Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Visited SWITZERLAND and NEW ZEALAND? Please compare.

Visited SWITZERLAND and NEW ZEALAND? Please compare.

Old Feb 17th, 2010, 11:51 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Visited SWITZERLAND and NEW ZEALAND? Please compare.

Have you visited both Switzerland & the Alps...and the south island of New Zealand? Please compare and contrast your experiences? I am curious.

I LOVE New Zealand... My husband and I have wonderful memories from our 25th anniversary trip to the south island of New Zealand, including Mt. Cook, Fiordland, and many magical places. For me, New Zealand is a place full of scenic wonders and mystical sights.

We have chosen Switzerland for a trip this summer 2010. I am so excited, and I'm very curious to hear about your experiences in Switzerland...and how they compare with your experiences in New Zealand? I would love to hear your very subjective answers...your own viewpoints.
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2010, 03:21 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,282
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Hi Melissa -

Yep, I've visited both many times, as they're my two favorite countries. I'm not sure I can find the right words to compare the two at the moment, but I'll give it a think and get back to you.

Fodor's poster Indiancouple recently made an excellent comparision of the SI and Switzerland on another poster's thread, but I can't for the life of me find it, otherwise I'd post the link.

If photos help, let me know and I'll direct you to my collection of SI and Switzerland photos on World is Round.

I have a very detailed trip report posted here on Fodor's from our latest trip to Switzerland last April. Just click on my name and scroll down to April in the Alps if you're interested. There's a link in the report to my photos too.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2010, 06:56 PM
  #3  
ih
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 95
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i had asked the same question and the response from INDIANCOUPLE was as follows
Yes, there is some similarity between South Island and Switzerland, in the sense that they are both places of pristine natural beauty. However, the vistas are quite different. NZ South Island is more a combination of mountains, lakes and ocean all together, wherein you are usually at sea level while viewing them. Switzerland is more of rugged mountains, where you are viewing things from top. Both are spectacular, and I would not attempt to rate one over the other.
ih is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2010, 07:47 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've visited both as well, Switzerland in September and the North and South Islands in August. For comparison on the mountains I find the Swiss Alps much more impressive and offer more way of getting to the top(gondolas, trains etc) vs NZ especially the Queenstown Southern Alps area.

More trekking options in Switzerland to enjoy the magnificent Alps as well and I really enjoy the areas around the Bernese Oberland(Wengen, Jungfraujoch) and Zermatt. More restaurants and little villages in the mountain areas of Switzerland which made for a more enjoyable trekking.

Good thing about NZ is that it's less expensive and the food is better there!

My trip report from Switzerland with links to pictures: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...witzerland.cfm
Hanuman is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 01:17 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh you are all so terrific! I just found your replies and I'm excited to read your trip reports, and check out your photos! Right now I'm up way past my bed-time, uh-oh.

Your replies have already got me way more excited! There is something about mountains that just sets my soul soaring...

Don't laugh, but when I was a girl, we moved across the USA and I had to leave behind all my treasures, including my very favorite story book of Heidi! That was my first glimpse of Switzerland! The goats, the mountain...the grandfather...

So far I haven't booked anything, but we are planning 2 weeks in Europe, mainly in Switzerland, this summer. I'm considering staying for up to 6 nights in the Berner Oberland, maybe in either Murren or Gimmelwald or even Lauterbrunnen... (That's Gimmelwald, NOT Grindelwald.)

Just curious, if you all had 15 nights would you spend it all in Switzerland, or would you spend a few nights somewhere else? My husband keeps mentioning Salzburg, but I'm thinking it's too far by train?
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 03:11 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We only spent 9 nights but if we had 15 nights I would spend another 3 or more nights in the St. Moritz area and then another 3 nights in Milan where where you can easily find an international flight back home.
Hanuman is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 05:56 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,202
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
The Swiss are far more organised and ...the only word i can find is "repressed" and that is not the right one. Trains run on time, service is poor, rules are rules, the towns are old and decorated.

NZ SI. multi-cultural, multi-political, more dope, rules exist but may not be followed. Scenery is better.

I think the nearest comparison to NZ in the West is the Azores not NZ and the fjords of NZ are more like Norway
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 09:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,202
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Sorry "I think the nearest comparison to NZ in the West is the Azores not NZ and the fjords of NZ are more like Norway" should read "I think the nearest comparison to NZ in the West is the Azores not Switzerland and the fjords of NZ are more like Norway
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 10:05 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,424
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I saw the Swiss alps first, but spent more time in NZ (several months backpacking around), so both of those facts may affect my opinion.

I actually think the Swiss alps are more impressive as mountains. Also the cultural differences and architecture, etc. are greater between Switzerland and the US than between NZ and the US, so made Switzerland in general more interesting to me.

In terms of North American analogs, NZ is actually very much like Oregon ( and Washington and British Columbia). In fact I was living in Oregon when I spent a few months in NZ, and I often almost felt like I'd never left home!

Oregon and NZ are about the same size, have about the same population, have very similar climates. Both Oregon and NZ are on the 45th parallel - one north of the equator and one south. Both have glaciers, mountains, volcanoes, rain forests, rugged coastline, beaches, some drier areas with hot springs, etc. But the vegetation is somewhat different in Oregon and NZ, and NZ has much less large wildlife than Oregon - no bears, etc.
NorCalif is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2010, 03:42 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,282
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Sounds like I need to visit Oregon.

<Just curious, if you all had 15 nights would you spend it all in Switzerland, or would you spend a few nights somewhere else?>

Melissa, we spent 15 nights in Switzerland on our last visit and I would have no trouble doing it again. We spent three nights in Kandersteg, four nights in Zermatt, seven nights in Lauterbrunnen and one night in Zurich.

It was the first time we'd spent a full week at any one Swiss location. Our decision was based partly on finances, partly on logistics. Finances - we were able to secure a very nice apartment for a very attractive rate during low season. Logistics - we find Lauterbrunnen the perfect base from which to explore the Berner Oberland. It's a transportation hub, and you can get anywhere from Lauterbrunnen.

I'd recommend against spending your entire six nights in Gimmelwald...a night or two maybe, but six nights...no. It's a tiny, tiny hamlet below Murren. Big on views and walks, but that's about it.

As much as I love Murren, I'd also have a hard time spending six nights there and I don't consider it an ideal base from which to explore the entire BO. It's the perfect village to soak up the scenery, hike, explore Gimmelwald, and chill for a few days. I've stayed as long as three nights there, and I'd do it again, but some people find Murren a bit sleepy (which is why I like it!).

If you can spare seven nights and don't mind basing yourself in one area (I'd suggest Lauterbrunnen or maybe Wengen), you might look into apartment rentals - your money will go a lot further, but you'll need to look soon, as you're going at a busy time.

It's relatively easy to travel between villages in the BO (Lauterbrunnen-Wengen-Grindelwald-Murren-Gimmelwald), so there's no reason to stay in more than one or two villages. The hard part is deciding which ones.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2010, 12:40 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melnq8, thanks for the benefit of your experience! I've decided against staying in Gimmelwald, but I will enjoy stopping by there to check it out. Murren sounds enticing because it's car-free... but I'm interested in the fact that you found Lauterbrunnen more practical as a transportation hub. It's tempting to spend 3 nights in Murren and 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen actually...does that seem illogical? I know they aren't that far apart...

Maybe I should be posting these questions on a separate new post.

Where is Kandersteg, and what made you decide to stay there? Well I realize now I have your trip report but haven't had time to read it yet... How am I going to finish planning my trip to Switzerland when my adorable first grand-baby does consume some of my time... Someday maybe I will be taking her along on a trip!
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2010, 02:59 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,282
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Hi Melissa -

Spending three nights each in Murren and Lauterbrunnen would certainly work, but personally, I'd choose either Murren or Lauterbrunnen and then perhaps spend the other three nights in Wengen (which is also car free..technically). Why? I think it would give you a better feel for the region. Murren is located on a ledge above Lauterbrunnen (more precisely Stechelberg) and is accessible by cable car and train. Wengen is accessible by train from Lauterbrunnen, but it's on a ledge on the opposite side of the valley from Murren, so it provides a different perspective. This will make more sense if you take a look at a map of the region.

Don't discount Grindelwald either. While it's not my first choice in the BO, it's a beautiful town and there's a lot to do there. It would also give you an entirely different perspective, but expect it to be quite busy in the summer months.

Kandersteg is another small village in the Berner Oberland, but a bit further afield. We passed through it many times via train on our way elsewhere, and it always caught my attention. I kept telling myself that next visit we'd explore Kandersteg, so next visit we did. I loved it. Hiking nirvana and not as touristy as other areas in the BO.

http://www.isyours.com/e/guide/berne...andersteg.html
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2010, 03:32 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
All these car free villages in Switzerland and I still managed a few close calls with tractors and electric vehicles in Murren, Wengen and Zermatt. My advice - if there are roads then watch out for some type of vehicles. Also these electric thingies don't have ABS braking so be careful!
Hanuman is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2010, 03:57 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melissa, first I'll address your OP. We've been to both places, we loved NZ and really liked Switzerland. With so many places to see in this world, I don't have the time or money to go back to places I've already been to multiple times. After 26 countries visited, the ones I'd like to go to again are NZ (1st choice), Norway, France and Italy. Switzerland is certainly one of the most beautiful countries for scenery we've been to but prices are astronomical so I'm glad to have been but won't be going again.

As for your other questions. When we visited we had a car, so Grindlewald was a perfect epicenter for our 6 nights in BO. Grindlewald doesn't get much good press like Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Gimmelwald and Wengen but it was perfect for me. I like having a diverse selection of restaurants, cafes and bars when I'm staying in one place for 4+ nights, if this is your preference then it's perfect. The other places in BO are just way too sleepy for me; though Wengen would be my second choice. When we were in Gimmelwald, we literally saw only 3 other groups of people and all of them had the Rick Steves book with them.

Last, with 15 days I'd spend all of them in Switzerland. I'd break it up something like 6 nights in BO, 2 in Zurich, 2 in Montreaux, 2-3 in St. Moritz, 2 in Lucerne, 1-2 in Zermatt.
Parrothead is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2010, 01:16 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melnq8, thanks for your viewpoint comparing all those villages. It helps me to see everything more clearly.

Parrothead: I can appreciate your list of favorite countries. Norway is on my list for another trip, definitely! I see you are also in love with New Zealand...me too! Italy was amazing. I haven't been to France yet and I'm looking forward to that. (In fact, we could see part of France on this trip...or spend all our time in Switzerland)...Decisions...
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:21 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melissa,
We had 22 nights (with a car)in Switzerland on our trip which allowed us enough time to get a glimpse of both Italy and France. If you want to add a piece of France/French Alps you could easily do a night or 2 in Chamonix which we loved. In that case, I'd skip or cut short Montreaux or St. Moritz.

As an aside, we missed the city of Dunedin when we went to NZ and only spent 2 days in Auckland. If I went again I'd hit both places more thoroughly, then I'd go back to Abel Tasman, Doubtful and Milford again.
Parrothead is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jackiebowyer1
Europe
40
Apr 26th, 2014 05:33 AM
Nonconformist
Europe
23
Apr 14th, 2013 10:44 AM
tarheeltravler
Europe
10
Aug 23rd, 2012 05:22 PM
Ingo
Europe
58
Aug 10th, 2008 09:00 AM
Buzzy
Europe
23
Oct 2nd, 2006 07:35 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information