bus which will take you up to a village.

Cathinjoetown May 22nd, 2008 09:33 AM

Sorry, meant to say I agree with the advice to Catherine11.

suze May 22nd, 2008 11:18 AM

Geneva is incredibly boring (imho). Why not *stay* in Lausanne or Montreux instead? Do it in reverse with a day trip into Geneva (it's only 1 hour by train) if you like.

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