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Paris to Geneva by train for 3-4 days in Switzerland...please help with ideas

We are planning to end our vacation in Switzerland and thought train travel from Paris (or Strasbourg) to Geneva might be a good route. We're traveling with our 3 teen/young adults, and hoping to land in one place and day trip from there. We are hoping for a good spot for beauty, exploring, some serenity, chocolate, possibly a short hike in mountains...not as interested in city sights nor museums in big cities.

We've been reading about Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, and Gruyeres...with the tentative plan to get back to Geneva for our flight home. The Lake Geneva area sounds lovely. I also like the suggestions I've read of going on the Chocolate Train route on our own - not the official tour.

However, we're open to any suggestions, and also wondering about ideas for lodging for a family of 5. I hope to have us all together (saving $$), not in two hotel rooms. Hostel with private family room could work - if we could find a nice one in the area. Is there another area we should consider for this time frame and travel route from France? Should we get ourselves to Gimmelwald?

Thanks for any suggestions you can share.

Posted by
3336 posts

Lake Geneva is a lovely area to spend a day or two. Of the towns you listed, I prefer Vevey - it's beautiful, right on the lake, and the atmosphere is very French/Swiss. You can see some of the sights in the area in a day or two such as Gruyere and Chateau Chillon and enjoy the vineyards and the views of the French alps that surround that end of the lake.

If you want to hike in the mountains, then the Lake Geneva area isn't an ideal spot for this. I recommend you take the 3+ hour train ride from Vevey to Lauterbrunnen and stay there for at least 3 nights to experience hiking in the alps.

If you really want to stay in the area of Lake Geneva for the whole time then you can go to Verbier to hike and have magnificent views of the alps from the top of the lifts. Another option would be to take the bus to Chamonix to see Mont Blanc and hike in the French Alps - it's only about 1.5 hours away from Geneva and it is a stunning area.

Posted by
16883 posts

Any of those destinations can be a workable choice in terms of transportation. If you choose Gimmelwald, for instance, train travel time is 5 hours from Strasbourg or 6-6.5 hours from Paris; then 3.5 hours to Zurich airport or 4 hours to Geneva airport. (You shave off half an hour if you stay lower in the valley at Lauterbrunnen.)

Posted by
307 posts

Thank you for your suggestions. We are trying to figure out how to maximize our time, and now considering Bern as an entry point...so I'll do a new post.

Thanks!
Laurie