Montreux or Lugano in May?

Old Nov 1st, 2003, 08:25 AM
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Montreux or Lugano in May?

We have reservations for three nites in Montreux at the beginning of May....but I'm thinking of maybe going to Lugano instead. If you prefer one over the other, which one and why? (We are also going to be spending a few nights in the Interlaken area).
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 10:26 AM
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Hi orangetravelcat,

You may know that I love Montreux, that it's one of my favorite destinations of all Europe. So I'm a bit biased.

But I will give you one solid consideration -- the lakeside promenade. In Montreux, it runs from Clarens to Villeneuve, about nine or 10 km. The second best thing about this promenade (the first is the views!!) is the parade of folks you get to see there: old money and outlaws in a wonderful human collage. You'll see matrons as stately as their lakeside mansions walking their tiny dogs; you'll see pierced punks on skateboards; you'll see earth-mother mavens in loose gowns riding old bicycles; you'll see groups of American and Britich tourists lugging suitcases; you'll see beautiful, sleek young women with their round, shiny escorts . . . And when you get to see a few familiar faces at around the same time every day, you begin to feel that you belong there too.

That's one reason why it's important to me not only to have a lake view hotel room in Montreux but to also have a view of the promenade.

This is what I missed most in Lugano. Its lakeside areas were only a block or two long. I guess you could get the same effect from a cafe in a piazza, but I really loved having the water and mountain views as a backdrop to this parade.

On the other hand, aside from the promenade, Montreux doesn't appeal to everyone.

Let me know if I can help further!

s
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 11:02 AM
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The area around Lugano is beautiful, but the town itself left me rather cold. Montreux's promendade makes it! And there is so much more to do in the Montreux area with easy transportation. We loved taking the boat over to Yvoire in France on the other side of the lake, and Evian another day.
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 12:51 PM
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I agree with previous posters. Lugano was a dud for me except for a wonderful day spent at Morcote. But if you're a shopper and have lots of money, you'd love Lugano.

The Montreux/Lausanne area has so much more to offer. Go to the tourist info office in Montreux (on the lake, just a little east of the pavilion) for loads of info on area activities. Visit Chateau de Chillon, a very well preserved medieval fortress.
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 01:14 PM
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Hello again,

Since some folks have mentioned the number of activities around Montreux, I though I'd paste here my saved list of things to do. Maybe this will help you make up your mind --

Spend a morning walking along the 11km flowered lakeside promenade from Clarens to Villeneuve, passing the Chateau Chillon between Territet and Villeneuve; there are plenty of cafes to stop and have a coffee & snack along the way to replenish your strength. There are also plenty of benches to sit and read, watch other walkers, or simply stare at the majesty of the lake and the mountains in the distance.

My favorite café is the Terraces du Pavillon in Territet, across from the little dock there, just about 1/4 mile before the Chateau de Chillon. It's next to a small playground, so it's a particularly nice place to spend a few hours and watch life unfold. The cafe is also at the spot from which you can catch the funicular up to Glion (go up to the street, cross the road, and go behind the church). I always stop there for coffee and to get the exact change for the funicular.

If you make it all the way to Villeneueve, top off your long walk with a wonderful pizza & beer lunch at a lakeside café in Villeneuve, then take the ferry back to Montreux (I think the ferry stops in late Sep/Oct).

Spend a morning walking up to Montreux's old city and the old church for fantastic panoramic views from the church?s terrace. Have lunch at the Hotel/Restaurant du Pont at 12 rue du Pont (I had a ravioli in cream sauce with shaved truffles that was out of this world!). Montreux?s website is at www.montreux.ch

Spend the morning in Vevey hunting down the antiques shops in the old town. Then have lunch at the Hostellerie de Geneve on the Pl. Marche. Vevey?s website is at www.vevey.ch

Take the train (the ?wine train?) from Vevey to Chexbres, then spend a morning walking the vineyards down to the lake, hitting Rivaz & St. Saphorin. For lunch, find the Auberge du Rivaz (in Rivaz . . . ) with a terrace lake view or see if any of the cellars are having a cheese/wine tasting. Website: www.lavaux.ch/sentier2.htm

The lakeside village of Cully, just east of Lausanne, is a picturesque stop and has two recommended restaurants, the Auberge du Raisin and the Au Major Davel.

The lakeside village of Lutry, just two miles east of Lausanne, has a well-posted tour of medieval buildings as well as some good wine caves for tasting. Website: www. lutry.ch

Spend a day in the mountains, taking the train to the resort of Gstaad. On the way back, stop at Chateau d'Oex or at Glion for lunch at the Hotel Victoria with its panoramic views of the lake. You can walk from Glion to Montreux on a stair-step path through the forest (or take the train or the funicular to Territet).

Spend an afternoon in the medieval village of Gruyeres, making sure to sample the berries in creme-double. Website: www.gruyeres.ch

Spend an afternoon in Nyon at the Roman museum and the Caesar's columns nearby. The Fodors guide recommends a meal at the Auberge du Chateau just steps from the Roman museum. It was closed when I was there, but it looked charming. Website: www.nyon.ch

Go to the small, charming village of Celigny. Not much to see here but a picturesque place (it was actor Richard Burton?s home during the last years of his life). Have lunch at the Auberge du Soleil -- great prix fixe feast!

The website for the tourist office of the region is: www.lake-geneva-region.ch

My personal travel journal (w/photos) of Montreux: http://www.igougo.com/planning/journ...JournalID=7825

Hope you have a nice trip!

s
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 04:59 PM
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Wow, Swandav2000. You have sold me. I am going take your list of things to do with us. I almost feel we should stay 4 nights intstead of 3 in Montreux, and only stay 3 nights instead of 4 in Interlaken. We have a lakeview room with balcony reserved at Hotel Eden au Lac.
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 05:04 PM
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Are you kidding, orangetravelcat? After reading that list from swandav, I'd think you'd want to stay a month. What a great list of super things to do.
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 05:20 PM
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Patrick---if only I could stay a month! But we only have 7 nights to spend in Switzerland this trip.
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 06:45 PM
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I've been to the Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux area four times as I have a dear friend who lives there. Can't comment about Lugano...

Great ideas above, I second Chateux de Chillon and Gruyere for castles to visit, and anything to do with the lakeside quai, a boatride, or going into the vineyards. I'll throw in the Saturday early morning ope-air farmers market in the Vevey town square (there is also a Tuesday Vevey market along the streets and Montreux has a Friday morning one but they are much smaller). And add, if the weather is clear, a trip up the Rochers de Naye sightseeing tram/train (catch it at the main Montreux train station but buy tickets at a seperate office).
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Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 05:00 AM
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How can I not say that the best trip I ever had to Switzerland was a 12-nighter: four in Rivaz near Montreux, three in Leissigen at the foot of the Oberland, three on Lago Maggiore with day trips to Lugano, Gandria, and Morcote, and two in Bulach near the flughafen. It formed the most delightful set of contrasts of scenery, architecture, and cuisine.

Now I have to admit that these days I prefer to stay in place four or five nights, but at the time, it was spectacular. And, I might add, Lugano and its lake was the best surprise of all. I have no money to speak of and I don't shop, but I savored the markets, the arcaded streets, and the churches of graceful Lugano, as well as the two little lake towns of Gandria and Morcote. Give them a taste when you can and decide for yourself. J.
 
Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 08:09 AM
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Hi orangetravelcat,

O I hope you're not disappointed! For me, Montreux is IT, but I know other travelers don't share my enthusiasm.

Every time I go, I spend five to seven nights, and I always leave with my "do-to" list growing rather than shrinking. Some things I vow to get to in the future: wine museum in Aigle, Rhone valley between Martigny and Aigle, hike the Celtic trail above Leysin, see Villars-sur-Ollon, walk from Glion to Territet (I've done Montreux-Glion and back a few times), see Morges, see Neuchatel, see the La Tene outdoor museum/village outside Neuchatel, see Yverdon & Grandson on Lake Neuchatel, see Yvoire & Evian on Lake Geneva, and on and on. I think the secret to getting under the skin of an area is to really invest the time there, and of course to visit every tourist office you pass!

I know that there are comparable excursions, walks, villages, history, and vineyards all over Lakes Lugano & Maggiore -- you're sure to find them yourself. That's why I hesitate to say categorically you should go to Montreux. The only really unique thing about Montreux is, again, that promenade.

Anyway, I've stayed at the Eden au Lac twice, and I think it's a great choice. I loved watching the gardeners working on their sculptures from my balcony and the breakfast room. The staff is great.

One more thing: consider renting a bicycle from the train station and cycling down the promenade to Villeneuve and back. Or rent at the station in Vevey and cycle through the vineyards from Vevey to Chexbres.

Let me know if I can help further --

s
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