Traveling in June

Traveling in June

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brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 17, 2015 - 5:08 AM

Hello,

I am planning a trip to Switzerland at the start of June (1-14). I am trying to decide if we want to spend less days in Switzerland and take a side trip to either Germany or France for a few days or spend the whole time in Switzerland. I know there is a lot to see in Switzerland but if the other countries are easily accesible, we would like to hit two countries if possible. My questions are:

1) Would 7 days in Switzerland be enough time to get a good feel for the country? We are most interested in hiking and being active, biking, exploring the outdoors, cafes and good but affordable places to eat, not as interested in museums and nightlife but like a good vibe. We are in our mid 20's.

2) Weather is a big question that is lingering for me... is it cold at the beginning of June in Switzerland? What places would be the warmest to visit during this time?

3) If you were going to suggest a side trip to another country from Switzerland, would you suggest France or Germany? I say those two countries over Austria or Italy because we have both been to Italy already and our travels within Switzerland are targeted at Basel, Interlaken and the surrounding area, and possibly Zermatt.

I am so lost as to how I should even begin to tackle this Itinerary. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance! :)

Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 17, 2015 - 2:25 PM

Hi brit37,

Thanks for posting here. There is indeed a lot to see in Switzerland. You could spend months there and not do the same thing twice. I am not an expert on Germany and France, but of course there are wonderful activities to do there as well. Having said that, let's look into your questions:

1) I feel that seven days are enough to get a feel of the country, but not enough the do/see all the different activities/regions Switzerland has to offer. You may want to come back for more later.

2) Early June is early Summer and usually not cold at all. But the weather in the mountains varies a lot and it's impossible to predict until a few days before. The warmest regions are Lake Geneva, the canton of Valais and Ticino. That's assuming you stay at low altitudes.

3) Zermatt is located at the end of a long valley. It's close to Italy but there's a mountain range separating the two countries so you can only get there if you ski. Zermatt is not the best place for side trips to France and Germany too. Interlaken is in the center of the country so not a good base for that either. Basel is on the French and German border so you can easily visit these countries from there, even as a day trip. Basel has a beautiful town center, but as you may know, it's not in the mountains.

brit37
brit37
19 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 1:34 AM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika,

Thank you so much for your reply. That helps me out a lot! I think I am going to plan our trip with just Switzerland in mind and if we decide to detour to another country later we can figure it out once we are there.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it!

Cheers!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2645 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2015 - 8:02 AM in reply to brit37
brit37 said:<<"

Thank you so much for your reply. That helps me out a lot! I think I am going to plan our trip with just Switzerland in mind and if we decide to detour to another country later we can figure it out once we are there.">>

Hi Brit 37

The country is quite diverse. There are enough different regions and geographies to easily fill a many day itinerary.

Four official languages - German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Plus extensive use of English, especially in the larger cities. Large lakes. Lake Geneva and Lake Constance (The Bodensee) are among the largest lakes in Europe. High mountains - 4000 meters....rolling hills and farmland, with lots of good inns.

Since rail transport is fast and efficient, and the country is not large, you can see a lot of the diversity.

I have seen in this forum that the recommendations for first time visitors are Lucerne and the Bernese Oberland ( Interlaken and the Lauterbrunnen Valley) . That makes sense to me.

Lucerne (or, Luzern, since the canton is German speaking) is 1 hour and 1 minute by train from Basel every hour at xx:04.

http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

Lucerne is a charming city, with nearby mountains, and a scenic lake surrounded by good trails and smalll towns. There are multiple choices for lake boat rides. The transportation network is so dense that there are many options for "circular routes for day trips.

One example is -

Rail to Arth-Goldau, cog-rail up to Rigi Kulm ( the top), a scenic 1 hour or so walk to Rigi Kaltbad, cograil down to Vitznau. lake boat back to Luzern. Or, from Rigi Kaltbad you can take the Luftseilbahn ( Gondola car cable car) down to Weggis, walk down hill about 15 -20 minutes to the lake boat dock ( or a bus back to the train at, for example, Rotkreuz thence to Luzern.) Etc .Etc. Etc.

The British practically colonized the Bernese Oberland ( Wengen, Mürren, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken) in the 19th century, and for good reason. Stunning alpine scenery, accessible today by rail and various "ski" lifts.

Although June is early summer in the lower altitudes, the mountain pass roads do not open for traffic until well into early June. Some of the nicest trails at - for example - 2200 meters are unlikely to be free of snow sufficiently to use until June 15. I'll be in Wengen then, and have my fingers crossed that we will be able to walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. The gondola lift from Wengen, at 1600 meters, only starts up the trip up to Männlichen on May 30.

For contrast, the lowland area around the Bodensee has a shared culture in Swizerland, Austria and Germany. Lake shore villages , or villages by the Rhine near the main lake, are small, have good restaurants, and are on a flat bicycle route that encircles the whole lake. A lake boat across to Friedrichshafen Germany, takes you to the Zeppelin Museum. From Romanshorn 52 minutes every hour. Food on the boat, if you wish.

Geneva is right on the French border, on a beautiful lake, and the city is more "international" in character than other Swiss cities. Sort of French in feeling, but , in contrast to France, there is , as the joke goes, "a bank on every corner."

How will you arrive and go home? Train or plane?

I recall that Easy Jet or Ryanair has service to Geneva? Zürich is the main airport, with excellent, frequent train connections....about 1 hour to Lucerne, and with some sophisticated night life.

The main cities are not cheap in tourist season....although, when I have
traveled in the UK, I've found the prices to be comparable, especially
for restaurants.

Something which is a bit harder to do, but not impossible on a first trip - one can stay near the main cities on the rail lines, and find lower prices. It may not be worth it on your first try. Adds complexity and takes a bit of extra time that you may not want to waste. However, after 30 years of traveling to Switzerland, the only time we stay in a city (Zürich) is when we come in from the US or go home, and Lucerne, for the ambience.

In the Berner Oberland, we often stay in Brienz, rather than Interlaken, for example. Brienz is interesting in its own right, too. Otherwise, we stay in Wengen.

See -

myswissalps.com/forum/ topic/permalink/ cf7HCKDW9mqS6v8AAFcRTQ

Have fun with your planning. I find the SBB website, and the links from this forum to be very useful.

myswissalps.com/ wheretogo

For an overwhelming amount of information, you can also look at:

myswitzerland.com/en-us/home.html

A few photos are attached.

Unfortunately, both hotels named in two of the photos are no longer open, but similar views are available nearby. (Hotel Eiger is now apartments...oops, flats, and Hotel Schiff is temporarily ( I hope) closed.)

Oops, I misspelled "Schiff" in the image title. ;-(

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