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Where to stay in Switzerland?

Old Apr 5th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Where to stay in Switzerland?


My husband and I just got back from a two-week trip to Austria, Germany and Italy. We flew from Rome to Zurich for a layover and we fell in love with the Alps we flew over! We are planning on a trip to Switzerland for next year and are torn on where to stay. We would like to be gone for about a week and a half, and pick two cities to stay in and will take the train between the two. We want to do lots of hiking and sightseeing, and would love to stay in charming cities/towns. Any suggestions or favorites you care to share? Most of Switzerland looks stunning so I figure we really can't go wrong, but there is still a lot to pick from! We will probably be going in May of next year, if that helps.

Thanks so much!
tcreath is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 08:19 AM
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Hi Tracy-

I would suggest:
Fly into Zurich then head to Luzern.
Stay in Luzern for 1-2 days.
Take the train from Luzern to Interlaken via the Brunig pass. Base yourself in one of the smaller towns in the Berner Oberland area (favorites here are: Murren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen). Do a search here on the above towns and you'll get tons of more ideas.

However, May is still early in the season to go hiking in the Alps. It probably will still be quite cold up in the mountains and some trails may still be snow-covered. Better if you go later in the year.
yk is offline  
Old Apr 5th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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Ah, of my favorite places in the world.

As a repeat visitor to Switzerland (six times and counting...) I can highly recommend the ever popular Berner Oberland. My personal favorites are Wengen and Murren. Here you'll be spoiled for choice with loads of hiking opportunities and gorgeous views in a peaceful alpine setting.

Zermatt is also a wonderful place, but one I choose to avoid during the tourist crush (late June-Sept).

Many people will tell you that May is too early to visit the Alps, but I've done it now on three occasions, and I've loved every minute. I personally prefer to travel just about anywhere off season, and Switzerland is no exception. I'm an avid hiker, and there are many good hikes available this time of year (and during winter for that matter).

Sure, you'll run into some unpredictable weather and some seasonal closures, but you may discover that you enjoy having alpine villages all to yourself. I'd suggest you research seasonal opening times for any excursions you don't want to miss, just in case.

Engelberg is a recent discovery of mine - it's a ski resort that also offers some excellent hiking opportunities.

If I can be of further assistance, feel free to contact me at [email protected]
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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Hello Tracy,

The five Switzerland travelogues on our non-commercial web site should give you plenty of ideas:

Don and Linda
TheTravelzine is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Thank you everyone for your help, and thank you to Don and Linda for posting your website! Your pictures are amazing! I sent the link to my husband and told him to check it out so we can get some ideas. I'm looking forward to browsing the rest of your website!

Thanks again for all the help! We are hoping to go in later May. We understand the weather may not be as good, but we prefer to travel outside peak travel season to avoid the crowds and some of the expense.

tcreath is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:57 AM
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My wife and I were in Switzerland in early May of 2002. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen and really enjoyed it. Early May was definitely low season. Our first day we had great weather and hiking was good, although muddy in some areas and we didn't really have a chance to venture off the main trail because there was still snow on many parts of the mountain. The views were still fabulous though. The next day was a little cloudy and rainy, and there isn't really much to do in town if the weather is bad - my one complaint. Although our time there was short, I think it would be a great base to explore the Alps.

I have also spent some time in Lugano - a beautiful town on the Italian/Swiss border, and would highly recommend it too. Enjoy your trip!
MNGuy is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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There are several people much more qualified than I am to answer this question, but we stayed on the north side of Lake Geneva in Vevey last summer and really enjoyed that area. The lake is gorgeous, with a picturesque promenade that borders the lake for miles. There are boats that circle the lake, funiculars to take you up into the mountains that rise out of the lake and trains to take you to anywhere else in Switzerland. Between Geneva and Montreux is the wine country with vineyards lining the hillsides above the lake. This is the French-speaking area of Switzerland with great restaurants. We saw very few US tourists in this area - it seems to be mostly Europeans. It might be a good place to spend half of your vacation with the other half in the Berner Oberland area. Perhaps flying into Geneva and out of Zurich.
BevK is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 08:03 AM
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I second what yk said. Especially the part about waiting for warmer weather. The Berner Oberland is heaven on earth!
mr_go is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 08:14 AM
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Another possibility for good hiking is Kandersteg. We are avid hikers and have found more than enough hikes within 30 minutes of this home base to keep us happy for two trips. And it is charming, few tourists, you are literally surrounded by the alps. Very, very scenic. We will definitely be going back.

Just wanted to add that I was underwhelmed by Zermatt. Which surprised me. Touristy and just not very pretty.
janebell is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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For late May I highly recommend Lucerne as a base. It is a beautiful smaller city and offers lots of activities like steamboat trips, mountain railways, hiking paths etc.

Most folks favourite place in Switzerland is the Bernese Oberland (Interlaken, Grindelwald, Mürren, Wengen). Probably a good idea for a first time like you. So I suggest you pick Grindelwald as your base (please not Mürren or Wengen, which are smaller and nicer villages, but shut down in May).

I second BevK's recommendation of Lake Geneva. Even in May the northern shore between Castle Chillon - Montreux and Lausanne is very beautiful with blooming flowers (and the vineyards!). And you can get an idea of Switzerland's multicultural heritage, since this is the French speaking part of Switzerland. Lots of activities there: sightseeing (castles, cathedral Lausanne, museums, charming small towns and villages), hiking, mountain railways, ferry rides on the lake.

Best for a stay is IMO Vevey or (if you like the Belle Epoque charm) Montreux. But this finally depends on the price range of accommodations ...

With 10 - 11 days you should be able to visit all three regions. What about flying into Zurich and out of Geneva?
Ingo is offline  
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