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Best of Switzerland Tour Report

Hi:

Just back from the first Best of Switzerland trip and it was fantastic.

Weather: Unfortunately, as usual when traveling in the spring, we hit rain. But also several days in the 70s. Very clear in Engleberg but cloudy and limited visibility in Murren and Zermatt. The Matterhorn was hiding. The days of the lake cruises were clear and beautiful. But over all it was good. I just can't describe the beauty of this country.

Hotels: All were wonderful. I was traveling on a single supplement and, aside from one hotel, all the rooms had great views, comfortable beds and the hotels good breakfasts. I think my favorite was the hotel in Lausanne . However, that hotel had a glass wall in the bathroom. Mine was frosted so you could not see into the bathroom, but others were not. Also the last hotel had a glass door to the bathroom. Hmm. Those Swiss, who said they are conservative!!!! Oh yes all had elevators.

Bus: We had a very nice bus, but unlike other tours the bus did not stay with the tour the whole time. Because distances are so short, the driver went home some days. So no deep storage. This is a good thing for me as it kept me from buying to much. Also so did the costs (more on that later.) You will probably also really like the day when the bus is driven on the train and then goes through a tunnel. It was way cool and very interesting. Lots of narrow winding roads and stunning views.

Tour Guide: We had two guides the first week, Donald and Fabian. Fabian left to join the second tour mid tour. Donald was excellent. He was up on everything and kept us all in line. Sort of like herding cats!!! Great group too. With one exception, all the local tour guides were excellent. Lots of jokes and laughter.

Snafus: We only had one that we knew of. Everything went smoothly and if any thing went wrong we did not know about it.

Costs: Be advised, Switzerland is EXPENSIVE!!! A regular lunch for one person can run upwards of 25 franks. However, there are several grocery stores, COOP, Manor and Migros, that sell ready to eat sandwiches and salads. Manor actually has a cafeteria with some of the best foods I ate. None of the hotels had issues with eating in the room. Laundry is expensive. Hotels charge by the garment not the load.

Recommended foods: Gelato, cheese, chocolate, fondue and raclette. I also had some of the best bread I have had in a long time. Also if you are a coffee drinker, don't expect to get "American" coffee. The coffee is in small cups and is strong. Absolutely lovey.

Overall Comment: I loved this tour. If you are signed up for this though, be prepared to walk on all types of surfaces from concrete to cobblestones .Lots of uphill walks and stairs. You will take cable cars, trains, metros, buses and boats, and you will have a great time!!!

Posted by
213 posts

Hi Barbara!

I've been waiting for a review of this new RS tour! We plan on signing up for next year. Sounds like you really enjoyed it. Did you have any suggestions for free time? Thanks for your report!

Posted by
1103 posts

Walnut Creek, just down the 680. Nice report. Switzerland is on my list of next places to visit, most likely in 2 years.

Posted by
367 posts

Hi Jaye:

There were so many opportunities for time off tour. In Lucerne there is Mt. Pilates or Mt. Rigi. You would take a boat then cog wheel trains and cable cars though you would need day for those. Almost all places had hikes or walks. In Lake Lugano, and Lausanne there are boat rides and hikes. In Lausanne there is the Olympic Museum. Most places had some sort of museum and in the towns that had lakes, sitting in a lakeside café and watching the world go by was a really great way to spend a few down hours.

You will most likely not have enough free time to see all that is offered. HMMM I may need to do this tour again.

Have a great time if you go.

Posted by
1760 posts

Hi Barbara, I'm planning to take this tour in a few months so I really appreciate the info you already provided.

I have a couple more questions:
- For the group meals, did you have a few choices or did everyone get the same meal? Any meals that were especially good or bad?
- Favorite “wow” moment?
- Anything you wish you would have known before your trip?
- Anything you wish you would have packed?
- What was the name of the hotel you stayed in in Murren?

Thanks very much for all the info. Sounds like you had a great trip!

Posted by
367 posts

Hi Donna:
To answer your questions:

Group meals: With one exception, the group meals chosen by the guide had only one option. But yours may be different depending on who is your guide as they pick the menu and the restaurant. But I have to tell you the meal in Murren was a spectacular 4 course meal. We also had fondue in one stop and lasagna in another.

Favorite wow moment; Boy that is hard. The sheer beauty of Switzerland is a wow. I think if I had to pick one, it would the view from the top of Mt. Titlus. All the surrounding mountains were covered in snow and it was stunning. Also the Bollywood connection made it interesting. But there was also the time we were driving thorough a narrow valley and the other side was almost vertical with a large number of waterfalls cascading down the walls due to the snow melt into the river in the bottom of the valley. It is hard to pick just one!!!

Anything I would have liked to know before I had gone: How expensive things were and that the bus did not stay with the tour for the majority of the tour. No deep storage.

Anything I wished I would have packed: A rain jacket with a hood. Because there was a lot of rain the umbrella got to be a pain after a while. Also a hat. The days of the boat cruises were sunny and warm and a hat to provide shade would have been nice.

Name of hotel in Murren: I think it was the Alpenruh. It is located right next to the cable car stop. My room overlooked the other side of the valley and it was just stunning.

I would also suggest a pair of very comfortable walking shoes. The walks cover everything from a dirt path nature hike to a 2 hour walk on cobblestones.

Have a fantastic time and enjoy!!!!!

Posted by
1760 posts

Barbara, thanks for the info. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip!