Im planning a trip to Switzerland in September for 7 days/6nights. I am going to be 2 nights in Lucern, heading to Bern for half day and then 3 nights/2days in Berner Oberland area. Is Lausanne worth spending 1 night before heading out to Geneva airport or should I just spend more time in Berner Oberland. Any ideas/suggestions would be great! :)
Definitely spend more nights in the Berner Oberland! And head straight from Luzern to Interlaken rather than going via Bern; the train route is very scenic and Bern, while pretty, is not essential either. If you land in Geneva, then perhaps you could stop in Bern for a couple of hours on your arrival day (leaving luggage at the station), but I would not bother.
No, its just another big cosmopolitan city on the lake.
Bern is one of my favourite cities in Switzerland but the things I like doing there are spread out. I could never hit my highlights in half a day.
I guess you could hop off the train, leave your luggage downstairs in a locker or two, and walk through the centre to the bear pit and get a tram back.
What did you hope to see?
If you stick with it I can tell you some of my favs.
If you stick with Luzern > Bern > Berner Oberland you will miss an especially beautiful train ride between Luzern and Interlaken Ost. The Brünig route takes you on a cogwheel train over the eponymous pass, past lakes and mountain lakes, waterfalls, Meiringen (Reichenbach Falls of Sherlock Holmes fame) and in a straight(ish) line whereas the default route via Bern is a whole lot plainer, flat and level.
Lausanne is a reasonably nice place. I enjoyed seeing the green walled building. I had lunch. The multi-level city is interesting and the lakefront is nice.
I haven't felt the need to return.
I don't think Lausanne is a "must-see" destination. However, stop by only if you have extra time. The food is quite good though. It's a hilly city and therefore not worth making an overnight stop if you have to carry big suitcases.
When in Bern, don't miss the Rose Garden (Rosengarten), which allows you to see the city from the hilltop.
I would skip Lausanne, if it meant that I could spend another day in the mountains. We stopped in Lausanne for lunch on our way to Geneva, but that was only because we were passing through.
It is an interesting city and I enjoyed the Olympic Museum as well as a lake cruise. I would always spend another day in the Berner Oberland given a choice.
Thank you everyone! This helps a lot!
I like Bern and Lausanne. But with only 6 or so nights I would limit the trip to Luzern and the Berner Oberland. If you can squeeze in another night I would spend 3 nights in Luzern and the other 4 in BO. You should look into flights to or from Zurich airport. It’s closer to Luzern than Geneva. In the BO many of us forum members will suggest staying up in the mountains such as in Muerren.
Have a great trip.
I just left Montreux next to Lausaunne. It is on the same rail line to the airport and worth a stop to walk the promenade to see Chateau Chillon (free entry with a Swiss Travel Pass). Also the Golden Pass scenic train terminates there. But after leaving the Berner Oberland you will feel a let down in the hustle and bustle of the big cities.
After your two nights in Lucerne, take the Golden Pass Panoramic train via the Brunig Pass to Interlaken Ost. The views are beautiful! Then 3 nights in the Berner Oberland area. I would skip Bern. If your flight out of Geneva is set, then the last night would be good to be closer to Geneva in Lausanne. The Port D'Ouchy waterfront area in Lausanne on Lake Geneva is lovely and you can take the metro up to the Old town area. Our hotel gave us a free Metro card. If you have more time in Lausanne take the train to the charming town of Vevey and also see the Lavaux Vineyards with spectacular views. You can take the train from Lausanne to Geneva for your flight.
Lausanne is a beautiful city and certainly worth spending some time in to see the local sights. However with only one night for that portion of the trip, you won't have time to see anything in Lausanne so it would be a waste of time. I'd suggest spending more time in the Berner Oberland as there's lots to see in that area.
As Nigel mentioned the trip to Meiringen is beautiful so if you're interested you could take a short day trip there.
I spent 6 nights there a few years back but it was as a base to do day trips to other places. It's certainly pleasant enough, and well located for transportation (trains) but it's my least favorite city in Switzerland. I would spend more time in Bern, Lucern, Interlaken, Zurich - before I'd spend time in Lausanne.
I'm debating if we should stay in Lausanne - Rick's book makes it sound interesting, at least for a day or two, but I see different takes from forum members. We're planning to visit Switzerland next month for two weeks and have everything booked except for the Lake Geneva region. Do you folks think it's worth spending 2-3 nights in the Lake Geneva region while on a 15 day trip? We're planning 3 nights in Zermatt, 6 nights in Murren and 2-3 nights in Luzern on the way back to fly home out of Zurich.
you may be spreading yourself thin. 2-3 nights in Luzern is only 1 or 2 days on the ground. There is SO much to do in Luzern and around with the mountains, the lake - a really big lake - and all sorts. There really isn't the time to do the Lac Leman area too.
With that length of trip, I would skip Lausanne. It's a very nice city with a special atmosphere that is quite different from other cities in Switzerland, but for a week-long trip, you are better off sticking to Lucerne and the Berner Oberland.
What are your plans for your three nights in Zermatt? My main reason for basing in Lausanne for 6 nights that trip was that I wanted to be sure to see the Matterhorn without clouds. I knew that if I planned to stay in Zermatt for a couple nights and it was cloudy the whole time it would be a waste. So I planned the 6 nights in Lausanne and watched the weather every day. It was not until the 5th day that the forecast was good. I got an early train to Zermatt and then up to Gornergrat. It was amazing. But by mid day the clouds were starting to form and by the time I left it was covered. But it was so worth doing it the way I did. The other days when it was cloudy at the Matterhorn I did day trips from Lausanne to Guyeres, Sion, Montreux, etc. I found the town of Zermatt totally uninspiring.
Photos from trip to Zermatt/Matterhorn http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p482768889
And here's the gallery that has a few shots of Lausanne if you want to see what that looks like
Isabel, thanks for sharing your fabulous photos!! I remember seeing some of your Italy ones. The Italy ones inspired me to pick up a few books on photography. I’m not sure I’ll take any good pictures, but I’m now aware of things like lighting and background.
Diana, I can’t help with your dilemma, but my research of Switzerland has my thinking you have no wrong choice. I’d suggest watching a few videos on You Tube to see which cities appeal to you.
Isabel, thank you so much for your photos and clever idea about not staying in Zermatt but instead staying nearby and checking the forecast. To be honest, I haven't put together formal plans for Zermatt yet. We're planning to head straight there from the Zurich airport and if we get lucky and see the Matterhorn, then great. If not, we'll do some hiking and get over jet lag and move onto the next place. Going to look more closely at my Lausanne plans after looking at your photos though :)
In Lausanne I liked the Olympic Museum and REALLY liked the Museum of Outsider Art. I also made a pilgrimage to Audrey Hepburn's grave in nearby Tolochenaz (I realize this won't interest most people). And, I saw the Chateau de Chillon (didn't like this as much as most) and walked along the lakefront in Montreux (very nice). So, I enjoyed my time in Lausanne. If any of these interest you, you can do 1 or 2 of them with only one night in Lausanne.
But if time in Switzerland is short, and nothing particular draws you to Lausanne or the region, you should skip it and use that time in the mountains instead.