Want to Plan Swiss Trip-help

Old Feb 8th, 2002, 03:53 AM
  #1  
Lynn
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Want to Plan Swiss Trip-help

We decided to go to Switzerland for approx. 9 or 10 days June 1st and don't know where to start to plan this trip. We would probably like to divide the trip up into 3 areas. Can you recommend 3 areas to visit??? Probably one should be Zurich, one should be closer to Geneva...?? Am I right so far? I really need some help. We'd prefer to travel by trains and NOT rent a car (I think). Thanks!
 
Old Feb 8th, 2002, 05:32 AM
  #2  
Wayne
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My suggestions:
Spend 3 days in the western part, around Montreux, Gruyeres, Fribourg, Bern, Basel, and as many other sights as you can see. See Geneva if you like larger cities.
Spend 3 days in the central part, around Lucerne, Interlaken, the Rhone Valley, and such.
Spend 3 days in the eastern part, around Chur, Arosa, St. Moritz, and those areas.
I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time in Zurich; it's a nice city but it doesn't have a whole lot of appeal for a visitor, in my opinion.
 
Old Feb 8th, 2002, 05:32 AM
  #3  
s
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Lynn,

This will be a message in two parts:

Hello! I’ve put together a few sample itineraries in Switzerland from different sources; each of these itineraries will give first-time visitors to Switzerland an introduction to typical Swiss landscapes and towns. These should help you get started with your own planning and research.

I This one is from a German resident who travels to Switzerland often with the six weeks of vacation annually. Consider this a can’t-fail itinerary. It covers all flavors of Switzerland: German, Italian, Romansch, and French.
Day: Activity:
1 Arrival in Zurich Train to Lucerne
2 Round trip Pilatus Sightseeing Lucerne
3 Wilhelm-Tell-Express to Lugano (Boat/Train) (Italian Switzerland)
4 Funicular to Mt. San Salvatore hiking/walking via Carona to Morcote boat to Lugano OR: bus or boat to Castagnola visit park of Villa Favorita (maybe the picture gallery) walk to Gandria boat to Cantine di Gandria – have a meal in the grotto boat back to Lugano (latest at about 10 pm)
5 Palm-Express/Bernina-Express to St. Moritz or village nearby (bus to Tirano, Rhaetian railway to St. Moritz)
6 Funicular to Muottas Muragl hike/walk to Alp Languard chair lift down to Pontresina – visit the gothic church with frescos and the village bus or train back to St. Moritz
7 Glacier Express to Zermatt
8 Cog-wheel train to Gornergrat (hike back to Zermatt or take the train)
9 Train to Montreux visit Castle Chillon in the afternoon 10 walk along the vineyards (French Switzerland)
11 Crystal Panoramic Express to Interlaken region (Accommodation in a small village) (German Switzerland)
12 Train to Wengen cable car to Maennlichen hike/walk to Kleine Scheidegg train to Jungfraujoch hike across the glacier to Monchsjochhuette and back train back to accommodation via Grindelwald 13 boat trip on Lake Thun visit Thun and castle Oberhofen?
14 train to Zurich some sightseeing in Zurich
15 Departure


II These four itineraries are from my old, old copy of Karen Brown’s guidebook to Switzerland. To get detailed information on the itinerary or the guidebook, go to the website:
http://www.karenbrown.com/switzerland/itinerary.html
1. Medieval Switzerland, beginning in Lucerne, with overnight stops in Regensburg, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Murten, and Gruyeres.
2. Mountain Switzerland, beginning in Lucerne, then overnights in Wengen, Kandersteg, Gstaad, Zermatt, and St Moritz.
3. Train, Boat & Bus, beginning in Geneva, then overnights in Glion, Murten, Solothurn, Basel, Schaffhausen, Gottlieben, Appenzell, Zurich, Lucerne, Wengen, Zermatt, St Moritz, and Lugano.
4. Swiss Highlights, beginning in Zurich, with overnights in Lucerne, Grindelwald, Bern, Geneva, Zermatt, and Lugano.
 
Old Feb 8th, 2002, 05:34 AM
  #4  
s
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Lynn,

Part 2:
III My personal recommendations are limited by my preference to stay in one place for a minimum of three nights; I hate taking the time and the bother to pack & unpack and to check in & check out. I would also focus my recommendations on small towns or villages (I don’t recommend any cities like Zurich or Geneva, which are great enough but not good for an introduction visit to Switzerland). These are designed for a short visit (10-12 days). Personally, I would only do two of these destinations and stay for four or five days exploring the walking trails and restaurants in the outlying areas.

1. Take the train from Zurich airport directly to one of the mountain villages of the Berner Oberland (Wengen, Muerren, or Grindelwald) and stay three to four days. The train trip will take 3 - 3 ½ hours. Here you can take long, gentle walks along alpine pastures and lakes, or take excursions to Lakes Brienz & Thun and the town of Interlaken, or take excursions up to the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn.
2. The next stop will be three or four nights in the villages of Locarno or Ascona on Lake Maggiore, or Lugano on Lake Lugano. Although I personally don’t care for Lugano, it’s a good base to explore Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, and Lake Como. From there, you can also visit the villages of Gandria or Morcote on Lake Lugano. This is the Italian section of Switzerland, called the Ticino. Sorry, no personal recommendations here, but there is a lot of information here at the Fodors Forum if you do a search. The trip from Grindelwald to Lugano will take about six hours by train.
3. Then you can spend three or four nights outside Zermatt. I wouldn’t stay in Zermatt itself, as I think the town is overbuilt and crowded. There are some hotels just up the mountains and away from the built-up areas. Here, again, lots of alpine walks and excursions up the Gornergrat. The trip from Lugano to Zermatt will take about six hours by train.
4. The next stop will be one of the towns on Lake Geneva; I recommend Montreux, but others here equally love Vevey, Rivaz, or Chexbres. This is my own favorite corner of Switzerland, and I have too many recommendations to list here. Please refer to the igougo website below. The trip from Zermatt to Montreux is about three hours.
5. Finally, spend three or four nights in Lucerne on Lake Lucerne. The train from Montreux to Lucerne takes about three hours. If you are going by car, you might want to consider staying in the villages of Weggis or Vitznau on Lake Lucerne; getting to these villages by train and boat requires a lot of connections, so they may be best suited for a driving tour. In Lucerne, you can spend a day exploring the old town or take long walks along the lake or take excursions up to Mt. Titlis and Mt. Pilatus. Lucerne is only about one hour from the Zurich airport by rail, so it’s a great spot to end your trip and get to an early-morning flight.

Here are some websites to help you research your trip:
General Information:
www.myswitzerland.com
www.twenj.net/swissvisit.htm

Zurich:
www.zuerich.ch
www.zurichtourism.ch

Lucerne/Lake Lucerne:
www.luzern.org
www.lakelucerne.ch
www.weggis.ch
www.vitznau.ch

Berner Oberland:
www.wengen.com
www.grindelwald.com
www.muerren.ch
www.berneroberland.ch

Ticino
http://www.ticino-tourism.ch/control (camera)
www.ticino-tourism.ch

Montreux
www.montreux.ch
www.vevey.ch
www.lake-geneva-region.ch
www.lavaux.ch
www.igougo.com/planning/journal.asp?JournalID=7825


Train Schedules and Road Routes:
www.rail.ch
www.viamichelin.com
www.mappy.com

You should also do a text search here on the Fodors Forum once you’ve decided which destinations you want to visit.

s
 
Old Feb 8th, 2002, 05:53 AM
  #5  
Ronda
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Great info, s. Thanks for posting.
 
Old Feb 9th, 2002, 04:29 AM
  #6  
jw
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Hi Lynn. From experience I can tell you that s' part 2 with his five 'areas to stay in' is perfect. Too bad you don't have fifteen days instead of ten. If I had to choose, it would be stops 1, 2, 4 & 5. Check to see if you can land in Zurich and depart from Geneva or vice versa. June is a perfect month. Search some of the other Swiss posts to get more details on all of the above suggestions. You will absolutely love Switzerland (and their marvelous trains and boats! ) J.
 
Old Feb 9th, 2002, 06:50 AM
  #7  
Lynn
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Thank you all so much for your help. I will get started on it! My husband and I prefer not to do too much packing and unpacking...we find this takes away from the relaxation part of what we enjoy in a vacation. Thanks so much!
 
Old Feb 9th, 2002, 09:49 AM
  #8  
Geoff
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Part two of S's comment is a quite good trip, but I have to go back to the original idea you had Lynn with just the three areas. I don't like to travel as much as the itinerary suggested, although the areas are all well picked.

The one thing I think everyone agrees on is to get out of Zurich itself quickly. There is too much in Switzerland to see to be caught in the big city. My suggestion then would also to pick areas with very different feels to them. I would think something right outside of Geneva where you could day trip to somewhere other than Geneva would be a great idea and give you the French feel. Lugano or maybe even Como on the Italian side would give you the "lakes" feel.

To me though, Luzern and Interlaken areas have much in common. Both have great lakes, although Luzern has the better, and both have great mountains, although Interlaken has better. To me Zermatt has that really tiny, touristy Swiss village feel you can get in Grindelwald by Interlaken. I wouldn't do Luzern/Interlaken/Zermatt all together in one trip unless I had either more time or really wanted to do mostly mountains. (and I might want to skip Geneva then)

In addition to those areas,
the Romansch area is somewhat different with both valleys and mountains, Arosa, Davos, Flims, Pontresinna but depending on your route might be out of the way. The Appenzell area has not been mentioned but it has its own kind of mountainous culture as well. Interlaken - Como - Flims - Appenzell could be a nice trip but without any of the big cities. Lucerne - Geneva - Lugano might also be nice for a different look. (one east side, one west)

There are loads of things to do in just one tiny country. Enjoy, but don't try to do too much.
 
Old Feb 10th, 2002, 05:44 AM
  #9  
jw
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By now we've convinced you that you are wise to choose the Swiss train/boat/bus system.

I wish we knew a bit more about how you visualize a visit to Switzerland. Are you picturing cities? or are you seeing yourself high in a mountain village? or on a lake? A friend of mine, after going with me to Lac Leman and Ticino, said when we reached north-eastern Switzerland "now this is what I was thinking Switzerland would be". Soooooo, if this is your first visit to Switzerland, I'd suggest that you divide your trip into three parts: First, the Lavaux region of Lac Leman somewhere between Montreux and Lausanne (from which you can toodle up into the hills to Chateau d'Oex or Gruyeres, and visit Lausanne, Geneva, and Bern); second, somewhere on either Lake Thun or Lake Brienz OR actually up into the Jungfrau villages; and third, somewhere on Zurich's lake (I loved Rapperswil--from where I easily visited Lucerne, Altdorf, Appenzell, and Zurich. (You can see how landing in Geneva and departing from Zurich would make this itinerary easy.)

I am absolutely infatuated with Ticino, and I can hardly wait to explore the Engadine; but I've tried to put myself in the place of a first-time visitor. Those three locations where where I first fell in love with Switzerland. I know you will, too.
 
Old Feb 10th, 2002, 10:09 AM
  #10  
Ingo
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Lynn already said thanks and I think she will not return to look at this thread.

Anyway, I second your recommendations to stay in no more places than three. I personally would prefer to stay in one or two and think it is enough for the first visit.

I mentioned it somewhere before (?) but I believe Swiss-travelling-novices want to see the mountains, glaciers, quaint villages, cows etc. – the Jungfrau region is probably the area which includes all this. Grindelwald would be the best place (larger than Wengen and Muerren which could be too small for some people) to stay. You can do day trips to the lovely Lake Thun, explore the cities of Berne and Lucerne or even Lake Geneva region with Montreux-Vevey and Lausanne. If you fall in love with Switzerland you will surely come back again and again and can explore the other parts of the country. If not – you would not become addicted to Switzerland at Lake Lucerne, Lake Geneva, Appenzell or Grisons, too.

The only completely different (touristy) region from Grindelwald/Wengen/Muerren is the Italian part of Switzerland, Ticino. I can imagine it would be a good experience for a first time traveller to stay 3 days in Locarno, Ascona or Lugano. By the way I did this: 7 days Grindelwald and 3 days Locarno. It was wonderful.

Ingo
 
Old Feb 12th, 2002, 08:00 AM
  #11  
nancy
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ttt
 
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 07:26 AM
  #12  
Lynn
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You're right....I really forgot to mention how I picture ourselves in Switzerland. For starters, I'd love to see cows, I also love music if there happen to be in folklore events going on during the 1st 10 days of June. We are not hikers nor do we enjoy anything too strenuous, just strolling leisurely is more our "speed". Good restaurants, friendly locals is perfect! Thanks so much for your help in our planning. Curious about Wengen vs. Murren if we should consider staying in one of these two areas for 2 nights??? or are these more for sports enthusiasts? Need good train accessibility....
Thanks! Lynn
 
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 04:27 PM
  #13  
John
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I echo the advice of others--three stops max.

Like you, we are not big time hikers, but do enjoy lovely scenery and strolling. We also like water, with mountains in the background. Cows are nice, but utterly (pun intended) optional.

Given those interests, we've tried to go to the three main linquistic areas of Switzerland in a trip: a german area (Luzern is wonderful), an italian area (very much enjoyed locarno) and a French area (Fribourg, Montreaux). Unfortunately, or fortunately, we had such wonderful stays in Luzern and Locarno, that we stayed put and didn't try a french area. It provides a reason for the next trip.
 

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