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Switzerland for 6 days in 5 weeks!

Old May 1st, 2003, 09:37 AM
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Switzerland for 6 days in 5 weeks!

The airfare was so terrific I couldn't pass it up so my husband and I are flying into Geneva, arriving Thursday morning, June 5 and returning the next Wednesday morning, so we have only six days. This is our first visit to Switzerland. What do you recommend? We don't plan to drive - we'll take the train. If anyone has any suggestions for a sample itinerary and also lodging suggestions I would very much appreciate them. We like to stay at bed and breakfasts, but in searching I don't see much information about them in Switzerland. Small inns would also be nice. And, any information about scenic train trips in that region would be wonderful. Normally I do a ton of research and read Fodors for months before going, but for this trip time is short! Thanks for your help.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 10:53 AM
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After landing Geneva take the train to visit the towns of Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux. Actually the Geneva airport and train station are connected, so if you aren't specifically interested in sight-seeing in Geneva you might leave right away and get as far as Lausanne, for example.

The Chateau de Chillon outside Montreux is a fabulous OLD castle. The early Saturday AM farmers market in the Vevey town square is a wonderful, free, fun, colorful, local thing to do 5 mins. walk from train station. The village and castle at Gruyere (driving 1/2 day trip). The Lavaux (sp?) wine region is right there. Fabulous Swiss whites! The sight-seeing tram up a mountain at Rochers de Naye leaves from Montreux train station and makes for a dramatic ride.

These are all Geneva-based, so I'm sure others can chime in with more ideas further afield. I've always been lucky enough to stay with a friend so don't have an itinerary or hotel suggestions.

Switzerland is absolutely as organized and beautiful as you expect. It is an easy pleasure to travel there.
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Old May 1st, 2003, 11:39 AM
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Hello Bevk,

Although my favorite part of Switzerland is the Lake Geneva area, I saw your question on Beatle?s Berner Oberland comment and so will respond to that. The villages of Grindelwald, Wengen, and Muerren have that classic mountain chalet atmosphere and culture that we normally associate with Switzerland. They are in the mountains just south of Interlaken. In contrast, Geneva and its area have a French, Belle Epoque, rolling hills and vineyards atmosphere and culture.

But Wengen, for instance, is 3.53 or 4.03 hours (with three changes) by train from the Geneva airport -- I think most folks who visit the Berner Oberland fly into Zurich.

As an alternative, you may want to visit Zermatt, another car-free village that is 3.23 hours from the Geneva airport with only one change.

Be sure to do a text search here for these places. You can investigate rail schedules at www.rail.ch (go to ?Travel/Timetables?).

If you decide to stay close to Geneva, let me know and I?ll post my standard set of activities for the area.

Oh, I almost forgot -- check out Swiss b&bs at www.bnb.ch. For inexpensive rooms, go to www.rooms.ch. Also use the Karen Brown website for cozy inns at reasonable prices (www.karenbrown.com).

s
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Old May 1st, 2003, 03:11 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Right now I'm thinking two nights in Montreaux area, then three nights in either Berner Oberland area or Zermatt. If we stayed at Zermatt could we do the Glacier Express in one day? Is it a circular route or do we return the same route? I'm checking out the web sites for lodging that you mentioned Swandav2000 - thank you. We'll spend the last night close to Geneva to catch our return flight. This weekend I'm going to buy a detailed map of Switzerland so I can get a better idea of distances.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 04:33 AM
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Hello again, BevK,

Well as I said above, Lake Geneva is one of my favorite areas, so I do not think you will be disappointed with your stay there.

The Glacier Express runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz, about an 8-hour train ride. However, you can take the train half way and then return. For instance, you can leave Zermatt at 8.50 and arrive at Disentis at 13.08, then return from Disentis at 13.50 and arrive in Zermatt at 18.02. You can check out the hype and the schedules at: www.rhb.ch/glacierexpress/glacierexpress.e.php

I forgot to give you websites to look at for the places I mentioned, so here they are (if you have not found them already). Wengen is www.wengen.com; Grindelwald is www.grindelwald.ch; Muerren is www.muerren.ch; and Zermatt is www.zermatt.ch.

For your stay in Montreux, I recommend you look into these two hotels: Hotel Masson and the LyErmitage. The Masson is a small three-star in a residential neighborhood between Montreux and the Chateau de Chillon, and it is a favorite of a few posters here. I have never stayed there, but I have walked past it and it looks charming from the outside. Its website is: www.hotelmasson.ch. The Ly Ermitage is a renown restaurant that also has seven rooms on the floors above. I have stayed here and found it to be charming but noisy with the windows open. Its website is: www.forum.ch/ermitage-clarens.

Montreux is only about 90 minutes from the Geneva airport by train, so you can easily stay there for your last night and take a train directly to the airport. For your few days in Montreux, here is my canned list of activities and websites.

Walk the 11km flowered lakeside promenade from Clarens to Villeneuve, passing the Chateau Chillon between Territet and Villeneuve; there are plenty of cafes to stop and have a coffee & snack along the way to replenish your strength. There are also plenty of benches to sit and read, watch other walkers, or simply stare at the majesty of the lake and the mountains in the distance.

My favorite cafy is the Terraces du Pavillon in Territet, across from the little dock there, just about 1/4 mile before the Chateau de Chillon. A great restaurant if youyre in the mood for a full meal is the Taverne de Chateau de Chillon about a block before the Chateau.

If you make it all the way to Villeneueve, top off your long walk with a wonderful pizza & beer lunch at a lakeside cafy in Villeneuve, then take the ferry back to Montreux (I think the ferry stops in late Sep/Oct).

Walk up to Montreux's old city and the old church for fantastic panoramic views from the churchys terrace. Have lunch at the Hotel/Restaurant du Pont at 12 rue du Pont (I had a ravioli in cream sauce with shaved truffles that was out of this world!). Montreuxys website is at www.montreux.ch.

Spend the morning in Vevey hunting down the antiques shops in the old town. Then have lunch at the Hostellerie de Geneve on the Pl. Marche. Veveyys website is: www.vevey.ch.

Take the train (the ywine trainy) from Vevey to Chexbres, then spend a morning walking the vineyards down to the lake, hitting Rivaz & St. Saphorin. For lunch, find the Auberge du Rivaz (in Rivaz . . . ) with a terrace lake view or see if any of the cellars are having a cheese/wine tasting. Website: www.lavaux.ch/sentier2.htm

The lakeside village of Cully, just east of Lausanne, is a picturesque stop and has two recommended restaurants, the Auberge du Raisin and the Au Major Davel.

The lakeside village of Lutry, just two miles east of Lausanne, has a well-posted tour of medieval buildings as well as some good wine caves for tasting. Website: www. lutry.ch

Spend an afternoon in the medieval village of Gruyeres, making sure to sample the berries in creme-double. Website: www.gruyeres.ch

Spend an afternoon in Nyon at the Roman museum and the Caesar's columns nearby. The Fodors guide recommends a meal at the Auberge du Chateau just steps from the Roman museum. It was closed when I was there, but it looked great. Website: www.nyon.ch

Go to the small, charming village of Celigny. Not much to see here but a picturesque place (it was actor Richard Burtonys home during the last years of his life). Have lunch at the Auberge du Soleil -- great prix fixe feast!

The website for the tourist office of the region is: www.lake-geneva-region.ch

My personal travel journal (w/photos) of Montreux: http://www.igougo.com/planning/journ...JournalID=7825

Have a great trip!

s







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Old May 2nd, 2003, 08:23 AM
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Thank you swandav2000 - this information is so helpful, especially the web sites. This has saved me a lot of Google time seaching for the sites myself. I also have read some of your travel journals and plan to print them all out. This is information you don't find in travel guides. Now I'm thinking maybe we should just stay in Montreaux the whole time and do day trips to the mountains. I wish we had more time! I'd like to do at least one scenic train trip - would that be feasible from Montreaux?
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 08:54 AM
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Hi BevK,

I'm glad you found some of this helpful!

Yes, there is one scenic train that begins in Montreux called the Golden Pass -- I forget the exact website, but I'm sure you can find it by playing with www.goldenpass.ch or something like that. The train goes all the way to Luzern via Interlaken, but of course you don't have to go that far. A good trip would be to go to Gstaad (just under two hours each way) or to Chateau d'Oex, both lovely mountain villages. Gstaad's website is www.gstaad.ch and Chateau d'Oex is, I think, www.chateau-doex.ch.

I'm just running out the door right now -- be happy to give you more later if you'd like!

s
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 05:16 AM
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Hi BevK and S! I'm still in shock over your into statement re "the airfare was so terrific" -- Where? How? You are so lucky, or maybe you're talking ff miles?

Anyway, my only thought is that there might be a mountain location closer to Lac Leman than either the Oberland or Zermatt? Somewhere along the route that runs from Montreux to Spiez via Chateau d'oex? Gstaad perhaps? By the way, I'm sure you've noticed, thanks to S' descriptions, that you could easily spend your entire trip based in Montreux and daytrip around the lake and into the mountains (with town visits to Berne, Lausanne, and Geneve if you wish). Later, J.
 
Old May 3rd, 2003, 03:34 PM
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jmw, we got a fare of $639 on Continental from Phoenix to Geneva, plus we had $300 vouchers, so bottom line was $339. We've paid more than that to fly to Denver! I'm thinking the same thing about staying in Montreux, although the Alpina Hotel in Murren looks like fun. Does anyone know what day the Chocolate train from Montreux to Gruyeres runs? Or would it be possible to do the same trip on a regular train? We are very novice train travelers so I have several questions about traveling that way, but I need to get them organized and put into one question. Mainly I'm wondering if we should get reservations before we leave Phoenix or if we'd be able to buy passes or tickets after we arrive in Switzerland. We'll be there from June 4-11. Thanks again for your help. I don't know how people arrange a trip without this forum.
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 05:19 PM
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Don't buy your train tickets ahead of time; we spent 8 days in Zurich a few years ago and took day trips via train...no problem with tickets at any time and we were able to be more spontaneous that way. Noone mentions one of our favorite places there...a small town named Appenzel.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 04:43 AM
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Hello BevK,

Looks like you're enjoying your research!!

I dug out an old chocolate train brochure from 1999 and also went to the MOB website for current information (go to www.mob.ch, then to "products" and "chocolate train"). The website says that it runs on Wednesdays from June-Oct with the addition of Mondays in July & Aug -- if my German is right!

Yes, you can take the trip to Gruyeres on your own schedule. Just go to www.rail.ch and you'll see most schedules require a change in Montbovon. There's also about a 10-minute walk from the Gruyeres gare to the village of Gruyeres, but it's a pleasant walk with stunning (naturally) scenery. Other differences if you do the trip on your own will be the entrance fee to the Gruyeres castle, the service on the train, transportation to the Cailler-Nestle factory in Broc, and entrance to the factory.

I did the trip to Gruyers on my own and had a wonderful day.

I think I'm having as much fun as you are -- !!

s
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Old May 4th, 2003, 05:02 AM
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Good morning! BevK, I am green w/envy over your flight cost. Yes to everything s' has written, plus-- in Chateau d'Oex there's a wonderful small museum of folk art, in case you might be interested, and there's a small restaurant in the village where you can spend the afternoon eating raclette, drinking a great beer or wine, and watching a demonstration of cheese-making. Between Montreux and Cully, try to find time to explore St. Saphorin and walk the vineyard walk. There's a website somewhere (s' probably knows it) that shows a map of the route. It's great fun.

BevK, the only way we're going to let you split your precious six nights between Lac Leman and the Oberland is if you promise to become addicted and return again and again. Welcome. J.
 
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