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What countries to include when going to Switzerland?

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What countries to include when going to Switzerland?

Old Jan 6th, 2003, 04:22 PM
  #1  
jamcat
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What countries to include when going to Switzerland?

Planning a trip to Switzerland in July. Never been to Europe. Need alot of help! Want to take in the best of best. What place do you recommend? What neighboring places? Coming from Houston. Any ideas on best itinerary? Will be traveling 10 days. Enjoy being in the smaller places - not all big towns. Love the outdoors. Light hiking & seeing the country. Rail or car??? Please enlighten. Thanks!
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 04:40 PM
  #2  
en suisse
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Honestly since you have just 10 days, I'd stick with Switzerland. It's such a wonderful place. Fly into Geneva, spend a bit of time along the lake (Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux), then into the mountains. I've spent alot of time in that area, because I have friend who live there and I love it, so this would be my suggested start, but other will chime in with good hiking etc. to follow up. Definitely the train can get you where you need to go. Swiss rail is incredibly organized and easy to use.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 04:57 PM
  #3  
Susan
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Hi. I am also from Houston and have travelled to Switzerland three times, mostly because I have a brother-in-law that lives in a beautiful little town overlooking Lake Lugano in the Italian-speaking Ticino region (lucky me)! So far, we've combined trips to Switzerland with Italy and Paris. For example, last summer we flew into Milan, stayed near Lugano in a tiny speck of a fishing village called Gandria, rented a car and drove to Lucerne, then drove to Montreux, returned the car in Lausanne and took the train to Paris, returning to Houston on a direct flight from Paris.

Many posters on this forum can tell you about fabulous scenic areas in central Switzerland, but I haven't explored that area much yet myself. The Ticino area is wonderful (like a trip to the Mediterranean), with Italian food, culture, and friendliness, but with Swiss punctuality and cleanliness. Lugano and Locarno are both worth visiting, and a stop in Bellinzona to see the 3 castles is always a treat.

Lucerne is a very popular destination, and it's what I picture Austria to be like. We also immensely enjoyed the Montreux area. We stayed at the Hotel Masson and it was a real treat. Beautiful views and within walking distance to Chateau de Chillon. We appreciated having a car in this part of the country so we could see the vineyards and take a side trip to Gruyeres.

Train travel in Switzerland is very easy, but we chose to rent a car because there were four of us, and the price worked out better. We rented with AutoEurope and we were pleased.

Happy planning! You'll love Switzerland. Each time I go there I am staggered by its beauty.

Susan
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 07:18 PM
  #4  
Bob Brown
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I am on record at this forum as being a frequent visitor to Switzerland. I like it there because I prefer mountains to just about anywhere else.

If you have 10 "payoff days", which omits from the total days of travel, you could consider a few days in Paris.

My best trip to Europe, out of several,
was Paris, Switzerland, and Salzburg before coming home.
You would be stretching it thin to do that because Salzburg is a long train ride away.

The problem is that Paris deserves about 5 days for a quick peek.
Then you could go to one of several places in Switzerland for 5 more days.

But, and let me emphasize this point.
When I returned to Europe after an absence of many years, my first goal was Switzerland. So I spent 2 weeks there. On subsequent trips, I have visited other cities.

Paris is somewhat problematical because its offerings are so classic that I hate to recommend that you visit Europe and not go there, but on the other hand Paris can soak up 7 days in a seemingly an instant.
After 4 trips there, I still have places on my list that I have not yet visited.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 07:33 PM
  #5  
lori
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My first European trip was to Switzerland. We stayed in Montreux 7 days. On one of the "free days" we had we opted for a day trip to Paris. We took the TGV to Paris, boght a metro pass, and set out sightseeing. By the end of the day we had actually seen the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the other must sees at the Louvre, the Opera House, the Eiffle Tower, Arc de Triumph, Louis Vitton and Maison du Chocolate (ok, I did some shopping) the Place Vendome, the Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame, Military Museum, and lunch on the Seine. Exhausted, but tired by the end of the day. That little side trip was 10 years ago. So far we been back every year, somethimes in less than a year. Paris is now our starting place for all our European adventures.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 08:24 PM
  #6  
Lisa
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If you enjoy being in the smaller places, as your note indicates, then I would stay in Switz. and not go to Paris this time.

The largest city in Switz. is Zurich with a population of 350,000. - and you can literally walk from one side of that city to the other.
So you can see the towns in Switz and small and quite easily manageable.

I would suggest you fly to Milan (1 hour by train from Lugano), Geneva or Zurich.
Rail travel is quite easy, efficient and clean.
You can get 3 cultures inside Switz: Italian in the Ticino area, French in the Geneva area and SwissGerman in the northern area.
All these areas are laced with beautiful, maintained trails. if you can read a bit of french, german or italian check out www.myswitzerland.com which oulines various hikes ("wandern"). Or at least you can check out the pics and maps.
Enjoy!
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 09:55 PM
  #7  
Paula
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I've lived in Switzerland and am also a keen hiker or tramper as we call it in New Zealand. One of the best places for hiking is to base yourself in Lauterbrunnen for a couple of days. You then have unlimited hiking available. You can walk up to Wengen (a carless village), or you can take the train that far to enable you to walk even higher up the mountains. There are endless tracks available from every part of this beautiful valley. The train actually takes you up the Jungfrau which I believe is one of the highest mountains in Switzerland. It is possible to ski all year round at the top! Get the Swiss Tourist office to send you a brochure which also includes Interlaken. The train passes are brilliant as they also cover the boats on the lakes and chairlifts etc. The chairlifts also operate in summer to once again give you a head start up the mountain! Happy hiking!
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 10:09 PM
  #8  
Conny
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If you're in north Switzerland, then you're near Lake Constance (Bodensee on a German map) and that's the corner where three countries come together - Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

So you could check Bregenz, in Austria, especially if the Bregenzer Festival is on. There's a theatre built out into the lake (magical) and you can catch a musical or opera there.

You could take the ferry from Kreuzlingen, in Switzerland across to Constance and from there to Meersburg, a beautiful little town with half-timbered houses, in the middle of vineyards.
 
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