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Switzerland 10 days

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My husband has business outside of Zurich for 3 days in July, so our 12 year old and I are going along. We arrive on a Friday and have 4 days before his meetings. Then 2 days afterward before we head home. My son is very much into zoos and animal parks so I figure in the middle of the week we can go to Basel and Zurich Zoos. I see there is one in Bern but am not sure how to fit that into our itinerary (so may skip). We want to rent a car for the first 4 days and drive around in the mountains. Many years ago I drove the Abula pass from St Moritz, which was beautiful, but nor sure if that is doable. I was thinking we would arrive and drive to Lucerne the first day and do Mt Pilatus, but from there not sure what scenic drive to take and what to make as a desitnation on that drive before returning to Zurich. Then on the other side of business we have 3 nights....any suggestions? Not much on shopping,but love outdoor activities and museums, fishing...I know train is the way to go, but we love to drive and wander...thanks for any suggestions.

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    It's perfectly possible to visit tons of gems in Switzerland by car, without boarding any train (between June and October, when all mountain roads are open).

    But if you want to visit Switzerland by car, don’t choose just the places that can NOT be reached by car (like Muerren, Schynige Platte, Schilthorn, First, Kleine Scheidegg, Maennlichen, Rigi, etc). Otherwise you will have to pay for both: car rental, fuel (about 8 USD per US gallon/3,85 litres) AND mountain railways.

    There are tons of beautiful places in the Swiss Alps which can be reached by car. Some suggestions:

    Drive from Martigny to Col de la Gueulaz on Lake Emosson (2000m/6600ft). You are then just in front of the Northern side of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain chain of Western Europe. The glaciers of Trient, Tour, Argentiere as well as the peaks of Aiguille d'Argentiere (3900m/13000fr), Aiguille Verte (4120m/13500ft), Grandes Jorasse (4210m/13800ft), Mont Blanc (4810m/15800ft) ar jus a few miles away.

    Drive from Martigny to Grand St Bernard Pass (2470m/8100ft) and hike in 1/2 hr to La Chenalette (2800m/9200ft). From there, you have a stupendous view to the Southern side of Mont Blanc (A Neuve Glacier, Dolent Glacier, Pre de Bar Glacier, Triolet Glacier as well as a lot of 3800 to 4800m / 13000 to 15800ft high peaks). In the South, but farther away, you see the glaciers and peaks of the Gran Paradiso chain.
    A easy, but very scenic 6hrs circular hike goes from Col du Gd St-Bernard via Col des Chevaux - Lake Petit Le - Col de Bastillon to the 3 blue mountain lakes of Fenetre and then over the Col de Fenetre de Ferret back to Col du Gd St-Bernard.

    Drive from Sion to Col du Sanetsch (2250m/7400ft) and hike in about 2 hrs to Refuge/Restaurant La Quille du Diable on Tsanfleuron Glacier (2900m/9500ft). You are there on the top of a perpendicular cliff and can look down to Lake Derborence, just 1500m/5000ft below your feet. Stupendous view to Mont Blanc chain, Grand Combin, Mont Collon and tons of other peaks.

    Drive from Sierre to Grimentz and then up to the end of the road on Lake Moiry (2250m/7400ft) and hike then in aobut 1 hr to Moiry hut (Swiss Alpine club) and Moiry Glacier.

    Drive from Brig to Ried-Moerel, go by gondola to Riederalp (5 CHF/one way), hike in 1/2 hr to Riederfurka (2070m/6800ft), visit the visitor's centre/museum of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Nature reserve, walk through the Aletsch Forest and have a look at the Aletsch Glacier (longest glacier of Europe) just below and in front of you.

    Drive to Breuil-Cervinia (Italian neighbourhood, 2000m/6500ft) and go by cableway to Plateau Rosa (28 EUR/35 USD roundtrip). Plateau Rosa (3500m/11500ft) is close to Matterhorn Paradise/Kleinmatterhorn (1 mile away, same panorama). The roundtrip ticket from Taesch Parking to Matterhorn Paradise costs 107 CHF/112 USD

    Drive to Grimsel Pass (2200m/7200ft) and hike in about 1 1/2 hr to Sidelhorn (2800m/9200ft). Panoramic views to Unteraar Glacier, Oberaar Glacier, 6 mountain lakes around Grimsel Pass, Finsteraarhorn (4300m/14100ft) and dozens of other peaks. You may also hike from Grimsel Pass to Lake Oberaar (1 hr) and along this lake to Oberaar Glacier (another hr).
    Drive then from Grimsel Pass to Furka Belvedere and visit the Ice cave in the Rhone Glacier.
    Another road in the same area goes to Nufenenpass/Griessee. The hike from the end of the road to Lake Griessee - Gries Pass - Gries Glacier takes about 1 1/2 hrs.

    Drive from Davos or St. Moritz to Stelvio Pass (2800m/9200ft). Hike to the glaciers (1 hr or so) or enjoy the view to them from Piz da las Trais Linguas (3 languages peak; 2850m/9400ft).

    etc. etc.

    But if you prefer to ride with Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Golden Pass Panoramic, etc. and if you want to visit Gornergrat and Jungfraujoch, you better look after rail passes.

    You may have a look at

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    Thank you for your suggestions. I will look up those drives. I guess almost anywhere you go in Switzerland will be beautiful and breathtaking. I'm wondering if we should have a base for the first 3 nights and take day trips. We have Friday until Monday evening. Tuesday thru Thursday my husband has meetings outside of Zurich when my son and I will do some zoos and such. Then, Thursday evening until we leave on Sunday I was thinking to stay in Lucerne and do Mt Pilatus....etc. Wish our vacation could be longer but it didn't work out that way so just want to see some beautiful sites, do a bit of easy hiking and zoos...

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    Personally, I would use the extraordinary Swiss rails rather than trying to drive -- why limit your access to the views?

    I'm not sure I'm understanding the constraints on your itinerary. if you can get into the Bernese Oberland for a few days, you might want to consider staying in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen or Murren for a few days -- magnificent! If you don't have enough time for that, look into options for Luzern.

    And do consult a good guidebook or two, whether at your local bookstore or library.

    Good luck with your planning!

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