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sansdieu Jul 30th, 2006 06:03 PM

Swiss itinerary critique please
I'm going on a 3+ week trip of Germany, France, Alsace, and Switzerland, and having a great deal of trouble with the Swiss portion of the trip. I've already changed it more times than I care to admit, and it still doesn't make sense to me. I read all the posts, and it seems that there are quite a few people here who possess a superb knowledge of the region, perhaps, one of them will find the time to suggest some improvements. (If along the way, someone could suggest good spots to spend the night, even better.)

Background information: We'll have a rental car and so would prefer not to overnight in a car-free village. We definitely want to do some hiking, scenic but easy or at least moderate (is there such thing?). We generally prefer to minimize one-night stays, and at the same I would like to keep all day trips within 1-hour drive, if possible. So this is the best I could come up with:

Day 1 driving from Colmar (Alsace) into Basle/Neuchatel region. Visit: Basle, Reichenbach Falls, Friburg?? Overnight: somewhere in the area

Day 2 Not sure what to do during the day, drive in the evening to Interlaken; overnight Interlaken (to take advantage of the Jungfraujoch package offered by Interlaken hotels)

Day 3 Jungfraujoch visit if the weather is good (overnight Interlaken)

Days 4 and 5 change accommodations to another town in Bernese Oberland (Grindenwald, Wengen?) and spend both days hiking (overnight ???)

Days 6, 7, 8 Berne or Murten, visit both, and sidetrips (possibly a sidetrip to Chateau Chillon; donít want to go to Lausanne, but want to visit the castle) (3 nights in Berne or Murten?)

Days 9, 10 Luzern (Mt Pilatus, St Gotthard tunnel, etc.) Overnights: Luzern

Day 11 drive to St Gallen; stop by somwhere in Appenzell on the way. Overnight St Gallen or Chur

Day 12 possible daytrip to Liechtenstein. Evening: drive to Füssen, Germany

Melnq8 Jul 30th, 2006 06:21 PM

Just a few comments -

Day 4 & 5 - note that Wengen is car free, Grindelwald is not

Yes, there is such a thing as easy-moderate hiking in Switzerland. You can walk along the valley floor in the BO or take a cable car/gondola up a mountain, find level walks at the top, and either walk back down (not as easy as it sounds) or take the cable car/gondola back down.

I can suggest some specific BO hikes once you finalize your plans.

Dukey Jul 30th, 2006 06:26 PM

In St. GHallen consider visiting at the very least the abbey church interior if not the famous library (the latter has very limited hours). You might also consider staying in Appenzell rather than in St. Gallen.

skatedancer Jul 31st, 2006 05:02 AM

Just wondering if staying in an Interlaken Hotel will really reduce the cost of the Jungfrau trip that much, or whether you can find a reasonably priced hotel in the mountains that will equalize the cost, so you can eliminate that one-night stay. We stayed in Wengen, and as it was, I felt like I spent half the day on the train to do the Jungfrau. The other thing about the one-night package in Interlaken, is that you are committing yourself to doing the Jungfrau on a certain day, but the weather might not be good for the trip. (I have to confess that i am among the minority who didn't think the Jungfrau was worth the time and expense, but most people seem to think it's a must-do.) We also had a car, and left it in the station in Lauterbraunnen, and took the short cog railway up to Wengen. In regards to the hiking, the great thing about Switzerland is that there are walking paths everywhere, even up high on the mountains, so you don't have to take a strenuous uphill climb to enjoy the amazing views! definitely ask the question again about the hikes once you know your itinerary. I found these posts very helpful to plan exactly the right walks for us!

jmw44 Jul 31st, 2006 05:20 AM

Hi. One thought. I think it would make more sense to place your Murten-Bern stop before the Oberland. From your time in the mountains you could then drive along Brienzersee and across the Brunig pass to Lucerne, an absolutely gorgeous route. You might even want to visit Ballenberg, the outdoor museum.

I loved our stay in Murten, but it was many years ago, and a number of folks here have not had as positive reactions to it. Bern is a marvelous old city with arcaded streets and my favorite collection of painted fountains anywhere, but what about parking?

Another option might be the little wine villages along the western side of Bielersee, just a speck north of Murten. However, please don't view my comments as a vote against Murten. As I say, I liked it very much. If you've an interest in Roman stuff, Avenches is just a smidge down from Murten, and it is very interesting. Later, J.

p.s. If you have access to Karen Brown's list of Swiss inns, she used to recommend some country places in the vicinity of Murten and Bern. And there's also the website. Perhaps the answer is to choose a country hotel.

isabel Jul 31st, 2006 05:20 AM

I will suggest somethingg most people here do not prefer, but which made sense for us and I think might for you - stay in Interlaken for most of your time. You were already planning on staying there two nights. You can easily do day trips, by car or train to Berne and Murten (about an hour), and just as easily take the train into the mountains (further than you can drive) to do your hiking. There are numerous easy hikes. This would reduce the number of times you have to change hotels. Also, as the weather is often not ideal for hiking, and especially for the Jungfraugh, if you have a number of days you can choose the best ones. Then one day if it's too cloudy you do Berne that day. You could also do a day trip around Lake Thun (car or train or boat or combo) and visit several charming villages. Interlaken has no charm but it's not horrible and it's a good base.

jmw44 Jul 31st, 2006 05:25 AM

Back again; so sorry. If Switzerland comes after a good visit to Alsace with its half-timbered villages, you might find Murten to be very similar, and ditto the Bielersee villages. Maybe you should consider just going straight to the lakes of Thun and Brienz and extending your time there. You could certainly daytrip easily to Bern or even Avenches from there.

Or what about Lausanne and the lovely Lavaux coast of Lac Leman? You could reach Interlaken from there by going via Chateau d'Oex, etc.

Here's where I must admit that I don't drive in Switzerland. J.

dnici Jul 31st, 2006 05:46 AM

After a week of hiking in Montana I met some people in the airport who told me about a wonderful itinerary of day hiking from Chamonix to Zurick and staying in small towns along the way.
I have been trying to find more info on this 15 day trip.
Is anyone familar with this trip? I would love to hear more about it.

sansdieu Jul 31st, 2006 08:24 AM

Thanks! Wow, lots of good stuff. I will definitely have more hike-specific questions, as soon as the itinerary is finalized. The advice to "flip" Berne/Murten with Oberland is very timely: as it happens, there is some kind of festival scheduled in Interlaken, which coincides with our dates, so the whole town is completely booked. So it looks like I have to further shuffle things around and probably backtrack a bit. To answer some of the other questions: the Interlaken deal does save a substantial amount of money on the Jungfraubahn: the hotel + train ticket are 185 CHF/pp (ticket alone is 172CHF/pp). There is a discounted "guten morgen" ticket, but it requires a very early return back in high season. I do agree, though, that it's risky to commit to one specific day (which is why I was hoping to do a 2-night package, so at least I'll have the option of going the following day, if the weather is truly bad). But I don't want to stay in any of these package hotels any longer than I have to, since my understanding is they are very mediocre hotels.
Is Appenzell more expensive than St Gallen as far as the accommodations go? I am trying to figure out if I want to do more half-timbered houses (after Germany + Alsace) or if I should try to do something more distinctly Swiss (lakes and mountains, I suppose). I must admit I haven't looked into Thun or Brienz yet. What kind of activities are available in that region? More hiking and vistas?

enzian Jul 31st, 2006 09:44 AM

dnici---I answered your question on your other post. Just click on your name and it will show up.

sansdieu Aug 1st, 2006 11:10 AM

Ok, what about this sequence:
Basle--> Berne --> Interlaken --> Berner Oberland--> Luzern
Does that seem logical?

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