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-   -   Zurich-Berne Oberland-Geneva Itinerary Help (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/zurich-berne-oberland-geneva-itinerary-help-674344/)

heycrys Jan 27th, 2007 06:28 PM

Zurich-Berne Oberland-Geneva Itinerary Help
 
Hi,

My family and I (2 parents, 3 college kids, 1 high schooler) are planning to spend 7-8 days in Switzerland the last week of June. We would like to see Zurich, Geneva and more of the "mountain/lake" scenery in the country, so we figured we'd spend a few days in the BO. We were thinking of basing ourselves in Interlaken. Is there a particular order you'd recommend for visiting these places? How long should we spend at each place? Any recommended hotels? I'm not as familiar with the region around Interlaken, so do you have any specific recommendations for activities or day trips? Thank you so much!

heycrys Jan 27th, 2007 07:10 PM

Also, is it worth it to do the Golden Pass route?

Glee Jan 27th, 2007 08:03 PM

We rode the Golden Pass in Sept.of last year and loved it. We boarded in Montreux and rode to Interlaken where we spent the night and next day. From Interlaken we headed to Salzburg. The scenery of Switzerland and Austria is spectacular!

WallyKringen Jan 27th, 2007 11:06 PM

That is an incredibly short time. See if you can fly into ZRH and home from GVA. Use the multicity option on airline sites and on www.kayak.com. Saves you backtracking and losing a day or more, just to go catch a plane home.

Then stay two nights in Zürich on arrival (the first day you are not worth much, too woozy, you will not remember much).

Then two in or near Interlaken.

Then take the Panorama Express to Montreux and see if you can find logdgings in one of these two towns above Montreux: Glion or Caux. Great mountain and lake views, easy access to the lake and Montreux and nearby Castle Chillon and much more.

Take the train to Geneva to fly home. Geneva itself is not worth much of your time - nicely situated by the lakeside, but otherwise just a big busy city full of government agencies and such. If need be, stay the last night near the central train station in Geneva, and take the train (a few minutes only) to the airport - there is a train station right at the airport.

Trains are at www.rail.ch - make sure you have a good map to see why the above is the logical order.

www.zuerich.com

www.appenzell.ch/e_neu/index.php

http://www.saentisbahn.ch/pages/d/in...lish.php?rub=5

www.luzern.org/en/welcome.cfm?

www.pilatus.ch/default.asp?sprache=E

www.titlis.ch

www.berneroberland.ch

www.niesen.ch

www.jungfraubahn.ch/en/DesktopDefault.aspx

www.schilthorn.ch/index.php?set[page][language]=4

www.montreux.ch/index_en.html

http://www.montreux-mountain.ch/engl...venue/haut.htm

www.chillon.ch/en/index.html

Cicerone Jan 30th, 2007 07:12 PM

I used to live in Zurich and thinks it is a wonderful little city, but with only 7 days and in the glorious June weather, I would skip it and Geneva and head for the hills. Switzerland is really all about the countryside, not the cities. If you want history and architecture and beautiful old village churches, go to Italy. If you want stunning mountains with wildflowers and cows and little wooden houses covered in geraniums, go to Switzerland (of course Italy has mountains too).

If you can do an “open jaw” flight that will allow you to fly into Zurich and out of Geneva, or vice versa, that will save you a little bit of backtracking. With only 7 days, I personnally would not try to "do" more than 2 places, i.e. base yourself at two hotels for 3 nights each and stay put, doing day trips, but not more than 1-2 hours away from your hotel at most. Otherwise, you will be way too rushed with that short amount of time and it will all be a blur. 3 places is possible but a bit rushed in that short amount of time. Zurich is a small country, but due to the mountains, travel time takes longer than you think. If you have 8 nights, then you have a bit more time, your message is not totally clear.

For the Bernese Oberland, I personally would not stay in Interlaken, a rather charmless town that looks up at the mountains but is not IN them; you are a good 30-40 minutes from the mountains. I would stay in Wengen, Murren, Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. Of them all, Wengen is my personal favourite, but the others have fans on this board, and all offer beautiful views and great opportunities for walks, hikes, and cable car rides right at your hotel doorstep. Interlaken’s only advantage is that it is on the lovely huge lake, but if you want to be on the lake, then I would stay in Thun or Speiz, I think they have better aspects. Or just take whole day down on the lakes taking ferries, etc; its an easy train ride down from the mountain areas. A day trip to Kandersteg to do their famous walk is possible; with a car a day trip to Gstaad is also very easy.

From the Bernese Oberland, you can take the Golden Pass train over to the Lake Geneva area. I agree to avoid Geneva and stay at the eastern end of the lake, either Vevey, Lausanne, Montreux or even small towns like Cully or Morges. I love Vevey, its small enough to be charming yet big enough to have good restaurants, etc. You can get to Montreux and its charming castle very easily. There are lovely vineyards all along this area of the lake for walks, biking, hiking and wine tasting, and at all times the lovely Alps will be in the distance across the huge lake. Ferry rides along the lake as well. You can make a day trip to Gruyere to see the cheese and the very lovely old town. Some of the best restaurants in Europe are here (which you cannot say about the Bernese Oberland.) From any place here, its about an hour by train to Geneva airport, so its an easy flight out. As beautiful as the Bernese Oberland is, IMO this area is really even more beautiful and really should not be missed.

The above could be done in reverse, i.e. fly into Geneva and out of Zurich. You could also fly in and out of one place, it’s just a little more backtracking by train or car.

Of course there is then the gorgeous Engadine region (St Moritz, the gorgeous Guarda), virtually untouristed by Americans, and you could do the Bernina Express train ride up and over the glaciers. And we have not mentioned Zermatt and the Matterhorn. With only 7 days, you will have to choose carefully.

Do you have any idea of a hotel budget, that makes it easier for reccos.

Cicerone Jan 30th, 2007 07:56 PM

For some ideas of hotels in Switzerland, try Fodors, above, also try

karenbrown.com
relaischateaux.com
romantikhotels.ch
summithotels.com
www.swisshotels.ch
alpineclassics.ch
frommers.com
tripadivsor.com (this has ratings by people who have stayed and is very useful)
lhw.com
slh.com

Also you might want to rent a house or apartment, try vrbo.com

suze Jan 31st, 2007 08:03 PM

If you end up in the Geneva area I highly recommend staying in Lausanne, Vevey, or Montreux (about 1 hour outside from the city, right on the train route) rather than Geneva proper. They are gorgeous towns. Vevey is my most favorite.

enzian Jan 31st, 2007 10:06 PM

Yes to what Cicerone said. Don't stay in Interlaken; go up into Lauterbrunnen or higher. With six of you, you may want an apartment; usually available for 3 night minimums.

We usually travel as a group of parents plus 4 to 6 teens and/or college-age kids or twenty-somethings. We love this area, and find the scenery, food, accomodations, and activities to be our favorites anywhere.


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