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lovetotravel27 Dec 28th, 2005 09:13 AM

Need help with 4 nights itinerary in Switzerland
We will be coming from Paris by train to Switzerland around May 20 and would like to spend around 4 nights there. If have to - 5 night is possible. We would like to see at least a couple of towns and concentrate on nature. What would be a good base town to take either a Golden pass or Glacier express? We were thinking of Lausanne or Lucerne as a base but are open to any other suggestions.

I am new to this board, but very impressed... Many thanks!

Edward2005 Dec 28th, 2005 09:48 AM

Luzern is a great town along the Golden Pass. A fun outdoors excursion nearby is Mt. Rigi. You can take a cable car and cog train to the top and hike down. Bigger Mt. Pilatus is also nearby and you can do similar stuff there. I'm sure there are many more outdoor activities I don't know about.

Also along the Golden Pass route is Interlaken. From Interlaken it is a short train ride south into some wonderful mountain towns: Lauterbrunnen, Grindlewald, Murren, Wengen, and Gimmelwald. The hiking from these towns is fantastic and there are trails for all difficulty levels. The outdoor activities in this area are endless.

I haven't been to Lausanne but it gets great reviews. Can't go wrong with any of these choices.

swandav2000 Dec 28th, 2005 09:49 AM

Hi lovetotravel27,

I'm not a big fan of scenic trains, especially long ones like the Glacier Express. I guess they're fine if you're going that way anyway, but otherwise I'd rather spend my time IN the mountains (instead of looking at them through train windows like a tv screen . . .).

I think you have some good ideas for your bases -- both Luzern and Lake Geneva offer beautiful scenery.

Luzern's position at the base of four lakes, ringed by mountains, is nothing short of spectacular. You can spend time in the old town, you can take ferry rides around the lakes and visit the lakeside villages, you can hike the mountains and take a few gondola rides along the way, and you can rent bicycles to explore more. You can get more information at,,,, and

Lausanne is close to one of my favorite destinatins, Montreux on Lake Geneva. However, you should know that the mountains are still pretty far from Lausanne, so if you want to see mountains, you need to re-think this as your base. Lake Geneva offers vineyard walks, lakeside promenades, cafes, ferry rides, and beautiful old villages and towns. Of course, from Lausanne you can catch the Golden Pass and go over to Interlaken Ost. Information at,, and

I'd like to suggest a few more possibilities:

Gstaad or Rougemont in the Saanenland, about two hours from Geneva by train. This is lush, green, rolling-hils country, and there are dozens of walking and biking trails. You would get here by the Golden Pass routing from Montreux. For more information, go to and

Another option would be some towns on Lake Thun, like Spiez or Thun. These are close enough so that you can take a day-trip to the peaks of the Berner Oberland, but the lake also offers ferry rides. Of course, there will be spectacular scenery with the mountains so close! From these towns, you can cycle or walk a myriad of trails. Research at,, and

You can investigate your excursions at

Good luck!


lovetotravel27 Dec 28th, 2005 10:12 PM

Thanks for your answers! I forgot to tell we'll have to return to Paris. What inexpensive, quiet hotels would you recommend in Luzern, Mountrex and Lausanne? I have a bad knee, so I am a little concerned about the hills in Lausanne, though it's pictures are incredible.

Did someone take the train from Lausanne to Visp and Visp to Zermatt? What's the total time? Is Zurich and or Geneva worth visiting as we'll have very limited time? Wich one is better?

Thanks again!

swandav2000 Dec 29th, 2005 04:33 AM

Hi Again,

We can help you more with hotels if you can give us your preferred price range -- "inexpensive" has different meanings in different households!

In Montreux, many people like the three-star Hotel Masson (, but it's too far to walk to from the train station; you'll need to take a taxi or a bus. In Vevey, I've heard good things about the two-star Hotel Negociants (, close to the train station. The Masson will be quiet, but the Negociants may not be, as it's in the center of town.

I've taken the train from Montreux through Vist to Brig, though I didn't go on to Zermatt. It's a pleasant train ride -- you can get the time schedules from the website I gave you above (

Personally, I don't like big cities, and I go to Switzerland for its countryside. But having said that, I think Zurich is more interesting than Geneva -- can't really say why.

Have fun!


swandav2000 Dec 29th, 2005 04:34 AM

Sorry, through "Visp," not "Vist."


Edward2005 Dec 29th, 2005 06:45 AM

"The B&B" in Luzern is a good place. It's in a residential area so it is quiet.

visper Dec 29th, 2005 03:03 PM

Thr whole general area of the Berner Oberland is a great idea. Luzern is a great city. Although I've spent a great deal of time in Interlaken and the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Lauterbrunnen is a small town with ways to go to Wengen or Murren. Great trails but there is a great easy flat trail which takes only about an 1 1/2 hrs - slow walking to take in the sights. Take the train to Wengen and then the cable car to Mannlichen and you can walk to the Kleine Scheidegg(?spelling). When you start in Mannlichen you walk towards the alps with an amazing view. Then you can take the train back down to Wengen. The walk down to Wengen can get a little stressful with sore knees. Lived in the alp region for years and never got tired of the area. There are some great local retaurants in Lauterbrunnen as well and we had a hotel with a balcony looking at the waterfalls.

suze Dec 29th, 2005 03:40 PM

I am another big fan of Montreux and Vevey (towns next to Lausanne along the train lines out from Geneva). They would be extremely easy to reach from Paris (by train thru Geneva or Lausanne).

That said, these are lakeside towns, not up in the mountains. You're looking at mountains and the glorious lake but at sea-level.

I stay with friends but have visited the Hotel Helvetie in Montreux and it seems a servicable 3-star centrally located. I don't know of any hotels that I would consider "inexpensive" in Switzerland. Although there is a well respected hostel in Vevey off the town square called Riviera Lodge you might check out.

suze Dec 29th, 2005 03:41 PM

Generally speaking, Vevey is more "flat" than either Lausanne or Montreux for walking (with a bad knee).

susanteach Dec 30th, 2005 06:04 AM

Gosh, if you have a bad knee, isn't the scenic trainride best? I've visited a lot of Swiss cities in each canton (except for Geneva!?) and for scenery and "nature," I recommend as others did: Base in Luzern or in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Luzern is very walkable with lots to see and do--pretty easy walking. While there are obviously steep inclines in the Berner Oberland region, there are funiculars and trains that go everywhere, so you won't miss out due to the knee.

I found Lausanne quaint, but the hills were KILLERS for both myself and my husband, and we are younger/healthy. We climbed everywhere anyway, went to the sites and shops, ate our crepes (mmm), BUT could barely move for two days afterwards. IMO Lugano more scenic and walkable than Lausanne.

lovetotravel27 Dec 30th, 2005 01:55 PM

Are Vevey or Mauntrex flat enough? Which one is more beautiful? What's the difference between those two?

Thanks to everybody!

suze Dec 30th, 2005 04:04 PM

I love them both. Vevey is flatter overall. Montreux is flat along the lake but the street up to the Old Town is very steep. Vevey is more "typical Swiss" and Montreux has a more international flavor from more foreign visitors. They are similar in their setting along Lac Leman, the quai (flat, long, lakeside promonade).

I would consider them equally appealing... but they are not spectacularly beautiful or what you may be thinking of if you are picturing "Heidi" and her goat and wild flowers in the mountains! They are pretty, normal, medium sized Swiss towns with a picturesque setting on the lake, with mountains in the far distance. They have nice restaurants, antique shops, quaint old town neighborhoods, open air farmers market on certain days of the week (Vevey on Tues & Sat, Montreux on Fri mornings).

A boat ride on the lake might be a good thing to do and easy on your bad knee.

suze Dec 30th, 2005 04:06 PM

Oh and to an earlier question you asked, I'd skip Geneva with such a short stay.

rex Mar 12th, 2006 07:54 PM

Your newest question - -;tid=34769700 - - has received no replies, partly because its message header gives no indication as to what are the destinations in your itinerary.

You could simply add more info to this thread, or re-post, and reference your destinations in the new post.

Bst wishes,


marigross Mar 13th, 2006 03:32 AM


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