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Help with return trip to Fribourg area after many years?

We will be finishing up the Alpine My Way tour on Friday, June 22, 2018 in Chamonix, France. We fly out of Zürich on Tuesday, the 26th, 4 nights later. I spent a year in Fribourg Switzerland on a study abroad program many, many years ago. I would like to explore some of my old haunts, but am having trouble figuring out where to base for the first 3 nights. We will stay in Zurich the last before our flight.
Places I want to return to are:
Fribourg—the University, the Basse Ville
Schwarzee (Lac Noir) where we would ski on weekends
Lac Leman (Geneva), Chateau de Chillon, Vevey
(These last two could be either/or since I know they are in opposite directions.)

The obvious answer is to stay in Fribourg and take public transportation to the various places.
But I wonder about staying in Montreux (it’s so lovely staying on a lake) and renting a car to make day trips. And if we did that, could we take the Golden Pass train trip to Zürich from Montreux on the Monday?
Too much to do, I know, but I’m looking for some suggestions that I haven’t thought of. We don’t want to stay in more than 2 places for those 4 nights.

Posted by
293 posts

Hi - I don't have any suggestions for you because I don't know that area, but just three weeks ago, I returned to the small town where I spent 2 months at a tiny Goethe Institute in prep for my study-abroad opportunity at a German university. I found the house where I had lived, and the now-elder daughter of the landlady still lived there. When I told her I had lived there in 1976, she pulled out the old guestbook of the times, and I found my entry, dated August-September 1976. It was very, very interesting tripping down memory lane, and I hope you enjoy seeing your old haunts too.

Posted by
771 posts

Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to similar memories and encounters!

Posted by
437 posts

It would be great to base in Montreux and drive to the various places, hub and spoke style.

The Rome2rio website allows playing with multiple destinations and various modes of travel. For example a route from Chamonix to Montreux then on to Fribourg, etc.

You could do 3 nights exploring and then train or drive to Zurich. To avoid huge drop off fees, don't pick up a car in France and return it in Switzerland.

Enjoy the planning and the trip!

Posted by
771 posts

Beth, thanks for your ideas. I have looked at the Rome2Rio site since posting and have toyed with that idea--taking the train from Chamonix. If we were to base in Montreux, it would make more sense to rent a car to visit the places I would like to visit, since public transportation would be time consuming. We could then maybe look into the Golden Pass train from Montreal to Lucerne, then on to Zurich.

If anyone is familiar with the Fribourg area, I would welcome some suggestions if we were to base ourselves there for a few days. I know it is not a highly visited area, but it's worth asking!

Posted by
4 posts

Hi, I did this trip in reverse this summer; landed in Zurich and then met up with family in Geneva 4 days later. I also spent my junior year in Fribourg many years ago and wanted to see it again. I found that I needed only a day to see everything in Fribourg itself, including walking everywhere - university, the base ville, my old apartment and a stroll down the Blvd de Perolles. I would have liked to go to Gruyere, but could not fit this into my time frame. Also, I was there in late August, so the University was mostly deserted; it may be more open when you are there and require more time.
Staying 3 days in Fribourg might be a bit long. But how long and where is of course dependent on your transportation.

You might consider a 3 or 4 day Swiss travel pass which will can get you too all the destinations you mentioned with the convenience of getting on and off when you want and making last minute decisions. It works on most bus lines(think there is both a train and bus to Gruyere from Fribourg). The trains are 30 minutes apart for most destinations. I bought a 4 day pass in Zurich and found it to be wonderful for my purposes and allowed some for some spontaneity in the trip. If you travel light it also works for checking your luggage at the station and exploring for the day before hopping on the train to the next place.
Perhaps you could look at staying 2 nights in Geneva or Lausanne-your first night includes travel that day from Chamonix, correct?- and use the travel pass for day trips to Montreux and Vevey. Then onto Fribourg for 1 night and up to 1-1/2 days exploring that area before heading back to Zurich. You could even stop in Bern on the way.

I loved the Hotel Mount Brillant in Geneva right next to the train station; think it can be pricey but I got a great rate at apparently a rare slow day. I stayed at the hotel NH in Fribourg, but can not recommend it because it really was an eyesore in the middle of a beautiful city. Have a great trip!

Posted by
771 posts

Chris, thanks so much for your reply! It’s great to hear from someone else who studied in Fribourg. I have thought about the itinerary you have suggested, and it’s probably the most reasonable. The train pass makes sense, also. I still would kind of like to get to Lac Noir/Schwarzee because of all the skiing memories, but would like for my husband to see more of Lake Geneva, as you suggest.
We will be coming from Chamonix, so could either go by way of Geneva or Montreux.
I was on a program from Rosary College in Chicago while in Fribourg. I stayed in a dorm for the women on Rue Fries, Villa de Fougeres. The men were from Georgetown, Providence College, and La Salle, and they stayed with families.
I agree that a day would probably be enough for Fribourg. I looked to see if the Bierstube was still there, but didn’t see it online. The brewery was was definitely a hangout and dinner destination on many a night.
Thanks again!

Posted by
1 posts

I too, was a student at the University of Fribourg and spent a year there in 1977-'78. I lived at the Villa des Fougeres but the men lived there as well when I was a student. My husband and I will be visiting Switzerland this year and I can't wait to see the sites again!

Posted by
771 posts

Marie, it was great to hear from you! As of now, our plans are to spend a night in Montreux, rent a car on leaving and work our way up to Fribourg, probably through Gruyeres on the way. We'll spend 2 nights in Fribourg, and besides exploring Fribourg we'll use the car to get to the little out of the way places I want to see, then drive to Zurich and spend the night before flying home. I haven't booked a car yet, but it seemed too complicated getting out to places like Gruyere and Schwartzee by public transportation, so that's my current thought.

I'll share any suggestions I might have when I return. A fellow classmate of mine went back last year and said the tourist office was very helpful. She did a pre-recorded walking tour of the city which she found interesting.

Villa des Fougeres is now Ecole-Club Micros, an educational institution for adults.