Preliminary Switzerland Itinerary

Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 11:38 PM
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A few thoughts:

The Wilhem Tell Express: a wonderful marketing gimmick for tourists. I go down to Tessin quite often from Goldau and just jump on the train that best fits my schedule. I hadn't realized there was a name for this line until I began visiting this board.

- I have stayed in Lausanne down by the lake. It was actually quite nice. The city is basically just a city but the lakefront does have something to offer. However, it's quite a stroll from the train station down to the lakefront.

- check out myswitzerland.ch for any local festivals. They truly are worth seeing.

- Great job with the itinerary and lots of good advice. It's an informative thread for anyone coming to Switzerland.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 01:10 AM
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Thanks, and nice to hear from you too, skygirl and Palenque!
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 10:35 PM
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Thank you Ingo, schuler and flygirl! I will mull over all your suggestions in the next few weeks and I'm sure I'll be back with more questions!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 02:20 PM
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Here's a vote for Interlaken - Because it's so central you can get to all the mountain trips easily from there. If staying in Lauterbrunnen, etc ., it may take more time to get to other Oberland destinations. However, the Lauterbrunn valley is gorgeous. BUT, you can easily get there from Interlaken.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Old May 7th, 2009, 06:35 AM
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I also like Interlaken a lot and feel it is a very underestimated city - most folks never get off the main and very beaten path to see the old town on the north side of the river where there is a town square as nice as any in Switzerland and Lucerne-type wooden bridge and sluices with a roaring river.

that said for first-timers i would advise staying in the hills - in a place like Grindelald or Wengen - Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen are each only about 20 mins from the Interlaken-Ost train station, jumping off point for many excursions like lake boats and trains to Lucerne, etc.

Interlaken is neat but its hotel balconies for the most part don't offer the intoxicating views as those in Grindelwald and Wengen do IMO.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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If 30 and under go for Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald - lots of younger folk in these two places and even spots to go at night

if over 35 go for Wengen - quiet and solitude and can quickly get down to Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken for more action if so need.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 06:57 PM
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yk, not sure if you will check this thread, I hope you do. I returned from Switzerland recently.

Here are two bits of information that I hope are helpful to you.

On the Bernina Express it is best to sit on the right side of the train the views are excellent I enjoyed the train ride, it was one of the highlights of the trip. The day I took the train it was about 90% full.

When your parents are in the Bernese Oberland area, I'd recommend a visit Trummbelbach falls.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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retiredinflorida, thanks for your tips. My parents' trip is put on hold right now, as I haven't received the "go-ahead and book" from them yet. Once they're 100% sure they will go, I'm sure I'll be back with more Qs and hopefully you can answer some of them.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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You're very welcome. I'm certainly happy to help answer any queries you may have in the future.
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 11:13 AM
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On the Bernina Express it is best to sit on the right side of the train the views are excellent I enjoyed the train ride, it was one of the highlights of the trip. The day I took the train it was about 90% full.>

there are the official Bernina Express - a tourist train with i think commentary, not sure - but it's the world's slowest express train and called express because it don't stop as much as the local trains that go over the same route hourly or so. You must reserve the Bernina Express before boarding and reservations can be hard to make at times - but the local trains are always an alternative - and in summer some of these trains have open-air cars - basically platforms so the views are practically 360 degrees and it don't matter which side you sit on in that case.
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Old Jul 1st, 2009, 03:56 PM
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Hi YK, just returned from Switzerland and just started a trip report. Here are some random thoughts

Fodorites sent us to Hotel Masson in Montreux and we really liked it. We were lazy and decided to eat there, maybe there has been a change of Chef as we had a really nice dinner. Castle Chillon a short walk and truly amazing. We did not go to old town Montreux or anywhere else, but we really enjoyed Masson and Chillon. Short taxi from train station to Masson.

An area we really enjoyed our first tip to Switzerland was BO. Stayed in Grindelwald. They can take trains, gondolas, busses to almost anywhere from there. Jungfrau, Schilthorn, Murren, Wengen, Gimmelwald, no strenous hiking to these areas.

We did the bus from the Bernina Express to Lugano. We were not impressed. Lugano seemed to be just a city by a beautiful lake. Would not go back, would not recommend to a friend. I cannot imagine what you would do there for 3 nights.

Engadine area as per Ingo and others far more highly recommended. Or they could take the bus from St Moritz area over the Majola pass to Soglio, a truly memorable village to walk around.

Previous trip we liked St Gallen, Apenzell. Weggis on Lake Lucerne was wonderful, went up Mt Rigi, boat trip to Lucerne, I could stay there for 3 days and a short trip back to Zurich.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 10:32 AM
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wrenwood: When you say "not impressed" do you mean just Lugano specifically or the whole Bernina Express train experience?

I am planning a trip to Switzerland next year and was planning to take the Bernina Express b/c so many people rave about how scenic it is. I was thinking we would try to stay in the Lake Como area rather than Lugano, but I thought that whole lake area was supposed be pretty. Is it just Lugano that you found boring, or did you also visit the towns on Lake Como?
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 11:55 AM
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wrenwood certainly didn't refer to the Bernina Express train as 'not impressed'. I've ridden that train a dozen times. It is spectacular. I've never taken the bus from Tirano to Lugano, though. As far as I heard it can be a somewhat boring ride - the Valtellina valley between Tirano and Lake Como is not too exciting - but then it gets more scenic along Lake Como and towards Lugano (from Menaggio on).

I agree that Lugano itself can appear as just another busy and noisy city. However, the setting is beautiful, the so called 'suburbs' like Castagnola are very nice, the old town is a large pedestrian zone with some sights, the parks are beautiful, the surroundings are amazing (Gandria, Monte Bre, Monte San Salvatore, Carona, Morcote etc.). So, if you're concerned about Lugano being not pretty then stay outside. And boring? Nah, come on! No way!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Oh sorry, Bernina Express is awesome. I would do that again anytime. And Tirano is fun to walk around. We had a surprisingly good lunch at one of the restaurants right outside the train station. We tried Pizzoccheri and it was wonderful. Had a glass of white wine from one of the local vineyards. And gelato, must have gelato in Tirano!

We did a round trip on the Bernina Express the first time we took it, and it's such a short ride (compared to the GE) it's not boring.

I got a lot of help on my most recent thread, maybe you can find something there to help you out.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...soglio-and.cfm

What we did not enjoy was the "Bernina Bus" from Tirano to Lugano. For some reason just didn't think it was as scenic as we thought it would be. And to be fair, we didn't walk around Lugano. It was much larger than I thought it would be, we were glad we weren't staying there. We like smaller towns/villages.

http://www.geocities.com/postfach1/p...gano_view1.jpg

We have not been to the Lakes area, but we may go there next year combined with a trip somewhere else in Italy. My sister-in-law really wants to go to Italy, so I will be looking for someplace smaller than Lugano!

As I mentioned we did love Weggis, and the boat trip on the lake to Lucerne was lovely, and walking around Lucerne was fun. A lot of options.

What about Stein am Rhein? Would that interest them? That is another place we want to go back to. But next time I will read up on the history ahead of time!

When you say they are not into mountain hiking, is that because of their age/fitness? We thought the BO was unlike any place we have ever stayed in regard to being up in the mountain villages with no effort. Cable cars and gondolas and cog trains take you everywhere and you just walk around, you don't have to hike if you don't want to! Gimmelwald and Murren were really memorable.

Anyway, good luck! We just came back and I could leave again tomorrow for Switzerland!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Hey Ingo, looks like we were posting at the same time!

cheryllj ~ blame Ingo ( and some others) to my reaction to Lugano. I would have preferred to have been in Guarda!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Ingo, I am so glad to hear that you like the Lugano area. I am planning 2 nights there as it breaks up our journey from the Engadine into Tuscany so nicely. And I found a great little place to stay, right on the water in Castagnola. Or we might try Haus Moosmann in Gandria.

I don't think we'll see much of the "city" at all, although I would like to visit the modern art museum and the Villa Favorita.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Ok Enzian, let me know about these places in case we go to Soglio again before meeting my sister-in-law in Italy next year!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Thanks for the clarification.

So a big thumbs-up to the Bernina Express train, but you don't recommend staying in Lugano because it was too big and busy for your taste. I was thinking of staying in Bellagio or Varenna, if I could manage to make my way over there after getting off the bus in Lugano.
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