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SWISS Bliss: WHERE can I find the best of SWITZERLAND?

SWISS Bliss: WHERE can I find the best of SWITZERLAND?

Old Feb 24th, 2010, 02:05 AM
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SWISS Bliss: WHERE can I find the best of SWITZERLAND?

Where can I find the very best of Switzerland?

Whether you have taken 1 or 10 trips to Switzerland, please share your own blissful moments in Switzerland. What excited you? Delighted you? Took you by surprise? If you could kindly include details about the location of your idea of the "very best" of Switzerland, it would be very helpful to those of us planning our first trip to Switzerland.

Feel free to be very subjective in your reply. Your replies will inspire me as I plan our very first trip to Switzerland, home of the astonishing Alps! My husband and I are headed for Switzerland in June/July 2010.
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 02:28 AM
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The Jungfrau region is about the most beautiful part of the world I have yet seen! We stayed in Lauterbrunnen for 5 nights and had a wonderful time. This village is in a steep valley with an amazing waterfall falling just on the outskirts. It is also positioned so that you can take day rail trips to other beautiful villages and towns as well as the mountain top. See this website for details
http://www.jungfrauregion.com/
Highly recommended!
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 04:48 AM
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Hi Melissa5,

Yes, the Jungfrau region is a great choice for first-timers to the country; its infrastructure is really well developed to make it really an easy place to be in and travel around in.

My personal favorite is the Gstaad-Chateau d'Oex area, which has softer hills instead of the massive, jagged peaks. My favorite is cycling along the valleys with the soft round hills on both sides. Doing this in Spring with wildflowers in the meadows is just divine.

People who are serious hikers and who don't mind getting off the beaten track enjoy the Engadin Valley, which lies in the eastern part of the country and runs from (generally) Scoul to St. Moritz and then south. The villages here are full of serious, German-speaking hikers, and you won't find many souvenir shops.

Another off-the-beaten track area are the car-free villages of Bettmeralp and Riederalp, both above the town of Brig, in the southern part of the country. These are really just villages, and again, few souvenir shops.

You can research all these spots at the central Switzerland tourist site

www.myswitzerland.com

Have fun!

s
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 05:31 AM
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Agreed! Jungfrauh region is spectacular (although it's the only region I've been to in Switz. so maybe there are others?). The mountains, waterfalls, mountain streams and the wild flowers are all so absolutely breathtaking. I understand that people may get giddy in higher elevations. A natural high?

Whereever you end up in Switzerland - I'm sure it will be awesome!
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 06:55 AM
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Here is a copy of what I just posted for you on TA:

With 15 nights/16 days to spend in Switzerland, you could do 5 or 6 nights in the Berner Oberland, 4 or 5 in Bettmeralp, and 5 in the Engadine (Pontresina? Sils?)

As for books, skip the Fodors. Rick Steves' book is good for logistics (trails, lifts, etc.) but is not comprehensive. There is a great little book specific to the Berner Oberland, but it is hard to find. May used on Amazon. It's called "Swiss Bernese Oberland: a summer guide with specific trips to the mountains, lakes and villages" by hilip & Loretta Alspach.

For walking guides, the Kev Reynolds book is the "bible" but may be TOO detailed and comprehensive for your needs. The two books I have found useful are"Walking in Switzerland---the Swiss Way" by Marcia and Philip Lieberman (my favorite---i have found it useful) and"Walking Easy: Swiss and Austrian Alps". This one focues more on comfortable hotels, nice towns, and easier walks. The Lieberman book covers most good walking areas of Switzerland, incuding teh Engadine, but not Bettmeralp (which is hard to find in guidebooks and all the better for that, i my mind).

The Liebermans have also written a book called "Switzerland's Mountain Inns---a Walking Vacation in a World Apart" which describes a number of these remote, rustic and delightful Swiss inns. They are remote because most of them are reached by walking,; they are of the roads. My goal is to visit as many of them as I can, but I haven't gotten very far on that!
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 08:04 AM
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How would you get to the Jungfrau region of Switzerland? Would you fly to Bern then take the train to Murren or Wengen?

I am looking for an August holiday for my husband, Keith, and me.

Guten tag,
Thin
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 08:38 AM
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for ThinG,

There are more discount flights into Basel from the UK than into Bern, I believe. You'd just have to check the websites to see.

Neither airport is connected to the train systems directly, but you can easily take a bus or a taxi to the train station. Then, yes, it's an easy trip right up into the peaks. The Bern airport is a little closer to the Oberland than is the Basel airport.

If you can fly into Zürich airport, there is a train station in the basement, and the train trip will be about 3h30.

Have fun!

s
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 08:47 AM
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Jungfrau region! I fell in love with this area last September. I was traveling solo and stayed in the small town of Wengen. It is surrounded by mountains. The views took my breath away. One day I took the train up to the Top of Europe. It was fabulous! I think I have never been happier with any of my European visits. Cable cars, walks(not a hiker), trains through the mountains. It is right up there with heaven. I am thinking of returning in June, but the weather may be too cool for me, so I am definitely going in September!
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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ROFL! Thank you, swandav, but I haven't lived in the UK for 30 years!

I live in Philadelphia.

I have been to Zurich twice. It is good to know that we could take a train right from the airport.

Thin
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Having visited several areas of Switzerland in four visits, I have to say there is no "best" for us. Each time we go I add a new place, and also return to some of our favorites. Our focus in each instance is on hiking.

Last time we added a single night up on Rigi, one of the mountains that rises above Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne). The views across the lake when the sun came out were lovely, the sound of cowbells grazing hundreds of feet below us was charming, and the wildflowers were abundant. I was sorry we had only one night there. We also made first-time visits to Zermatt and Gstaad on that trip, and I would happily return to either one--after we explore more new areas such as the Engadine.

The places we include in every visit are Wengen and/or Mürren, Bettmeralp, and a lakeside mountain inn above Kandersteg, reached by a long hike or a ride on a chairlift:

www.oeschinensee.ch

These choices are driven somewhat by ease of access (by cablecar in some cases), cost considerations, and our past experience with a warm welcome and wonderful food at each place. I also have very fond memories of Bettmeralp, because that is where our then-teenage daughter decided that she actually loved hiking---she was so taken with the landscape and the views of the Aletschgletscher.

The good news is that if you are looking for great scenery with alps, peaks, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls, there are lots of great choices. There doesn't have to be a "best"---and you have time to visit several places.

I will admit I lean heavily toward the small, carfree villages and the German-speaking regions, mainly because I speak German much better than I do French.
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:38 AM
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I have a friend who lives there & have visited her 5 times in the past 10 years or so... Vevey/Montreux (using the Geneva airport, then train). It's a gorgous part of the country. My favorite things are shopping the weekly open air farmer's markets, Swiss wine, local food, Chateux de Chillon, tram up Roches de Naye, and the castle at Gruyeres, oh... and of course the lakeside promade ('quai') that stretches from Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux.
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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Good point about the different regions... French-speaking, German-speaking, and Italian-speaking Switzerland are culturally different from each other. You can try to pick your favorite, or arrange the trip to experience some of each.
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Thin---depending what time your flight arrives at Zürich, you might wish a shorter train ride than going all the way to Wengen or Mürren the first day. You can board a train right in the air terminal that will take you to Luzern in one hour with no changes. The train ride from Luzern to Wengen/Mürren follows a very scenic route.

We've always found the best fares into Zürich (as opposed to Basel or Geneva), but the train connections are pretty easy from any of these. Geneva has a train station right in the airport as well, and if you choose that your first night could be spent somewhere along Lac Leman.
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Thin,

In April we are flying to Zurich and taking the train to Lauterbrunnen, which will be our base for the Berner Oberland. The train (which leaves from the airport)route is either through Lucerne or Bern.

We chose Lauterbrunnen since in April many hotels and restaurants in Wengen and Murren are closed. August should be the height of summer season, though.

Byrd
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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Sweetie, if you don't post your home on your profile, don't bite if we don't remember!

I have a mind like a sieve --

I just can't keep up, *sigh*

s
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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That place called Kandersteg looks AWESOME.

People don't know this about me, but I have a cottage on a lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I can be very rustic and have been known to build a campfire for toasting marshmellows and sitting around drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels!

Now what hotel would any of you suggest in Wengen for us? I would like a hotel with a beautiful view. I also like good food.

Thin
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 10:30 AM
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TG - Hotel Alpenrose is often recommended here. I personally would choose the Regina in Wengen.

Melissa - you certainly don't know about it, but there has been a "Support Group for those who love Switzerland" in the old age of this forum. Probably the absolutely best ressource here for everything about Switzerland. Ahhh, good times ;-)

Here are the links to the three threads:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...witzerland.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-part-ii.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-part-iii.cfm

Ingo
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Thin---take a look at these three:

http://www.alpenrose.ch/SiteAlpenrose.html

http://www.hotel-schoenegg.ch/

http://www.baeren-wengen.ch/

These would be my recommendations but they also happen to be the top three on Tripadvisor (in reverse order) in case you want to read reviews. I think the reviews in this case are accurate.

The Bären is known for its excellent food---fresh and local ingredients are featured. It is not a full-service hotel, more like a restaurant with rooms upstairs, and the decor is simple and casual. The Schoenegg is more upscale, and the Alpenrose more traditional. I think you can get a good feel for the differences from the three websites. They show pictures of the rooms as well as the area.

As for views---request a south-facing room with a balcony at any of these and you will get nearly the same view---similar to the one featured on the Schoenegg website (but the foregrounds will differ).
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Hard choice. My favorite places in Switzerland are Hotel Stubbach (www.stubbach.com) in Lauterbrunnen and Hotel Daniela (www.zermatt.net/daniela) in Zermatt.

We have stayed in Wegen, but on this last trip we stayed at the Hotel Stubbach. From our third floor balcony facing Stubbach Falls and the valley, we watched the cows being lead to pasture each morning and taken home in the late afternoon. While drinking my wine on the balcony and listening to the cow bells, I kept thinking..."Now this is Switerland!"


In Zermatt, we always stay in the same room (third floor with a balcony view of the Matterhorn)at the Hotel Daniela. One nice perk, is it is owned by the same Julen family that owns the Hotel Julen, so you have priveleges to use the beautiful indoor pool at the Julen. Having wine on the balcony watching the Matterhorn change colors and contemplating life is just so magical.

We have been to many areas of Switzerland, but for me the BO and Zermatt are magical to me. We are already planning our next trip back!
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Old Feb 24th, 2010, 11:19 AM
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Kandersteg is a really nice little town. We stayed at the Victoria Ritter- Old School (elegant dinners) but very family friendly as the owners have kids. Great hiking easy and nearby, easy to reach by train.
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