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Revised itinerary for Switzerland – have I come up with a better plan?

Revised itinerary for Switzerland – have I come up with a better plan?

Old Feb 8th, 2013, 10:48 PM
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Hi again,

For some options for dining in the Lake Geneva region, think about these:

Montreux – La Rouvenaz (across the street from the tourist information booth on the main street), an Italian and seafood restaurant and wine bar that’s hugely popular with tourists and locals alike. Noisy and busy and really good.

Village of Glion, above Montreux – get there by train or by funicular. The funicular is located behind the Anglican Church right at the bus stop “Territet.” You can get to the funicular on foot (about 30 minutes) or by bus (#201). Restaurant there is La Jaman (down the street from the train station, on the left). This restaurant has two parts – one part is a Pinte, which is like a local pub that serves good local food, and the other part is a full restaurant. Serves Vaudois and French food, with imaginative salads to foie gras, to fondue. I’ve seen mostly what appears to be families and old friends there, as well as workmen in coveralls.

Wine-growing village of Rivaz, in the Lavaux vineyards – get there by ferry (www.cgn.ch), by local train, or by train to Chexbres (change in Vevey) and then a 20-minute walk down through the vineyards. Restaurant there is the Auberge du Rivaz (across the street from the dock/train station). Serves local food, from local harvests. Most times the customers are the ladies-who-lunch type, though the food is basic and not expensive.

Vevey – get there by bus (#201), by lake ferry (www.cgn.ch), or by train. Restaurants there are: 1. Hostellerie de Geneve (right on the main square), an Italian restaurant with a terrific terrace on the main square for people-wathching. Hugely popular with locals and tourists. 2. Le Mazots (hole in the wall tucked away in the tangled streets of the old town), serves Vaudois specialites and is full of long-term residents and locals. I always see some old-timers in there getting the fixed-price menu of the day. Address: Rue du Conseil 7.

On my last stay in Montreux, I also ate at the Buffet de la Gare in Glion (exit the train stataion/funicular, and there it is). Much of its food is Ukranian, but the views are four-star.

On my last stay, I also finally got to the Caveau des Vignerons up in the old town. I had a fondue, and it was ok, nothing special. The atmosphere was old-world, and all of the patrons seemed to know each other, a place for regulars.

Oh, I also ate at the Le Saxo inside the Casino at Montreux. It was very touristy and very busy (a local took me there, so locals like it as much as the tourists do). The food was divine.

Hope you're finding everything you need!

s
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 12:27 PM
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I'll second both Le Mazot in Vevey and La Rouvenaz in Montreux. We ate at Le Saxo in '08. The only thing I can remember about it was it was free! We were having drinks in the casino waiting for everyone to arrive. When we were all there and ready to move to the restaurant, I played my last game on the slots and I won enough for the 6 of us to have dinner for free. Yeah me!

For restaurants, I’ll stick with traditional suggestions, no ethnic for you. I know you probably won't have time to eat in some of these places but I'll list them anyway.

In Gruyeres: The Hotel de Ville is my favorite.

In Neuchatel: Cafe Jura, Brasserie Cardinal, the cider fondu at La Taverne neuchâteloise is so so good!

In Fribourg: Café des Arcades, Café du Gothard, Hotel de Ville (reserve!)

In Bern: Café Federal, Della Casa (Italian)

In Lausanne: Gruetli, Café Romand, Bistro at Pomme de Pin (my favorite! The restaurant section is wonderfulllll. But quite expensive. So I go to the bistro part.)

As for the caveaux, we usually go to the Caveaux Corto. There are 13 vintners that share the running of it. It’s modern so you won’t get the old world charm. But the views are amazing and TBH, I have a thing for Corto Maltese.

You can check this site for plenty of other caveaux options along the way:
www.vignerons-lavaux.ch
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 09:51 PM
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➢ swandav and
➢ LucyLemonade

I can’t thank either of you enough – what a wealth of options and information! I’ve seen recommendations for some of these establishments, but not all of them. And I defintiely would have missed some of these places entirely – like how nice it might be to see the views from Glion, or that there is a bistro attached to the otherwise completely unaffordable Pomme de Pin. Thanks so much!

To avoid any confusion, let me note that I am not, in general, opposed to ethnic cuisine. LucyLemonade correctly summarized my comment that because I have very good access to a wide array of cuisines in the city in which I now live, I prefer to use my time when traveling to focus on regional and seasonal cuisines that feature local ingredients.


➢ mrtaz (or others familiar with the Ticino)

Am I correct in thinking that a visit to the castles of Bellinzona will likely take somewhere on the order of 3 hours, not counting the time to get to/from Bellinzona? Thanks!
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Old Feb 10th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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And thanks for making sure I was aware of my pass options - they can make such a difference! As PalenQ noted, my Swiss Pass (already in hand) covers hundreds of museums, so I’m all set.>

to make it clear however you have to be using a 100% covered travel day for this to be so - if you have a Swiss Flexipass that gets you 50% off everything in between the first and last day of 100% coverage days then you'd have to be using one of your flexible travel days to get the free entry to museums - I do not even think you'd get 50% off if on a day in between your flexible days like you would on everything else that moos in Switzerland - oops I mean moves!
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Old Feb 10th, 2013, 11:44 AM
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3 hours in Bellinzona should be more than enough. I lived in Lugano for 3 years and never visited Bellinzona until I went back years later with my wife and teenage kids for a quick stop, walk on the walls and back on the road.
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Old Feb 10th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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If I recall correctly, a questionable question perhaps, do I not remember the Bellinzona castles being largely ruins? Not sure just curious.
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Old Feb 10th, 2013, 10:38 PM
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➢ PalenQ

From what I’ve read, the Bellinzona castles have been (to quote Fodor’s) “exceptionally well restored.” The pics I've seen on the web look stunning, and there are apparently some small museums in at least 2 (maybe all 3) of the castles. Doesn't mean they are worth visiting, but they have been given UNESCO World Heritage status.

As for my coverage of museums, I have a 1-month Swiss Pass, which I plan to validate upon my arrival at the airport in Geneva. So it should cover just about everything I plan to do. But now I'm reading that the Swiss Pass may not cover all boats on Lake Maggiore. Perhaps some of them moo? What gives!?!

(I’m not sure if / when I’ll forgive PalenQ for providing such misleading information about transport by cow. And I’m afraid that he’ll now try to tell me that I won’t be able to use my pass to ride sheep or goats or alpine cats, either. Really, PalenQ, quit telling us that the pass covers everything that moves unless it really does! )


➢ mrtaz

Good to know that the Bellinzona castles can be visited in a few hours! That means I have more time for other parts of the Ticino!

From what I have learned so far, it seems that there are two botanical gardens within an easy boat ride of Locarno – one on Isole di Brissago and one above Vira (the Parco Botanico del Gambarogno). Any comments you can offer to help me decide between them will be appreciated!

Also, I had thought that I might take the train from Locarno into the Centovalli because the scenery sounds spectacular, but I’m not sure I’ll have time. Do you think the scenery would make it worthwhile if I go only as far as Camedo? Or is there another point, short of Domodossola, that you would recommend for turning back?

While in Lugano, I really like the idea of taking a funicular to San Salvatore, walking to Mercote, and taking a ferry back to Lugano. Thanks so much for mentioning it! That option sounds far better to me than going to Mont Bre. If you disagree, let me know!

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 05:26 AM
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But now I'm reading that the Swiss Pass may not cover all boats on Lake Maggiore. Perhaps some of them moo? What gives!?!>

No I do not thing Swiss Passes pass on Lake Maggiore because that lake is largely in Italy and I believe served mainly by Italian boats.

Moooooo!
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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I hope I'm right about Bellinzona. Apparently, the castles have been restored since my visit there.

I don't know the botanical gardens, so can't help.

I loved the drive through Centovalli when I'd return from Zermatt to Lugano. Why aren't you going to Zermatt? I think you could do a scenic train ride from Zermatt through Centovalli to Locarno. Otherwise, from Locarno, I'd suggest trying to go as far as Santa Maria Maggiore, a nice town with a beautiful church.

I'd also choose San Salvatore over Bre. As I recall the walk, it's pretty flat along the ridge until the downhill to Morcote. Back then the walk was through some residential areas and woods. Probably now more of the former and less of the latter
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:04 AM
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I think you could do a scenic train ride from Zermatt through Centovalli to Locarno. Otherwise, from Locarno,>

The lovely Centovalli ('100 valleys') train from Locarno to Domodossola in Italy can also be incorporated into say a Lugano/Locarno to Interlaken area - in fact the fastest way to do that I would think - via Brig and Spiez.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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As far as I know the boats on Lake Maggiore are not covered by the Swiss Pass. It is an Italian company that runs these boats.

The Bellinzona castles are in fact well restored: The Castelgrande (lowest) is the largest, but least originally preserved. Very modern additions. Castelbello (middle) is the best preserved IMO, most interesting, I'd say. Sasso Corbaro (highest) offers the best views, is also well preserved. Each of them can be visited in short time; but I hope you know it is quite an uphill (and later downhill) walk/hike from one to another ...

The hike from Monte San Salvatore goes first downhill to Carona, a picturesque village with a nice garden/park (Parco San Grato). From there it is a flat hike along the plateau until you finally hike down (steep!) to Morcote.

From Locarno: Isola di Brissage is a *must* - lovely botanical garden and beautiful villa (restaurant). Parco Botanico del Gambarogno goes back to the private garden of Mr. Eisenhut (if I recall correctly) who had a horticulture/gardening business. It's mostly camellias, magnolias, rhododendren, azaleas. End of May/early June not much is in bloom (maybe late rhododendren and azaleas), so I'd skip that one.

The Centovalli is fantastic, but you don't have time for everything, right? Going as far as Camedo is enough, I'd say. It is more rewarding, btw, to get off the train in Verdasio, e.g., and take the cable car up to Rasa, a tiny, typical village (car-free) high above the valley. There is another cable car from Verdasio to Monte Comino (opposite side of the valley, south-facing) from where excellent hiking trails start.
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 09:04 PM
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It’s very clear to me that I don’t have enough time for the Ticino (or anywhere else, really). I can’t thank you all enough for helping me think through my options and priorities!


➢ mrtaz

I decided – with reluctance – to skip Zermatt (and several other destinations) because there are simply too many things I want to see in the time I have. Given that I couldn’t be sure that the weather would permit a clear view of the Matterhorn, I decided I would skip Zermatt this time. It’s on my list for my next trip to the area!

I’m looking forward to the views from San Salvatore and my walk down to the lake!


➢ PalenQ

I’ll flag the route from Locarno through Domodossola to Zermatt for a future journey – thanks!


➢ Ingo

Thanks for your comments on the castles of Bellinzona and the warnings about the steepness of walks that connect them. Although I generally prefer easy hikes, I don’t mind tackling a steep stretch now and again, especially (but not necessarily) if I’m heading down!

And thanks for bringing the Parco San Grato in Carona to my attention. Looks like it has several very pleasant recommended paths. I’ll try to plan enough time for a brief visit.

Isola di Brissage is now firmly on my agenda – thanks for helping me decide!

And I appreciate the suggestion to stop in Verdasio and visit Rasa. I’ll explore that option as I flesh out my plans for the area.


<b>One new question</b>:

To stop at the Latenium on my way from Fribourg to Solothurn, am I correct in thinking that Neuchatel-Gare would be the best place for me to leave my suitcase?
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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If you go to the Swiss rail site (sbb.ch) you can choose your station and it will tell you what is available there. Go to "station and services" then "find your station". Type in the name of the station and you can read what sevices, etc are available at that station.

Neuchatel has lockers listed including sizes and prices.
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 08:54 PM
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Hi again, LucyLemonade! Thanks for making sure I knew how to find out which stations have lockers and left-luggage desks and other options. What I meant to ask was whether I’m looking at the best station, since it is possible to get from the Latenium to Solothurn without going back into Neuchatel. I didn’t see anything that looked like a better option, but thought I’d ask just in case someone knew of something. The good news is that Neuchatel-Gare should meet my needs.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 06:09 AM
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Thanks for making sure I knew how to find out which stations have lockers and left-luggage desks and other options>

well every station I have ever been in in Switzerland has had some kind of lockers - in major stations yes various sizes so you can depend on their being lockers in any sizable Swiss station. You can also send luggage ahead of trains though that costs quite a bit - to your destination or even to your plane.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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The InterRegio from Fribourg to Neuchatel passes St Blaise which is the station closest to the Latenium. You could have gotten off the train at St. Blaise. However, I just checked (didn't have time earlier) and that station does not have lockers. So your best bet would be to just keep going to Neuchatel (10mins extra) and leaving your bags there.

I checked via Biel & Bern, but the connections from Fribourg aren't great. Going to and from Neuchatel will lose you some time, but nothing crazy if you time it right. It's probably your best bet.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 01:03 PM
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On latenium.ch I saw they have a cloakroom and lockers for your valuables. It might be an idea to send them an email and ask about leaving your luggage right there. Would save you a lot of time, no?
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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I had thought about that too. Though the lockers at the museums tend to be just big enought for your coat and a school/computer size back pack. Of course it doesn't hurt to ask!
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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Ah, I just remembered the other reason I didn't mention the lockers at the museum,; you'd still have to walk 15 mins to the Latenium from St Blaise station with the bags. So its probably just easier to leave them in Neuch.. I don't think you'll gain much time by not going back.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 09:05 PM
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latenium.ch says there is a bus, too:
http://www.latenium.ch/#pratique2?id=1
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