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Montreaux or Zermatt???

Old May 12th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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cdg
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Montreaux or Zermatt???

Hi,
We're taking the Bernia Express from Chur to Lugano then plan to rent a car and drive to Zermatt or Montreaux. Any suggestions on which place has more to offer?

Also, we fly out of Geneva for 4 days in Ireland, then back to Geneva on the 20th June, and on to the BO until the 25th when we have to be back in Geneva for flight back to US. We will probably be basing in Interlaken with day trips to Murren, Grindenwald, etc. Any suggestions about the BO portion of our trip? Is Interlaken the best place to base or should we base in Murren? We're not really into hiking, more just sightseeing.

Thanks in advance for your knowledge.

cdg
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Old May 12th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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Montreux is considerably larger in size than Zermatt. You can drive all the way into Montreux; for Zermatt you must park your vehicle in nearby Tasch and take a shuttle train the last few kilometers into the village itself. Zermatt is at the base of the Matterhorn and nearby are the highest peaks in both Switzerland (the Dufourspitz) and in Italy (Monte Rosa). Lots of hiking opportunities and Zermatt is the almost stereotypical "alpine village" complete with the chalet architecture, dark wood, etc.

Montreux is probably best known for the annual jazz festival and for its so-called "Swiss Riviera" climate where palm trees abound. It is onthe shores of LacLeman. If you want vantage points you can take the rack railway up to the lookout at Rochers de Naye for absolutely spectacular vistas. The Chillon Castle is within walking distance of the Montreux central area.

Overall, I think the possibilities are more varied in Montreux than in Zermatt although I've been to, and like, both places, but for different reasons.
 
Old May 12th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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Hi cdg,

Since you'll be spending a few days in the mountains of the Berner Oberland, it may be a nice change to see the French/Swiss part of the country instead of Zermatt. I personally adore Montreux -- do a text search here or click on my name to get to my list of things to do in the area. What time of the year are you going? That may impact on our recommendations -- the fall is a great time of year around Lake Geneva, but in July-August, it's packed.

I've been to Zermatt, and it's a great place for hiking & walking, and for staring at the M'horn, but I didn't care much for the village itself.

For your Berner Oberland portion, most people like to get into the mountain villages like, yes, Muerren, instead of Interlaken. The views are simply better because the mountains are just closer and much more dramatic. But if you think you'd value the convenience of Interlaken, the proximity to shopping & ferry boat rides, then you should consider Interlaken.

Hope this helps --

s
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:10 AM
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cdg,

If you drive from Lugano to Zermatt or Montreux, the most direct route involves taking the so-called Centovalli road from Locarno to Domodossola (Italy), then the Simplon Pass to Brig. After that, it's about an hour to Täsch where you park the car (or perhaps drop it off) for Zermatt, or 1.5-2 hours to Montreux. I've never driven the Centovalli road or Simplon Pass, so can't give you a precise estimate, but I cannot imagine that portion taking less than 2.5 hours. A great day if you enjoy mountain roads and the weather cooperates, but be aware of what it entails.

You could also drive on the autobahn from Lugano to Montreux, but this would involve a significant detour via the Gotthard tunnel, Luzern and Bern. It would probably be faster, but you might as well take the train in that case. You could also use the train along the Centovalli/Simplon route, but it involves numerous changes and would probably take forever.

Finally, another alternative if this all sounds unattractive is to fly cheaply from Lugano to Geneva on Flybaboo (yes, I'm serious):
www.flybaboo.com

Montreux is an hour's train ride from Geneva airport.

If I could choose between Montreux or Zermatt (for how long of a stay?), I would go for Zermatt, but there are lots of things to do in & around Montreux as well.

In the BO, I would base myself in Interlaken for easy access. At that time of year, the heat shouldn't be too opressive yet and you can also enjoy a cruise on the Thun or Brienz lakes.

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Both are great if you have never been to either.
If you ski glaciers, maybe Zermatt.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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Andre, Have you ever driven the Centovalli road? I've taken the train but I imagine that it would be a fun drive. It's a fantastic bike ride! (the downhill parts, that is)
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Grasshopper: no, never crossed the Centovalli, either by train or car... I've stopped at (ugly) Domodossola lots of times on the train though on my way to/from Milan when I used to live in Geneva. The Centovalli are really out of the way, unless you're combining the Ticino with the Valais.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 11:25 AM
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Actually I much prefer Vevey (basically next door) to Montreux. I have a friend who lives in Montreux so visit often, but I'm not certain I'd go out of my way to see it otherwise. Sure it's lovely, and right on the lake, with a great view towards the Alps across... but so are all the towns coming out from Geneva on Lac Leman. Montreux has a nice Old Town area good for a stroll, and the tram and castle already mentioned are good. Restaurants are quite expensive, even casual ones or fast-food. To me Montreux is more a fantastic place to live, than to visit briefly.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 11:31 AM
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Zermatt just to see the Matterhorn is enough, the pedestrian only village is a bonus.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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cdg
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Thanks Singletail, Swandav, and everyone else. You've helped in making our decision...Zermatt it is and on to the Matterhorn! This is where I originally planned, but you know the more you read, look at maps, surf the web, etc. the more confused you become. It would just be nice to be able to visit every place in CH. Oh well.

Andre, thanks for the info on the best route. Can you tell me what's the best route to take from Zermatt to Geneva? I've checked Mappy, but not sure they always give the best route.

cdg
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Old May 12th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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cdg,

There's only one route you can take from Zermatt to Geneva: downhill to Visp, then down the Rhone valley and along Lake Geneva till Geneva. It's autobahn from Sierre onwards.

For driving directions, my favourite site is:
www.viamichelin.com

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Old May 12th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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cdg
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Thanks Andre, I've bookmarked the site and will use it for our road travel.

You guys are great!
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