Small town or village in Switzerland

Nov 6th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Small town or village in Switzerland

Can anyone recommend a small town/village in Switzerland that would a good base for a number of hikes and walks into the the hills/mountains from the village itself. Last year we stayed just outside Appenzell in a more rural setting, but this year we would like to have access to trails, but more of a village for evening time. Being down lower in elevation is fine with me, although my kids may want something higher up. Thanks.
olyman is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I loved my stay in Reuti in the Hasliberg area; it was great for access to both higher and lower areas, and is a lovely little village in itself. I booked through Untours for an apartment there. (

Amy is online now  
Nov 6th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Gah! Really, there are quite a lot to pick from. Here's a list just off the top of my head --

In the Berner Oberland: Wengen, Muerren, Kandersteg, Thun, or Grindelwald.

In the Valais: Brig.

In the Pays d'Enhaut: Chateau d'Oex (or nearby Gstaad though technically in the BO).

In the Engadin: Pontresina, Sils, Celerina, Scuol, Guarda, Soglio.

If you do an image search at google or at for each of these villages, you can get an idea what they're like.

If you can narrow it down a bit, we may be able to help more --

swandav2000 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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If I had to narrow it down some, it would be something in the "German" speaking part of Switzerland. Only because my two kids are taking German in school and it would give them more time to use the language (recognizing that they both have trouble understanding Swiss-German). But I'm not too picky.
olyman is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 12:59 PM
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Hi again,

So in the German-speaking part, you can head to the BO or Valais. You've probably heard a lot about these destinations here here & other places, so is there one or two you're curious about or have either good or apprehensive feelings about?

Of course Wengen & Muerren will be quite small; Grindelwald would be a good compromise between a bigger town & an isolated village. Thun, a real city, offers access to the lake as well as a castle. Brig is also a real city (pretty small) and gives access to the Aletsch glacier and of course it's really close to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. I like the "town" feeling of Brig a lot.

When are you going? Aug? June? Sep?

Good luck deciding!

swandav2000 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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How about Saas Fee. We loved the hikes in the area, and it was a large enough town for lots of restaurants, etc.

We've also done Appenzell for a few days and Grindelwald several times. We also really enjoyed staying at Poschiavo which had spectacular hikes, mostly a short and beautiful train ride away. Gstaad offers various hikes and has a pretty lively night scene for a village.
And although not in Switzerland, I think Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany offers everything you ask for and more (plus it's a lot cheaper than Switzerland) and offers lots of rental apartments.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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Mürren is lovely, but there are not a lot of trails that originate right there---we tend to exhaust the possibilites there after 3 days. Of course, you can ride the lift down and take the train or bus to other trailheads. If you want to be up high, this is an excellent choice.

Grindelwald has lots of choices for hikes, but is a busier, more touristy town in a valley, not up high.

Kandersteg is a smaller village, also in a valley, with hike options of all types, from easy to very difficult (up to Blumlisaphütte). Kandersteg is an international scouting center, and is full of kids (Boy Scouts and Girl Guides) from all over, but mainly the UK. My kids enjoyed interacting with them.

One of our favorites is Bettmeralp, a car-free village perched high above the Rhone river in the Valais:

Saas-Fee and Zermatt are also good choices, but we haven't been there yet so I can't comment.

Most Swiss will speak "high German" to you once they realize you don't understand the Swiss-German. So your kids should do just fine.
enzian is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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I was posting at the same time as Neo. Just wanted to agree with him on Garmisch-Partenkirchen---a wonderful place for hiking, including "Klamm" (gorge) hikes and several with cables to secure your passage across the rock face.
enzian is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Back in the very early sixties i spent a week or so in the village of Leysin and remember it fondly. Here's what Wikipedia says:

Leysin, Switzerland is a laid back, non-posh, non-pretentious mountain village in the Vaud Alps, above Montreux. It also happens to be the site of a ski resort with awesome off piste possibilities. Leysin is quickly earning a reputation as the college of Switzerland, it is the home of five international schools and another opening in the fall of 2004. Live music is no stranger with an active Blues Club Summet du Blues to provide live music year round, open mike nights at the Yeti Bar, and always the impromptu jam if you can find them. When here stroll down the rue du commerce and check out the bohemian galleries, yet another side of this sleepy town. All that and a mountain top revolving restaurant (of course!) In a way it's sort of amazing that one village can have this much cool stuff and remain as laid-back as Leysin is.

Leysin is in the Alpes Vaudois roughly above and one mountain over from Montreux. The panorama includes all of the Alps Vaudois, including the Mont Blanc to the Eiger. It is just as, or more impressive as those found further up into Canton Valais, and prices that are a bit more competitive.

harzer is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Thanks to everyone so far. I'll check out all these places and the Garmisch area too. We are going July 3 through the 24th. The rest of our trip we are going back to "old faithfull" places - Meersburg, Malcesine, Piran, and Baden Baden. We wanted this vacation to be particularly relaxing, thus the plan to go back to places we enjoyed before.
olyman is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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So how much time will you have in Switzerland? It looks like you will be stopping there on your way from Malcesine to Germany? Are you traveling by car or by train? That might make a difference in recommendations.
enzian is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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It looks like 5 days for Switzerland. We will have a car. I liked Ascona, but got out voted by the rest of the clan because they wanted to take more walks where it wasn't so hot (we were there in the heat wave last summer and being from Olympia they are wimps when it comes to hot weather) Besides, they said, we are already staying in three places along a lake/seaside. So in exchange for using my wife's frequent flier miles for business class seats - I shut up and am going for the mountains!
olyman is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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If you are driving from Lago di Garda, Garmisch-Partenkirchen would be way the easiest to get to (straght shot north, via Bolzano and Innsbruck). Or you could head west to Milan and then up into Switzerland from there. In that case, either Kandersteg or Bettmeralp would be a very short hop once you arive in Switzerland at Brig. Here are some of our photos from Bettmeralp last summer, if you want to be tempted:

This place would meet most anyone's definition of "relaxing", but there are some beautiful hikes too. The views are incredible---all you have to do is look out your window and you are gazing south into the alps of Italy. The Matterhorn can be seen in the distance. The town has a nice sports center with swimming pool, tennis courts, etc. But it's all very low-key and peaceful. The one drawback is you would need to leave your car behind; you take a cable car up 4,000 feet to reach this place.

If you want to stay close to your car, maybe Kandersteg is a good choice. Check out for some nice views of the lake above town.
enzian is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 09:57 PM
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Hello Olyman! I hear it's been quite chilly in Olympia lately!

Kandersteg and Bettmeralp are great ideas. I've been longing to get to Bettmeralp to see that wonderful glacier for quite a while. I really think it would be a great experience for my kids too.

Another thought: Lenzerheide. It's a quaint town in a valley high above Chur. They've got a beautiful mountain lake and lots of activities for kids since they market themselves as family-friendly.

There's a terrific toboggan run nearby that will still any desire to do something daring.

I've also read that there's a two-day hike you can do from Lenzerheide to Arosa.

kleeblatt is offline  
Nov 6th, 2006, 11:28 PM
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