19 day October visit to Switzerland

19 day October visit to Switzerland

Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Google+ Share this page on Twitter Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 23. This thread is closed.
DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 5, 2015 - 4:52 AM

My husband and I are visiting Switzerland from Oct. 2, 2015– Oct. 20, 2015. Our son is participating in a 6 month university research project at ETH Zurich, Basel. We will be flying into Zurich and take the train to Basel for a home base of approximately 5-6 days (flexible). We would like to travel to Bier, Bern, Interlaken area. Would like to go to Geneva if time allows. Zermatt seems very nice. What would be the quickest way to get back to Basel from that area? We like to have no more than 3-4 home bases for our day trips. We like to stay in apartments, cottages, chalets, etc….VRBO and Airbnb type places are great.Please advise on where the best points would be.

PS... We like to do easy to moderate hikes and bicycle rides, love the outdoors, love music, love the water, love museums, love little quaint villages as well as cities.

Thank you in advance! Thanks! Looking forward to seeing my son. J

Arno
Arno
7720 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 5, 2015 - 10:17 AM

Hi Debbie, welcome to MySwissAlps!

There are many options, but let me give you a suggestion:

  • Personally I would say 2-3 days in Basel is sufficient to visit the town and a few museums. Basel is interesting, but it's not in the mountains. And not a great base to visit other parts of Switzerland. But I assume your son won't join you for the rest of your trip and that's why you stay longer? If you don't mind longer day trips you could visit Geneva (2h45 one way), Bern (1h) and Zurich (1h) from there.
  • Then move to Interlaken or one of the more scenic smaller towns south of it, like Grindelwald, Mürren or Wengen. You can do a day trip to Bern from here. Consider to travel from Basel to Lucerne (roam around for a few hours), and take the Golden Pass line to Interlaken.
  • Then take the remainder of the Golden Pass line to Montreux on Lake Geneva. You can do a day trip to Geneva from here.
  • Finally stay a few days in Zermatt.
  • I recommend to do all of this by train. A Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi is worth looking into.

The various links lead to activity and hotel suggestions. We can look into accommodation in more detail once you've picked your towns to stay.

Does this get you started?

DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 5, 2015 - 10:50 PM in reply to Arno

Yes this gets me started and confirms my initial plans. I do realize that Basel is not a huge tourist area but yes you were right to assume we are wanting to visit more with our son. He maybe able to get away to travel with us but uncertain at this time. I understand that there is an extreme heat wave occurring this summer in Basel and lot of Europe. Can I expect October to be warmer than usual or will it be back on average temps? I know you can't predict but just wondering what the weather gurus are predicting? I also read that during October you can find places to stay pretty much as you travel about. I doubt we will do that but it does make a trip more flexible. Are there any places in France or Germany along the border of Switzerland that are worth visiting. We were thinking of possibly going to Lake Como in Northern Italy from Zermatt. Thank you for the timely response.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 12:54 AM in reply to DebbieM

Hi Debbie-

Glad you found your way here.

If you get to Lausanne [Error- should read Lausanne, not Basel as originally posted ] ride down to Ouchy and enjoy a nice lunch on the waterfront.

Some places are merely expensive, as opposed to very expensive.

Once you are organized, I have a couple of favorite places on the French-German language border -

Both are outside the normal tourist territory lists, but are in interesting neighborhoods. (that means good. )

and, very different, very friendly -

www.kreuz-ligerz.ch/

Have a good trip

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 6, 2015 - 9:23 PM by Slowpoke
DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:37 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you so much. I will send this to my son as well.

DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 3:26 AM in reply to DebbieM

It looks beautiful and like a very nice area for a day trip. Thanks for info. Love these kind of finds! Send more if you have them.

Debbie

DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 3:37 AM in reply to Slowpoke

I am ready for more recommendations as I really wanted to stay close to Basel for a few days as my son just turned 21 while away in Switzerland and would like to spend more time with him. We have been to France and Germany twice before just not in that area. However, we do want to see as much of Switzerland as we can. Wish I had more than 18- 19 days :( ....hey the bright side is we have that much time! Not sure if the wallet would hold out any longer! :)

DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 4:35 AM in reply to Slowpoke

I'm confused, I thought Ouchy was close to Basel and when I google it , comes up near Geneva?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 1:35 PM in reply to Arno

Debby-

I got my messages crossed and my brain stopped diirecting my fingers.

My error on Ouchy. Ouchy is near Lausanne.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 1:45 PM in reply to Arno

<<"And not a great base to visit other parts of Switzerland. But I assume your son won't join you for the rest of your trip and that's why you stay longer? If you don't mind longer day trips you could visit Geneva (2h45 one way), Bern (1h) and Zurich (1h) from there.">>

Basel is quite well connected to the major northern commercial centers. You can add Luzern -- 1 hr and 01 minutes at xx04

Bern has two trains per hour at 56-57 minutes.

Some of the better well preserved Roman Ruins are near Basel, at Kaisersaugst.

Here are some photos of Basel and Kaisersaugst that I ran across:

www.flickr.com/photos/ cammaert/sets/72157601 345681324/detail/

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 3:24 PM in reply to DebbieM

Debbie-

I realize that I did not complete my earlier comment about this particular region on the French/German language border. You will not find them on lists of common tourist destinations.

This set of places probably works better in some parts by car than by public transport.

These villagees have a series of wine festivals on weekends in the fall.

I mentioned Ligerz/Gleresse earlier. A lakeside village, it is in Canton Bern, just at the border with Canton Neuchatel.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Ligerz

We like the Gasthof Kreuz. Good kitchen, simple menu, fresh fish. Modest wine list. Generous sized rooms at a moderate price.

It is near Biel (which I think you noted earlier as Bier?) with frequent train service.. Biel/Bienne has two names - common at the language border. The old town in Biel is small but charming; 10-15 minutes walk from the main station.

At Ligerz, a walk along the lake front and/or through some of the wine villages - Ligerz/Gleresse, Twann/Douane, Schafis (adjoins Ligerz)- is good for photography and just being a tourist.

The vineyards sell their wines at their facilities along the streets.

A walk up to (or, funicular up to the first stop) puts you on a level with the landmark church. Nice walks in the vineyards. An old pilgrim's trail runs through there (der Pilgerweg.)

A bit to the south is the larger partially-walled medieval town of Le Landeron. Definitely take your camera. Best by car.

Further south and east - Murten/Morat on the Murtensee/ Lac Morat. A good sized town on the lake, hotels, restaurants, shops, tourists are thick on weekends.

Sugiez -

just at the end of the canal from Lac Neuchatel on the edge of the Murtensee, Sugiez is the northrnmost of the wine villages along the foot of Mont Vully. The ones further south between the lake and the mountain (such as Motier) are really attractive, plenty of wine makers+shops, and the vineyards run up the slopes. Some very good wines are made here.

(Swiss red wines-

The use of oak casks to age red wines is in its infancy in Switzerland. These days, if you want your wine to taste like it was poured through oak sawdust, order a wine that has the word "barrique" in the name/label. It probably was. Proper use of wood in aging is used skillfully by winemakers to produce superior wines. The Swiss are just learning how.

I personally prefer the newest generation of Pinot Noir wines which are late-picked (Spätlese) or "Selected Picking" (Auslese.) Best known - the ones from the Bündner Herrschaft - towns like Jenins, Fläsch, Mainfeld, Zizers - are very sophisticated, well made, and have only the natural tannins from the grape stems and leaves left in during fermentation. The ones from Mt. Vully are also quite good. It is hard to find such well made wines with no added woody tannins anywhere else in the world.

If I want sawdust, I can buy well made wines from California or France, for example.)

We stay and eat at the Hotel de'lOurs in Sugiez whenever we can. The wine cellar, full of excellent local wines as well as French vintages is incredible. The kitchen is almost always excellent; once it slipped to "very good" because none of the items available were to our taste that particular night. About 4 rooms, not cheap, generous size, very nice bathrooms.

The family who run the inn - the Mao's - are attentive and friendly. You know that you are welcome.

The general area -

The location on north-south land routes since prehistoric times has made this area a treasure trove for archeologists.

In the region -

On top of Mt. Vully are look-out locations and a reproduction of a small section of a wall from a pre-Christian era fortified camp of the Helvetic tribe and also partially accessible ruins of a WWI major defensive fortification.

Across Lac Neuchatel to the west is La Tene. The site is -called the LaTenium. This is a site of prehistoric lake dwellers ( houses on pilings) with an impressive and informative major exhibit about the history and archaeology.

These are all the kinds of smaller destinations that are not on the normal tourist routes. They reward walking, and using a car to get from one to another on a flexible schedule.

The region is known as the "Three Lakes Country" ( Drei Seen Land) or sometimes the Seeland (Lake Country). It lies very close to France, with the Jura mountains rising steeply just to the west

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Seeland_%28Switzerland %29

www.juradreiseenland.c h/en/.

Last modified on Aug 6, 2015 - 4:47 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 7, 2015 - 10:27 PM in reply to DebbieM

<<"PS... We like to do easy to moderate hikes and bicycle rides, love the outdoors, love music, love the water, love museums, love little quaint villages as well as cities.">>

Debbie-

I am following up on this comment. Between Luzern, Bern and Burgdorf or Langenthal is a region know as the Emmental Country.

In years past, a Swiss family would put on their backpacks, go to the Emmental, and hike place to place from inn to inn. Eat dinner, stay overnight, use the beds, have breakfast, continue. No lugging tents, etc.

These days a lot of those inns have succumbed to an expensive Swiss Frank ( for overseas guests from Germany or France) and changing tastes (more automobiles, fewer group events (no party for Uncle Ben's 95th birthday)) and many smaller ones have bitten the dust. The ones that are left often rely on quality or a good kitchen/wine list to survive. Some of the kitchens are very strong; some of the wine lists belong in a big city with bankers.

I generated some ideas for a walk in the Emmental for another thread several weeks ago. I really enjoy the Emmental, and go to walk, eat, and drink good wines. Extensive photographs.

That thread goes into some detail.

The region is easily accessible for a weekend away from Basel.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/langnau-in-may

Follow that thread, then pick up the links related to it.

The charms are somewhat diffuse...there is no single obvious place to go to and say "I have been to the Emmental." But, the whole region rewards leisurely exploration and walking. In those earlier posts I identified some good inns.

If it appeals, perhaps I can help with more specifics.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 8, 2015 - 12:42 AM by Slowpoke
DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2015 - 11:29 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you for all the great information. I'm learning more and more! I will read up on that area!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 8, 2015 - 12:40 AM in reply to DebbieM

<<"I'm learning more and more! I will read up on that area!">>

Of course.

The suggestions are derived from your stated interests.

Feedback will be helpful for guidance. Photos are available on my desktop, not this laptop.

If you want the standard tourist stuff, you can have it. It is easy to get.

However, your son may find some of the less-well traveled paths of interest, even if you have no time.

Does he speak German or French? Will he, by the end of his say?

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 8, 2015 - 1:10 AM by Slowpoke
DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 8, 2015 - 6:16 PM in reply to Slowpoke

What you are sending me is exactly what I wanted to do. I do wish to see some tourist areas of course but we find off the beaten path sometimes much more splendid and relaxed. My son has the advantage of being there for 6 months and having to actually embrace living there so much different experience. He studied Latin for 4-5 years and loved it, unfortunately he does not know German or French but I'm sure he will pick German up as all his co-workers at the University speak it as well as English. He has high hopes of traveling outside of Switzerland to visit friends in Ireland and Prague and Munich etc.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 8, 2015 - 6:55 PM in reply to DebbieM

<<"He studied Latin for 4-5 years and loved it, unfortunately he does not know German"

...." but I'm sure he will pick German up as all his co-workers at the University speak it as well as English. ">>

True if he learns the German spoken in Germany. It has a strong grammar and declensions and conjugations. Latin makes you comfortable with that kind of structure. Some call it "High German" but that is perhaps incorrect. Swiss German ( a Lower Allemanic dialect) is pretty much what German was before the educated classes in Germany 'refined" centuries ago it to make it "High" - in other words, more suitable for the upper classes. More structure. More case, more tenses, more grammar. If you are German, you call it High German. If you are Swiss, you call it "Schriftdeutch" (writing German) because all official records are kept in :High German. Text books,too. At home, you speak your local dialect of Schweizerdeutch. I hope he learns "high" German, but his friends may talk in Baslerdeitsch. Pity the poor Swisss kids - when they go to school, they learn a foreign langage called "German" in addition to their own local Swiss German.

The Emmental is farm country. It is mostly within Canton Bern. Mostly, the farming is dairy. October will have harvest festivals. Often, they will be accompanied by contests between local jodeling groups.

Much of this won't match, but there may be something in here:www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/service-updates/events.html?strubrik=1472

This one would be great, but it is not til next June.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/events/event-279968294.html

Last modified on Aug 8, 2015 - 6:58 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 8, 2015 - 7:13 PM in reply to DebbieM

I went back to look at the thread about Langnau. It seems to be truncated,and some links don't work. I'll ask the forum moderators about it.

Added in edit-

I got it this time; no trouble.

Some of the pictures show what a walk in the Emmental can be like.

Last modified on Aug 9, 2015 - 12:41 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 8, 2015 - 8:00 PM in reply to DebbieM

Forgot to mention-

By the end of October you are at the end of the summer high season. Many hotels will be closed, some services - lifts, boats - are starting to go on Fall or winter schedules.

After you get organized in Basel, I'd suggest that you tend to keep the jungfrau region early on your list of prioroties. Once you are into November, things at high altitude really start to close for maintenance, pre-winter season break, etc.

As October progresses, the chance of snow blocking high altitude trails ...say above 2000 meters or thereabouts - becomes greater. Not much of a concern, yet, and still plenty to do at lower altitudes, but you should keep that in mind.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke

DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 25, 2015 - 3:12 AM in reply to Slowpoke

So we are thinking about staying 4 days in the Interlaken area and doing day trips to Murten and Bern area as well. Is it feasible to visit Ouchy from there. We will have half price train 30 day ticket. Then head to Lugano area for 4 days. Then on to Luzern area for 4 days before heading back to Zurich for flight home. Recommendations of B&B's or VRBO, Airbnb, vacation homes ete preferred over hotels in big cities.

DebbieM
DebbieM
13 posts
new member
Aug 25, 2015 - 3:15 AM in reply to DebbieM

We will actually have 5 nights/days in Interlaken area.

ALL SWISS RAIL PASSES

Find out how the several passes work, what they cost and where to buy.

More

HOW TO PICK THE BEST PASS

Having trouble finding the right rail pass? Learn how to pick the one that best fits your plans.

More

THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND

Suggestions for day trips and hiking trails in the Swiss Alps.

More

THE HOTELS WE SUGGEST

Browse the hotels that we like. Budget hotels, hotels near the rail stations, mid class hotels, luxurious 5-star hotels, airport hotels and more.

More

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They can arrange for your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2016