1 week in Switzerland - Day Trips and a Homebase

My husband and I are hoping to take a trip to Switzerland this October. We will have 7-10 days for travel. We'd like to see Switzerland, but also see other nearby countries during day trips. (For instance, Geneva to Milano by train).

My questions are:
1. What's a good home base in Switzerland in your experience (or would it be better to divide the trip between a Northern and a Southern home base)?
2. What are the Switzerland must-sees?
3. What are some worthwhile day trips?

I know it's a lot of questions, so I thank you in advance. I thought I'd come here to the experts!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

Geneva to Milan is a four hour train journey...not ideal for a day trip. You could daily spend most all of that time in Switzerland. Except for Luzern, I'm not a big fan of Switzerland's cities. Switzerland's main attraction is the Alps. That's where you should spend most of your time. The Berner Oberland region (Interlaken, LauterBrunnen, Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald), is the best area to explore. Pick up a copy of Rick's Switzerland Guidebook for all the details. If you'd like to visit another country, consider taking a night train from Basel, or Zurich, These trains can take you to Amsterdam, Prague, Barcelona, or Copenhagen. For more details head to www.citynightline.ch

Posted by Nancy
Taylor, TX, USA
416 posts

I really enjoyed staying in Meiringen for 2 weeks several years ago. You have Reichenbach Falls visible (and easily reached and hiked) across the valley, you can take a bus to the Jungfrau, train to Interlaken or Bern and hike the Aarschlucht not to mention go up to Planplatten. Since we easily did an overnight trip from there to Strasbourg, France I don't see why you couldn't do the same to Milano. If I were doing this trip, I would probably do a couple of nights in Luzern, 4 nights in Meiringen and then the remainder in Italy. Fly into Zurich and out of Milano to avoid backtracking and make your trip more efficient. For me, Switzerland is more about the beautiful scenery than anything else. There IS a neat open-air museum (Ballenberg I believe) that is easily reached by train from Meiringen.

Posted by Gabrielle
Toronto, Canada
28 posts

Depends what KIND of activities you are going to be doing while in Switzerland (hiking, sightseeting, walking the city, etc). I found Zurich to be quite a boring city to visit.
On the other hand, I absolutely LOVED Geneva and could see myself living there if I could ever afford it! It's a small city in size but it's very walkable and I found the people very nice. It's also VERY clean! Prices for pretty much everything in Geneva (and Switzerland in general) were very high, so keep that in mind.
From Geneva we took a train to Lausanne and then to Montreux for a day trip. Montreux has the Castle de Chillon which is a really neat experience.
:-)