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First time travelling Switzerland

First time travelling Switzerland, me and my wife will be arriving in Geneva on 5/18 in the late afternoon and planning to spend 4-6 days in Switzerland. Should I stay in Geneva overnight on 5/18? Since I will only be in Switzerland 4-6 days, where should I set up home base? I have extra Luggage I don’t need it for this travel, should I rent a locker at airport? What could I possible do and where to go before heading to Italy? I don't want to purchase expensive and unnecessary passes and tickets. Where should I leave to get to Italy? I was thinking to go to Lausanne and Montreux, any suggestions? does it worth to rent a car since we are two?

Posted by
16416 posts

Assuming you are going by train on to Italy, Lausanne or Montreux would be excellent choices. They are right on the way to Italy by rail. So I would not store it at the airport unless you were flying to Italy. Just bring it to your hotel and you will have it with you when you head to Italy. The mainline trains go from Geneva, then Lausanne, then Montreux, then Brig, then Milan.

Posted by
9993 posts

Where to home base depends on what you want to do and see in Switzerland. It is early for hiking, but the mountains will be beautiful. You could stay in the Berner Oberland (Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Muerren are ideal) and ride lifts and trains to scenic spots. Lucerne is also a good option.

If you have 3 or 4 nights, stay in one location. If you have 5 or 6 nights, you could stay in 2 locations, perhaps the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Lausanne or Montreux.

Posted by
9993 posts

Forgot to say...do not rent a car! Switzerland is renowned for great trains and other public transportation. No car required.

As to "extra luggage" I am not sure I understand. If you are flying into Geneva but leaving for Italy from wherever you are in Switzerland -- presumably by train -- you'll have to keep your luggage with you. Most of us on the Helpline pack very light, a 21" rollaboard case and a daypack is a common combination. That's all I need for a month of travel.

Posted by
262 posts

If you have taken a long flight, staying overnight is not a bad idea to catch up on your sleep so you can begin your travels the next day more rested. If Geneva is your return airport and you do not want to take your luggage with you while you tour Switzerland and Italy, there are lockers at the train level at the airport, (sbb.ch). If you are not flying out of Geneva, I also recommend bringing your luggage and leaving it at the hotel you are staying, although there are also lockers at many of the train stations along the way. If you are taking the train to Italy and want to stay along Lake Geneva, both Vevey and Montreux offer a range of lodging and you can easily take public transit almost anywhere you want to visit. I do not recommend renting a car. If you visit sbb.ch, you can enter the destinations you want to go. Almost all train stations have machines to purchase tickets and you can buy tickets on the bus. You can also download the train app to purchase tickets if you have a smart phone at sbb.ch. Depending on the location, the tickets are interchangeable and can be used for the train, bus and metro within a time window (mobilis network). Definitely review the options for discounts for Swiss public transport on the website, they are worth it. As far as what to visit, there is something for everyone depending on what you might enjoy.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks for the info. I decided to spend two night at Geneva and 2 more night at Lausanne or Montreux. Any input? Which one is better to stay? I will be there around 20th of May. Is it cold in this time of the year? should I expect to see snow?

Posted by
20787 posts

Check the weather forecast right before you leave. I've had chilly (low 50s F), rainy weather often in Switzerland during the summer. On the other hand, it could be very nice. I think snow down at lake level would be very, very unlikely.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks for all the info. I booked hotel For Geneva 18-19th May and for Venice 24-26. I have 4 day open in my plan. I am thinking stay may be one night at Lausanne, Montreux or Lucerne and head toward Como Italy and stay 2 night over there. Any comments would be appreciated. Should I go directly from Geneva to Como? Should I eliminate the Como and stay more in Geneva or other cities? Which route is more scenic?

Thanks