A friend wants to meet in Switzerland for 4 days before we move on to Paris. With only 4 days what would someone recommend? I am thinking Lucerne and maybe the Bernese Oberland. Is that feasible? Or should I concentrate on only one area?
It's very feasible. Spend one full day in Luzern, and then take the scenic Golden Pass train to Interlaken (gateway of the BO) region. When you are ready to move on to Paris you can take direct trains to Basel which has the most TGV departures to Paris.
Steve either Luzern area or BO are both great. Consider maybe contrasting one of them with a destination in the French part - Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Sion, etc. Nice transition from Switzerland to France.
I second the vote for Sion. Take the train from Kandersteg (in the Berner Oberland) to Lotschberg and then southwest to Sion. If you have a car you can put it on the train; 22 francs, really fun! Beautiful, small town with a hilltop ruined castle and very old church from the 1300s with the oldest working organ in Europe. Walkable medieval town center surrounded by stunning terraced vineyards. A beautiful part of Switzerland that not many Americans go to.
I agree with Michael; hope you choose a month with decent weather.
What time of year? That makes a huge difference. And where are you coming from?
steve, As Tom and others mentioned, the time of year will be an important factor in choosing which locations to visit. If your trip will take place in "better weather" months and you just want a quick sample, you could split your time between Lucerne and the Berner Oberland. You could also spend the entire four days in either location if you'd like to spend more time exploring whichever area you choose. Happy travels!
steve, The weather should be reasonable at that time of year, but of course there are never any guarantees and there could be rain. It would help to have some idea of what you're planning to do in each of the areas you want to visit. Are you and your friend more interested in Museums or other "indoor" activities, or are you planning to do some hiking and enjoy the incredible scenery? It's difficult to recommend one location or another without that information. Both Lucerne and the Berner Oberland have lots to offer, so either area would be good.
Zermatt to see The Matterhorn. Berner Oberland is OK too if you see the Eiger. Read "The Day the Rope Broke"
Hope for clear weather.
Thanks everyone. I was thinking the end of May or the beginning of June. How is the weather at that time of year?
I agree with Michael. I did this in early September. I would spend a day in Lucerne and ride the Golden Pass train (most scenic train ride I have been on) to Interlaken Ost and either base here or stay in Murren or Wengen and explore this region. It is so beautiful with endless hiking trails. I am not a hiker and I hiked the entire time I was there. If you want to see Schilthorn and Jungfrau, allow at least several days as the weather is unpredictable.
The end of May is still a bit dicey, but you could get lucky. Mid June would be more reliable.
Thanks everyone. Want to see the scenery and do some hiking. I bought Rick's guidebook and he said even if it does rain, there are still some awesome hikes that can be taken. I will do the city thing in Lucerne and probably go up Mt. Pilatus. As always, I want to pack light, so can you rent boots and possibly rain gear in Interlaken if necessary?
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