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Itinerary Help: Amsterdam-Zurich/Basel-Geneva in 10 days?

Itinerary Help: Amsterdam-Zurich/Basel-Geneva in 10 days?

Old Dec 9th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Itinerary Help: Amsterdam-Zurich/Basel-Geneva in 10 days?

I'm having some problems trying to bridge two distinctly different destinations into one itinerary. Not sure if this is too much to pack into one trip to Europe given my time constraint. I like to spend time outdoors and hike, so I am focusing my trip on areas that are great for walking/hiking.

So far, I am budgeting myself 3 days in and around Amsterdam/Den Haag (plus 1 day of travelling from USA), then taking the night train to Basel. From there I would like to continue on to Lucerne, spend 1 day there (plus the 1 travel day), Interlaken (2 days), and 2 days in Montreux, fly out of Geneva. Does this sound like too much?
steckert is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Yes - I would spend more days in the Interlaken area - esconsing myself up in the hills in one of those too-cugte-to-be-true villages like Wengen or Grindelwald - eyeball to eyeball with glacier-girdled soaring peaks with a myriad of hiking trails, toylike mountain trains and thrilling aerial gondolas going everywhere.

Plus lake boats on either lake bookending Interlaken make fantastic days out.

You can easily day trip to Lucerne from the Interlaken area too - always save time on reducing the number of bases - packing, unpacking, etc not worth it for one night IMO but day trip by scenic Golden Pass train over the Brunig Pass to Lucerne is great and Lucerne is small enough for a few hours to see most everything - the beauty in Lucerne is IMO the town itself and not any individual site - save the two famous covered wooden bridges.

2 days in Monreux is great but there are also a plethora of sweet things to do in that area as well. I'd try to put a few more days total in your trip.

You are traveling enough in Switzerland to warrant looking at the Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card - for lots of great info on Swiss trains and passes, etc check out these IMO superb sites: www.swisstravelsytem.com; www.ricksteves.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html.
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Old Dec 9th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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I would skip the Netherlands all together and concentrate on Switzerland.
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Old Dec 9th, 2013, 03:09 PM
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The idea of flying into Amsterdam and flying out of Switzerland (GVA or ZRH) is a good one if you feel strongly about visiting both these countries.

But I question the wisdom of planning on just one day in Lucerne. What for? You come off a night with questionable sleep on the night train (good idea but don't expect to be all that refreshed), and you want to do what? Lucerne itself is nice enough to just walk around and such, but hardly worth the one-day detour if that's all you'd have time and energy for.

To do a bit more than that, you either stay two or, better, three days and make the most of the hiking options on nearby Pilatus and Rigi and Titlis mountains (look them each up!), and maybe go to Engelberg and hike around there, it's a gorgeous region, and for relaxation take a ride on a public boat - see www.lakelucerne.ch/en

The same goes for the Bernese Oberland region that you access from Interlaken (which is a handy location, serving tourists well, but by no means the only worthwhile target) - see http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/b...oberland1.html

Skip Montreux - it's nice enough as a stroll-around location by the lake, but the Bernese Oberland (with two lakes, one on either side of Interlaken) could keep you happy for weeks on end, so don't rush out and waste travel time going to Montreux where your options are much more limited.

Another reason for staying in one region for more days - if the weather turns sour and you have to leave before it gets better, that hurts. People take long vacations in those regions, weeks and weeks, and come back for more, so don't be in too much of an in-and-out rush or you miss out!
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Old Dec 9th, 2013, 04:05 PM
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I agree that you are trying to do too much -- and for context, I'm quite willing to move around much more frequently than most Fodorites! You might consider picking at most 2 locations in Switzerland. If you are already committed to flying out of Geneva, Montreux might make sense. Otherwise, you might skip the area around Lake Geneva to make more time for areas nearer to Zurich (or Milan or....)

Also, much as I loved Basel, I'm not sure that it makes sense if your interest is primarily in walking/hiking. It has some excellent museums and some charming old city squares, but it is not in the most scenic part of Switzerland.

And if your primary goal for the Bernese Oberland is walking/hiking, you might want to consider staying in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen or Murren rather than Interlaken. Interlaken would give you easier access to areas outside the Bernese Oberland; Lauterbrunnen et al. would give you easier access to the many walking/hiking trails in the Bernese Oberland.

BTW, I don't think I saw WHEN you will travel, and that could easily affect your plans.

Hope that helps!
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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Grindelwald is another possibility for access to great hiking - right from the town you can walk to a glacier! Or take the cable way up to the Mannlichen for the classic easy ridge hike to Kleine Scheidegg (from where trains to the Jungffraujoch depart as well).

But Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald is about only 20 minutes so basing there means you can also easily access hikes - Interlaken IME has a lot more affordable accommodations than towns up in the hills. But a first-time visitor should IMO stay up in the hills in any town - you cannot go wrong!
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 07:11 AM
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For what many consider the class hike for everyone's ability - well anyone who can walk a fairly flat few miles the ridge walk from The Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is tremendous - be sure to do that walk - taking a thrilling cable car from either Wengen or Grindelwald to The Mannlichen and from Kl Scheidegg trains back down to Grindelwald or Wengen (or from Kl Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch and the sea of ice and top of the world look.
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Old Dec 12th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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When you get to the Jungfrau Area get a free copy of Jungfrau Magazine - given out in hotels, tourist offices, train stations, etc - in it is a large relief map with all hiking trails marked on it in various colors - red for difficult, green for easy (not sure of the exact colors), etc. and plan your hikes accordingly.
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