Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Switzerland for a week - need Itinerary help

Switzerland for a week - need Itinerary help

Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:43 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
Switzerland for a week - need Itinerary help

My husband and I (in our late 30s/early 40s) are planning on a visit to Switzerland for a week August 29-Sept 4. Then we will spend Sept 5- Sept 13 in Paris. We would like to visit some lovely Alpine areas in Switzerland where we can do some easy hikes or bike trips, take in the scenery and enjoy the countryside. Because we are taking the train from Switzerland to Paris, I was thinking it would be most convenient to visit western Switzerland but am open to any area. Please let me know what suggestions you have. Thanks!
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:56 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,809
Hi ButterflyGirl06,

How are you entering Switzerland? Will you start from Zürich airport?

I love western Switzerland and have visited Montreux on Lake Geneva about ten times, for as long as three weeks. However, I do think it would be a shame to be in Switzerland and not spend time in the high Alps. Montreux and Lake Geneva are in the pre-Alps, and look and feel more like the French Riviera than they do a typical Swiss mountain village.

If you are arriving at Zürich, it would be very easy to see some Alpine villages. The villages of the Berner Oberland are very popular with first-time visitors, so you may want to consider one of them (Wengen or Mürren). You could stay for three or four days, then move on to Lake Geneva and your trip to Paris.

I will also say you ought to be looking for your train ticket to Paris now. You can get great discounts if you book three months in advance, but they sell out quickly. Start your search at the Swiss rail site,

www.rail.ch

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 09:40 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,431
I agree that the Berner Oberalnd is a good "introduction" to the Swiss alpine scenery. I would suggest, however, that you stay in Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. These are the main "jump-off" places for the trains and cable cars that take you to the main sights - - - Jungfraujoch, Muerren/Schilthorn, Wengen/Maennlichen, First, Truemmelbachfaelle, etc..

Wengen and Muerren are nice villages, with good hotels, but to get from either to the other sights listed above , you generally have to go via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald.
treplow is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 09:57 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
For the first-timer wishing for that gorgeous Alpine scenery etched in your minds' eye the Interlaken (Berner Oberland or BOB) area is IMO the very best place to go - so much to see and do in a very compact area.

and yes from Interlaken you can take the fabled Golden Pass scenic train to Montreux on Lake Geneva, for a very different and still very swell slice of Switzerland.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 01:25 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 275
I agree, the Berner Oberland area is a good introduction to Switzerland. If you base yourself in a town in this area with good railway connections (like Grindelwald) , you can easily get around using rail services.

If visiting this region, try to include a visit to Jungfrau, weather permitting.
SWillams is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:13 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
Hi, thank you for all your responses! We have not decided which airport to fly into. We are in Dallas, and will have to connect wherever we go so we have options. We flew out of Zurich a couple years ago and they do have a great airport! If we connect via London Heathrow, I guess we could fly into Bern, Basel or Zurich. Which would be more convenient? Also, where should we stay? We looked at Hotel Oberland and that looks nice. Do you think 7 days there is too many or just enough?
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:23 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,648
Are you referring to Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunnen?

If you plan to stay for seven days, I strongly suggest an apartment, especially if you can arrange a Sat-Sat stay. You'll save some $$ and have more room.

Hotel Oberland has some nice looking apartments, we considered staying there this past April, but instead opted for an apartment from HomeAway. We had no problems filling seven days, and we'd been to the area many times before.

http://www.homeaway.com/lauterbrunne...fa/find.squery
Melnq8 is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:50 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
I was thinking hotel so that we could take advantage of local knowledge of the area. Are you aware of a concierge service that would be able to make suggestions if we were to stay in an apartment? I suppose we could just ask at the tourist office or take lots of notes from these forums!
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:48 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,648
The tourist offices are very helpful. In fact, a hotel might just send you there anywhere.

You can get lots of info online before you go - there's a wealth of knowledge right here on Fodor's and these sites might help you too:

http://www.jungfraubahn.ch/en/deskto.../268_read-5176

http://www.mylauterbrunnen.com/de/welcome.cfm

http://www.switzerland.isyours.com/e...erbrunnen.html

http://travelguide.all-about-switzer...landmarks.html
Melnq8 is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:52 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,648
Also, if you're interested in ideas, I recently posted a long, detailed Swiss trip report here on Fodor's. We spent a full week in Lauterbrunnen and did a lot of hiking. Just click on my name and look for "April in the Alps" under my trip reports.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jun 24th, 2009, 05:21 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
Thanks for the tips Melnq8! I have read and will print out your trip report! Great suggestions. I contacted Hotel Oberland to ask about their apartment but it is booked the week we are going so I'll keep looking. The one you stayed in looks great but it's a bit pricey for us!
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 06:15 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,648
Here's another apartment possibility that's less expensive - I believe there are four separate units to choose from, but they're popular, so might already be booked:

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-ren...79?uni_id=6267
Melnq8 is online now  
Jun 27th, 2009, 03:24 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
thank you - we ended up booking the Alpenrose apartment at Hotel Oberland. Now it's on to planning our hikes!
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 07:36 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
Two great hikes in the Wengen area - 1- take the cableway up to Mannlichen - with some of the most fantastic views in the BOB - over Interlaken and its lakes as well far below - and do the famous Ridge Walk - fairly flat - a few miles to Kleine Scheidegg - from there there is a swell walk back down to Wengen - on a trail good enough for mountain bikers to use - you see the Lauterbrunnen Valley on the way down - the trail winds down and in a few hours you are back in Wengen.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 10:39 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
And from Wengen go down to Lauterbrunnen to do what IMO is the best day excursion in the whole area:

Taking the cable up from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and then the electric train about four miles to Murren and then another aerial cable car down to Gimmelwald and from there what to me is about the most thrilling aerial cableway in the Alps - plunging from Gimmelwald right down to the valley floor thousands of feet below - then take a postal bus the few miles back to Lauterbrunnen and then train up to Wengen. If you have a Swiss Pass all conveyances and transports on this Wunderbar excursion are covered in full - 100%.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 01:39 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,084
Thanks Palen for posting that. I'm adding it to my to do list for you upcoming trip to Switzerland in September.

jdc
jdc26 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 02:16 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,726
ttt
Byrd is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 08:16 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
jdc - on that loop though you can do it all by public transport in about two hours total transit time, from Wengen and back, you can also incoporate a couple of great easy strolls with some of the most stupendous scenery in the Alps:

1- from where the new cable way from Lauterbrunnen drops you off at the top of the cliff rather than taking the train to Murren you can hike on paths that parallel the tracks and of course yield the same scintillating views - and as the train stops a few times en route you can walk halfway, etc. There is a renown mountain restaurant about halfway with the usual sun terrace, etc. that overlooks both the Jungfrau Valley and the ice-girdled Jungfrau Massif across the way.

2- a shorter hike - rather than taking the aerial cable car from Murren to Gimmelwald you can walk the few miles down to Gimmelwald from Murren on paved paths. so it is easy to do some hiking once up on the Murren plateau
Palenque is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 11:37 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
And on this loop from Murren you can do the fabled Schilthorn excursion - a very long aerial cableway swoops you up from Murren to this rocky outpost surrounded by ice - there is of course the famous revolving restaurant seen in a James Bond film and stupendous views for miles around.
Palenque is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 02:25 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 124
excellent! thank you all so much for the ideas. Has anyone been to the Ballenberg open air museum in Brienz? http://www.ballenberg.ch/ it looks like it might be a good day trip - I think you take a boat across Lake Brienz.
ButterflyGirl06 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:43 AM.