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Need Advice on France, Germany & Switzerland Itinerary

Need Advice on France, Germany & Switzerland Itinerary

Old Jul 14th, 2018, 09:12 AM
  #21  
 
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check out Vezelay as a nice historic pilgrimage hill town en route to Burgundy from Fontainebleu!
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Old Jul 15th, 2018, 08:05 AM
  #22  
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Thanks PalenQ for all your suggestions. I've already added that stop to our itinerary. Now researching Alsace and Black Forest stops. We will also add Bern to the Switzerland portion and look at Lake Geneva.
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Old Jul 15th, 2018, 11:36 AM
  #23  
 
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There are limitless places in those two area - just base in Colmar for Alsace and putz along the Alsace Wine Road - again I'd cut back few days - that is a fairly small area with IME of biking along that route cute wine villages but pretty much the same.

I'd get a Michelin Green Guide or other motorist-oriented guidebook to spot where to go in Black Forest. The stars-rating system is pretty useful as are the driving routes - ditto for Alsace of course.
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Old Jul 17th, 2018, 08:36 AM
  #24  
 
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Baden-Baden is a unique sweet spa stop between Alsace and Black Forest - or easy day trip from Strabourg. Park-like setting and fancy old casino where once the rich and famous and royals came years ago - plus nice modern town - great one-day stop IMO.
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 08:42 AM
  #25  
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I've tweaked my itinerary thanks to feedback. What do you think of this revised itinerary. Is 4 days still too many for Colmar? Should we take one day from there and add it somewhere else?

Day 1 & 2 - Fontainebleau; palace and Barbizon museum
Day 3-5 - Beaune; Day 3: stop at Vezelay and Abbey of Fontenay en route from Fontainebleau; Day 4: Chateauneuf-en-Auxois, Semler-en-Auxois, Flavingy; Day 5: Hotel Dieu des Hospices de Beaune, villages s of Beaune
Day 6 & 7: Dijon: Day 6: Drive Route des Grands Crus on way to Dijon; Day 7: Dijon old town
Day 8-11: Colmar: Day 8: Stop at Bensacon on way to Colmar; spend afternoon in Colmar old town; Day 9: Riquewihr, Hunawihr, Ribeauville, Haut Konigsburg; Day 10: Market day in Colmar & Equisheim; Day 11: Turkheim, Kaysersberg
Day 12&13: Strasbourg: Day 12: Stop in Obernai on way to Strasbourg, afternoon old town Strasbourg; Day 13: Day trip to Baden-Baden
Day 14&15: Tubingen: Day 14: Stop at Gengenbach and then on to Tubingen; afternoon old town Tubingen; Day 15: day trip to Castle of Hohenzellern
Day 16-18: Freiburg: Day 16: Freiburg old town; Day 17: Triberg Falls, Open Air Museum and Schiltach; Day 18: Michelin 1 day loop (142km)
Day 19&20: Bern: Day 19: Bern city center; Day 20: Day trip to Murten
Day 21&22: Montreaux: Day 21: Montreaux lakeside promenade; Day 22: Chillon Castle
Day 23&24: Lucerne: Day 23: Lucerne walking tour; Day 24: Mt Pilatus or Rigi
Day 24-27: Wengen: during these 4 days: Spend time in Wengen, also visit Kleine Scheidegg, Grutshalp, Murrenm Gimmelwald, Grindelwald
Day 28&29: Zurich: Zurich old town, maybe boat ride
Day 30: Early flight home
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 09:14 AM
  #26  
 
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Visit Ronchamp, Mulhouse and the Ecomusee d'Alsace on your way from Besancon to Colmar.
Visit Rottweil, Schiltach, the open air museum at Hausach and Triberg on your way from Tuebingen to Freiburg instead of backtracking from Freiburg.
The logical itinerary for your Swiss leg would be: Freiburg - Basel - Solothurn - Bern - Murten - Fribourg - Gruyeres - Vevey - Montreux - Aigle (may be Le Bouveret) - Col du Pillon (Glacier 3000) - Gstaad - Spiez - Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen - Meiringen/Aar Gorge - Lucerne - Basel airport French side (car drop off) - Zurich.
If you do Switzerland by public transport:
Basel - train - Biel/Bienne - boat - Murten - train - Bern - Bulle - Gruyeres - Montbovon - Montreux - Aigle - Brig - Kandersteg - Spiez - Interlaken/Wengen - Meiringen - Lucerne - Zurich.
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 09:41 AM
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Call me crazy but 6 days is not too much for Alsace, the walking up on the Vosges ridge, the walking in and amongst the vines and the lower forests, the fromageries, the Ballon d'Alsace, the castles up on the Vosges and the fortified towns down towards the Rhine, Strasbourg are all fantastic. I've been to this area 5 times now and keep coming back. I even like Colmar which is not that impressive. At your youth get out and hire a bike and go see stuff or go on a tour. You may not like wine but get a vigneron to walk you through his vinyard.

You are confusing visiting a bunch of towns with visiting an area, your day 8 to 11 is almost a shopping trip. Last time I was there I met deer and just avoided meeting a wild sow and three piglets, none in a town!

Reims is a fantastic place if you like a good cathedral and .... a busy city. Epernay is far easier to access and the forest between the two (which you can reach by road or train) is a hikers paradise. Stay over in Epernay, buy a picnic, catch the train to the top say Gare de Germaine then walk down the other side and look at the views before you retake the train into Reims or back to Epernay.
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 09:51 AM
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sounds like a good itinerary to me - always could tweek but it seems very workable. And yes think about ditching car in Basel or really across border in France so you don't have steep drop-off charges for renting in France and returning car in Germany or Switzerland and taking public transit in Switzerland - great for all places you are going. Check drop-off charges - maybe can return in Basel and be considered returning in France?
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 11:12 AM
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I would consider daytripping to Bern from Lucerne and spending perhaps more time there - really neat day trips by boat other than Rigi - Bern a nice city but a big city - you'll find Lucerne much more relaxing
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 12:56 PM
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Car drop off:
Basel airport, French side IS in France. From there (Swiss side, to reach without any problem through the departures hall), Basel can be reached by citybus 50, included in the Swiss Travel Pass. There are also Flixbuses from Basel airport to Zurich.

Last edited by neckervd; Jul 18th, 2018 at 12:58 PM.
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 12:58 PM
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Ah, makes the bit about returning car to 'France' for normal drop-off rates so easy.
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 01:59 PM
  #32  
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Fodorites - Thanks again for your feedback. Our plan with this itinerary was to drop car in Basel before heading to Bern. Is it easier to travel in Switzerland by car or train? It seems like getting to some of these places by train requires multiple stops and train changes. I know that Wengen is car free so we'd have to drop the car or leave it in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken? I'm assuming it would be cheaper to rent another car in Switzerland than incur those sky high drop off charges from France. Not sure how it compares to train travel cost wise as haven't checked that yet. How easy it is to drive there vs train?
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 02:19 PM
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I think she's got it! By George she's got it! You have put a lot of thought into your itinerary.
Except you double counted day 24 putting it at both Lucrern and Wengen. Find a day because you need 4 nights in Wengen for Mountains, Mountain Trains, Cableways, Funiculars, Lakes, Steamers, and walks/hikes.

Other comments:
Day 9- Take the "Little Tourist Train" at Ribeaville. Drive all the way up to Haut Konigsburg for parking. You will see many others parking far bellow leaving a long up hill walk to the castle.
Day 14- After Gengenbach continue on to the Open Air Museum and Schiltach on you route to Tubingen. This will free up time on Day 17.
https://goo.gl/maps/8WZuoxQLQG22
Day15- Add Schloss Lichtenstein to your activities.
Day 16-You could visit Triberg Falls en route to Freiburg freeing up Day 17 for more activities.
Day24-27- Add Thunersee/Brienersee activities.
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 02:33 PM
  #34  
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neckervd: Thank you so much for the logical itinerary. Have you driven in Switzerland? I'm wondering if driving is easier than all the train connections with luggage?

dygi_otok & PalenQ: Thank you for your recommendations. Looks like I have a little more tweaking to do but will certainly add the places you suggest. Very much appreciated!!
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Old Jul 18th, 2018, 04:23 PM
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Driving in Switzerland is fine but for what you are doing train IMO is better - especially since cars cannot even reach Wengen or go around Jungfrau Region much at all being prohibited above Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.

neckervd being Swiss certainly can expand on this better.
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 12:58 PM
  #36  
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I've tweaked my itinerary again based on feedback from all of you Fodorites Many thanks!!! What do you think of these changes:

All of the France portion is the same, except I added stops in Ecomusee d'Alsace and Mulhouse from Dijon to Colmar; if no time on way there, then will add it to the day we are going to Equisheim.
From Strasbourg will stop at Gengenbach, Hausach, Schiltach on way to Tubingen
From Tubingen will stop at Rottweil and Triberg Waterfalls en route to Freiburg

Changed the Switzerland portion by removing a 2-day stop in Bern and limited Zurich to one day since it doesn't take long to get to Zurich from Lucerne. This gives me 3 days extra. I added a day in Montreaux, a day in Wengen and a day in Lucerne. So my schedule is this starting on day 19:

Day 19-21: Montreaux (3 days total)
Day 19: Takes about 3 hrs to get to Montreaux from Basel SBB. I will drop the car at MHR airport, then take the train from SBB to Montreaux. Depending on route, could take 1-3 changes but still 3 hrs to get here. Visit the town and lakeside promenade on this day.
Day 20: Rohers-de-Naye and Chillon Castle
Day 21: Vevey, Gruyeres or Lausanne
Days 22-26 Wengen, (5 days total)
Day 22: Will take between 3.5 -5.5 hrs from Montreaux to get here depending on route
Day 23-26: In addition to towns I mentioned earlier, have added Lake Thun and Lake Brienz areas if time
Day 27-29 Lucerne (3 days total)
Day 27: Another long travel day 3 hrs to get here; visit old town Lucerne in afternoon
Day 28: Day trip to Bern
Day 29: Options include Mt Pilatus, Rigi, boat trip to Vitznau
Day 30: Zurich (1 day); quick train from Lucerne - visit old town
Day 31: Fly home

Is the order in which you'd do Switzerland stops from Basel? Would you change anything? If anyone has any recommendations for a good place to stay in Wengen, I'd appreciate hearing of it. Since we'll be here 5 days, are there apts for rent in that town?
Your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated!!!
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 01:08 PM
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Day 22: Will take between 3.5 -5.5 hrs from Montreux to get here depending on route>

Montreux - not eaux like 'water' in French.

Well the Golden Pass route right from Montreux via Spiez to Interlaken is the most scenic route and you can ride the Golden Pass scenic train -

Anyway looks like some kind of Swiss Travel Pass would be a good deal - kind of carte blanche in terms of not weighing 'how much will it cost me' in terms of doing lake boats and you are doing so many trips seems like it would be. also covers admission to Chillon Castle (I think not sure) and sights in Gruyeres and Ballenberg overlooking Lake Brienz if that neat open-air museum is in play.
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 02:31 PM
  #38  
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Thank you PalenQ for all your help! I figured the Swiss Rail Pass would be the way to go but will do the math to verify. Also, thanks for correcting my spelling of Montreux!
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 03:40 PM
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Figuring what is best pass or Half-Fare Card - one certainly will be - also has other factors like you may well do more than previewed (or less!) - no waiting in line - and is a consecutive-day or flexipass better - if latter folks often twin with Half-Fare Card for non travel days - like if doing Jungfraujoch train that pass only gives 25% off on. Unlike most passes, no senior rate I believe on Swiss Travel Passes. And, compare prices for passes bought in home country vs those bought there - during past several years not uncommon IME of checking that same pass has been cheaper here than there - and specials also pop up here and there too - but it appears that a 15-day (14?) consecutive pass for your plans could be the best as you are traveling most days - anyway the order of everything looks perfect to me -be sure to take the Golden Pass scenic train route Interlaken-Lucerne - way more gorgeous than mainline route via Bern and about as quick - you can ride the official GP train sans reservations at no extra cost but should book seats in observation cars as they can fill up.
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 10:21 PM
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Hi TravelerKaren,

For your time in Montreux, I wouldn't visit Rochers-de-Naye (again watch the spelling) -- it is nothing compared to the mountain vistas you have ahead of you in the Jungfrau area. The Rochers-de-Naye are only about 2,000m while the Jungfraujoch is almost twice that.

Instead, I would do the things that are truly different and unique to the Lake Geneva area; I would devote one day to Vevey's intriguing old town, coupled with a tour or a walk through the vineyards of the Lavaux. I would also take some time to look at Montreux's old town, the winding, steep streets above the train station. Villeneuve is another nice little stop -- it sits about a 45-minute walk along the lake on the other side of Chillon, and it's just a very sweet little town.

You can actually visit Gruyere when enroute from Montreux to Wengen. Just send your cases on the train separately using the SBB's luggage service, then take the train Montreux-Gruyere (change in Montbovon) and then Gruyere-Wengen. Your cases will be waiting for you in Wengen, and some hotels will even collect your cases for you and bring them to the hotel.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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