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Traveling to Switzerland

My wife are going to Europe for our honeymoon. We will be in Italy for a few days with family then traveling to France and Switzerland and back to Italy. We were thinkingof going to France first for a few days then to Switzerland. Here are my questions:
What is the best way to travel with this itinerary? Also, my wife and I are mother nature enthusiasts (the outdoors), What should we do or visit in switzerland for a two or three day visit? We want to take in the culture and explore the beauty that the country has to offer. What does Bernese Oberland have to offer and show us? Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks for all your help.

Posted by
27720 posts

sorry, lmt, what do you mean by mother nature enthusiasts? Do mean naturist (nudist) or do you mean that you like to get out into the outback?

The answers may be different....

Posted by
7205 posts

Head directly to the Lauterbrunnen Valley and stay there for your entire time. You'll have the valley as well as the surrounding alpine villages of Wengen, Murren and Gimmelwald as well as the plethora of "Mother Nature" outdoor adventures everywhere you look. Best way to travel is by train because many of the beautiful destinations above Lauterbrunnen are only reachable by trains, funiculars and gondolas...no cars allowed.

Posted by
12040 posts

What time of year? How much time have you alloted?

Posted by
5 posts

I'm heading out there beginnng of June this year and will can be there about 3 days.

Posted by
31471 posts

I have the same question as Nigel. Could you clarify your meaning of "mother nature enthusiasts"?

I agree with previous comments that the Lauterbrunnen Valley would be a perfect location. The first thing you'll need to do is decide which of the towns there would work best as a "home base". Which one to choose will depend to some extent on what you plan to see in that area. The town of Lauterbrunnnen is the rail hub and therefore the most central location for visiting both sides of the valley. If you plan on staying mostly on one side, the town of Mürren is very popular.

The best way to travel with this itinerary - that's difficult to answer without having some idea on where you'll be in Italy and where you plan to be in France. Generally speaking, travel by train is often the quickest and most efficient travel method. More specifics would be helpful.....

Posted by
5 posts

We arrive in Florence Italy on May 29 and are staying with the parents for a few days to acclimate to time change and relax. We will head out to Paris roughly 3 days later. and stay in Paris for about 3 days. We then want to head to Switzerland for about 3 days before heading back to Florence, Italy. Hope this info helps.

Posted by
16883 posts

See www.skyscanner.com to find budget flights within Europe, such as from Florence to Paris, usually both faster and cheaper than the train.

http://www.ricksteves.com/europe/switzerland/berner-oberland gives you a start on the Berner Oberland attractions, a combination of mountain lifts and vistas, hiking, cheese, and cows. The Swiss Tourist board has tons of free info, both online and locally in each town, or Rick has a pretty comprehensive chapter in his Switzerland guidebook.

If you are ready to book ahead for fast TGV train tickets from Paris to Switzerland (such as to the first connection point at Basel), then the cheapest tickets go on sale 3-4 months in advance of the travel date. For most trains within Switzerland, you don't need to book ahead. The best train connections from the Lauterbrunnen area back to Florence take 6 hours and 3 connections, but flying doesn't have much advantage on that.

See this recent forum thread for some notes about Swiss Transfer Ticket and/or Half Fare Card, although they're not a necessity.

Posted by
5 posts

How would I travel either from Florence to Lauterbrunnen or vice versa. I can;t seem to find a way to travel between these two places?

Posted by
7205 posts

On www.trenitalia.com search for Firenze Santa Maria Novello to Milano Centrale. Then search Milano Centrale to Interlaken Ost which is where you'll change trains to the little train to Lauterbrunnen. The Trenitalia site doesn't recognize Lauterbrunnen

On the Swiss Train site www.sbb.ch you can search directly from Firenze SMN to Lauterbunnen

Both sites will tell you all of the train changes and such.

Posted by
31471 posts

Your transportation links are actually very straightforward. If I understand your post correctly, you'll be starting in Florence and then visiting Paris and Lauterbrunnen. If you could indicate your preference on which direction to travel, it would be easier to make specific suggestions.

Posted by
5 posts

So after checking the flights, it would be cheapest flying from Paris to Florence than from Florence to Paris. Here is the final details. We will leave Florence on May 31 and head to Lauterbrunnen and stay until June 5 at which time we will head to Paris and fly back to Florence on either June 7 or 8. Does that sound like a sound strategy? Please keep the suggestions coming. I have been learning a lot from all of you, so many thanks!

Posted by
31471 posts

This is one suggestion for each of your trips....

  • Florence to Lauterbrunnen - travel by train is the easiest method. One of the quickest trips will be a departure from Firenze SMN at 09:00, arriving Interlaken Ost at 14:28 (time 5H28M, two changes at Milano Centrale and Spiez, reservations compulsory on the first two legs). When you arrive at Interlaken Ost, transfer to the Berner Oberland Bahn for the short 20 minute ride to Lauterbrunnen. If you buy tickets locally in Italy, they may only be able to sell fares as far as Spiez. If that's the case, just buy tickets from Spiez to Lauterbrunnen at the station when you arrive (I've done that, it doesn't take long).
  • Lauterbrunnen to Paris - this is also very easy by train. First take the Berner Oberland Bahn back to Interlaken Ost. From Interlaken you could use a departure at 08:30 or 10:30, which will get you to Gare de Lyon in 5H:07M (one change at Basel SBB, reservation compulsory on the second segment to Paris, which will be via TGV at up to 300 kmh).
  • Paris to Florence - You might have a look at Vueling Air which offers flights from ORY to FLR. As with any of the budget airlines, booking early gets the best prices. Be sure to read the Terms & Conditons carefully, especially related to luggage. An alternative would be to use easyJet from Paris to Pisa, which is only about an hour by train from Florence. Choose whichever one has the best prices and flight availability.