Switzerland Itinery

Jun 29th, 2013, 04:05 AM
  #1  
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Switzerland Itinery

This may be lengthy, sorry. My wife and I and another couple will be traveling together for 1 week (flying into Milan) before meeting up with another couple in Tuscany and then Sorrento for a little more than two extra weeks. The question is: we wish to visit Switzerland for most of the week before Tuscany as we have never been. All travel the week before will be via train (have a van for 2 weeks after) and we wish to treat this week similar to a cruise ship where you are in a city 1 night and then move on to the next. In other words, hit the highlights and move on so next time we know what we like so we can travel Switzerland slower. We are completely open to suggestions as we have no daily timetable but just wish to make the best use of this week. Also any hotel suggestions (aside from R.Steve's guidebook) for any of the proposed cities would also be helpful.
Ironman1 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 04:24 AM
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Well for the trains and transportation part and given your requisite of moving about each day - something I also enjoy doing some kind of Swiss Pass is in order - an 8-consecutive-day pass may be best for a week of continuous travel (and even if doing a base city strategy you often move around from that base) - anyway a Saverpass is for two folks traveling together on one pass (one person can use a Saverpass by themselves say if one person does not want to take a late afternoon boat cruise on some Swiss lake (passes are good not only on trains but lake boats, the iconic postal buses, but also on city trams and buses and give 50% off nearly all gondolas or trains to mountaintops - with the pass you just hop on - no queueing for tickets, etc. Also valid for free entry at 400+ Swiss museums.

For lots of great info on Swiss trains, passes, etc I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sources - www.swisstravelsystem.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; www.rickst4eves.com and www.seat61.com.

As for where to go my favorite place in decades of traveling Switzerland by train is the fabulous Jungfrau Region around Interlaken - this is the Swiss fantasy land picture etched in many folks' minds eye when thinking of Switzerland - the Switzerland of the travel brochure pictures - glacier-girdled peaks soaring high above lush cow-dotted meadows - Alpine villages with chalet-style guesthouses and hotels, etc. I would spend a few days at least in one base and travel around this wonderful area - perhaps taking lake boats on the two lakes bookending Interlaken - go to the Schilthorn and Piz Gloria - made famous in James Bond' On Her Majesty's Service which was in large parts shot here - train up the Jungfraujoch, Europe's highest train station - hiking trails for all degrees of difficulties, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 05:04 AM
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Don't miss a stop in Lucerne! It's my favorite city in Switzerland. I also love visiting Ticino (the Swiss/Italian southern area) with Locarno being a favorite in that area.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 05:22 AM
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If you're starting in Switz not sure why flying into Milan - much easier to fly into Zurich - so you're much closer to the sights you really want to see.

And rather than bouncing around so much I would pick just a couple of places - but do day trips from them. Much better than hauling luggage to a new hotel every night. Agree that the Berner Oberland is a great place to start - with ascending the Jungfrau one of the most important activities . To do this you need to stay in the area a couple of day - since y ou have to wait until the tp of the mountain is clear - rahter than in the clouds. Meanwhile there are a lot of hike and day trips to nearby towns to be enjoyed.

IMHO one doesn;t go to Switz for the cities - but for the mountains/countryside - so you want to stay either in the lower mountains or right at the bottom - Interlaken or Lucerne - not Zurich, Geneva, Bern or Basel.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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Agree that into Zurich makes much more sense but you may already have booked air travel.

For this to work out of Milan, or even Zurich, you should pack lightly, a medium size luggage 24" or so, and one backpack carry on.

You have so many good options. I suggest from Milan take a train to Arona, Italy then beautiful boat ride to Locarno (or train through Domodossola if you prefer) stay in Locarno or Ascona for the night. I love an evening dinner watching the sun set in Ascona!

Next day take the train to Lucerne for 2 nights. As has been said, and I agree, Lucerne is a favorite Swiss city to visit!

Then train to Interlaken for 3 days (or Wengen or Grindewald if you prefer) where you can day trip around the heart of the Bernese Oberland. From Interlaken you could day trip to Bern if you must see a city. However I agree with nytraveler, its better to focus on the BO.

Then the train back through Bellinzona to Lugano and on to Italy wherever you are meeting the rest of your travellers.

May I suggest you not get hung up on travelling to some new city each day like a cruise ship. Remember, they sail at night while you sleep. If you try moving each day you'll end up taking so much time travelling you won't see much of this beautiful country!

Go to a couple of key places (Lucerne and Interlaken area) and take short day trips. Believe me you will see something new each day.
Toucan is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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ttt
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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I'm also studying up for a trip to Switzerland in the fall of 2014. The wrinkle is trying to fit in Zermatt to see the Matterhorn. We would be looking at about 2 weeks, but want to include a few nights in Italy. Is one night in Zermatt sufficient if we don't plan to do any hiking at that location? We also would either fly into Milan or Zurich (or maybe Venice) based on the itinerary I'm putting together. Based on our final plan, we may choose to fly open jaw. Thoughts?
Deb15July is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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Deb, there a so many options and with 2 weeks you can and should make Zermatt work for at least one full day and two nights. I would suggest when you have a more clear itinerary, such as what you want to see in Switzerland and how many days and places you want to include in Italy, that you start a new thread specific to your itinerary. Please include the month in 2014, your preferred means of travel, what you'd like the trips focus to be and how many will be travelling with you.

You will get lots of great ideas from Fodorites. Cheers!
Toucan is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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but want to include a few nights in Italy. Is one night in Zermatt sufficient if we don't plan to do any hiking at that location?>

Yes but if you wantto see the Matterhorn you may need more than one day and I mean just glimpsing its unique visage from town - but this is a fickle mountain that is oft shrouded in fog or clouds IME - so maybe maybe not.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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Hmmm...PalenQ. Interesting point. We spent 3 nights in Arenal (Costa Rica) and I never saw the top of the volcano! So I think I'll keep Zermatt as a maybe until I do further research and then as Toucan mentioned, start a new thread. I started out with a question regarding which Alps, but now that we're leaning towards Switzerland, I can start refining the plan.
Deb15July is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 03:05 PM
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Oh...and sorry Ironman for hijacking your thread!
Deb15July is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 04:29 AM
  #12  
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No problem on the hijack. We bought tickets to Milan thinking we were only going to do the Italian lakes and then on to Portofino and the CT. We have already done the latter so the other couple came up with the Swiss Idea. We are traveling light and that is what complicates the issue (for the women) as we will in the 3 weeks going from cold climate to warm climates. Therefore still struggling with # of days in Switzerland. But thanks for all of the help.
Ironman1 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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Unlike Zermatt, wedged up at the end of a narrow Alpine valley the Jungfrau Region is a broad one with two separate valleys and two lakes and lots of hiking and different mountain peaks to visit - though it can get wet dreary weather anytime of year there is still much more to do there if funky weather sets in - like day tripping to Bern or Lucerne, two cities that can be enjoyed even in wet weather - especially Bern because it has many arcades up and down its main shopping drags!
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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So if staying in Lauterbrunnen, a day trip to Lucerne is possible? I'd love to see Mt. Pilatus.
Deb15July is offline  
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