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Lucerne or elsewhere?

Hi!
My husband and I are doing a five day hiking trip in the Bernese Oberland. We have a couple extra days to spend either staying in the Bernese Oberland or possibly exploring Lucerne or even elsewhere. We were thinking some kind of cheese, chocolate, or food tour would be fun. Any advice? Thanks!

Posted by
122 posts

My sister and I will be spending a week in Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding area. One of the fun things we are going to do is go to The Funky Chocolate Club and do a class there. Here is a link to their website: https://funkychocolateclub.com/
Everything there looks delish!!

Posted by
276 posts

If you’ll be there in September, you might want to attend a festival where the cheese is distributed and the cows brought down from the Alpine meadows. You can often sample local cheeses, food, and wine. There are usually some folks dressed in traditional clothing, and you may hear singing and alpenhorns.

The one described in the link below was a highlight of my trip.

https://swisswanderlust.com/justistal-chasteilet-cheese-distribution/

Here’s a link that discusses other similar festivals.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/switzerland/swiss-autumn-festivals

They are called Alpabfahrt, Almabtrieb or Alpabzug (in the German speaking areas), or Désalpes (in French speaking areas)

Although an extra two days in the Bernese Oberland would be enjoyable, it might be fun to spend some time in a city or a different region.

Lucerne has much to offer, but I didn’t get to visit it on my trip, so I can’t suggest anything there.

A smaller city closer to the Bernese Oberland is Thun, which offers interesting medieval architecture, two castles, nice restaurants along the river, and a great view across the lake of the Alps. It has farmers markets on Wed. and Saturday and festivals throughout the year.

https://www.swissvistas.com/thun-travel-guide.html

I also enjoyed Bern, which has interesting architecture, fascinating clock towers and fountains and may have a festival while you’re there. I lucked into one and was able to sample a lot of different agricultural products, including cheese.

For something different and a longer train ride, staying in Lausanne, Montreux, or Vevey would allow you to take a wine, cheese, or chocolate tour and experience the French speaking region. The Gruyeres cheese is different from what you’ll find in the B. Oberland area.

This thread discusses that area.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/switzerland/gruyere-district-and-bulle

All the best,

Raymond

Posted by
5153 posts

Thanks all, this thread was a wealth of info. I'm checking out all the links now. Your efforts to share are much appreciated!

Posted by
1379 posts

Lucerne sounds good to me! A few years ago we spent 4 days in the BO hiking around (stayed in Wengen) and stopped in Lucerne for a few hours on the way back to Zurich before flying home. Wish we would have spent more time in that beautiful city (Lucerne).

Posted by
1971 posts

In March 2015, we spent 3 days, 2 nights in Lucerne on a stopoff via train journey from Paris to Salerno. Stayed directly across the street from the station at Hotel Walstadtterhof--at ~$200/night the closest and best value in town. Rooms were not ornate--ours was modern & somewhat spartan, but incredibly clean. We liked it a lot.

We walked across the beautiful Chapel Bridge to the Rathaus Brauerie, sitting outside for a smashing boiled beef sandwich on a pretzel roll, and some of the best lager I've ever tasted. All this in sunny 35 degree late winter weather, with a few tourists but mostly locals. Also visited chocolatiers & quite enjoyed wandering the cobbled Old Town streets. Gorgeous city!

We are planning a return trip next April, part of a Zurich-to-Rome train journey. This time we will visit the casino and will hopefully have high tea at the Grand Hotel Luzern. But we won't stay there, at $450+/night--Walstadtterhof is plenty good for us!

Posted by
33335 posts

I was going to say that at 35 degrees there would be a great excuse for the beer but then I saw winter and realized that you meant a different 35 degrees, at which there might have been a bit less urgency.

EDIT> It took me until the third reading to notice that you had in fact mentioned March.
Not everybody knows that I often read posts from bottom to top... (but I do)

Posted by
1971 posts

I was going to say that at 35 degrees there would be a great excuse
for the beer but then I saw winter and realized that you meant a
different 35 degrees, at which there might have been a bit less
urgency.

EDIT> It took me until the third reading to notice that you had in
fact mentioned March. Not everybody knows that I often read posts from
bottom to top... (but I do)

No worries, Nige...I'm a Fahrenheit guy...

It was remarkable--the mountain strong late winter sun & little wind allowed us and a bunch of locals to dine outside in relative comfort. It was what I dreamed Switzerland in winter to be.

Posted by
4012 posts

Jay, I was happy to read that you visited Lucerne in March because I was thinking of making my trip to Switzerland in mid March 2022 basing myself in Lucerne; I had meticulously planned to visit in April 2020 with the help of so many people in this forum. In mid March, the cable cars should still be open too as opposed to the time I was going to travel in April of last year.

Posted by
1971 posts

Jay, I was happy to read that you visited Lucerne in March because I
was thinking of making my trip to Switzerland in mid March 2022 basing
myself in Lucerne; I had meticulously planned to visit in April 2020
with the help of so many people in this forum. In mid March, the cable
cars should still be open too as opposed to the time I was going to
travel in April of last year.

In 2015, this was early March, around the 3rd.

I think Lucerne would be a great base. Yeah, there's stuff to do there but as with any base you want a stiff bed in a quiet room to take a nap at the end of a day out touring, then a choice of great restaurants to walk to in the evenings. Lucerne has that in spades.

And the Swiss train system is second to none. Heck, you can get to Vaduz, Lichtenstein in an hour-and-a-half!