Switzerland 11 nights

Old Jun 7th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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Switzerland 11 nights

My husband & I will be visiting Switzerland for the first time this September. We are flying in and out of Zurich. Montreux, Gstaad, and Bernese Oberland are the 3 areas we plan to focus on. We may rent a car for the entire trip but not sure yet as we also want to experience the trains. We are considering a hotel in Saanen/Gstaad for 10 nights (traveling to Zurich the last day & staying @ airport hotel for next day flight home) to avoid wasting time checking in and out of hotels, etc. Is this a reasonable base for the entire trip? In other words is Montreux and BO a reasonable day commute from Saanen/Gstaad? From what I've read Montreux is about 1 hour, but not sure about BO.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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Gstaad is in the Bernese Oberland.
What do you mean exactly with "Bernese Oberland"?

Gstaad is about 1 1/2 hrs from Montreux (by train or by car), resp. 2 1/4 hrs by car and 2 3/4 hrs by train from Grindelwald
The closest glacier (Glacier 3000) is about 1/2 hr away
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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Only by staying in the Jungfrau Region can you literally scratch the tip of the iceberg or glaciers in this area - a day trip would take about two hours each way from Gstaad I would think - possible if just want to do one thing but there are so so many more varied things to do IMO than in Gstaad, nice as it is but Gstaad is mainly I believe mountains and a sweet nice small town.

But in the Jungfrau area has much more - two lovley lakes bookending Interlaken - boat rides on each are a delight with many neat stops along the way and of course mountains - more rugged ones in a dense area and Europe's highest train station - the Jungfraujoch and a Top of the World feeling I believe unparalleled in Gastaad in its monumental aspect (swandav who knows the Gstadd area much better than me can correct me on that - not that Gstadd doesn't offer the Alpine wonderland of Switzetrland perhaps etched in your minds' eyes)

and the Interlaken area (don't stay there but up in a place like Wengen - car-free Wengen or Grindelwald or Murren - another car-free delight perched on top of a cliff with a front view of the Jungfrau Massif. Gstaad I believe is not right up in the mountains as these small towns are and everyone raves about staying in them.

The Jungfrau also offers a lot of neat hikes in a compact area - no matter where you stay - a series of aerial cableways and toylike mountain trains easily take you anywhere. the Gstaad area has only a postal bus line going into the hills (it appears from my Swiss Transports map - again I have been only to Gstaad and not above it but it seems there are no thrilling mountain railways but some nice aerial cableways - Gstaad is a nice Alpine resort but IMO and IME not nearly as awesome as the Jungfrau Region. Others may differ but I think most would agree.

Why 10 days in Gstaad - not a good base because it takes so long to get to anywhere but it - oh Bern is a reasonable day trip or Lucerne but those are quicker I think from the Interlaken area.

Anyway my advice for first-timers to Switzerland is head for the hills, above Interlaken - the fabulous Jungraujoch area.

Cars are useless in this area as cannot go beyond Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen - consider the train and perhaps a Swiss Pass, valid on not only regular trains but postal buses and lake boats and gives 50% off most gondolas and trains to mountain tops - check these sources for loads of great info: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

The fabulous Jungfrau Region: https://www.google.com/search?q=jung...=1600&bih=1075
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 02:08 PM
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I don't know when your flight leaves Zurich, but consider spending your last night in Luzern instead of Zurich. Commuter trains run from Luzern directly to the Zurich airport twice an hour and take about 30 minutes.

I think the general consensus among the Swiss-o-philes here is that Luzern is a better place to spend time than Zurich.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 02:23 PM
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I would not plan to day trip to the Jungfrau area. Way too much to see to rush it into a couple hours. You will definitely not begin to do it justice.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 04:43 PM
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Thank you to all for your advice. Perhaps I misspoke with regard to Bernese Oberland. What I mean is the Jungfrau Region. We are in our mid 50's and are not hikers. I'm trying to find a balance between adventure and relaxation for 10 or 11 days in Switzerland. What I don't want is to race around at a frenzied pace checking in and out of hotels every few days.
We don't mind a very long day traveling to Jungfrau area even for just 1 day---not ideal of course, but we also want to see Montreau/Vevey/Lausanne/Evian and have some days of relaxation in between. In doing my research Gstaad seemed like it might work logistically for all we want to see & enjoy a lovely Alpine village for those down times. I'm simply trying to get input as to whether this would be feasible or do I need to consider Plan B?
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 04:59 PM
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I really don;t think you can see everything you want in Switz staying in one town - things are just too far apart - you would be spending long days sitting on a train for a few hours sightseeing.

I would definitely pick two different places to stay - one either Interlaken or a town on the lower slopes of the Jungfrau.

Be aware that the mountains are high enough so that the top are often wreathed in clouds - even on days when the valleys are very sunny. We had to stay in Interlaken for 3 days before we got one with good visibility at the top (seeing more than a foot or two in front of you). We had a car and spent those days visiting Thun, Brienz and other towns in the area, but you could do short hikes or walks from some of the mountain villages.)

I would have a look at train schedules to see how far you wuld be from other places in Gstaad.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 10:40 PM
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Hi Nina29,

I love Gstaad and have lengthened my stays there over time -- first was for an afternoon, then 4 nights, then 10 nights. My next trip will be for 2 weeks. It is in a seriously beautiful Alpine valley.

Yup, plenty (PLENTY) to do based from there, including Montreux, which is an easy and fun day-trip. You can also hop over to Rougemont (one of the most beautiful little towns I've ever seen), Chateau d'Oex (big ballooning center), of course Gruyeres and Broc, Zweisimmen, Spiez, Thun, and Bulle.

You can ascend several mountains from Gstaad, to include Wispile (there is a lovely non-challenging 2-hour walk from the Wispile top over to Laeunen Lake (then bus back), Rinderberg (from Zweisimmen), Eggli, and a few more. There are gorgeous walks in the valley you can take, including to Schönried (about 1h), Saanen (about an hour), Lauenen (2h30 I think), and Gsteig.

And as neckervd notes, you can ascend Glacier 3000 by taking a quick bus ride to the Col du Pillon.

But what really isn't a good idea is to go all the way to the Jungfrau area because it's simply too long. For instance, it will take 3h just to get to Wengen from Gstaad, and a further 2h to ascend the Jungfraujoch.

I took my mother to Switzerland during her last years, and we spent a few days in the Jungfrau area and a few days in Montreux. When I look back, I am very sorry I didn't just take her to Gstaad for the whole time, mainly for the reasons you wrote. She would have had to unpack and settle in at a hotel just ONE time; it is a seriously gorgeous area with rolling green hills and mountains; and the plethora of excursions and day-trips would have filled our days easily. I do always feel wonderfully relaxed there.

Here are my public photo albums of the area, so you may be able to see what it's like:

Gstaad & walk to Saanen
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...0EauGrJq5bMWKO

Walk from Wispile
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...0EauGrJq5bMWKf

Bike ride from Gstaad to Gruyeres
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...0EauGrJq5bMWJx

You can also check out the town's central tourist agency --

www.gstaad.ch

I'll add that you really don't need a car there; the trains run often and take you everywhere. If you stick to public transportation, you may be really happy that you helped to preserve the beauty you came to see. I've never had a car there, never needed or wanted one.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 04:47 AM
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Driving cn be a drag in Switzerland - you either take the autobahns and see little or side roads which IME can be tediously slow-going with trucks, camper vans, etc and sinuous roads in rought terrain often. Take the train and if doing all those day trips from Gstaad, which is fine, look into a Swiss Pass as you'll be traveling every day or about it seems on fairly expensive train trips.

The Jungfrau Region can be very relaxing as well - go to a Wengen and be eyeball to eyeball with glacier-girdled peaks - lay back and drink it up - reconsider your plans and base 5 days in each is my advice - well I think that the Jungfrau Region is the highlight of my many Swiss travels and you can't do justice to it on a long day trip - I think Wengen would be more relaxing than Gstaad, more a glitzy resort town than sedate Wengen.
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 07:51 AM
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I wouldn't really characterize Gstaad as glitzy, and I've been there twice for the Menuhin Music Fest, which tends to attract an upscale crowd.

On the streets in town you normally see older folks in hiking gear and clothes, and one time an older couple and myself took turns hop-scotching from one bench in town to another . . . had a fun few hours doing that. In the concerts themselves, I saw mostly middle-aged and older folks dressed in their Sunday best, with only a handful of folks sticking out in new, well-fitting designer outfits.

The houses are all brown wood chalets, and you cannot tell from the outside if Elizabeth Taylor lives in one or a farmer (whose family has been in town for 200 years) lives there.

There are some upscale shops, that's true, and I enjoyed browsing around them.

What I really enjoy are the many high-ranking restaurants in the area. Because Gstaad has been the home of folks like Taylor & Burton, David Niven, etc, there are more high Gault-Millau restaurants than a town its size warrants. There is a near-palpable competition among the restaurants in town, and one always eats very, very well, even in the tiny restaurants in the side streets. Inside the restaurants are a mix of tourists (like myself) and some fashionistas.

I did one time see a very tall and strikingly beautiful woman wobble down the promenade on impossibly-high heels, but I thought it was fun to watch her. It was an interesting sight. Thankfully, I don't see many like that in town.

s
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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. Because Gstaad has been the home of folks like Taylor & Burton, David Niven, etc, there are more high Gault-Millau restaurants than a town its size warrants.>

All a sign of it not glitz a wealthier than normal town - seems more like a St Moritz than a Wengen. But hey one could base for weeks there and not run out of things to see and do and eat apparently and you will escape the hoards of foreing tourists - especially now Asians and Americans - flocking to the Jungfrau Region because they have heard of it.

I stll strongly recommend splitting the two areas if into Alpine wonderlands and do feel, without ever really poking around Gstaad, that IMO the Jungfrau REgion is the absolute highlight of Switzerland and a day trip there - a long one will just whet the appetite and may not even be worth it - though I guess to go to a Grindelwald and just look at the awesome panorama is worth the price and time in so doing.

But Gstaad and area is also very appealing by the sounds of it just not so stunningly beautiful as the glacier-girdled Jungfrau Massif looming high above town just a few kms away - a sheer rocky wall leading up to majestic peaks - unparalleled in Switzerland IMO.
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 01:19 PM
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Once again, thank you for your helpful suggestions. I am the go-to person in my family for vacation planning & arranging and I must say this has been a challenge for me. It may be the only time we get to Switzerland (hopefully not!) and I don't want to blow it!

The general concensus seems to be the Jungfrau Region is too far to travel from Gstaad for one day. And that one day is just not enough to experience this most beautiful part of Switzerland---especially if the weather doesn't cooperate.

With that in mind I am considering 8 nights in the Montreux/Vevey area (with at least an afternoon visit to Gstaad---thank you for sharing the photos swandav2000---just beautiful! ) That would give us 3 nights in the Jungfrau Region. We have a 12:30 pm flight out of Zurich---would it be possible to get to the airport from Interlaken, Murren, etc. in a timely manner after checking out of hotel the morning of the return home?

One other question: Any suggestions for appropriate clothing last week in September & 1st week in October?
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 01:43 PM
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Trains every 30 min from 6am until 8pm. Journey time from Muerren 3 1/4 hrs; change at Gruetschalp, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken and Bern
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 07:17 PM
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That is way too far of a distance to travel for that early of a flight for my peace of mind. You would need to up and out the door at 7 am with no issues at all during your train trip to make it to the airport in time for your flight.
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Old Jun 8th, 2015, 09:38 PM
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Nine29, It sounds like you've worked out a good plan for your trip and your vacation!

I personally would stay closer to the Zurich airport on my last night, perhaps something like:

7 nights Montreux/Vevey
3 nights Jungfrau
1 night Luzern/Zurich

BTW, you can very easily see Gstaad while enroute to the Jungfrau area; just take the Golden Pass route, which stops in Gstaad. Hop off for a few hours, then hop back on to continue your journey.

Have fun as you plan!

Pal, you really need to remember your last words here -- IMO. Stunningly beautiful is always in the eye of the beholder.

s
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 06:28 AM
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What is in Gstaad itself that merits breaking the train trip - I know the area is sublime but is the town itself - why stop in Gstaad or is it more exceptional as a town than I think? Like I would not go to the Jungfrau Region just to see say Grindelwald or Wengen.
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 06:55 AM
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I think it's much more pretty than either Grindelwald or Wengen. And some people do like that -- the architecture, buildings, and harmony -- as much as they like the mountains.

Rougemont is an even prettier village, but I don't think they have luggage lockers, so it would be a logistical problem to stop there.

I suspect it is even lovelier than you remember.

s
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 07:49 AM
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Please give me your thoughts on this scenerio: 7 nights Vevey/Montreux then 4 nights in Bern. There are non-stop trains from Bern to Interlaken Ost with approx. 56 minutes travel time. Then on morning of departure day there are non-stop trains Bern to Zurich Airport 1 hr. 15 minutes travel time. This would allow for just 2 hotel stays and fairly easy access to Jungfrau Region without staying right there?
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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. This would allow for just 2 hotel stays and fairly easy access to Jungfrau Region without staying right there?>

The point I will stress is that staying right up in the hills is so so cool - sitting on your hotel balcony with the glacier-girdled peaks in full view - staying in Bern to explore the Jungfrau Region IMO makes no sense - plus the cost of the commute - Bern is a neat cute city but I would day trip there from the Interlaken area.

You just cannot imagine how cool it is to stay in a place like Wengen or Grindelwald:

Wengen in pictures:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Weng...=1600&bih=1075

Sorry to be so negative about staying in Bern but I believe it to be a major major mistake when you could stay in a place like Wengen.
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Old Jun 9th, 2015, 08:56 AM
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Not to beat a dead horse but I agree with Pal's opinion of staying IN Wengen as opposed to making it a day trip.

The Jungfrau region IMO is a total experience, not just a place to overnight. Waking in the morning and looking out your window to see the small yellow train chugging up the hill to the next town on the line. Looking up and seeing the colorful hang gliders descending from the heights of Murren to the valley below. Hiking in complete silence only to hear the chocolate milk cow bells off in the distance, clang clang clanging. Stopping in the little grocery to pick up picnic supplies in Wengen and then enjoying them during a leisurely walk between Mannlichen and KS. Hopping on the train or cable car whenever you want to explore the next small town. I could go on and on, the experiences are too numerous to enjoy in one day trip. I think you would do the area and yourself an injustice. Save it for another time when you have time to enjoy this fabulous region.
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