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swiss trip - 3 weeks - where do we start?

swiss trip - 3 weeks - where do we start?

Old Jan 15th, 2003, 09:00 AM
Mike Zubler
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swiss trip - 3 weeks - where do we start?

In July of this year, my son, who is 22, and I will be going to Swizerland for 3 weeks. I would appreciate any help in planning the itinerary. We are leaving from Houston. I also thought about visiting Milan and Vienna if there is time. Also I want to spend a little time near Zurich to do some work finding out about my roots.
Old Jan 15th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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There is a TON of information on this site and in the Fodors book about Switzerland, it is a very popular destination. Much as I like Switzerland (I live here) I think 3 weeks is too long in this country. You can only see so many Alps, and although the county is beautiful, it is not varied enough scenically or culturally to warrant 3 weeks. You can take a train from end to end (the long way) in 3 ½ hours, to give you an idea of size. I would definitely recommend including northern Italy and Florence and/or Milan. Vienna is also a good choice, as it is different from other cities in Switzerland.
Old Jan 15th, 2003, 12:05 PM
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Hello Michael F,

Well, I’m a huge fan of Switzerland and probably would not even be satisfied with three full weeks there. Anyway, I don’t know how much you know about Switzerland or what you are most eager about seeing there, but here are a few highlights and then an itinerary suggestion.

If you are most interested in seeing quintessential Swiss-chalet Heidi country, head for the hills. The Berner Oberland villages of Grindelwald, Wengen, & Muerren offer simply spectacular mountain scenery and quintessentially alpine charm. Websites to explore are www.wengen.com, www.grindelwald.com, and www.muerren.ch.

Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn, is another high-altitude destination in the Valais with alpine charm. Website is www.zermatt.ch.

The third best place for that typical Swiss feeling is Luzern, a small, charming town set on a lake. Luzern is only about an hour from Zurich. Luzern has great history, great scenery, great mountaintop excursions, and great activities. Here are some websites to explore: www.luzern.org, www.brunnen.ch, www.weggis.ch, www.vitznau.ch, www.titlis.ch, www.rigi.ch, www.pilatus.ch & www.lakelucerne.ch.

The Ticino is the Italian section of Switzerland, curled around Lake Maggiore (Ascona & Locarno) and Lake Lugano (Lugano). Many people prefer to find a small village on the lakes for quiet and beauty. There’s a direct bus from Lugano to Milan airport that takes about 1.30 hours.

The Engadin Valley resorts of Scuol, Pontresina, and St. Moritz offer spectacular mountain scenery and buildings of white, decorated stone instead of chalets (actually, I am only guessing from the photos I've seen as my first visit is still some months away!). The Engadin is a little less touristy than the Berner Oberland. Website: www.engadin.ch.

One of my favorite places in Switzerland is Lac Leman, or Lake Geneva, and I usually stay in Montreux. This is in the French area of the country. Websites at: www.montreux.ch, www.montreux-vevey.com, www.lake-geneva-region.ch, and my travel jounal w/photos www.igougo.com/planning/journal.asp?JournalI!D=7825.

Here are some general sites to explore on Switzerland.
www.twenj.com -- loads of information on Switzerland, and a great place to start.
www.myswitzerland.com-- the Swiss national tourism site.
www.rail.ch -- for schedules & fares, click on "Travel/Timetables."

As you can see, Switzerland has so much diversity that you can really experience a lot of variety if you have the time to get into the corners of the country. I think you should buy an open-jaw ticket to fly into Vienna and out of Milan. The train trip from Vienna to Zurich is nine hours, but if you take it at night you’ll save time & money. There’s a train that leaves Vienna at 21.23 and arrives in Zurich at 06.27 with 0 changes. Here’s a bunch of options for your itinerary:
Vienna -- Zurich -- Luzern -- Wengen -- Ticino -- Milan airport.

Vienna -- Zurich -- Luzern -- Montreux -- Zermatt -- Ticino -- Milan

Vienna -- Zurich -- Luzern -- Engadin -- Ticino -- Milan

If you’d like to do a classic circle of the country that includes four distinct influences, fly into Vienna and out of Zurich, and go:
Vienna -- Zurich -- Engadin -- Ticino (day trip or two to Milan) -- Zermatt -- Montreux -- Luzern -- Zurich airport

You can play with these itineraries and plug them in at www.rail.ch to see how long the trips are.

Well, that was a fun diversion! Have fun researching and let us know how your planning is going!

Old Jan 15th, 2003, 12:06 PM
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Mike Zubler,

My apologies for getting your name all wrong. Sorry!

Old Jan 15th, 2003, 12:23 PM
Mike Zubler
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Thank you so much for all of the info. on an itinerary. I have been reading about many of those places in my Fodor's Switzerland and have thought about much the same sort of itinerary. What you have said only confirms what I have been thinkingl
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 05:15 AM
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Topping because S' is so much fun to read, and I'm hoping you'll keep us posted as your planning continues, Mike.

Did she say that the food is different in each of the sections? It is, and all delicious. J.
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 05:18 AM
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p.s. Like S', I could spend three weeks in Switzerland easily. But I thought I should mention that, in addition to the easy day-trips to Milan from Lugano or Maggiore, you really could fit Vienna in as well.
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