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3 days in Switzerland

My husband and I are planning a trip to London/Paris next September and have decided since we will be in the area to expand for a couple of days (possibly a week) and go into Switzerland. Our thoughts right now are to take the train out of Paris into Switzerland but this is where we are completely lost. Any ideas of where we should go into Switzerland? We want to see the Alps and live the culture a bit.

Any insight would be awesome!!! TIA ....

Kim

Posted by
650 posts

In September I took the train from Gare de Lyon to Basel and continued on to Luzern. I would think you would do the same thing but continue to Interlaken and points onward. Just buy your tickets online when they go on sale. I made the mistake of only purchasing a one way ticket for $60. I bought the return ticket the day before returning to Paris and paid around $160 for that leg. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
10052 posts

It's a bit of a trek to Switzerland from Paris. I sure hope you can stay more than 3 days! For that matter, I like to plan in terms of nights not days. Your arrrival "day" is taken up with getting settled, having a e, getting oriented: Gone! So if you can spare 4 nights you will have three full days to spend. We've done that long in the Berner-Oberland alone. Not sure about adding another stop. In the B-O you will see alps!

Rick Steves' Switzerland book does a great job of explaining all the opportunities in Switzerland. The only problem is narrowing down your personal itinerary.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks everyone! I read and have seen (long time ago) Rick's TV show on Berner-Oberland. Can someone guide us the easiest route to get there? We can definitely expand our time in Switzerland to 4 nights. Any suggestions / recommendations would be awesome!

Posted by
16883 posts

If you don't yet have a guidebook for that region, start with the online notes about Berner Oberland. You could stay in the valley in Lauterbrunnen, or half-way up the mountain in Gimmelwald or Muerren. From the border station at Basel, train connections to Interlaken and into the valley run at least every hour, take about 3 hours, and don't need reservations. How to Look Up Train Schedules Online](http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/online-schedules) gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it. The London-Paris and Paris-Basel train tickets have significant discounts if purchased 3 months in advance. For the remaining connections within Switzerland, you might consider some type of Swiss Pass or Half Fare Card, but those offers will change in January, so don't spend time on any research until closer to your travel date.

Posted by
10052 posts

I agree with Laura about Lauterbrunnen: It makes both sides of the valley accessible. We have stayed in both Lauterbrunnen and Murren and while we enjoyed both, we would go back to Lauterbrunnen due to the favorable position for touring efficiently.

Posted by
31466 posts

kc,

I agree with Laurel, in that it would be better if you had four nights (three full days), as that would give you a better opportunity to see some incredible scenery as well as "live the culture a bit".

Two possibilities you could consider......

  • Lucerne - train from Paris is not a difficult trip, and the quickest travel time seems to be about 4H:32M, with changes at Basel SBB and Olten. Lucerne is beautiful and while there you could take cruises on the lake, day trips to Rigi or Pilatus for some view of the mountains, see the famous Lion of Lucerne, visit the awesome Museum of Transport, walk the famous Chapel Bridge or just window shop in the posh stores.
  • Berner Oberland - this seems to be the overwhelming favourite of many on the Forum (myself included). The towns are smaller so no museums or galleries to tour - the area itself is the attraction. If you want the classic Swiss scenery, with cows grazing in the alpine meadows with bells around their necks, this area is perfect for that. As you'll be there in September, you may even be able to witness the annual ritual of bringing the cows down from the high meadows for the winter. It's quite an impressive sight! There are some interesting mountain excursions you can take while there, including the trip the Schilthorn or the trip to the Jungfraujoch (highest rail station in Europe). For the trip to the Schilthorn, those who have issues with heights may have a problem with that. Travel time from Paris to Interlaken Ost will be about 5H:30M, depending on which train you use, and there will be slight additional time from there depending on which town you want to stay in that area.

One caveat to mention though - Switzerland is expensive, so be sure to budget accordingly!

Posted by
650 posts

I completely agree with Ken when it comes to how expensive Switzerland is. Me and my friend were in Luzern for 5 days this past September. We ate out one time only and it was not a fancy dinner. We went to a pizza joint and each got 2 pieces and a soda. Bill was $40 American. Restaurants on the river offered a plate of spaghetti for $30 American and personal pizzas between $20 to $30 American. We walked from the Touristen Hotel to the train station everyday and bought our food at the Coop grocery store (lower level) So much cheaper. Just something to think about :)