Neal and I will be in Switzerland for about a week, probably from the 1st to the 8th of July, or thereabouts - the last stop on our trip.
I know we want to head to Zurich for a few days, but after that I'm stumped. I was hoping to take a train ride down through the Alps to stay in a city/town/village near hiking trails. We won't have a car, so it has to be somewhere where B&B (or equivalent), places to eat, bus access, trails, etc. etc. are accessible to pedestrians. So far, I've consdered St. Moritz (too touristy?), Luzern (not Alp-y enough?), and Lugano.
Anyone have recommendations on where to go, where to stay, what to visit, where to hike, where to eat, etc. etc.? Any and all comments are greatly appreciated!
I've been a few times to the Jungrfrau Valley, and I have to say it's simply amazing. It's not a long way from Bern, and it's very near Interlaken. however, I dont really know if you can get there by train or bus. There are many ski resorts around that area, so I'm sure there gotta be buses running from Bern or Interlaken, at least. Towns like Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, and an amazing landscape. I think this valley is include din unescos world heritage list.
Lugano is a nice town, if i'm not mistaken is near the como lake, right? That lake is very nice as well.
On the other hand I think Luzern is not Alpy enough as you say, and judging from what I remember. But I havent been there again, only once when i was about 8 or 9. Very nice that bridge anyway.
The Valais region is full of Mountains :D You should consider going there. I remember a town called Zinal, from which there is an amazing landscape. I'm sure you can do plenty of hiking in that area. You might have heard of Crans-Montana, I've never been there, but people say it's nice lol, so maybe you could consider that as well.
Here is my input:
Zurich is a cool city, but when I visited there, I didn't feel like it epitomized the classic images of Switzerland I've had in mind for years. What I would strongly recommend is to get on a train at Bahnhoffstrasse station in Zurich and head over to Interlaken. It is only a 2 hour train journey from there. Spend your time there. Most of the life in Interlaken is along one street but it can get too touristy. I stayed at a village called Matten. Matten is a 10-minute walk from the main town of Interlaken. While you are there, you may want to do the following:
a) Take a boat ride on Lake Interlaken to Brienz.
b) Hike up to Lauterbrunnen
c) Take the train to Mt. Jungfrau (this is by far the highlight of my trip to Switzerland. It is a bit expensive but totally worth your while).
Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you need some more information.
Thanks, guys! Now I'm torn - Zurich, Interlaaken....I know Neal would much prefer to be near water, so maybe we'll go with the latter...? And Valais looks gorgeous, too. I'd better keep reading that guidebook...
Anyone know how early we should book a place for early July? If it's anything like here places go pretty early...
I definitely agree with pranavc.
If you would like you can see zurich in a day. There is this thing called the zurich card that i definitely recommend. It is only 17 SFR and can be used for 24 hours. It provides FREE admission to ALL the museums (the art museum is amazing), a trip to the top of zurich, a ride on the lake and discounts, etc.
At Lake Interlaken there is so much to do. Tuhn is a town 20 minutes away right on a lake and has been recommended to me by a "local." Don't worry, you can get pretty much anywhere by train. I recommend looking into the swiss cards or swiss passes at
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/passes/switzerland_index.htm. They might help. Also, there is a rail pass for the Jungfrau region. Try looking that up on google and see what you come up with.
I spoke to the other half, and we've pretty much settled on Lugano for 3 days, and Interlaken for 4. Hoping to head from there to Marseille for a few days. Sounds like there's too much good stuff to see, so we'll skip the bigger cities.
OK - now we're thinking of Interlaken for 4 days, and Zermatt for 3. I found some reasonably priced accommodation for Interlaken, but I'm stumped on Zermatt (it looks great until I realize it's per person, not per room).
Anyone know of cheap sleeps in Zermatt?
And any suggestions for quick rail/bus travel between the two places?
Thanks again! You guys are such a big help.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 15, 2007, at 5:20 AM by tway ]
Zermatt is very touristy if I remember correctly so prices are a bit on the high side (even for Switzerland). If you widen your search a bit to the area around you'd probably find something cheaper. Connections to Zermatt should be no problem, there's a Postbus to almost anywhere. And the drivers are usually very helpful and let you know when you have to get off and the likes if you ask them nicely.
If you get car sick easily make sure you're sitting in the front, the roads tend to get very 'bendy' in the mountains.
All about train in Switzerland http://www.sbb.ch/en/index.htm
You haven't said where and how you enter Switzerland and where and how your intend to leave, so that it's difficult to make a sensible tour suggestion.
Wherever you enter, I would suggest to visit Lucern and its lake, the Vierwaldstättersee. Brunnen is where the Confederation started (Wilhelm Tell), and early July is an excellent time to enjoy the lake and its surrounding mountains. Don't miss a boat trip along the lake: you can program along the regular lake services, even a round trip for the day. To get a good idea of the countryside in Switzerland, you really should travel by car. A spectacular day trip could be, starting from say Flüelen (south of Brunnen on the Urnersee), to drive to Wassen (Motorway towards the south), take the road towards the Sustenpass and to Innertkirchen, turn towards Gletsch and climb the Grimselpass, turn right until Ulrichen to take the Nufenenpass to Airolo, turn north and cross the Gotthardpass (not the tunnel), and from Göschenen back to Flüelen over the Motorway.
Lugano is an interesting place (I've lived there 11 years), but a bit "out of the way" from what one usually thinks of "Switzerland". You could take a train from the north of Switzerland to Lugano, although you have to reckon with many tunnels and therefore little to see during the ride. You would probably prefer more taking the train from say Lucern to Bern, and from there to Lausanne and Montreux, on the lake of Geneva. It's different, not only because you travel from the Swiss German part to the French one, but also because of the sceneries.
Should you insist on visiting Lugano, do a tour of its lake by boat. And from here I would suggest you travel by train to Lausanne, taking a classic and scenic railway route over Bellinzona, Locarno, the "Centovalli" to Domodossola (this bit is in Italy), the Simplon tunnel, Brig, Martigny, Montreux, Lausanne and whatever further.
And if you fancy a really expensive visit to a place similar to St. Moritz (or perhaps Davos), take the train from Montreux to Gstaad.
Don't expect snow this time of the year, except on the mountain passes mentioned above.
Have a nice time !