Hello! We've decided to cut out Lausanne/Lake Geneva from our original plans as it looks like more "big city" than we want. (If you disagree, please weigh in.) We have 4 nights to spend somewhere between 1-week reservations (could possibly revise) in Sion and Lauterbrunnen. We had planned to go to Lucerne after Lauterbrunnen but no reservations yet. I would appreciate any thoughts for these 4 nights. Bern? We are driving. Thank you for your thoughts.
Does Montreux appeal to you at all? I’m staying there in June. I fell in love with it after watching this video. Although maybe it’s too close to Sion.
I agree with you on the big cities. These are the things I have on my list to do from Montreux. Saint-Saphorin really appealed to me after watching the video below. And it looks like there’s some great walking options from Gruyeres. Walking at the lower elevations, like Rochers de Naye, appeal to me more than high up on the mountains.
Saint-Saphorin walk through vineyards
Rochers de Naye; daffodils near mid-station Haut de Caux
Train to Vevey, cog railway from the Vevey railway station via Blonay
to Les Pléiades
Funicular to Mont Pelerin
Zermatt; Gornergrat Bahn
Gruyeres; Maison Callier chocolate factory
Lausanne; Colline de Montriond / Cantonal Botanical Museum and gardens
(i have this last on my list, because like you, i'm not sure the
bigger city appeals much to me)
I don't have much experience outside of the BO and Lucerne, so i'll leave any additional suggestions to others .Oh, I did go to Bern for a day trip and would not suggest staying there. Again, too "city" for my taste. 😊 But worth half a day or so.
What are your interests? Hiking, museums, music, boat rides, riding high mountain lifts, food and wine, or? Also, what month is this trip?
Chexbres or any village in Lavaux would work. Beautiful area of vineyards above lake Geneva, and plenty of day trips (which might be redundant with what you have planned from Sion).
Or further north towards Gruyère, but I do not know that area as much.
If this is after mid-June and before end September, Andermatt would work as well, allowing you to tour the surrounding mountain passes by car. Or you could even stay at one of the hotels at the passes, such as the Grimsel Hospiz (expensive, but quite unique).
By the way...what are your plans for a week from Sion?
Lola reminds me that I left out important information. The trip is scheduled for Sept 2022 (replacing a previously planned 9/20 trip). We enjoy smaller towns, wonderful scenery (including cable cars/lifts and easy/moderate walks), local fests, gardens, and historical sights. Not as keen on museums any more unless it is bad weather. I reviewed my post and answers from 2020 and Lola, you provided me with information about Chästeilet Mägisalp, cow fighting, and other small festivals. We're in Sion 8/29-9/4 and Lauterbrunnen 9/6-16. Carrie has some good suggestions for Montreux area. We also have our eye on Les Diablerets which we could take in near Montreux. I hope this helps generate some thoughts!
Balso....I haven't quite flushed out my plans for the Valais (Sion). Trips to Chamonix and Zermatt are an hour away, which is fine with us. These might be weather dependent so I don't like to make reservations. There are several walks along "bisses" or irrigation channels in the area. We might go to Les Diablerets from here. Maybe a local cow fight (LOL). Do you have any suggestions?
Zermatt and Chamonix definitely work. Actually, Chamonix would also be an option for the spare nights you have - but going for the day and taking either the Aiguille du Midi or the Brevent cable cars is worthwhile.
I have never hiked along the bisses but they look stunning, I had heard about them before.
Les Diablerets is known as a ski resort, I am not sure what it offers in September but I might have missed something, as I haven't been.
As for additional suggestions: if you can face a slightly scary access road, the Val d'Anniviers above Sierre is truly stunning. Especially around Saint Luc and Chandolin, with great views from Chandolin (a village at almost 2,000 metres elevation, which is very high for the Alps), and a lovely, mellow hike to Hotel Weisshorn from the top of the funicular in Saint Luc. Down towards Grimentz, then up a valley, the Moiry Dam is quite impressive too, with a beautiful lake.
I have also heard good things about the val d'Heremence directly above Sierre, but I have not been either. In particular, Grande Dixence dam seems spectacular.
The Val d'Anniviers above Sierre is truly stunning. I spent a week hiking in San Luc. It is spectacular. We hiked to Hotel Weisshorn and had the best blueberry tart. We were of course famished, so that helped. San Luc and Chandolin are your quintessential Swiss villages with lovely chalets and great food.
Balso and Trotter....thank you for these awesome suggestions! I'm checking out that road!
I highly recommend Lavaux. It's breathtaking, especially during sunset. Also, in the French speaking region, food is great. Be sure to dine in one of the restaurants on the hillside with a lake view.
Thanks to Carrie for her suggestion of Montreux. We have decided to spend our nights there and for sure, we will see the Lavaux area and the Chateau, perhaps Gruyeres, and Les Diablerets. This gives us the option of checking out Lausanne, too. Any suggestions for sights are appreciated as the previous contributions!
I plan to spend part of the weekend doing more research for my upcoming trip. I’ll let you know if I come up with any more ideas for the Montreux area. Also, I don’t know what your hotel budget is, but I’ll be staying at the hotel seen in that first video I linked above—the Grand Hotel Swiss. I chose it for it’s convenience as it’s right outside the train station (although you mentioned you were driving) and it has a great lake view.
If you would like a smaller town than Montreux but still on the lake, have a look at nearby Vevey.
Lausanne is very scenic and is home to lots of great restaurants. The night life there is pretty good too.
I found a great map of the Lavaux region. It shows the train stops, walking trails, and journeys up to Rochers-de-Naye and Les Pléiades. Popular walks include Chexbres to Saint-Saphorin and Epesses-Rivaz-St. Saphorin-Corseaux.
The trip up Rochers de Naye is highly recommended. Great views over the lake and the mountains.
That's a great map, Carrie! Thank you very much for sharing it with me. We will definitely enjoy a trip up to Rochers de Naye! We found an AirBnB in the burg of Jogny (just below to the right of Chardonne on the map). Your hotel looks divine, Carrie. Please let me know if you find more resources and tips for this area!
I did some more research:
Fribourg. The landscape and smaller size appeals to me more than Lausanne. RS doesn’t cover it, but my other guidebooks all have very favorable descriptions of it. Here is some info:
Fribourg city guide:
This video gives a good overview, if you can overlook the family filming it. 😊
Near Gruyère is Mt. Moleson. You can take the funicular up to Plan-Francey and then cable car up to the summit:
Wispile Mountain, Gstaad
Might be a little far, but looks like a nice gondola ride and walking.
As you are staying in Sion, you might find this video helpful:
I think I’m about done with research on this area for now. I’ll take another look at it before I leave in June. And, I’ll write a trip report when I get back. Have a great trip!!
Hi Carrie! I'm indebted to you for all of these fabulous tips and sights to see. I wanted to say thanks first and foremost. And now, I will dig into the links! BTW, if you haven't checked them out, "myswissalps" website has some good info and a travel forum as well.