We are two couples going to Europe next year for the first time from Australia. We are flying into London and leaving from Rome. We would like to see London, Paris, Venice, Florance and Rome. We will be away 5 weeks and are thinking of getting around by train. My question is one of us wants to go to Switzerland so I was wondering what is the best way to go through from Paris to Venice with a stop of somewhere in Switzerland. It would have to be somewhere that is on route as I don't know how well we would be changing trains and getting confused.
Could anyone think of a better alternative than going straight from Paris- Switzerland?- Venice. Thank you for your help
Paris - Venice would normally go via Chambéry, French Alpes. If you want to go through Switzerland, including Basel in your itinerary would be least inconvenient. Mind you, it still adds a lot of time to the journey.
It makes sense to ask why you want to visit Switzerland. If it's for the mountains, making a stop in Chambery (or going via Austria) is much easier.
A route I took on the way to Venice was to Bern (small, pretty, authentic Swiss city), although I'd just stay a night here, or simply stop off on the way through. I then went to Interlaken (perfect place for the backpacker/outdoor enthusiast. Interlaken is a short train ride from the Jungfrau region which is amazing for those who like mountains and landscapes. A town called Grindlewald is at the base/centre of this region, so for a more romantic (and perhaps more expensive) feel it may be better to stay here. It's then relatively easy to get a train from Interlaken to Venice if necessary, although you'll probably have to change trains once or twice.
Another option - although this is less for Switzerland and more for awesome mountains would be to look at going from Paris to Chamonix (perhaps via Geneva, which is alright but wouldn't stay more than 1-2 nights here). Chamonix is a town set in the valley with Alps on either side (near base of Mont Blanc), although it's actually in France but near the Swiss border. A big attraction here is the Aiguille du Midi, but like Interlaken there's all sorts of outdoor stuff. Suits both the romantic and outdoor adventurer alike. You can then go through the Alps here to Milan and onto Venice.
As the previous response said it depends why you want to visit Switzerland and also how long for. I'd definately recommend some Alps as an Aussie - it breaks up all the big cities/museums etc. in Europe, and our country has a severe lack of mountains so you'll be quite amazed when you see the Alps (especially if you haven't seen any of the big mountain ranges in the world).
To enjoy the Alps you should take a few of days - the most beautiful spots won't necessarily be along the main corridors between cities. The train systems in both France and Switzerland are great - so you may have to change stations in a couple of spots but I didn't find it particularly hard or stressful (although some may take longer than what you think by looking at a map, which is due to the terrain). Otherwise you'd probably have to stick to the cities - ie. Geneva/Bern/Zurich.
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Nov-2010, at 17:21 by Erik85 ]