Hi there, fellow travelers! I am working/traveling in Ireland for a few months and I have the opportunity to take a trip over to Switzerland. I will be there from November 7th to the 10th; flying into Geneva, flying out of Zurich. I'm very excited and feeling accomplished now that I have my flights booked, but now I need to start planning what I want to see and where I want to go. Switzerland has always been on my bucket list because it's so beautiful and I would like to see as much of it as I can while I'm there. I love enjoying naturing, hiking, walking, etc. I also enjoy visiting historically significant sights. Any recommendations? :-)
mckennasklein, does your four days include your travel days on each end? Better to think in terms of how many nights.
I'll be there 3 nights :)
I love enjoying naturing, hiking, walking, etc
Unfortunately, November is the wrong time of year for hiking in the high Alps. Much of the mountain infrastructure closes temporarily in preparation for the upcoming ski season. There's usually too much snow and/or mud for hiking but not enough snow yet for skiing. And the weather is often cloudy and overcast.
Hiking might be possible in the lower Swiss Jura mountains, however.
Yeah, so I've heard :/ Well, they don't have to be long hikes--I'd also be content just going on scenic walks. I know that given the time of the year, it's not going to be the same as it would be in peak season. But hopefully there are still some beautiful places to see/things to experience in Switzerland. I'm not worried about the rain/cold--I'd expect it at this time of the year. There are certain places I'll leave for my next trip to Switzerland (I will definitely be going in spring or summer next time!). Any suggestions for things to do/places to see in the off-season/wintertime?
mckennasklein, I hope you get a lot of input. If it was me, with only three nights in November: fly into Zurich, take train from airport to Luzern spend two nights; train to Geneva for last night; train to Geneva airport. You eat up a lot of time in traveling to see more than that.
Great advice, Stan, thank you! I know I won't be able to see everything I want to see this first time around. Lucerne seems to be a good place to spend the majority of the trip. Only thing is, I'll have to reverse your itinerary--I'm landing in Geneva and flying out of Zurich. I'm meeting my cousin and his friend and we're staying with friends in Geneva the first night. Then I'll continue on up to Lucerne from there. :)
Good choice for Lucerne. Early November could be a tad warmer than our 2 nights there the first week of March of this year, when it was around 40-45 F, clear as a bell. We took the train in from Paris, disembarked and walked right across the street to Hotel Walstaetterhof. Great place, about 200 CHF/night. If you haven't booked yet, try hard to find a better price but you may not be able to--Switzerland can be pricey.
But it is beautiful, breathtakingly so. Just like your dreams. The Chapel Bridge. The Lion Monument. Rathaus Brauerie, right on the river Reuss. Pickle stands. The Manor Department store cafeteria, tremendous and food-wise about the only 'value' in Lucerne. The Old Town. Max Chocolatier (except Bachmann brand sold at the train station is just as good and half the price!). The service economy in Lucerne is stellar, speak perfect English (among many other languages), and can't do enough for you.
And in every direction, snow-capped mountains--hopefully when you're there. Enjoy---we certainly did!
As you're flying into Geneva and spending the first night there, I'd suggest spending the other three days in Lucerne, with a few day trips. Depending on what time your outbound flight is, you can easily get directly to the Zürich airport from Lucerne, as it's only about a one hour trip.
I don't know whether the lake cruises or trips to Mt. Pilatus will be operating in November, but you could also take a day trip to the Berner Oberland just to have a look (for future reference), as it's only about 1H:50M direct from Lucerne to Interlaken Ost.
It seems you can just do a big loop, Geneva to Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen on the Golden Pass, then Golden Pass to Lucerne, then train to Zurich.
Thank you all for the wonderful replies--I've been meaning to come on here and post an update, but life has been busy since I returned to the US!
My trip to Switzerland was INCREDIBLE and MAGICAL! It was a quick trip, I wish I could have spent more time, but we got the perfect taste of Switzerland. And we were so lucky with the weather--it was sunny the majority of the time. We saw Geneva, travelled up to Bern and explored the city at sunset which was gorgeous (and even caught the start of the Rendezvous Bundesplatz light show!!), stayed overnight in Interlaken Ost, went up to Gimmelwald and spent an afternoon up there, took a panoramic train to Lucerne and explored the city at night, then on our last day we went up Mt. Rigi. We got to sample delicious chocolate (both handmade and store bought) and unpasteurized cheese from Gimmelwald. I am SO glad I went and can't wait to go back again.
Thank you all for the advice, it was greatly appreciated! I'll definitely be using this board as a resource for my next trip, destination TBD. :D