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Should we base oursleves on one Swiss city?

Should we base oursleves on one Swiss city?

Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:47 PM
  #21  
 
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That tip I learnt from you Pal when we were planning our trip. You were extremely helpful sorting me out with all my questions back then.

We really enjoyed the slower local trains and loved being able to dash from side to side like you - I have lots of good photo's taken from train windows as I was hanging out!
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Apr 3rd, 2011, 08:23 PM
  #22  
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I'm definitely going to bug Palen when it comes closer to our departure.

Maudie - we are certainly up for that coffee and would love to see your Switzerland photos. As far as Italy goes, I did see Italy extensively (spent around 8 weeks there) but that was 30 odd years ago. I pretty much know where we want to go and what we should see but, like the rest of our trip, I need to understand accommodation, home bases and public transport a lot more before we set off. Last time all that part of the adventure was taken care of for me.

We are north of the river but not adverse to travel. lol.

Regards, Steve.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 02:15 AM
  #23  
 
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Hi again,

Great we can meet in the middle! Here's our email address troys at iinet dot net dot au (long version) drop us a line and let's see what we can organise. Just put Fodors in the subject line so I know it's you.

The photo's might bore you to death though!

Maudie
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Apr 4th, 2011, 02:41 AM
  #24  
Amy
 
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Just a thought--have you checked out Untours? I took my second trip to Switzerland with them and stayed in the village of Reuti (Hasliberg region) and traveled around from there; they make it really easy and you can now do a "sampler" with a week in one region and a week in another:
http://www.untours.com/propdata/sampler.asp?code=11SHSO

The company is wonderful to work with, and its proceeds go toward developing businesses in developing areas.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 02:59 AM
  #25  
 
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regional trains hopping on works well for me.

gstaad.ch chillon.ch for some french flair

Zermatt Interlaken luzern.org Pilatus St. Moritz

like to come over the Simplon pass into Italy via

stresa.org Isola Bella amazing there.

Have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:30 AM
  #26  
 
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A recent eastern Switzerland thread -

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-overnight.cfm

(Don't be concerned about 'driving' in the title - my visit was by entirely by train.)
farrermog is offline  
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:27 AM
  #27  
 
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We really enjoyed the slower local trains and loved being able to dash from side to side like you - I have lots of good photo's taken from train windows as I was hanging out!>

Yes indeedy when talking about trains like Bernina Express, Golden Pass, etc - the special tourist-oriented trains - but also there are folks who take those trains and also enjoy the extra services aboard - especially the commentary in several languages - recorded to be great - so I would not say one is better per say but for me yeh rather than on offial train which IME are alsmost always chock full I do prefer the slower (they stop more but go about the same speed) sparsely full usually trains where yes I can hop from side to side as scenery dictates - and though the regional trains that you can just hop on off (official trains often demand advance seat reservations for a few bucks) may not have the ballyhooed panoramic cars with glass-domed roofs they do have typically large clan windows like any Swiss train.
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Apr 5th, 2011, 01:47 AM
  #28  
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Hi Palen - sorry, I spoke too soon. I would like to pick your brain already!

Our plan is to travel from Paris to Vevey (the first of our home bases in Switzerland). We of course will be the proud holders of a Swiss Pass, but my question is:

What is the best and cheapest way to catch a TGV train from Paris to Vevey via Geneva?

Does the Swiss Pass "kick in" the moment we make the transfer to a local train from Geneva to Vevey? What is the best way to purchase the TGV from Paris to Geneva and how long does this train trip take? Thanks in advance, Steve.
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Apr 5th, 2011, 02:29 AM
  #29  
 
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Hi Steve,

From one Aussie (I live between Geneva & Lausanne) to another wanting to visit...

Geneva is VERY expensive for hotels... and you will have to travel from there to get to every destination (the train from geneva to lausanne is 40 minutes each way) most interchanges are done in Bern and Lausanne, yet as tourist base, I would say Lausanne, as it is on the lake, VERY pretty and central.If you wanted to knock over the eastern sites (Interlarken/Jungfrau/Lucerne) I would stay in Bern and cover those firstly... then move to Lausanne...

Bern is also gorgeous, but not so much to do. It is very small in comparison, and the "pretty parts" you can see easily...

Geneva is very pretty, and plenty to see, a paddle steamer (on the lake for dinner from Geneva/Lausanne is a great thing to do) and visiting the museum of Red Cross (strange but really cool to see) along with general enjoying the place itself... Geneva is flat... Lausanne is on a hill (pack comfy shoes)

Montreux is fantasic, and a 20 minute train trip along the lake with is lovely from Lausanne.

Zermatt is quite isolated it is a 3 hour drive and you would want to do an overnight stop there I would think (it is also VERY worthwhile...)

Interlaken is a 2.5 hour train trip (via Bern) from Lausanne

Jungfrau Region is the same, as Interlarken, Jungfrau/Lucerne is totally stunning....

Bernese Oberland - again easy 2.5 hours from Lausanne...(as a guide)If you like hiking/walking, try out Oeschinensee - google some images.. its a FANTASTIC day out...

Lucerne and possibly Zurich. Our "must see" places are Lucerne is just sickly beautiful!


Zurich is a wonderful city. it is much more "happening" than both Lausanne and Geneva (we go there for weekends a lot) and the lake is great! Its probably my favourite city, old, beautiful and with a great vibe and PLENTY to see and do...


For the train as you are only here for 14 days, look towards minimising your back and forth travel...If I were you I would split the trip up, base yourself in Zurich for 2 nights, then go to Bern and on to Jungfrau/Lucerne/Bernese Oberland as they are all the same area (dont miss Thun.... amazing..)
then look at Lausanne/Zermatt/Geneva in another block...

look at the rail site (in english also) www.sbb.ch for everthing including day trips that are available. It is so user friednly.. nothing like city rail etc back home in OZ..
this site will give you everthing from the Bernina Express to local trains, the timetables are all on the site and ticketing prices for most also. Dont be afraid to contact via email their assistance with any questions, they are very prompt and helpful.

Trains are expensive, you can get a half price card, but I dont htink you will have time (processing takes up to a week from memeory)BUT the trains are spotless, you can eat/drink and they are on time... very reliable.. HINT - in Switzerland.. BE ON TIME.. buses, trains.. always leave when they are timetabled.. it is rare they are late..

also look at this site www.veloland.ch (also english) it has some accommodation sources which are very user and budget adaptable.

Dos and Donts...GET travel insurance.. IF (hate so say it) something happens or someone is ill, or there is an accident... Swiss health care is second to none, they are brilliant, but VERY expensive.. dont be caught out..

Eating - Srtick with the "Plat du Jour" anywhere (plate of the day) and you will be fine.. food is clean, and cant say we have ever had something we dont like...

Eat plenty of Cheese, Chocolate and RED WINE - Switzerland dont export their wine, but it is cheap and wonderful...

And remember to bring your power adapters!!!

PS the "Swiss Pass" will be taken into consideration for any portion of a trip that is within Switzerland... ie Paris to Geneva... you will get the demi price for the part of when you enter Switzerland... Watch TGV prices, they can be on special from 70 euro pp up to 360 euro pp from paris to geneva.. be mindful of beign stung.. PS Vevey is so lovely.. you will love it
HAPPY VISITING the prettiest place in Europe
Nic_B is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 01:51 PM
  #30  
 
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Half-fare cards can b bought at stations in Switzerland but for the average person IMO a Swiss Railpass will be a better deal and you do not have to stop and think is this boat trip on Lake Geneva worth 50%? With a pass you just hop on.
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Apr 6th, 2011, 06:50 AM
  #31  
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Thanks to all your fantastic suggestions, our Swiss portion of our European holiday is almost there. Must two more questions:

1. Can anyone suggest nice accommodation in Vevey - preferably near the lake and less than 150 SF per night, please? We will be staying for 3 nights.

2. Can anyone suggest nice acccomoation (with a view of the Matterhorn if possible) in Zermatt for a reasonable price per night. We will be staying for 2 nights.

Thanks again for all your very helpful suggestions and information. Regards, Steve.
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Apr 6th, 2011, 03:27 PM
  #32  
 
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Zermatt - assuming it is still in the same spot or hasn't been built out, the youth hostel - I stayed there 33 years ago and had a wonderful straight-on view from from dorm's large window, whereas people who had paid umpteen times as much for hotel accommodation typically had no view at all.
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Apr 14th, 2011, 07:28 PM
  #33  
 
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But in reality a view of the Matterhorn presumes that the famous visage of a mountain will be in view and alas IME at least the weather can be fickle so that the Monte Rosa or whatever they call it in local tongue may be hidden - for days sometimes - anyone basing a visit to this wondrous Alpine area just to glimpse the Matterhorn may well be disappointed if on the as usual one day there are there this famous mountain is in hiding!
PalenQ is online now  
Apr 28th, 2011, 01:57 PM
  #34  
 
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anyone with a family thinking of doing Switzerland by train should take note of a super-duper special that currently gives 50% off a Swiss Pass if you have any kids under 16 traveling with you - for the Family Pass - both adults get 50% off the total price of the Swiss Pass - Family Pass that is - not individual passes alas!
PalenQ is online now  
May 9th, 2011, 10:00 AM
  #35  
 
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The legendary Mountain hostel in Zermatt - run by an older lady - is it still around?
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May 18th, 2011, 04:16 AM
  #36  
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Hello Palen. As you are our local authority on Swiss Train travel I was wondering if you could answer this for me.

When in possession of a valid Swiss Pass, how much of the train fare is covered for a trip from Zermatt --> to Como (or Milan if required)?

Thanks in advance. Steve.
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May 18th, 2011, 02:05 PM
  #37  
 
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Well steve thanks for kudos and to go to Como from Zermatt the quickest route would be to go via Milan and then go northeast from there to Como - www.trenitalia.com would tell you the fare(s) from Brig, border point in Switzerland for all practical reasons (actually is Iselle I think) to Milan and Milan to Como - even full price tickets I think would not be more than $30-40 in 2nd class. If you have a bit more time you could go from Domodossola, Italy via the sweet Centovalli tiny train to Locarno and then train to nearby Lugano, which is only a few minutes by mainline rail from Como - negating need to change in IME hectic Milano Centrale station. The Swiss portion covered that way with a pass would nearly be 100% as even though the4 Centovalli ('100 valleys') train goes largely thru Italy it is 100% covered by a Swiss Pass as is of course trains Locarno to Lugano and Chiasso, border point just a few miles from Como. There are also boats on Lake Locarno that may go to Como on Lake Como during certain periods. Not sure how much longer if any really the Centovalli route would take but it is one of Switzerland's (and Italy's classic scenic mountain narrow-gauge railways.

Cheers
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May 18th, 2011, 02:39 PM
  #38  
 
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Oops Steve - got my lakes mixed up - Locarno is on Lake Stresa not Lake Como so no boats to Como from it - so you'd take a train to nearby Lugano from Locano - Lugano on the Zurich to Como to Milan mainline rail line/
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May 19th, 2011, 04:20 AM
  #39  
 
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BTW - the acronym of the Centovalli Line is one I love - FART - so you could ride the FART if going that way!
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May 31st, 2011, 09:35 PM
  #40  
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Hi Palen - thanks again for your input - and dare I say "output" regarding the FART info!

Yes, we have definitely decided not to stay in Milan - have even booked accommodation in Bellagio. Was just wondering if we could get the trip cheaper seeing as we had a Swiss Pass.

Thanks again for the update. Steve.
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