We are a married couple traveling with 2 young adult daughters that will be finishing a Rhine River Cruise in Basel this July. We have 4 days to travel from there to Paris and are thinking of devoting most of that time to exploring Switzerland and are thinking of doing so primarily by train. We are interested in experiencing some of the natural beauty and quaint towns and would prefer reasonably higher end accommodations. Would welcome any suggestions as to an itinerary or places to visit/stay, things to do/accommodations as we transition from Basel to Paris over 4 days. Much appreciated!
I'd recommend a trip to Lucerne. It's an easy, one hour train from Basel.
We stayed in Hotel Des Alpes on our RS Tour. It's a more upscale hotel, in the center of town, and right on the lake, viewing the Chapel Bridge. [Altho not noisy-more bustling, everything quieted down around 10:00pm.] Ask for a room not only with a view lakeside, but with a balcony, so you can just sit with a glass of wine and enjoy being there. The breakfast room is on the ground floor, and you can chose to eat outside, on the waterfront. I'd definitely return to this hotel. The hotel is a five minute walk from the train station.
Relaxing day trips include boat rides to either the Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus stops, where you can use either the cogwheel trains or gondolas to reach the summit, and return via either mode.
I'm sure you will love this friendly, beautiful, safe city.
If the weather cooperates, I’d recommend a trip from Luzern to Engelberg and the summit of Mt. Titlis! We were arriving in Basel from Paris, so once in Switzerland we headed from Basel to Engelberg. I can’t remember how.ong that trip was, but it was pretty. The train trip from Luzern to Engelberg is about an hour, if you were taking a day trip. It takes three cable cars/gondolas to reach the summit...an adventure in itself! Or, stay in Engelberg overnight. We had two nights in Engelberg, followed by three nights in Luzern with our young adult kids. Being at the top of the snowy mountain in July was a dream come true for our family. Unforgettable. Stop in Trübsee on the way back down from the summit for cows, and a beautiful lake with rowboats and hammocks to enjoy.
Luzern is a beautiful city, with other shorter mountain excursions available. We had a lovely steamboat ride to Weggis for lunch our last day there...so serene!
There isn't any part of Switzerland that is on the direct route from Basel to Paris, so there's no real restriction on where in the country would be convenient to visit. Try to make sure you finish up in a city which has a direct train service to Paris: Basel, Zurich, Lausanne or Geneva.
Thank you so much for the helpful feedback. Would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions on the following potential itinerary. Day 1 - Disembark river boat in Basel, morning touring in Basel, afternoon train to Luzern, spend night in Luzern. Day 2 - Day in Luzern or nearby with late afternoon train to Interlaken, spend night in Interlaken. Day 3 - Explore sights in Berner Oberland, spend night again in Interlaken. Day 4 - Morning in Interlaken or nearby with afternoon Golden Pass train to Montreux or potentially on to Vevey or Lausanne to spend night. Day 5 - Morning touring in town where we spent the night, midday train via Lausanne to Paris. Again, would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions whether general or specific. Much appreciated!!
Please don't spend overnights in Interlaken. Unless, that is, you came to Switzerland for large tour groups, jewelry shops, sex shops, and the like. Stay in one of the villages actually in the Alps - Lauterbrunnen (on the valley floor), Muerren or Gimmelwald (up one side of the valley) or Wengen (up the other side). The experience of actually staying in the Alps is completely different from being a commuter to them.