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Recommendations for our March Switzerland trip

Recommendations for our March Switzerland trip

Dec 22nd, 2017, 01:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Recommendations for our March Switzerland trip

My husband and I are will be in Switzerland (first time for both) for 14 days in March. We fly in and out of Zurich. These are places that have been suggested to us by friends (in no particular order); we are very open to suggestions:

-Lake Geneva/Lavaux Vineyards
-Lake Maggiore (in particular Ascona)
-Jungfrau region

We're very active (hiking, cross-country skiing) and are curious what to expect in terms of snow, etc. Also, should we rent a car?

Thanks for your help.
Babs14 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2017, 05:49 PM
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It really depends on what YOU want to see and experience, and unfortunately NONE of us can tell you that. I would strongly encourage you to consult a good guidebook or two -- perhaps the Michelin Green Guide, Rough Guide, or Lonely Planet. You should be able to find one or more of these at your local library, and honestly, the cost of any one, or even all 3, will be nominal in comparison to the cost of your trip.

I would be surprised if a car would be of sufficient extra value to be worth considering in light of (a) Switzerland's excellent public transportation system and (b) the difficulties and uncertainties of trying to drive in mountainous areas when the driver won't be able to truly appreciate the scenery and could face unexpected weather-related challenges. JMO.

For information about historic snowfall data, consult a decent guidebook or a weather-related web-site, such as wundeground or timeanddate.com

Although my time in the area was later (May into June) -- and season matters in this part of the world! -- you might find some useful information in my trip report:
kja is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2017, 07:14 PM
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HI, the jungfrau region is gorgeous. Trains are great in Switzerland, and so many places do not allow cars, that I would opt for trains, which I've done several times in Switzerland. Check with Swiss Rail for info. Zurich is worth some time spent there, at least for me, a bit pricey. Zermatt is about 4 hrs by train from Zurich, and Wengen one hour from Zurich, both were interesting stops for me with Zermatt a bit touristy but interesting history. I loved WEngen, but weather might be an issue in May, check it out. Sue
Sue81 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2017, 07:24 PM
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>>but weather might be an issue in May,<<

The OP says they are traveling in March . . . and weather would be even more of an issue then
janisj is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2017, 09:00 PM
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Hi Babs14,

I agree with kja that you would benefit from spending an hour or two looking at guidebooks, if you haven't already. You can learn a lot, and you could well discover some gem that appeals to you that we would never know to tell you about.

I also agree that trains are the way to go in Switzerland -- so easy and relaxing and comfortable. Also, it's dead-easy to use them to get to and from a hiking trail.

I've spent a lot of time in Montreux, so I (and others on the board) will be happy to help you with that portion. The Lavaux vineyards are only about 30 minutes from Montreux, so that is one stop. You can bike or hike through the vineyards, and you can find hikes from one hour to five hours, depending on your start and stop points.

I also like Wengen as a base for the Jungfrau region, but it is more like 3h from Zürich, not 1h! It is actually 2h45 from Zürich. You can find lots to do in the area, whether or not there is snow -- many hiking trails are kept groomed through the winter.

I think I might begin with an itinerary something like:

Zurich airport to Maggiore, 4 nights
Maggiore to Montreux, 4 nights
Montreux to Wengen, 4 nights
Wengen to Zürich, 2 nights
Fly out

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 5
Hi All

Thanks for your replies - they are really helpful, especially about Montreaux and the vineyards. Are there specific wineries you would recommend, or is it more come and explore?

Already checked out the guidebooks but I will continue to do so with this new information. Thanks again!
Babs14 is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
If taking trains to all those Swiss places a Swiss Travel Pass could be a great deal or the Half-Fare Card at least - anyway great resources on Swiss train travel - www.sbb.ch; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

Montreux to Wengen be sure to take the Golden Pass scenic train from Montreux to Interlaken - http://www.goldenpass.ch/en
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 06:55 AM
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In the first half of March, there is usually enough snow for all kinds of winter sports in the Jungfrau area. If this wouldn't be the case (or later in the year), Zermatt or Saas Fee migth be better solutions.

Along Lago Maggiore and upper Lake Geneva (Lavaux-Montreux), you will most probably find spring weather.

From ZRH airport, I would go first via Lucerne (much more scenic itinerary than via Berne, 1 train change on both itineraries) to Interlaken and then by local mountain railways to the Jungfrau area.
Then board the Golden Pass Panoramic Express and travel through the winter of Bernese Oberland into the spring of Montreux.
Montreux - Locarno is a very scenic train ride (with 1 train change at Domodossola). Ascona is the terminal station of Locarno Citybus line 1.
ZRH airport can be reached from Locarno by train (every 30-60 min, 2 3/4 hrs journey).

Weather is always unpredictable in the Alps. March is rather on the drier side, however.
neckervd is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 09:48 AM
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Montreux - Locarno is a very scenic train ride (with 1 train change at Domodossola)>

Yes Domodossola-Locarno via the Centovallie scenic train line - 100 valleys - not awesome Alpine scenery but really nice.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 11:20 AM
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Great to know about which trains to take - thanks so much!
Babs14 is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 11:58 AM
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neckervd is a local Swiss who knows everything about Switzerland right on IME.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2017, 12:11 PM
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You may want to book observation cars in Golden Pass train in advance as they may fill up with groups. Official site -you can make seat reservations without buying a ticket and then use the Swiss Pass once there - fully covers train fare but not the cost of seat reservations- which are just a few euros.

And check out VIP seats!
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 24th, 2017, 07:29 AM
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VIP Seats are just a few on each train - you sit in a compartment next to driver and you feel like you're driving the train - check official site above for details -costs 15 CH extra to book VIP seats, which obviously sell out early.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 25th, 2017, 11:38 AM
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the Golden Pass Panoramic Express>

You could take this from Lucerne to Interlaken too up and over the scenic Brunig Pass route.
PalenQ is offline  
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