Switzerland from Geneva

Old Jun 1st, 2005, 12:29 AM
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Switzerland from Geneva

Hi all, have just found this wonderful site! Thanks to all who contribute.
I will be visiting Europe in about 3 weeks and part of the trip will be catching up with a friend who lives just out of Geneva (in France though.) We will have three nights with her and I would be interested in advice about what the highlights would be? From my reading I really had my heart set on going to Jungfraujoch but it looks like too far from Geneva for a day trip. Should I leave my friends place and go overnight to make this trip or is there similar scenery worthwhile closer? She is not a local but has suggested Chamonix, Mont Blanc, Gruyere as day trips (and of course Geneva.)
Also has anyone been to Merindol (Provence) - that's where we have rented a villa?
Thankyou.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 04:24 AM
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ttt
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 04:39 AM
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I assume you have already checked rail schedules at the GermanRail site
http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?
or the Swissrail site

www.sbb.ch

and that you know the one-way trip to the area will take about 3.5 hours.

If your heart is set on this then i would do it, regardless of the scenery around Geneva or along the shores of Lac Leman....they are all great but they are NOT the same.

To do it at all I would at least try to leave very early in the morning from Geneva and saty overnight in the area and come back on the last possible train.

You'll be glad you did it and that you didn't "settle" for something else. GO for it!
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 04:40 AM
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Hi, Ozgirl. I know others will add good suggestions here, but I'll start off by suggesting a boatride on Geneve's Lac Leman and perhaps a walk in the Lavaux vineyards. You could daytrip up from Montreux towards Gstaad to see some mountain views. I like Chateau d'Oex with its folk art museum. There's also an interesting little French village, Yvoire, just on the lake near you. Annecy is a lovely town for a visit, too. Perhaps you could do an image search at Google to get a look at Chamonix and Mt Blanc to see if they'll satisfy your mountain wish. J.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 04:55 AM
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p.s. I've changed my mind. Do you like riding trains? If so, you might consider a daytrip from Geneva to the Jungfrau a grand adventure! sbb shows four hours from Geneva to Murren. But it is broken up by several changes and a variety of countryside. It is indeed possible to leave Geneva on the 7:15 and be in the mountains by 10:15 (actually, you'd be in the mountains long before that--I just picked the most extreme destination). You could toodle around until about 5:00 p.m.-- 17:15, and be back in Geneva by 21:15. I know a number of people--including myself--who wouldn't hesitate. Trainrides in Switzerland are great fun. J.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 04:57 AM
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Wrong again. I do apologize. Only one cup of coffee so far. I'll get better. The morning departure is 6:45 arriving at 10:45. Still OK in my book.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Thanks guys(or girls?) If we did decide to go from Geneva and stay overnight - where should we stay and where would Jungfraujoch fit in to that schedule? We have two teenage girls with us (at least I hope we will still have them under control by then!) and have booked apartment accommodation everywhere else which are probably not appropriate for overnight though - something not too expensive (the poor Aussie dollar you know!)
Thanks.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 05:40 AM
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Will top this again for you...to get to the area by train you'll have to go through/change in Interlaken and many will tell you that to see the area you really are interested in that you should stay in a place such as Murren.

Hopefully one of those folks will see this and respond.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Gruyere is definitely worth a day (or 1/2 day) trip to see the castle and the little town. Have some wine and a meat and cheese plate at a local restaurant. Geneva is a huge city, so less interesting to me, although I did like the Old Town. My favorite places in this area are out along Lac Leman including Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux. These are all right on the train line that runs out from Geneva and only an 1+ hour away. If you happen to have a Saturday morning free, the Vevey open air farmers market in the town square is very special and something I always recommend.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Topping again....
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 11:40 AM
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Most Swiss cities have a tourist website with addresses such as:
www.vevey.ch
www.montreux.ch
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 09:03 PM
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thank you all - does anyone have any specific dos and don'ts about visiting Jungfraujoch on limited time if we decide to go from Geneva?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 12:04 AM
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I suggest you post your question in a new thread with Jungfraujoch in the title because all you got from this one was suggestions about places to go (all good, I might add) along Lac Leman...sigh.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 12:35 AM
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I think you are getting caught up in the hype of the Jungfrau and the misconception that this is the only place to see beautiful mountains in Switzerland. (The joke here in Switzerland is that the Bernese Oberland does not have better mountains, just a better publicity team. . .) There are a LOT of places which are just as beautiful a lot closer to Geneva. First of all, as suggested above, go down the lake to Vevey or Lausanne and see the breathtaking Alp views from there, hike in the vineyards, see the great old towns, do some shopping, walk or bike along the lake, see the Chillon Castle which the kids would love (really excellent one of the best I have ever been in). Go down by ferry and back by train or vice-versa. Train is about 30 minutes from Geneva. As your friend suggests, stay in France and see the French Alps, which are just as beautiful just not as hyped. You can drive to Mt Blanc in less than an hour. In Switzerland, the Chateau D’oux area is beautiful and about 2 hours by train, and there are also the mountain areas around Gruyere, which could be combined with a trip to Gruyere, which is in such a lovely area.

As noted, the train ride is 3.5 hours each way to Lauterbrunnen at the base of the Jungfrau, so you are talking about a minimum of 7 hours on the train just to look at it from the bottom. (You also need to add in train time from your friend’s town in France to the Geneva train station.) Add at least another 2 hours if you want to go up into higher elevations and back. IMO, 9 hours is a very long travel time for a day trip. Plus, you won’t really have time to enjoy the area, take walks, or get down to the beautiful lakes at Interlaken. I cannot urge strongly enough that you either skip this or do it as an overnight trip. If you really want to do this as a day trip (or even overnight), consider:

1. Be flexible. If it is raining or very cloudy in Geneva, think twice about going. While weather patterns are not identical in both places, your chances of finding clouds and rain in Jungfrau are better if it is cloudy and rainy in Geneva.

2. Take as early a train as you can. The mountains are at their best in terms of clarity in the morning, so try to get to Wengen/Murren, etc as early as you can. If you want to take the train up to the top, this will add about another 1.5 hours to your trip, another reason to start early. The thing in your favor is that in June it will be light until almost 10 pm, so you can start back after dinner and still see a lot in the daylight. Bad news is that June is a very popular travel month, so you could be waiting in line for a train up from Lauterbrunnen. (The train trip is also quite expensive, but if you have a Swiss Pass, it is better, and if the kids have a Junior Pass, it is free for them.)

3. Have an alternate plan in mind if you get there and the weather is bad, like the Ballenberg outdoor museum.

4. An option to consider is the Golden Pass Train, which will take longer than the conventional Swiss rail trains, but the scenery is very good. You would most likely not be able to go to the trop of the Jungfrau is you did this train, as time would be tight. For info on the Golden Pass train, go to goldenpass.ch.

For reasons that pass all understanding, getting to Mt Blanc from the Geneva area takes many hours, although it is not that far in terms of miles. This would be a good option if you rented a car (or borrowed your friends?) and drove, as you can get there in about an hour from Geneva, probably even closer for you. It is a very beautiful area.


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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 01:16 AM
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Cicerone, so many thanks for taking the time to write such comprehensive advice!! My friend lives in Vesancy (for a few more months at least!)and her suggestions for the immediate area seem to match up with yours and others here so I am now leaning toward staying with her the whole time and doing day trips - I just wanted to be sure we got the real Swiss experience, I don't think my part of Australia could be more of a contrast to Switzerland!!!
Having got that sorted, I will now post another topic and glean some advice about our week's stay in Provence prior to Switzrland!
Thanks again.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:01 AM
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Ozgirl, pardon my tagging along on your coattails, but, Cicerone, I've just seen your mention of leaving Switzerland at another thread. Like S', I'll be so sorry to see you leave. You've been such a good resource for everyone who looks to this forum for information or just a "Swiss fix." Most recently, I especially enjoyed your comment about the Oberland's PR hype. And I think you're the only person who has ever mentioned the Walensee, a lake I've been curious about since visiting its webcam. Is there a particular lakeside town that is your favorite? Maybe before you go, you'll start your own thread of your favorite places, so we can chat w/o guilt. There used to be SGFTWLS threads around here somewhere, but maybe too far back to locate. Again, sorry Ozgirl, but there are so many places to discover in Switzerland. I won't live long enough to find them all. J.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:43 AM
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<The joke here in Switzerland is that the Bernese Oberland does not have better mountains, just a better publicity team> That is VERY funny Cicerone!!

I have wondered about that because while I'm no Alps expert, in many trips to the Vevey/Montreux area I feel that all you have to do is LOOK UP and there's the mountains, huge and glorious... from the train, along the lakeside quai, etc.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 01:24 PM
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If you are dead set on Jungfraujoch, my suggestion would be to take two days. Train via Montreux, Gstaad, Speiz, Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen to Gimmelwald. Stay overnight in the hostel at
http://www.mountainhostel.com/
Then catch the early (cheaper train up to Jungfraujoch the next morning and return to Geneva. You might want to pick an alternative route on your return, but I would avoid routing via Bern, as the scenery in that area is not mountainous.

The train route I listed is a regular train on the same route as the Golden Pass, I believe, and the views will make the trip very interesting. I haven't stayed at the hostel, but with young people it might be a good option.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 04:38 PM
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Thanks so much everyone - I will go back to the maps and books now and try and make a decision!
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