Where in Switzerland?

Old Aug 8th, 2005, 06:56 PM
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Where in Switzerland?

We will be traveling in October. We plan on spending a few days somewhere in Switzerland on our way from Paris to Munich.

What city has the best views (or day trips) to really experience the Alps? and is easily accesible by train (or is that almost anywhere)? Also, we will be leaving from Paris, would this be one of those legs of the trip that would be suitable for a night train?

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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 10:56 PM
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Interlaken. There are often lots of tourists there, but for good reason. From Interlaken you can catch the mountain railway up through Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg at the base of the Eiger Mountain. There you can sit in the beergarden of the hotel looking at the famous North Wall. In the background are the Monch and the Jungfrau. You can catch another cog-wheel train that goes THROUGH the Eiger and Monch to the top of the Jungfrau where there is a research station and observation platform. You can return to Interlaken via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen, each worth a visit. All this is an easy and comfortable day trip. There is plenty of accommodation in Interlaken.
The train from Paris to Geneva is a TGV via Macon, and is too quick a trip to warrant a night train. There are a variety of different rail routes available from Geneva to Interlaken. The most interesting might be around Lac Leman via Lausanne to Montreux, and from there on the Crystal Panoramic to Zweisimmen, and thence to Interlaken. Or you could go more quickly via Bern.
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 12:09 AM
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Ahhh... This question is quite vague, but can be broken down to better suit your needs.

First of all, Switzerland is an unbelievably diverse country (not only the people, but the different environments).

If you want great views of the Alpes (or of the Jura which can be and often are as breathtaking as the Alpes) there are a couple of places to go
-Zermatt (accessible by getting on the Inter-Regio from Geneva to Brig, then get on the small mountain train that takes you from Brig to the mountain)
-Saas Fe
(accessible via the same routes as Zermatt)
-Cervina (in Italy, but literaly a hop across the border, it also has a view of the Matterhorn that few realize exists) - (I don't really know how to get there by rail, would be an unbelievable trip to make though.)
-Gstaad (in the Bernese Oberland)
(Accessible by taking the InterRegio from Geneva or Lausanne to Montreux, then getting on the Golden Pass which takes you an amazing ride from the coast of the Lac Leman up to the inland mountains)
-St. Moritz (never been there, but have heard wonders about it, it is also as pricey if not pricier than Gstaad).
-Leysin... This small mountain village is hidden in the Juras about 30 minutes by car from Gstaad. Leysin is nowhere near as famous or as glamorous as neighboring Villars and nearby Verbier, but it has unbelievable views of the "Pre-Alpes Franco-Suisse." Don't let the name deceive you, from Leysin, you can see "Les Dents du Midi", Mont Blanc and on the clearest day a peak that econompasses the French, Swiss and Italian border. In addition Leysin has amazing Skiing (for less than Zermatt/Saas Fe/Cervina or the other famous resorts. (Accessible via InterRegio trains from Geneva and Lausanne to Aigle, change to the Aigle-Leysin cog which takes you up the mountain in thirty minutes)
-Martigny (a city in the valley, but from there you can find plenty of tours that will take you up to the base of "Les Dents du Midi"

In terms of places to stay, I am quite a franco-phile (and a Deutsche-phobe because of that), therefore I would recomment any of the cities around Lac Leman/Lake Geneva (same lake different names). Geneva, Montreux are the best places, however Geneva is relatively far from the bigger mountains, all though on very clear days you can see into the high Alpes in French Haute Savoie. Neuchatel and Yverdon near Berne is also a very nice city. Yverdon is known less for its mountains and more for its hot springs though.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions as I am quite familiar with many of these destinations.
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Well Montreux, Vevey, Lausanne area would be a good mid-point, but these are on Lac Leman not up in the Alps.

And no this journey isn't quite long enough or timed right for an overnight train IMO.
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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While the litoral trio are not in the Alpes, they are a perfect jumping point for getting intot he Alpes/Jura Montreux in particular.

During the summer time Montreux and Geneva are THE places to be, not only do they a great night life, but the local events such the Montreux Jazz festival and Geneva's own little events are fun for just about everyone.
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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When we go to Europe we usually try to get to Switzerland even if just for a night or two. One of our favorite places is Burgenstock which is in the alps overlooking Luzern. Everywhere you go is walking (cars are used only for loading and unloading). You can drive to Luzern or can take a tram down the mountainside to the lake that will take you to Luzern. If you want to drive to Luzern it is about 15-20 minutes. In the glassed pool area you are literally surrounded by the alps (this is also the spa so you can go into the steam room, sauna, etc.) The 3 hotels are wonderful and you are treated like royalty. very charming and beautiful. Whether you go to Burgenstock or not you should consider Luzern since it is so incredibly beautiful (I read that it is the most photographed city in the world).
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 06:19 PM
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If you want the high Alps where the peaks soar above 4,000 meters, there are two places where there is good transportation to the viewpoints: the Berner Oberland and the Pennine Alps around Zermatt.

In both places there are cable lifts and trains to higher places. The Berner Oberland, with Interlaken as a prelude to better views, has more cable lifts and rail lines than does the Zermatt area.

If you have your own car, then getting to Saas Fee is much easier, although the Post Bus does go there.

In brief, Saas Fee is a unique experience. The mountains rise so steeply above the valley, that the Dom, all 14,900 feet plus of it, seems to rise straight up. Even after ascending some 3,000 feet above Saas Fee itself, the summit of the Dom seems no closer.

You can go higher than that point, too, with other cable facilities.

I spent a week in Saas Grund, which is at the base of the shoulder of the valley on which Saas Fee is built, and it was very interesting. I just wish the clouds had been thinner.

I think it all depends on what you want to see. As a plus factor, if you want to spend the night in Lauterbrunnen, you will be at the center of transportation to many higher places. English is commonly spoken in the valley because so many American and British tourists go there. The Hotel Oberland, for example, has several members of the waitstaff who are fluent in English, with American style accents.
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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for elmothehobo above-

Believe me I KNOW how fabulous Montreux and the Geneva area is, that's why I mentioned it

I go there every other summer to visit friends.

But when someone wants to "experience the Alps", I don't think it's fair to recommend a lake level town without disclaimer.
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Point taken!

Nice to know there is another fan of Lake Geneva and the cities that surround it.

I have a quick question for you though - where else have you been in the area (I guess mountain-wise)?

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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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This sounds amazing. Bookmarking for later trip planning. Thanks for the information.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Everything is easy by train in Switzerland. If you only have one day (what a shame) the Berner Oberland would be a good choice for experiencing the Alps. Of course, I prefer villages to cities. If you choose the St Moritz area, go further down the valley to Scuol; the ride is amazing.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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Well since he asked two years ago(!) I guess he's not waiting for the answer, but I haven't spent any time up in the mountains in Switzerland. I stay in Vevey/Montreux to visit friends.
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