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Where to Stay in the Alps

My friends and I are planning to visit Europe. We want to spend time visiting the Alps in our trip. Give or take 5 days in the area. We want to know what cities are the best for seeing the Alps.

Should we see the Alps in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, or Italy.

What individual towns or cities are best for it. ex. (Geneva, Innsburck, Turin, or even just a small town)

The less "touristy" the better but we are open to any cities possible, it is our first trip to the continent.

Posted by
12040 posts

What else are you planning to see in Europe, what time of year, what do you want to do in the Alps and what is your budget? Considering that the Alps are, at a minimum, fantastic throughout the length of the chain, "best" for one itinerary may not be "best" for another.

You will get answers that say "You have to see the Berner Oberland" or "You have to see the Dolomites". But as noted above, will visiting one these subranges offer you the most value for your limited vacation time and budget if you need to travel far out of your way to see them, bypassing plenty of other good alternatives en route? Give us some more information, and perhaps we can provide more precise answers.

Posted by
31435 posts


I agree with Tom. It would help to have more details on the other parts of your trip, as that will have a bearing on which Alps will be easiest to fit into your overall Itinerary. Also, what type of activities are you interested in when you're in the Alps?

Posted by
3336 posts

Different parts of the Alps have different feels and personalities. What is it that you hope to see and do?
There is also a wide range of related costs. In Switzerland you had better have some significant cash to spend as costs are high. Italy, not so much.
Any specific activities you want to take part in? Any cultural or food preferences?
It also depends on the time of year you plan to visit.
If you answer some of these questions then this forum can be specific to what you are hoping for.

Posted by
4 posts

Thankyou guys for your answers

But we would be visiting in the summer, and we would love to go hiking. Being emersed in the nature of the Alps is our number one priority. And eating in the culture of each place we visit would be good also.

Also we would be coming from either Munich or Prague in our itinerary.

Budget is not huge but we could stretch it with relative ease

PS any chance of skiing in the Alps in the summertime?

Posted by
16883 posts

The big cities on your initial list are not the best places to see the Alps. Go all the way into the Alps and stay in a mountain town such as Chamonix, France for Mont Blanc, or the Berner Oberland (Rick's first choice), Zermatt (Matterhorn), or Appenzell in Switzerland. If you trip is in Italy, you could go to Aosta or even closer to Mont Blanc on that side. In the Dolomites, look at a train to Bolzano, then bus further up the mountain. In Austria, you can go beyond Innsbruck to a smaller town, such as Hall in Tirol. It's easy to connect the Innsbruck area and the Bolzano area by train, over the Brenner Pass. See also the route of Rick's Alpine tour.

Posted by
12040 posts

OK, not a huge budget, and coming from Munich, heading east to Prague at some point. The answer is obvious- somewhere in either Bavaria, or Tyrol or Salzburgerland in Austria. You could head directly south to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald or Lermoos-Ehrwald. Each of these towns offers endless hiking opportunities and plenty of eating options. I particularly like GaP in the summer because they hold nightly free concerts in the beautiful Kurgarten. Further east, Berchtesgaden is popular, although the eating options aren't as extensive, and most of the best hikes start at trail heads a considerable distance outside of the town nucleus.

I like Obertauern in Salzburgerland in the summer because it's high altitude offers as an escape from the heat waves that occassionally afflict Germany and Austria. However, if you're looking for a tradition-looking Alpine village... this ain't it. The town was purpose-built as a modern ski resort. Most of the hotels and restaurants close for the summer, but the few that remain open are quite opulent and offer full board for pretty cheap off-season prices.

I've only visited during the winter ski season, but Kitzbühl looks like it would also be a pretty good location for summer hiking.

The only location of which I am aware that can more of less guarantee summer skiing is Zermatt in Switzerland. Very far out of your line of travel and very expensive. Hintertux in Austria has summer skiing some years, but it's unpredictable and based on winter and spring weather conditions.

Posted by
1739 posts

Years ago I stayed at a hostel in Kaprun Austria in late June. There was skiing on the mountains above the town.