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Suggestions needed: 5 days in Switzerland

Suggestions needed: 5 days in Switzerland

Old Aug 25th, 2021, 10:32 AM
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Suggestions needed: 5 days in Switzerland

Hello!

My husband and I are planning to do Northern Italy next summer and he would like to see Switzerland while we are there (I wanted to stay in italy but alas, he won out

We will be doing:

3 nights Venice
3 nights Varenna (Lake Como)

We then have 5 nights to head up to Switzerland. We love beautiful views, moderate hiking, good food and drink, and quaint villages. We are a couple in our late 40s and this is a 10-year anniversary trip without kids.

Any suggestions for best towns to visit and how to split our time? I've already been to Zurich so would like to skip that (though we'll probably fly out of there). Also, train vs car to get to each of them?

So far these seem to be on a lot of lists:

Luzern
Interlaken
Zermatt

I'm happy to research on my own...just thought I'd begin here because you are always so helpful.

Thank you!

Holly
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 01:18 AM
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Hi hodo75,

Well, none of the places you list are villages. If you want a village with spectacular views, you should think about staying in Wengen, in the mountains above Interlaken. But the disadvantage of staying in a village is that the choices for evening meals may be smaller, as will the wandering and window-shopping in town. Also, if you want to make excursions to other places, it may take longer from a remote village than from a town.

Some may say that Zermatt is a village.... but it is currently (imo) vastly over-bulit and has lost much of its charm. It sits at the end of a valley, and there is no space left to build on... yet chalets keep going up. Not my cup of tea.

Interlaken is a nice town and nicely situated to get to nearby places like Bern, etc. But it sits at the foot of the mountains, and you'll spend your time looking up (I think the train ride to get to the mountains is about 1h or maybe 2h to get to Jungfraujoch).

Luzern is a gorgeous city with plenty to do and see. It's easy to get into the mountains from there (Rigi, Pilatus, Titlis), and the lake is just stunning. There are lots of small villages to explore along the lake, too: Weggis, Vitznau, Brunnen, etc.

As for transport, I always recommend using the trains, which are world-class in Switzerland. You can take a road trip just about anywhere, but few places have the kind of great rail system; it can add more adventure to your Swiss adventure. Plus, using the train reduces your carbon footprint, so it's a win/win.

Have fun as you plan!


s
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 06:03 AM
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If you are coming from Varenna, I would take the Bernina train northwards to Chur and beyond. Or alternatively, the bus from Chiavenna to St Moritz. There is also a bus from Menaggio to Lugano if you prefer to head in that direction.

However, the Bernese Oberland is often considered the most picturesque part of Switzerland (but with plenty of competition!).

Public transport in Switzerland is second to none. No need for a car unless you particularly want one for some reason.
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 08:04 AM
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First time visitors to Switzerland looking for spectacular scenery usually head to the Berner Oberland i.e, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Wengen, Murren, and Lauterbrunnen...of these Murren and Wengen definitely fall into the 'quaint village' category. The main draws are the Jungfrau, the Schilthorn and those incredible alps.

https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/
https://schilthorn.ch/en/welcome

We made the mistake of staying in Interlaken on our first visit to the BO; it's neither quaint nor a village, but more of transport hub and as swandav states, you'll spend your time looking up, so why not just stay UP instead?

Grindelwald, Wengen and Murren all offer spectacular views, but because Murren and Wengen are car-free, they're quieter and more sedate than Grindelwald (which is a very good thing in my book).

Lauterbrunnen lies in the valley, and while we very much enjoyed a week long stay there in the past, many people find it less appealing as one is hemmed in by steep mountains instead of overlooking them as you would from from further above in Murren or Wengen.

It's very easy to choose one base and visit the surrounding towns as public transport in Switzerland is fantastic and very easy to navigate.

Alternatively, you might take a look at the Engadine in the eastern Swiss Alps. The views are less dramatic, the peaks not as high, but there are many lakes in the area and it has plenty of "beautiful views, moderate hiking, good food and drink, and quaint villages".


If this area appeals, I'd suggest you avoid St Moritz and Pontresina, which are anything but quant and concentrate on places like Sils or Zuoz.

And then there's Soglio...

So many beautiful places, so little time.

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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 06:55 AM
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Thank you so much for this! Exactly what I was looking for. So would you suggest staying in Grindewald? I love quaint villages but would love to be based somewhere with more restaurants. Thank you! I feel like I'm getting closer now. Perhaps I do Italy, BO region, Luzern, fly out of Zurich.
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 07:29 AM
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I've stayed in Grindelwald (once, which was enough for me, whereas I've stayed in Wengen and Murren many times).

It's a bit busy for my tastes, but a good option if you want access to a car and more 'action'. The views from the village are wonderful, and there's plenty to do, whereas Wengen and Murren are much quieter (in a good way).

You might also take a look at Kandersteg, which is also in the BO, but not at the doorstep of the Jungfrau.
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Old Aug 27th, 2021, 11:06 AM
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Murren or Wengen would be my picks as well. Been to both of them twice. You are limited due to size of the village but there is plenty to choices for the time you will be there. And it's relatively easy to get down into Lauterbrunnen. I'll stick with Melnq8 and advise to skip Grindelwald. While it's a cool place, just not what I would pick.

As for Italy, Venice is perfect for 3 nights. After that, I'm out. Hit the touristy stuff first thing in the morning then spread out a bit to avoid the crowds. Look into Malcesine. We stayed there a few years ago and it was perfect.

Enjoy
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 03:59 PM
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Thank you so much! How would this itinerary sound:

Fly overnight direct NYC-Venice (9 am arrival)
2 nights Venice
3 nights Varenna
Train to Wangen - 2 nights Wengen
Train to Luzern - 2 nights Lucern
Fly out of Zurich

Too ambitious, knowing half a day will be travel to Wengen?

Thanks again,
Holly
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 04:27 PM
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For me, too many short stays with long travel days in between.

Have you investigated how long the train rides are and how many connections are involved? Have you been to Venice before?
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 04:31 PM
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Wouldn't work for me. Personally, I'd only try to visit a maximum of three places in nine nights, and only if there wasn't much travel between.

Keep in mind that a two night stay only gives you one full day in a given place.

Fly overnight direct NYC-Venice (9 am arrival)
2 nights Venice
3 nights Varenna
Train to Wangen - 2 nights Wengen
Train to Luzern - 2 nights Lucern
Fly out of Zurich
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 04:33 PM
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Hmmm I agree with you. Really trying to figure this out and it's frustrating...I'm usually so good at this!

I've been to Venice a few times, yes. The reason we are going is because we have a hotel credit from when a trip was cancelled due to covid.

Basically, I know I want to do Venice and the lakes. It just the last 4-5 days I'm having trouble with. I've looked into Piedmont and Cinque Terre but they arent that close AND I'm much more interested in Switzerland.

My husband would like to do Switzerland as well but will really do whatever I decide since hes been trusting me with our vacations since 2010

Should I perhaps do;

3 nights Venice
3 nights Como
4 nights Wengen

Fly out of Zurich.

We just came back from a wonderful 10 trip of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons where we switched hotels every 2 days. We didn't mind it but I agree it would be nice to be in one place longer.

Thank you for helping me!

Holly
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 04:46 PM
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I kind of agree. Trying to cram it all in.

I've been to Venice many times but husband has not.

Travel times are:

Venice - Varenna 3 hours
Varenna - Wengen 5 hours
Wengen - Lucern 2 hours
Lucern - Zurich airport 45 minutes

Our flight out of Zurich wouldnt be until 5:45 pm so that does give us some extra time in Lucern.

Maybe I should choose either Lucern or Wengen? I've done Italy so many times (and love it) but as I get older I'm trying to branch out more.

Thanks for your help!
Holly
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 04:54 PM
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I'm realizing that we can't drive to Wengen since it's car free and the train takes closer to 7 hours which is too much for us. That really is a whole day. Unless there's something closer that interests me I'm afraid Switzerland will have to wait. So disappointed! Wish this would work
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Old Aug 28th, 2021, 08:17 PM
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I would just visit Venice and one or two lakes -or- Venice and the Dolomites.
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 01:13 AM
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You can drive to Lauterbrunnen, put it in the parking lot and take the train up to Wengen - adds about 30 minutes.

Frankly, I'd go to the Engadine from Varenna, which is much, much closer - basically right around the corner. You will have a car? Drive via Chiavenna to Sils-Maria with a short detour to Soglio, stay in one of the charming hotels for a couple of nights and explore the lakes and snow-capped mountains in the Upper Engadine. An excursion to the Lower Engadine with visits of Guarda and castle Tarasp would be a good idea also. Drive back to Italy via Bernina pass - Tirano, return the car, stay overnight and fly out (Milan?)
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 08:48 AM
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Don't miss an important part of Ingo's suggestion... You want to rent and return the car in Italy. If you rent in Italy and return in Switzerland, you'll likely face a steep surcharge.
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