Switzerland itinerary help

Old Jun 29th, 2016, 07:53 AM
  #1  
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Switzerland itinerary help

Hi!
I will be in Switzerland for (almost) 4 days in July. I'm starting out in Geneva on a Monday and plan on the first two days to include a mix of Geneva itself, and the highlights in the surrounding Lake Geneva area (i.e. Montreux/Chillon etc).

I am staying over in Zurich on Wednesday night. Which leaves me Wednesday, and half a day Thursday. I have to get to Zurich but plan on stopping along the way and I don't need much time there. Would love as much of a taste of the Berner Oberland as I can get in that limited amount of time. I know a huge day trip up to Jungfraujoch won't work , but what are my options? I can stop at Interlaken, and do something less ambitious from there, or Lucerne....any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Daniella
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 08:02 AM
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Hi daniella82,

Sorry, no help for your itinerary for Wednesday and Thursday.

Just wanted to be sure you know about the huge Montreux Jazz Fest that's held the first 2 or 3 weeks of July. If you like jazz, it could really be a great time for you to be there. But if you are indifferent to jazz and don't like crowds, you may want to try to avoid it. You could avoid it by taking a ferry from Vevey or Lutry to Chillon, for instance. Don't forget to spend some time in Vevey, too!

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 08:21 AM
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You have to get to Zurich: why? when?

IMO if you REALLY want to see the Berner Oberland I would forget Geneva entirely and head straight to Montreux. You can be IN the BO from Montreux in less than 2.5 hours by train.

This is, IMO, a simple matter of what do you want to see the most.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 08:44 AM
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Thanks Swandav2000! Dukey1 My flight is out of Zurich on Thursday evening. Other than that I don't need much time in the city itself (would maybe walk around in the evening on Wednesday, have dinner there etc.) I do want to see the Berner Oberland, and I know that could be a whole other trip, but I'm also happy to see Lake Geneva area. I'm ok with one or two "highlights" of BO for the day on Wednesday for this trip if it's doable on the way from Geneva to Zurich.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 08:47 AM
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dukey1 makes sense with his recommendations - more time as possible in the awesome Jungfrau Region - stay in a mountain village like Grindelwald and do the Jungfraujoch train from there.

Investigate the 4-consecutive-day Swiss Pass if traveling every day and some longish distances - good info on Swiss trains: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 09:55 AM
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day trip to Jungfraujoch from Zurich or Geneva makes no sense - you will spend most of the day on trains. Lake Geneva is neat but if you've never been to Switzerland before and dream of an Alpine Wonderland head after a day in say Montreux to the Interlaken area and spend the rest of your time there - if you have an afternoon flight from Zurich take train there in morning from Interlaken - about 2 hours to the airport or so.

Or yes ditch the Jungfrau Region all together and maybe stay in Lucerne - Zurich anyway for a first-timer can be missed IMO.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 10:56 AM
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Thanks PalenQ! I do want to explore the area around lake Geneva because i'm definitely interested in french Switzerland. And I didn't love the idea of moving hotels every night. Don't know if it's realistic-I guess my goal (as I am staying in Zurich on Wednesday night), was to try to do one of the experiences that would give me the "alpine wonderland" feel you mention. I don't have to go up to the highest point (although that would be amazing), being "in it" would do. But I was wondering if I leave Geneva early morning and don't arrive in Zurich until later that night, if there was a way to get a feel of this region in any way, and if so what would be the stop to do that. If not, like you said i'll skip it altogether. I could even get up Thursday morning and take a train from Zurich to Lucerne to explore old town etc. freeing up Wednesday just for the BO area. To clarify I was in switzerland (a LONG time ago) in Bern
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 11:08 AM
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Here's a possibility. If you do go to Montreux then consider taking the short rail trip up to Rochers de Naye; the trains leave from the MOB station which has platforms to the rear of the SBB Montreux station.

Another possibility would be to make your way to Zurich via the so-called Golden Pass rail route to Luzern and then onward. You would not be in the BO and you would forego the Jungfrau but you would still see some pretty spectacular scenery.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 11:09 AM
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If you are spending Monday and Tuesday on Lake Geneva, and flying out of Zurich Thursday night, you really don't have time for the Berner Oberland. You might consider staying in Luzern Wednesday night, as you could easily take a train from Luzern to catch your flight at the Zurich airport Thursday night, but that's still a long way from spending any time in the Berner Oberland. I think the best you could realistically hope for is to take the train from Montreux to Luzern via Interlaken. I guess you could try to work in a sidetrip up the Lauterbrunnen Valley, but you certainly wouldn't have time on Wednesday to go all the way to the Jungfraujoch, and there's always the potential for the weather not to cooperate. On the other hand, if you get to Luzern quick enough, you could have time to go up Pilatus or Rigi and at least see the Alps (again, if the weather cooperates).
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 11:49 AM
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Normally I would say skip right over Geneva and spend those two days at the start in Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, Gruyere... but if it's during Jazz Festival that puts a kink in that plan.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 11:55 AM
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But I was wondering if I leave Geneva early morning and don't arrive in Zurich until later that night, if there was a way to get a feel of this region in any way, and if so what would be the stop to do that.>

well yes - take the scenic Golden Pass train to Interlaken-Ost - very scenic route thru Alpine valleys - at Interlaken-Ost take the 25 minute or so train ride up to Grindelwald from where you can ogle the soaring glacier-girdled peaks rising thousands of feets - spend a short whetting your appetite for your next trip there and then return to Interlaken-Ost and take the scenic Golden Pass route again to Lucerne, up and over the Brunig Pass.

Stay in Lucerne and take a train right to Zurich Airport from there - or take a quick look at Lucerne and go the short distance to Zurich from there.

A lot of traveling on trains but every inch practically awesome in scenery. Note from Interlaken you only get a detached view of the Alps from a distance but from Grindelwald you are eyeball to eyeball with them. Forget the Jungfraujoch train this time -not feasible on such a day trip.

Cheers!
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 03:46 PM
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Thanks everyone! Suze those are some of the things I'm planning to do while in Geneva. That was very helpful PalenQ I really appreciate it! Is Grindelwald my best bet? Twk mentioned lauterbrunnen...?
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 03:54 PM
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I'm crazy for Lac Leman, but I didn't much like Geneva right in the city. The Old Town was OK. The other parts I saw seemed like an urban business area could have been anywhere. *LOVE* Vevey, Montreux, etc.
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 09:39 PM
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Hi again,

Lauterbrunnen sits on the valley floor, looking up at the peaks; it is also a bit hemmed in by high cliffs (disclaimer: I've never gotten off the train to walk the streets of the town because I've always been discouraged by the sight of those overhanging cliffs).

twk mentions "Lauterbrunnen Valley," not Lautberbrunnen itself. That Valley is what Grindelwald is perched above.

Yes, since Grindelwald is up higher, it will give you more of that "I'm in the Alps" feeling. But because you're talking about a day-trip in July, you'll likely find the town full of tour busses and the masses of off-loaded day-tripping passengers (Grindelwald is as high as busses can drive to, so that's where they all drive to!). But if you can squint your eyes to avoid the crowding, you'll still see the beautiful chalets and of course the amazing peaks.

Another option is to see Glacier 3000, which is a detour off of the Golden Pass route from Gstaad. Take the train to Gstaad, then get off and put your bags in the luggage lockers there. Then take the bus to the Col-du-Pillon/Glacier 3000 stop, a total of about 2h travel time from Montreux. That stop is where the cable car is located to get to the top of Glacier 3000. This place will also give you that incredible "I'm in the Alps" experience. If you want to stop off at a town to explore, I'd recommend Saanen or Gstaad.

www.glacier3000.ch/en

www.gstaad.ch

The onward travel from Col-du-Pillon to Luzern will be about 4h.

Hope you get it worked out!!

s
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Old Jun 30th, 2016, 05:56 AM
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Coming up from Interlaken, the river splits at Zweilutschinnen, with one branch going up to Lauterbrunnen, and the other to Grindewald (in fact, the train out of Interlaken Ost splits at Zweilutschinnen, with the front half going to Lauterbrunnen and the back half to Grindewald--have to be careful that you don't end up on the wrong part of the train). If you go up the Grindewald branch, that's pretty self explanatory. When you go up the Lauterbrunnen branch, you would probably want to go either to Murren or Wengen, to get up on the shelf of that U-shaped valley (as opposed to staring up at the walls from Lauterbrunnen). If you had time, and it was a clear day, you could consider going from Grindewald to Wengen (either by rail through Kleine Scheidegg, or, quicker, by gondola and cable car through Mannlichen), but that might be a little ambitious.
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Old Jun 30th, 2016, 04:49 PM
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Wow thanks everyone that's all extremely helpful, that really made things clearer twk and swandav2000-now I'll just decide on that day based on all of your input

Suze I'm really planning on spending most of my time in those lake geneva areas you mentioned and won't explore Geneva proper too much. Thanks for the tips!
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Old Jul 1st, 2016, 09:31 AM
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twk's advise about that Grindelwald-Lauterbrunnen train splitting at Zweilutchen is right on - I always see folks who board the wrong half of the train in Interlaken-Ost and then scurry at Zweilutchen to change train parts after the conductor tells them they are in the wrong half (halves however are clearly marked with placards on the outside of the carriage as to where that train is heading.
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Old Jul 1st, 2016, 11:01 AM
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My view is definitely colored by my friends who I stay with who live there. They were in Vevey my first 3 trips, then moved and are in Montreux my next 2 trips. They call Geneva "the city without a soul" (lol!).

My top favorite local things are the weekly street farmers market: Sat and Tues mornings in Vevey and Fri in Montreux. I also loved Chateau de Chillon and taking the tram up Rocher de Naye on a clear day. We did a day trip (friend drives) to Gruyere where we toured that castle and had lunch (meat/cheese board) in a quaint historic cafe.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2016, 11:00 AM
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Thanks PalenQ, I'm writing all of this down and Lol suze, I will focus more on the surrounding areas, thanks those ideas are great (I will be there on a Tuesday and will try to catch the farmers market!)
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