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Switzerland in 4 days

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Mar 7th, 2012, 01:40 PM
  #1
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Switzerland in 4 days

I will be travelling from Venice to Switzerland with my husband and 2 teenage kids who love to see the mountains and not too much of art.

1. What is the nearest city from Venice in switzerland where we can spend the night and see some sights.

2. from that city what would be the other cities we could visit and mode of travel from one ccity to the other.

3. Our ultimate destination is Zurich so which route of cities we should take.

I want to see all the important sights in Switzerland like Matterhorn, Mt Titlis, Trummelbach falls, Interlaken, Lucerne etc.

Thanks in advance.
kellieR is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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In 4 days you have to select IMO one spot and I would strongly recommend the Interlaken-Jungfrau Region which is the epitome of the glacier-strewn ice-bound Alpine wonderland etched in your mind's eye when thinking of Switzerland. And from Venice it is pretty straight forward - take a train to Milan and switch for a train to Spiez and then a local train to Interlaken - many people like to stay right up in the mountain villages like Grindewald, Lauterbrunnen or Wengen, etc. Places where your hotel balconies will have intoxicating views of the high Alps and verdant meadows and valleys under them.

From Interlaken you can get a direct train I believe to Zurich.

For 4-days IMO check out the 4-consecutive-day Swiss Pass as it would cover nearly all your transportation on trains, buses, city transit systems, lake boats (nice rides on lakes in Interlaken) - for lots of great info on Swiss trains, passes, etc check out these IMO fantastic sites -
http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; www.swisstravelsystem.com and www.ricksteves.com.

If you kids are under 16 they get a free Family Pass so they never ever pay a penny for any kind of travel, on trains, on aerial cable cars, lake boats, etc.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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I want to see all the important sights in Switzerland like Matterhorn, Mt Titlis, Trummelbach falls, Interlaken, Lucerne etc.>

Impossible in 4 days even though Switzerland is really tiny - mountains get in the way of direct train lines and roads - so again concentrate on one area - and the Interlaken area is relatively close to Zurich your destination point.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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I totally agree.

You will get on a Swiss train in Milan, change trains in Spiez to Interlaken Ost and change trains there to Lauterbrunnen. Lauterbrunnen is in the valley and a good central location. I loved staying up in the mountains. If you choose to do that, from Lauterbrunnen, you will either take a train to Wengen or a bus then gondola to Gimmelwald or Murren.

Sounds very complicated but the Swiss trains are amazingly efficient and there are train personnel close at hand for help. The area is WELL worth the effort.

Once in the area, you will be continually taking trains, cable cars, buses, etc. The Swiss Pass will allow you to just get on without having to go to the ticket window each time to buy a ticket---a huge help. A couple of locations that go above where people live costs a little more so you have to buy an extra ticket--mostly Jungfrau and Schilthorn.

I highly recommend Rick Steves' books for this area.

On our way to Zurich to fly home, we got off the train in Lucerne and took a boat ride on Lake Lucerne. The boats are right outside the train station so it is very easy. Your Swiss Pass will cover this. We then just got back on the train and went to Zurich. It's not far.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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These are wonderful suggestions. Thanks very much. Can someone give me some good hotels to stay . We will be travelling in Mid July so hopefully some hotels have swimming pools. Also de we need winter jackets to go high in the mountains?

Thanks once again fodorites. This forum is wonderful!
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Mar 8th, 2012, 06:08 PM
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Swimming in the Swiss Alps, particularly in a hotel pool, isn't high on the agenda for most vistors, or hotels for that matter. Usually mid-July would be a warm, swimming pool type affair, but in Switzerland, particularly if you go to the Bernese Oberland (Interlaken, Lauterbrunne, etc) region you'll find it's not super hot at that time of year and evenings are still quite cool (well, light jacket cool).

Off the top of my head I can't think of many hotels with pools in the region, but there are two rather large lakes at Interlaken (hence the name: between the lakes) called Brienz (Brienzersee) and Thun (Thunersee). You can take a boat ride on the lakes, watch the few fishermen left (on Thun more than Brienz) and you can also swim in Lake Brienz at the couple of Lidos if you feel like a dip. There is also an swimming area at nearby Goldswill called the Burgseeli, which is a small lake overlooking Lake Brienz. There is also an outdoor pool in Lauterbrunnen called Freibad Zuben not far from the train station (before it on the left when comming from Interlaken direction). But the region isn't the kind of place you go for pools, more for the scenery, the activities and the cheese!

And yes you'll need a warm jacket/layers if you plan to go up the Jungfraujoch. It can be around 4C on a good day up there (it't over 11,000ft) so outside is brisk! But if you don't want to carry a large jacket around on your trip, layer dress or even hire a jacket in town (the mountain bike shop has them).

Have a look at hotels in Lauterbrunnen, Murren and even Wengen and see what suits your budget and style. These are more "in the mountains" if you want scenery and access to the mountains, hiking, biking, etc. But don't leave it too long as they book up for Summer.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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Few Swiss hotels have pools - and the ones that do are usually upscale - which in Switz means VERY expensive.

What is your budget? And are you looking for 2 rooms - or trying to find family rooms that would hold 4 adults?
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Mar 10th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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From the suggestions I would like to do 4 days in Grindewald. What hotels for a family of 4 would you recommend. Do the hotels give free continental breakfast?

Also how could I plan 4 days in the area to make the most of my Switzerland trip? TIA!!
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Mar 10th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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I am writing a trip report now that included our stay in Grindelwald, and a few years ago wrote one about our stay in Lauterbrunnen. Click on my name and scroll down to my trip reports and find both to read about all the things we did on both vacations. I put in links for pictures too, although the earlier trip report links may not be good any more. By the way, we had kids with us both times (the first time they were 12 and most recently they were 17) so you can read about a lot of activities that our kids loved!
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Mar 10th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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kwen

Which location did you like best as a base? I have stayed in Wengen 4 times, but I might change this year.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 02:21 PM
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Wengen for shush quiet and solitude Grindelwald for a younger more lively crowd - Grindelwald is much bigger and attracts many younger travelers and many hikers, etc.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Hi scatcat. We enjoyed both and had no complaints about either! We had a nicer hotel with a view of the opposite side of the valley (loved watching the trains zig-zagging up the side of the mountain from our balcony) in Lauterbrunnen, and a nicer view (the Alps!) in Grindelwald, but of course that depends on which hotels and views you pay for. I'd say Grindelwald is a cuter alpine town with more typical Swiss buildings though if that's important. When we were there the end of June/early July, it wasn't very crowded.

This is how I chose where to stay: I decided what we want to do and take into account the transportation to them from either place. The first trip I mentioned above, we wanted to go up the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn, see Trummelbach Falls and hike from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. Lauterbrunnen was centrally located for all that.

The second trip, we wanted to try some new things like the Rodelbahn at Pfingstegg and going up to First to hike to the Bachalpsee. Those two originated in Grindelwald. It was also easy to do the hike from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (plus we wanted to ride the 'longest cable car in Europe' which originated in Grindelwald).

Taking the trip up the Jungfrau is just as easy from either place. The trip to the Schilthorn takes more train travel from Grindelwald, but if you have a pass and the time, still not bad.

But of course you have staying in Wengen, and you may have done all these things already. I'd probably choose Grindelwald for the more alpine feel and the views. I haven't stayed in Wengen, so don't know how the views compare if that's your criteria.

Hope that helps at least a little!
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Mar 11th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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You could detour on the way and go Milan-Brig-Zermatt and see the Matterhorn.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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Hi kellie

You didn't give a budget for your hotel. We really like the Bel Air Eden in Grindelwald. Mind you, it was a budget hotel (but still the most expensive hotel of the trip - Switzerland is incredibly expensive now)), but was only a couple of minutes from the train station. We booked the family room on the south side with balcony (a double bed and 2 bunks and facing the Alps), but got 2 doubles once we arrived. The hotel was a bit bare bones, but very clean, very comfortable and roomy. (check out my pictures in my trip report) It had a very good breakfast buffet. We got free passes from the hotel to the sports complex - you could check to see if they have a pool.

We considered others in Grindelwald, but decided on this one because it was so close to the station and we were leaving very early our last day.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Our budget for each night is somewhere between $ 125 - $175. Would I get something decent for that price. Also is 4 days sufficient ?
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Mar 11th, 2012, 02:06 PM
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Thanks kwen! I really love Wengen, but since I have stayed there so many times, just thought I might try a different location. Yes, I have been to Jungfrau twice. Loved the views from there. I have been to Grindelwald but never stayed there. Went to First and of course, bought the chocolates. Was the name Schuh? Can't remember, but they were expensive, but oh so good!
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Mar 11th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Not sure you can find anything for $125-175/nite for 4. We booked a quad with shared bathroom in the Youth Hostel Grindelwald for 170 CHF (approx $180) for this summer for our family of 4 (also 2 teens). It includes breakfast.

I stayed there in college and was impressed by how nice it was for a hostel. Hope it's still as nice as I remember!
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Mar 11th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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Karen - how much per night was your hotel at Bel Air Eden in Grindelwald?
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Mar 12th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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Hi kellie - our family room at the Bel Air Eden, including breakfast and taxes, was 280 CHF per night (around $300 right now), but it would be cheaper if you took a room without the view on the north side of the hotel. Personally, I had to have that view and it was worth the extra cost for us. I looked at many hotels and apartments before deciding on this one. Did you see my pictures of the hotel in the trip report I am working on now?

Even though this was the most expensive hotel of our trip, it was the only "budget" hotel we booked! We ate a lot at breakfast!

Switzerland is really expensive now.
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Mar 12th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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http://www.hotel-belair.ch/index.php?userlang=en

prices are on the hotel web site and the pictures of it look dreamy!
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