Switzerland and Italy in October

Jul 3rd, 2012, 07:24 PM
  #1  
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Switzerland and Italy in October

Hello,

My fiancee and I would like to spend around 23 nights in Italy and Switzerland for our honeymoon in October next year. Our itinerary is roughly as follows:

Montreux - 3 nights (early flight in)
Zermatt - 4 nights
St Moritz - 4 nights
Milan - 3 nights
Venice - 3 nights
Florence - 3 nights
Rome - 3 nights (late flight out)

Do you think we have divided the time up ok? We are wanting to take the chocolate train in Montreux, stay at the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat Zermatt-Matterhorn for 1 or 2 nights when in Zermatt and take the Glacier Express to St Moritz. Beyond that we are open to recommendations.

Does anyone have any must-do experiences, amazing meals or luxury accommodation recommendations (aroun 350 euro/400 swiss franc, or under)?

Many thanks in advance!

Read more: http://www.frommers.com/community/fo...#ixzz1zcILd5QP
keedm002 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2012, 09:12 PM
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Hi keedm002,

The Chocolate Train only runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in October, so you may find it more convenient to do it on your own. It's quite easy -- just take the train from Montreux to Gruyeres, see the cheese-making demo, see the village, and tour the castle. Then take the train from Gruyeres to Broc-Fabrique and tour the facotry. Then take the train from Broc-Fabrique back to Montreux.

One advantage to doing it on your own is that you'll be able to stop in Gstaad for an hour or two on your way.

Here are links to my "reviews" (w/photos) of my favorite things to do from Montreux:

Montreux old town
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Lavaux
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Walks through the Lavaux vineyards
http://www.montreuxriviera.com/en/Cu...rekking_Lavaux


Promenade Fleuri
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Morges
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...rges_Vaud.html

Gruyeres
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR..._Fribourg.html

Saanen
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

Gstaad
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

Hope one or two of them will appeal to you.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2012, 11:10 PM
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I don't know what you have planned for Milan. But the train from St. Moritz will stop at Varenna on Lake Como, and I'd rather stay there. You will still go through Milan on your way from Varenna to Venice, so you could store your luggage at the train station in Milan and spend a few hours seeing the sights before continuing your journey.

BTW, I like Milan. But I love Lake Como.
Jean is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 05:36 PM
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Thanks Jean, we will definitely look into it. We are wanting to go to a football game when in Milan (if there is one on), do you think it would be worthwhile spending one/two nights in Varenna and then 1/2 in Milan?

Thanks Swandev for all your suggestions!
keedm002 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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I am partial to Milan....although others don't appreciate the amazing design and food, etc in this very cool city. Love everything on your agenda, but might cut short some places to add a day to Rome. There is enough in Rome to fill 2 weeks.

I would probably cut out of Zermatt or St. Moritz to do so, unless you love walking in the mountains. Neither of these has much to see/do but for the gorgeous views and nature (which are really spectacular but not everyone gets excited about scenery).

Congrats on your wedding and enjoy!
gruezi is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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We did N Italy (dolomites, lake garda, lake como and venice) and bernese oberland in switzerland last year. My fav part by far were the dolomites...simply stunning. We stayed at Uhrerhof-deuf. We loved this inn. You can look it up on tripadvisor.
mnag is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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You will get bored in St. Moritz after a day. Take that time and add to Rome and Venice. But, fabulous trip---I have done all of that including the 2 big train trips. Have fun !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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Gruezi, thanks for your suggestions - it definitely sounds like we need to add more time onto Rome. I may even extend the trip slightly to do so, however I am not sure how much annual leave I will have and whether that will be possible!
As per your suggestion, maybe cutting down St Moritz and Zermatt to 3 nights each would work. I like the sound of the relaxing time and gorgeous views in these places! But may be worthwhile cutting the time down.

Will St Moritz be a ghost town in October? Many of the hotels seem to be shut down, should we cut our time there to 2/3 days?

Anyone else have opinions as to whether we should stay in Lake Como/Milan or both?

Mnag, sounds like an incredible holiday. Dolomites would be amazing but the fiance wants to visit Milan so they are out of the way. What were your thoughts on Lake Como and Venice?

Venice is one place I am not sure where is best to stay, in regards to transport, touristy places etc. This may be a very silly and naive question but do you need to take gondolas/boats everywhere? Are they expensive? Do hotels offer free services?
keedm002 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 08:12 PM
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Thanks Bob - I only saw your post now. Will definitely cut down time in St Moritz. Thanks for your suggestion, and glad to hear our trip has a tick of approval!
keedm002 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 08:50 PM
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October is a quiet time in St. Moritz and also Zermatt. Many hotels actually close down from then until Christmas week. OTOH, if the weather holds, the beginning of October can be very lovely weather and exceptional hiking. But if it turns cold early you may find it desolate.

My favorite time for hiking in Switzerland is September into very early October. The weather is usually drier and quite nice.

Honestly, St. Moritz is all about the hype and money. Off ski season I would be kind of bored I think. For hiking I prefer the Murren area. More trails, more low-key, and gorgeous. I have spent Christmas in St. Moritze and it is lovely and trendy with beautiful people but October may not be nearly as exciting. I do hear the summer is quite pretty but I have not been then.
gruezi is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 08:55 PM
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Regarding Venice,

There are water taxis to take and not nearly the price of gondolas. Only the fancier hotels offer gondola service. We stayed in a very high-end hotel (Bauer Il Palazzo) there but in the end it was a sort of an odd place and wildly expensive at the time. Next time I would go smaller. We did not have the best dining experiences - pricy, bad service, mediocre food. But, we did love Venice nonetheless. More research next time for us!

Venice is actually a lovely place to walk...water taxi is not always necessary.
gruezi is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 09:42 PM
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Thanks for clearing these things up for me Gruezi!

We would like to take the Glacier Express to St Moritz from Zermatt and then train to Milan, hence why we were staying in St Moritz. I think 2 nights will definitely be sufficient.

Thanks for the advice on Venice - I feel a bit dumb but I have always been confused how travel around it works haha!! Will definitely make sure we do plenty of research on Venice as I have previously heard a lot of the food in Venice is as you say, overpriced and underwhelming.

Thanks so much!
keedm002 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2012, 10:26 PM
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We only spent a day in Venice. It was hot and the water taxis were crowded!! Lake Como was certainly pretty (we stayed at a town called Argegno). We prefered lake Garda over Como which felt more touristy.
mnag is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 01:17 AM
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I've been to the St. Moritz area about a dozen times for walking/hiking, not to mention additional times for skiing. It's my favourite area in Switzerland, there are considerably more hiking trails there, all kinds of levels, than in the Jungfrau region. Lots of cable cars, gondolas, trains and buses that make it very convenient and less strenuous. Since most hotels offer free public transportation and cable car rides if you stay two nights or longer it is also less expensive IME than the Bernese Oberland/Jungfrau region (in summer).

If you stay only two nights in St. Moritz you'll be disappointed. The town itself is rather ugly, with large apartment blocks/hotels, often in the style of the 1960s/70s. I recommend to stay in one of the smaller towns/villages, like Pontresina or Sils e.g. which have charm. To get a feel for the beauty of the region you need to do some exploring: the lakes of Sils and Silvaplana, the Fex valley (horse-drawn carriages) near Sils-Maria, the Bregaglia valley with Soglio (by bus), a sunset dinner at Muottas Muragl, cable car ride up to Diavolezza etc.

For luxury accommodation in the area try Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina and Hotel Waldhaus in Sils-Maria. Maybe they have a special offer/package (especially for honeymooners) that would meet your budget.
Ingo is online now  
Jul 5th, 2012, 04:58 AM
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We love Venice. Having stayed in various areas, now always opt for Palazzo Guardi near Accademia. Lovely area and great hotel. We also love Zermatt.
SusannahT is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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I agree that 4 nights in St. Moritz is too many. We took the Glacier Express and stayed just one night as it is very small.
I live in Vicenza which is half way between Venice and Verona. I personally think one or two overnights in Venice is enough. It's expensive and touristy, but must be seen. I would stay outside Venice and take the local train to some other towns such as Verona or Vicenza for some authenticity. We have stayed overnight in Florence (Hotel Casci) and then taken a short bus ride (one hour) to Siena and stayed one night at the Hotel Duomo which was terrific for a side trip. We have done Milan as a day trip, but it didn't hold our interest as much as Florence. Rome is at least 3 days. Enjoy!

Montreux - 3 nights (early flight in)
Zermatt - 2 nights
St Moritz - 2 nights
Milan - 2 nights
Venice - 2 nights
Verona/vineyard visits - 2 nights
Vicenza - 2 nights (Hotel Due Mori)
Florence - 2 nights
Siena - 2 night (Hotel Duomo)
Rome - 4 nights (late flight out)
Bernadette_Hanley is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 05:32 AM
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I will concur with Ingo on Sils-Maria and the Fex Valley. Definitely more charm than St. Moritz and access to some beautiful hiking and good dining.

We have stayed in Pontresina a few times, but it was winter so I'm not sure how it "feels" in summer. We were at the Hotel Walther which is very nice (and Swiss in feel and operation). They have a less expensive but very nice smaller hotel right on their grounds called the Hotel Steinbock. I did once take a good look at a number of properties there and for the price the Walther seemed a good spot. The Grand Hotel Kronenhof is grand - our friends had their wedding there - and nicely situated. But you do not need to spend so much to have a nice room in a pretty setting.

The Swiss do prefer the Engadin (the region around St. Moritz) and don't get too excited over the Berner Oberland. I, however, do love Wengen and Murren (Berner Oberland) and just preferred heading there when I had a few days to head to the hills. But you will find all the areas beautiful I'm sure and if you like hiking, Switzerland is the place to be.

I don't know how big your actual wedding is, but we remember being very tired the first few days after. It is nice you'll be in the mountains those first days where you can relax. Then by the time you get to Rome you will be ready for how busy it is. Also, by October things will quiet down a bit in Florence and Venice. I don't think you'll find it too crowded.

Regarding the trains - I love sitting on a train looking at scenery but my family often just slept! I have taken a number of those train trips alone as a result. But you have to know yourself and how many hours of scenery you enjoy. I also would bring a bottle of wine and picnic which is commonly done in Switzerland. You can pick all that up at the Migros or Coop before you board the train. I usually got a chunk of cheese, a baguette and some chocolate plus a bottle of a dry white. That combined with the views out the window made for a perfect day IMO!
gruezi is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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keed,

What great honeymoon destiations!

I have been to Rome several times and agree with others that you should try to add more time there. I also agree that if you are taking your trip immediately after your wedding, you will probably be exhausted for at least the first several days--so I would go to the most relaxing destination first. Also, I personally find it exhausting and ultimately not that enjoyable to spend such short amounts of time in so many places--much of your time on your travel days will be spent packing up your stuff, checking out, getting to the train station, waiting for your train, spending time on the train, getting from the train to your hotel, then checking into your hotel. I would try to cut it down to 4 places, max.

I have not been to Venice yet but my husband and I are planning a trip there in September. So far I have found this forum to be immensely helpful in planning that trip. I suggest that you do a search on this forum just on "Venice." There are so many threads, with a wealth of information on everything from how to get around (yes, the only way to get around Venice is by walking or by boat--but it is relatively small so you should be able to walk most places), to where to stay, to where to dine (despite what others have said, apparently there are some wonderful places!). For some reason most of the responses so far to your query have not been overly enthusiastic about Venice, so I urge you to read the large numbers of postings by other Fodorites who absolutely love Venice and believe one should stay there longer than just a few nights, if possible. That way you can be exposed to a diversity of opinions before finalizing your itinerary.

If you don't find the information you want in reviewing the existing Venice threads, then I suggest you start a separate thread specifically on Venice.

For what it's worth, we started out thinking that we would only spend 2 or 3 nights in Venice before moving on to our other destination, but reading the Venice threads changed our mind, and we're staying a week now!

Congratulations and have a great time!
RMMR2 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 03:19 PM
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keed,

p.s. Some of the destinations on your itinerary could be done as day trips, that way you don't have to spend as much time packing up and moving to a different hotel. For example, many on this forum suggest using Venice as a base, and if you get tired of Venice, you can easily do day trips from there to Verona or Vicenza.
RMMR2 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Wow! Thanks everyone for your feedback...


Mnag - Hopefully in October it won't be as busy for us in Venice!

Ingo - I think you have rekindled the reason I wanted to go to St Moritz and Switzerland, at that - thankyou. Everything you have said sounds incredibly romantic and relaxing - perfect for the start of our honeymoon. I love horse drawn carriages so will definitely look into that! The Grand Hotel Kronenhof also seems to have a good deal with half board and all travel in the area for just over 400chf a night for a deluxe room, which seems like a good deal. Alternatively, you have mentioned a meal at Muottas Muragl - what are your thoughts on staying there?

Susannah - Have checked out the hotel and definitely looks like a good b&b well within our budget, may be a good option as we could afford the best of rooms there, which still come in under 200 euro a night.

Bernadette - I am interested in your proposed itinerary, as we were thinking of staying in Verona and Siena already. However, do you think this will be too much travel and changing hotels for a honeymoon?

Gruezi - Hotel Walther also looks incredible. Interestingly, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof appears to be cheaper for the time we are there? I would definitely compare both when the time comes to book however as I like the look of both. I thought exactly as you regarding the wedding, so hopefully things go as planned and we are gradually thrust into the craziness of the famous Italian sights and art! I also adore your suggestion of a picnic on the train. Would we need to bring plates and wine (plastic) glasses for this?

RMMR2 - Thanks for the advice. I think Venice is a must, especially on a honeymoon! I will most definitely look more into Venice, at present I have been trying to search posts for around the same time of year (to get a grasp on climate, what is good at that time of year, etc) but will definitely do more specific research, particularly for Venice.

That is also a great suggestion about day trips - I don't know if I could possibly cut the trip to 4 locations though?? All the places we are visiting are quite spread out in my opinion and I don't know which I would choose to cut out, they all sound amazing! Milan was a late addition, but this is a request by the fiancee as he would like to visit it, plus we are hoping to catch a football/soccer game there. If we can't, we may just keep it as a day trip.

Thanks so much everyone!
keedm002 is offline  

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