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Two nights near Geneva...suggestions on itinerary and areas to stay?

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Mar 3rd, 2014, 07:10 PM
  #1
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Two nights near Geneva...suggestions on itinerary and areas to stay?

Hello,

We are finishing our trip of Italy by flying out of Geneva. Everything is booked in Italy but need to sort out plans for Switzerland. We will be taking the train from Florence on May 20, 2014 up to Switzerland. We fly out of Geneva on May 22 at about noon so we have two nights and one full day to spend somewhere in the area.

I am looking for suggestions on itinerary and places to stay. Should we get a hotel in Geneva (wow they seem expensive!) and then take the train to Lausanne or Montreux for the day on the 21st? Or would we be better to continue our train trip on the 20th and stay somewhere outside of Geneva (Lausanne, Montreux or somewhere else) and then just get up early on the 22nd and go to the airport from there?

Also looking for ideas on where/what to do with our full day on the 21st. I realise that we cannot in any way do Switzerland justice in one day and we are not looking for an exhausting day. Maybe a trip up into the mountains (no real interest in spending time in a big city) or to a castle of some kind (I am probably naive to think there are some in the area)?

Thanks so much in advance for all of your advice

Caitie
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 07:46 PM
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It's a one hour or so train ride from Montreux to the Geneva Airport. I wouldn't stay in Geneva, but that's my personal taste, I've never been much of a fan.

From Florence, you'd go by train to Milan, then change trains and pass through Lausanne through Montreux to Geneva.

Both Lausanne and Montreux are lovely places to stay, or even Vevey. And the train will take you from one town to the next, or you can do it by the little excursion boats they have on Lac Leman, going from one place to the next, then taking the train or the bus back to the start.
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 10:36 PM
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Hi Caitie,

Yes, I would also suggest Montreux or Vevey right on Lake Geneva. At that time, the flowered lakeside promenade will be in full bloom and will be lovely. The walk from Montreux to Chillon castle along the lake will take about 45 minutes, and it's one of the best things to do there. You can continue along the lake to the next town of Villeneuve, about 45 minutes more.

You can explore the vineyards above Vevey -- take the train to Chexbres and walk down to Rivaz or St. Saphorin (about 20 or 30 minutes), or you can take the train to Lutry (a lovely town right on the lake) and walk through the vineyards to Cully (about 90 minutes) or Rivaz (about 2h).

Or you can take the train to Broc-Fabrique to explore the Cailler chocolate factory, or to Gruyere to explore the cheese-making dairy and the castle and the medieval village, or to Gstaad for a walk in the mountains.

The old town of Vevey is well worth a few hours as well, with its tangle of narrow streets, all next to the lake. I also love the old town of Montreux, but few visitors go there -- it's up on top of a hill, but it has wonderful views over Montreux and the lake.

Your hosts will give you a Riviera Card that will make the busses free; the busses run every 10 minutes, and there are stops at just about every other corner. The bus line #201 runs between Vevey to and past Montreux to and past Chillon to Villeneuve.

You can rent bikes at the train stations at Montreux, Vevey, and Lausanne, and renting one way is possible.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Mar 3rd, 2014, 10:38 PM
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Oh, forgot to say --

Trains from Montreux to the Geneva airport take about 90 minutes, so you should be ok staying in Montreux or Vevey the night before you leave.

s
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Mar 4th, 2014, 01:30 PM
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What lovely suggestions! Thank you so much. Montreux or Vevey it is! Now to find a nice B&B or hotel to stay. Thank you so much!
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Mar 4th, 2014, 01:35 PM
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I also was coming to suggest staying in Vevey or Montreux. If you tell us your price range maybe we can help?
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Mar 4th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Here are two hotels over local restaurants in Vevey:
http://www.hotelgeneve.ch/
http://www.hotelnegociants.ch/en/home/home.php

Or Hotel Helvetie in Montreux:
http://www.helvetie.ch/en/rooms
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Mar 4th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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Thank you Suze! These hotels look look to be about in our price range (150 USD - 225USD) which I know is likely a bit tight for Switzerland. Any other suggestions are welcome! I will read up on the links that you sent.

If I had to prioritize what we are looking for, I would say a quiet room at night, (we don't mind five minutes of extra walking to have a quiet room at night) clean, and a nice view. We are not fussy about elevators and other extras.

Still trying to decide between Vevey and Montreux - we like the idea of Vevey because it is smaller but like the idea of Montreux for the hills. Perhaps we'll decide based on finding a place to stay we like...

Thanks again to all for your helpful suggestions!
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Mar 4th, 2014, 06:25 PM
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Count me on on the recommendations for Vevey and Montreux; we stayed in Montreux on the end of our Switzerland trip-- the Chateau de Chillon was wonderful, especially since we took a boat over and a very convenient bus back to our lakeside hotel. Vevey was a gem, what was interesting to me was the Food Museum ("Aliment, you can find it directly behind the giant fork in the lake! But, Lausanne was also a beautiful day's outing-- a metro brings you to the top of this steep city and brings you back down to the waterfront. We never had time to explore the hilly part of Montreux, that is above the level of the train station. If you are there, do have dinner at La Rouvenaz, lakeside, delicious Italian, mid-priced for Switz., very popular with locals as well as tourists.
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Mar 4th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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Thank you Aliced! I think that after some reading, we are leaning towards Vevey but still looking for a specific place to stay. We won't have a car so that will affect where we stay but we are also willing to walk if a place is a little bit outside of town...
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Mar 4th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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I like Vevey better (although both cities are fabulous). It feels more traditional local and "Swiss" to me. Montreux is a bit more international and modern feeling.

The two hotels I listed are where my friends who live there have their friends and family stay. Maybe there are other reasonably priced places, but I don't know of any.

Both sit right on the lake with gorgeous lakeside promonades to walk along. Both have farmers markets that are not to be missed (Tues & Sat in Vevey, Fri in Montreux).

Chateau de Chillon is fantastic. The tram up the mountainside Rocher de Nayes is great is the weather is clear.
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Mar 4th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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One more follow up question, we don't need A/C in Switzerland in May?
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Mar 4th, 2014, 07:25 PM
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I just missed your last post Suze. The hotels that you listed look good and I think we will end up staying in one of the ones in Vevey. Thanks again for your suggestions and all of your help!
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Mar 4th, 2014, 10:40 PM
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Hi again,

I really wouldn't stay in a hotel over a restaurant, particularly the two mentioned by suze. They are both very popular, and will probably stay noisy at night. I once stayed in rooms over a popular restaurant (Hermitage in Montreux), and I was kept up until after midnight every night by the clunk of plates, the clatter of cutlery, and the murmur of conversation.

I've never stayed at this place (these days I stay in an apartment), but I always recommend the Hostellerie Bon Rivage in Vevey (or, just outside Vevey in a tiny suburb, but you won't be able to notice that you're not IN Vevey).

www.bon-rivage.ch

It sits right on the lake and just steps from a bus stop. It will be about a 15 minute walk from the Vevey train station (most of the walk is along the lake!). It looks like doubles on the weekend are 170 chf per room, so it should be in your price range.

You won't need a/c on Lake Geneva in May. It will be quite cool at night, so you only need to be able to open your windows (this is why staying over a restaurant may not be a good idea).

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Mar 5th, 2014, 08:32 AM
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I agree the two hotels would likely be noisy because they are right in the center of town (besides being over restaurants). You can read reviews to see other people's experience (I am lucky enough to stay with friends in either Vevey or Montreux). Bon Rivage seems a good alternative. Or Helvetie which is on the main street thru Montreux (it's a bit of "faded grandeur"). Agree no need for AC in May.
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Mar 5th, 2014, 11:56 AM
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I stayed in Bon Rivage at the recommendation of swandav -- I think -- and was very fond of the price and the location. It is very close to the train line that runs between (I think) Lausanne and Montreux. A commuter train is my best recollection, but the regular trains that run that route definitely have stops in Vevey, and may have a stop at La Tour de Peilz (pronounced "Pelz", like "bells" with a "p"). The commuter train definitely stops at Tour de Peilz, where Bon Rivage is located.

In fact, we took the train from Geneva airport directly to Tour de Peilz, where it did stop, and walked from the station -- a couple of blocks from the hotel. I remember it was pretty easy considering I had a sprained ankle and dragging luggage after two airplane rides from LAX to Paris, to Geneva, and then an hour and a half on the train from Geneva airport!

Please see my review of Bon Rivage on Fodors Destinations - Hotels. It will explain some of the issues we had that will no longer affect anyone's stay, but will give you an idea as to whether you want to stay in their annex or in the main hotel!

Since the main street in front of the hotel is the main route along that part of the lake . . . going to Vevey, Lausanne in one direction, or Montreux in the other . . . it is very convenient to catch a bus right next to the hotel, and they will give you a bus pass allowing you free bus service throughout that whole stretch. It came in very handy for touring the area.
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Mar 5th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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Wanted to add a link to my review, since it's listed under "Vaud" which may not clue a traveler in as to the area.

http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/s...ew-145031.html
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Mar 5th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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You might consider Annecy, France about 40 minutes from Geneva and called the Venice of Savoie. It has been several years since we were there but I remember we took a bus and it was faster and easier than the train. We also stayed at Hotel Ibis which is a low cost accommodation but was in perfect location. Nothing special at all, just average and clean. It had been recommended. Annecy has a lake front promenade, boats around lake, castle, beautiful flower boxes everywhere and just lots of charm in general. Enjoy your trip.
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Mar 6th, 2014, 07:22 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your extremely helpful comments! We have been looking at Bon Rivage but were quoted a price of 245CHF per night which might be a bit over our price range so we haven't totally decided. I was wondering if anyone had heard of Bed and Breakfast 7e Art. From the Booking.com website it appears to be further away from the water (likely no great view) but the reviews are quite positive and there are some comments that it is quiet. Given that Vevey seems to be quite small, I thought that perhaps it wouldn't be a major issue to just walk to the lakefront from that location. No reviews showed up on Trip Advisor that I could see although, as I said, Booking.com reviews are quite good.
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Mar 6th, 2014, 08:00 AM
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Hi again,

Well, the problem is that the BB 7e Art is 1km from the water, and the big problem is that it is 1km inland. That generally means UPhill. It will require taking a bus up the hill and down again; unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with the busses that go up into the hills. From the map, it looks like it is actually in Corsier-sur-Vevey. You can see it if you look at google maps.

I have a few more suggestions for you. Try the

Le Charlot Guest House
http://www.lecharlot.com/englishsite/index.html

I haven't stayed here myself, but friends of mine have, and they liked it. It sits right on the lake by the central square in Vevey, and some rooms have lake views. I don't know what the price is, though, and when I tried a dummy booking for four nights in May, it said no rooms are available. Worth a shot, though.

Or, you might want to try staying in Lutry, a really gorgeous wine-growing town that also sits right on the lake on the outskirts of Lausanne (on the Vevey side) Try --

Hotel Rivage
http://hotelrivagelutry.ch/en_UK/hotel

or the

Le Bourg 7
http://lebourg7.com/

If it were me, I would bite the bullet and pay for the rooms at the HBR, especially if they are lakeview rooms. I think if one is staying at a lake . . . one *needs* views of the lake, lol. And that's really pretty reasonable at 122 chf per person.

Good luck!

s
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