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

While my husband works what can I do in Geneva and Zurich areas?

While my husband works what can I do in Geneva and Zurich areas?

Feb 28th, 2008, 09:17 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 383
While my husband works what can I do in Geneva and Zurich areas?

My husband has a last minute rather quick business trip to Switzerland next week for six days. We are flying in/out of Zurich but will spend first few days in La Choux-de-Fonds. One day the company will be offering us a day of sightseeing but while the boys work we will have a car (stick shift-ugh!) and would like to have a plan of action where we see something, have a nice lunc and a good time. When we go north to stay near Tenniken we will have one full day with the stick shift car? and would like to see the best of what there is to see in this area. We would prefer small cute towns to cities. We are not into hiking or too many museums. Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated as none of us have been to Switzerland before. We would like to come home with a good feel of the country, its people and foods. Thanks in advance! H
Reeder is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 09:51 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Well- first of all - if you hate stick shift car why not rent an automatic - esp if driving on mountain roads?
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 10:39 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 383
That would make sense wouldn't it? I have the job of getting the car rental and already am in shock as to cost of rental cars there. There will be four adults in the car with at least a piece of luggage each so I am up to a wagon to fit us all. Any other suggestions appreciated. H
Reeder is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 10:39 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,681
Hi Reeder,

No need to hassle with a stick-shift or automatic either!! I suggest you take advantage of the fun & excellent train service throughout Switzerland. It's dead-easy to use, and it'll take you places that cars can't get to.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 11:12 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,379
Just take the train around. They are fantastic! I would not want to drive in Switzerland, especially if you are not comfortable with the rental car.

You mentioned Geneva in your title but I don't see it in your post. From there my suggestion for spending the day would be to head out to Lausanne, Vevey, and/or Montreux along Lac Leman.
suze is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 02:26 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 383
La Choux-du-fonds is the town we are staying in near Geneva. Knowing nothing about Switzerland and with such little time to become familiar I am hoping you guys can help. My husband and I have traveled Europe a bit and always prefer independent travel. Okay so if we have a car I can drive where to? -or if we take the train whereto? If the train does that require lots of walking? Help please. I am almost blind right now reading, reviewing all day and still have no answers. We prefer quality over quantity but definately want to get a good feel of Switzerland. H
Reeder is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 02:39 PM
  #7  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi R,

Look up La ChAux-de-Fonds on www.mappy.com.

You are near Lausanne and Bern.

By train you are 2 hr from Luzern, 3 hr from Colmar.

Tenniken is 2 hr from Colmar, 1 hr from Luzern.

Freiburg in Bresgau rates 2* in the Michelin guide - 1:40 min.

ira is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 02:45 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,507
According to the Swiss rail site, La Choux-du-Fonds is 20 minutes by train from Neuchatel. This is supposed to be a lovely town to visit (although I've never been). You could also get to Montreux with a couple of train changes, and visit the Chateau de Chillon---not a museum, but a wonderful castle.

The train probably stops right in the center of La Choux-du-Fonds, and you can go anywhere just as "independently" as you would with a car. Take a look at the rail website (www.rail.ch) and see.

If I didn't like driving a stick shift, I'd much rather use the trains than try to manage on winter roads in an unfamiliar place.

enzian is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 02:46 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,681
Hi Reeder,

Yes, ira beat me to the punch! Watch the spelling so you can do good google searches & train schedule searches.

The town is actually about 1h45 from Geneva; it's right on the French border just west of Neuchatel.

Good trips would be to the vineyards around Lake Biel/Bienne, to Solothurn, to Murten, to Fribourg, to Lake Geneva, to Basel, and also to Bern. The high Alps will be somewhat farther, south of Interlaken.

You will be near the mountains of the Jura range, about which I know nothing! But you can find out more by gooling or doing a little more research at the Swiss tourism site,

www.myswitzerland.com

You can research all your train travels at the Swiss rail site,

www.rail.ch

And, yes, taking the train doesn't usually require walking -- it goes from town center to town center. And, really, travel by train is as independent as it comes!!! No getting lost, no looking for parking in the town center, no worries about wine & driving, etc.

Anyway, have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 03:15 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,507
Yikes! I just copied and pasted the Choux spelling. I guess that would be cabbage?

At any rate, it sounds like a great base for visiting some nice places.
enzian is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 03:33 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,379
Train to Bern

Train to Lausanne (and Vevey and Montreux)

There's two good day trips. I definitely would not want to be driving in Switzerland, in a car you are not familiar with, in winter.
suze is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 05:38 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 383
I now have some firm lodgings on our impromptu trip to Switzerland commencing Friday. We are staying at the Grand Hotel Les Endroits in La Chaux-du-Fonds for three nights and then move on to the Hotel Engel in Liestal Switzerland for a couple of nights. A gentleman from the company will be giving us a little tour of the area around La Chaux-du-Fonds on Sunday. So I guess depending what we see then we will fill in other sights on Monday and Tuesday (half day) You have all convinced us not to drive but make use of the train system. When in Liestal I know we are quite close to Basel. What else in that area should we try and see. Nothing too touristy here but just places that will give us a good feel for the country. Thanks again. H
Reeder is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 05:47 AM
  #13  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,159
Hi R,

>When in Liestal I know we are quite close to Basel. What else in that area should we try and see.

Freiburg is only 1:30 hr away.

ira is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:07 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 155
Here's a vote for Murten. My inlaws live in Biel, and we often travel to Murten for the day. It's a lovely walled town, perfect for strolling and having a nice lunch at one of the outdoor cafes.
swisschocolate is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 06:17 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
Another form of transportation to investigate is the bus. Swiss postal buses are very comfortable, and penetrate into the mountains and valleys where trains don't go. And they always coordinate perfectly with the trains and boats.
Mimar is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:38 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 383
When we took a long trip to Italy a few years ago I felt as if I needed some goat genes to navigate those hill town. Having never been to Switzerland will I find something similar--hilly towns--too hard for someone my age (old). If so which towns would be easier on this old broad to navigate? H
Reeder is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 09:10 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,681
Hi again,

In Switzerland, the train stations are located right in the town or village center, so there is no uphill hike to get to it. Sometimes (as in Montreux), you have to walk down to get to an attraction (the lake).

Also in Switzerland, there are cable cars & cog-wheel trains to take you to the cozy villages and mountaintops.

If you tell us where you're likely to go, we can give you specific information.

The only place I can think of where there is a mandatory uphill walk is the village of Gruyeres, but it's really short and only a literally disabled person would have trouble with it. (And there is a bus to whisk you from the train station up to the village, and I've seen folks on it with 4-5 suitcases they were not willing to haul up that hill!)

Good luck!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 10:40 AM
  #18  
ldh
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 64
Hi Reeder,
I visited Neuchatel a few years ago while traveling with my daughter. We were based in Basel and took the train to Neuchatel. It had an interesting city center and neat architecture, including a castle above the town. The city center is down a hill from the train station, but there are buses that go back and forth. We started out intending to walk but soon decided it was a bit too far and hopped on a bus at the first stop we came to.

Being so cose to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchatel may be on the interary of the sightseeing the company has planned.

Another town we visted was Porrentry. It fits into the small town category you mentioned and wasn't too far from Neuchatel--we visited both on the same day by train from Basel. We walked from the station to town and then up to a great old castle, which now appears to house town offices, but it had neat grounds and a great view.
It was really just a neat, quaint town with a very picturesque old section (and a nice pastry shop as well). My daughter was on a research trip for her Phd., and happened to need an item in their library, thus the stop, but it turned out to be one of our favorites. But then, her degree is in Medieval History, so that type of architure, etc. is high on our list.

Anyway, you have enough suggestions here to fill more time than you have, so have fun choosing.


ldh is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:15 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 383
Okay guys--I have been reading researching etc and with such little time it is all a bit overwhelming. I am interested in the Murten recommendation as well as that of Vevey. I think I would prefer that to Montraux being smaller and less touristy. We only have half a day on Tuesday so am wondering if we could do Vevey that morning as they have a market that day as well. Wondering about my question of the hills and what is the word there? Monday we have a full day and we could hit the other recommendations that we didn't see on Sunday including Murten. Then when we get to Leiel we will have a full day and could do Basel and what else. Also on the ride with the boys from Chaux-de-Fonds to Leisel what can we see enroute that would be scenic etc? Thank you everyone for all your help--keep it coming. H Also are the ferries everyone speaks of running at this time of year?
Reeder is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2008, 11:41 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,681
Hi again,

No hills in either Murten or Vevey -- those are very flat areas.

Here's a site for Murten:

http://www.murtentourismus.ch/en/welcome.cfm

You can also find information on its ferries under "boat trips."

Vevey's website is at:

www.montreux-vevey.com

I don't think you'll find ferries on Lac Leman (maybe on Sunday) in March. You can check it out at

www.cgn.ch.

I love the tiny little warren of streets in Vevey's old town, which is right next to the lake. There are lots of clothing stores, antiques shops, and book shops -- plenty to keep you happy. My favorite restaurant there is the Hostellerie de Geneve, right on the main square (on the left as you face the lake).

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:53 PM.