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Suggestion for a 7 nights in Switzerland

My wife and I will be arriving in Geneva late in the afternoon on Monday, May 30. Our plan is to stay in Geneva on the 30th, but then move on the next morning to stay in Lausanne, Vevey, or Montreux for 2-3 nights. Which of these areas do you suggest we stay for the 2-3 nights? I was thinking Vevey and then explore the Montreux, Lausanne and other nearby locals from there. Your thoughts?
From here we're headed to Zurich via Interlaken. If we stay in Vevey area for three nights, we'll only have ONE night to stay in Interlaken. Should I spend only 2 nights in Vevey in order to be able to spend two nights in Interlaken? I already have reservations in Zurich at the Dolder Grand on June 4-5 so I am kind of locked into arriving in Zurich on June 4th unless there is a compelling reason to spend one more day enroute to Zurich. I can also add one day in Zurich on June 6th depending on the feedback I get.

I would also appreciate any suggestions about accommodations in the areas you suggest. We enjoy the nicer spots with luxury accommodations, but we also enjoy smaller properties with wonderful ambiance, service, and good locations.
Thanks in advance for any comments.

Posted by
1443 posts

Vevey is certainly a favorite. It's gorgeous and centrally located to other Lake Geneva sights. And it's only about an hour from Geneva by train. I'd recommend skipping Geneva and staying in Vevey your first 2 nights. I have nothing against Geneva, but on a tight schedule there are more pleasant places close by.

Is there a particular reason you've chosen Interlaken? If mountain scenery is your goal, then Interlaken does not make much sense. Interlaken has a famous name but only a distant view of the alps. Less than 30 minutes away by train are several towns actually in the alps which would be a better choice if scenery and mountain hiking is your goal. Grindlewald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, and Gimmelwald all beat the socks off of Interlaken in that department. If the weather is nice, I'd spend your next 3 nights in any of these towns.

Likewise, is there a particular reason you've chosen Zurich? Most Switzerland lovers, myself included, find Zurich to be a pleasant city but a little short on things typically on a visitor's to-do list. Instead, you should stay your last 2 nights in Lucerne, about an hour away by rail. It has more to do, it's cuter, and there are two peaks you can ascend by cable car: Titlis and Pilatus. If you're flight leaves from Zurich, staying in Lucerne the night before is no problem. Trains leave Lucerne going directly to the Zurich airport every half hour and take about 70 minutes. Easy peasy.

Posted by
518 posts

My wife and I are planning a trip to Switzerland as well, similar duration, but in the fall. Although, we're looking to spend more time in the Lauterbrunnen area.

Posted by
3391 posts

Of the three towns on Lake Geneva you are considering, I prefer Vevey to the other two. It's has no hills like Lausanne and isn't squashed up against the motorway like Montreux. There is a long lakeside promenade lined with trees, a beautiful old town, and wonderful farmer's market if you are there on the right day. There are several gorgeous hotels on the shores of the lake in Vevey. They are a little pricey, as are most things in Switzerland, but well-worth the cost. The Grand Hotel du Lac is very classic, right on the lake, and you will be treated like royalty!
Interlaken isn't all that great...there are several other places nearby that are much nicer and more "Alpine". Interlaken is a bit of a commercial ski center. Head up just a little further up into the Bernese Oberland and you'll be in Lauterbrunnen, one of the most spectacular areas of Switzerland!

Posted by
262 posts

If you opt to stay in Vevey, I also recommend Hotel Des Trois Couronnes, (The Three Crowns). The local market in Vevey is Tuesday and Saturday mornings in the Marche.
If you opt for Montreux, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is in a prime location along the lake and has a beautiful spa. The motorway is a distance up the mountain so I don't think you'll find yourself squashed up against it at any point. If you enjoy walking through villages with breathtaking views, I recommend a visit to the Unesco Vineyard Terraces. They are only a few minutes away by train and worth the trip.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you very much for the suggestions. This is the first time I've used this and I didn't know I could reply until just now. Sorry about the delay in thanking you.

Posted by
5 posts

Is three nights in Vevey too long? We're on a 24 day trip of Switzerland and Germany so I have the time, but with that being said, there is so much to see that I don't want to spend more time than needed to see the area around Vevey.

Posted by
1443 posts

2 or 3 days is fine. If the weather looks really nice in the mountains, I'd cut Vevey to 2 days and spend the extra day in the alps. I don't know of anything more beautiful than a bright sunny day in the alps.

Posted by
11294 posts

Do you have Rick's Switzerland book? If not, get it. He's not the only one who feels that Geneva and Zürich are not the highlights of Switzerland.

First, if you do want to see the towns around Lake Geneva, you can see them all from one base. Unless you have specific sights you want to see in Geneva, there's no need to stay there your first day. Trains run right from Geneva airport to all the towns on the lake (Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, etc), so you can go right to one of these upon arrival, for all your nights in the area.

I agree that 1) You want to spend more time in the Alps and less time out of them, and 2) You don't want to stay in Interlaken, which is near the Alps but not right in them. You want to stay in Mürren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, or Gimmelwald. Rick's chapter on the Berner Oberland has all the information you need to enjoy this area. And you want to stay here as many nights as possible, because mountain weather is changeable and unpredictable, and you want to maximize your odds of having enough good weather days for your activities.

Of course, if you are coming to Switzerland for large supermarkets, sex shops, casinos, a large selection of jewelry stores, or a "Paksitani" restaurant (that's what the sign said, like Punxsutawney Phil in Groundhog Day), stay in Interlaken. Otherwise, spend the extra 20-40 minutes to get to one of the towns I listed above.

Posted by
1716 posts

I am not sure if you have been to Switzerland before this trip. If not, I strongly suggest skipping staying in Montreux or Vevey. You may want to arrive in Geneva and then train to Montreux the next day to catch the Golden Pass scenic train to Interlaken. Interlaken isn't that scenic, however it is a great base to see the Bernase Oberland area. Spend as much time in the Bernase Oberland area as possible and then I I would then see Lucerne and head to Zurich. As I said if this is your first trip to Switzerland, I would spend more time exploring, Murren, Lauterbrunnen, etc. from Interlaken.

Posted by
1918 posts

Many of us here feel that the Berber Oberland area is THE place to see the alps, to be in the alps. It is like nothing you have probably ever seen before. If you stay in interlaken, it is not at all the same as staying in the alps. You could visit them from there though.

I guess it depends what you are looking for. There really isn't much shopping, no fancy hotels that I'm aware of, people are into sports and hiking. You will find people from all over the world and all ages coming there to hike. It is really on the mountain so it will not have the feel of a city at all.

So, just something to think about if you prefer luxury, you may not find it here.

But, if you are really looking for a mountain experience, then this is it! The weather changes rapidly, so if you plan to stay on the mountain try to stay at least a couple days to insure you'll get a day with awesome views.

Posted by
20 posts

Have you seen Ricks's tips for trip ideas? Trip ideas, 3 days in Bernese Oberland

the Jungfrau is a must do really, Jungfau web cam and staying in Lauterbrunnen gives you access to great day trips to Zermat, Lucern, or Bern.
Definitely do a night in Montreux and then train to Lauterbrunnen (3 hours, 3 changes). More time needed in Lauterbrunnen rather than in Vervey, if you like mountains and walking. You will want to stay longer. Try airbnb for good local accommodation.