Looking for suggestions - my husband and I need to be in Venice on Oct 27th in the afternoon. We've never been to Switzerland, and hear wonderful things, but aren't experienced hikers. Can we enjoy the sights without feeling like we climbed a mountain each day? Any sights recommended? Thank you!
Get one of the guide books on Switzerland so you can an idea of where you want to go first, then you can map out your way to Venice. Also Switzerland for the average person has more to do with taking one of the most unique transportation systems in the world to see natural beauty and views from mountain tops than hiking or mountain climbing. "The Swiss have tamed the mountains" unlike any others.
We have been in the fabulous Lauterbrunnen Valley in October. It will be cool to chilly, but there is still good weather (if not every day). The walking is easy. Rick Steves’ Switzerland guidebook outlines several options for easy hiking. You could easily pass 6 days there and take a day trip to Bern if the weather doesn’t suit you.
I am not sure about the weather in October. But the Lauterbrunnen valley is AMAZING. The North Face trail is a nice mostly paved trail. Murren is on one side of the Valley and Wengen is the other. Go up to Murren, take the Funicular up to Allmendhubel for the start of the trail. There are plenty of signs along the trail to help guide you. Amazing sights. You cut through some cow pastures, but the cows should be gone for quite a while now. The second memorable trail is above Wengen. Take the cable car from Wengen to Mannlichen, then follow the trail down to Kleinne Scheidegge. Take the train back to Wengen or take the walking path down.
I would stay in Wengen or Murren, the view of the opposite of the valley is great.
The great thing about many places in Switzerland is that they have put in lifts, cable cars, and cogwheel trains. So, motors do the hard work of getting you up or down, and you can have level or nearly-level walks between stations.
However, I am concerned about the weather when you are going. Mountain weather is both unpredictable and rapidly changeable, and in late October I'd expect a fair number of cloudy and rainy days. You will either want to base in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (the Berner Oberland) the whole time, so you maximize the odds of at least some good weather time, or will want to stay in Luzern, which as a city has more rainy day options.
Do get Rick's Switzerland book - he has extensive coverage of these two areas, including all the details about various "hikes" that do not involve mountain climbing.
Here is an option for your travel to Venice. Take the Bernina express train From either St.Moritz or nearby Pontresina to Tirano. Also there is a great hike (easy) with beautiful views all along it, The Panoramaweg.
I stayed at the Hostel across the street from the train station in Pontresina. It works out great for the hike and the Bernina Express.
VERY few of the trails in the area would be described as "climbing mountains". I'll send you a link to our pics and maps of our dozen fav trails in the area, and you can see for yourself what they are like. (Most are rolling hills type trails.) Click on your name in the upper right to read your forum mail.