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Trip report 3 weeks of Switzerland summer 2021


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Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 13, 2021 - 11:03 PM

3 weeks of Switzerland Summer 2021 for a family of four from USA including two adults, two female teens, and a small dog.

*All travel was on public transportation using the Swiss Travel Pass (we’ll never get another pass for the convenience alone- jumping in a train, bus, boat any time we wanted… plus we got the July 2021 25% discount for the 15 day + the 8 day pass)

Days 1-5 We had a 10 hr layover in Zürich and met up with family for lunch and a walk around the city. Then a short flight to Geneva (it was $200 cheaper per person to continue on to Geneva rather than stop in Zürich!) and the next 5 days were spent in Lausanne (Hôtel du Port by the lake in Ouchy- high recommended) where we have family nearby.

We hiked in Lavaux vineyards, went shopping and to markets in Lausanne, visited the promenade of Montreux, Vevey Saturday festival, and Château de Chillon, Tour de Sauvabelin, drank and listened to music at Jetee de la compagnie, visited beautiful Gruyeres and Romont (towns of my heritage), swam in Lac Leman and played in the park by Château d’Ouchy and took out a paddle boat with a slide several times all right across from the hotel, and visited with family for dinners on the beach and in the mountains.

Day 6-7 We stayed at Grand Hotel at Levay les-Bains thermals. We booked on Booking.com at the last minute when it was supposed to rain and the hotel price dropped almost in half. Turned out it didn’t rain, but the baths would’ve stayed open either way. The baths and hotel were fantastic, a real treat. The chalet restaurant there had an amazing Raclette dinner.

Days 7-11 Wengen- we stayed in Arenas Resort Victoria- wonderful hotel!! They had thermal baths downstairs and an amazing buffet breakfast included. We booked on Expedia and got a triple room for 4. We LOVED Wengen. We hiked from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg… amazing (I still dream about that walk). We played the games in the town center, ate delicious meals, swam in the public outdoor pool, went to the Pfingstegg toboggan and Flyer ride, went to Gussbach Falls in Lauterbrunnen, and took the cable car to Grütschalp and then to Murren and then the funicular up to the huge playground and flower park and had lunch at the restaurant. We would’ve loved another week (or a lifetime!) in Wengen! *My daughter lost her phone at a bus stop in Interlaken and three days later we called the town lost and found for a second time and it had been turned in! We love the Swiss honesty systems in place.

Days 11-13 Zermatt- we stayed in Haus Rosa apartment near the center of town and the main street. We went up the Gornergrat for excellent views one morning when it looked semi-clear- up top it was more clear. Enjoyed a delicious beer with amazing views. The next day there were Swiss Nat’l Day events but it rained most of the day so we shopped and explored with an umbrella in hand. Amazing fireworks all around Zermatt that night!!

Day 14 We missed the connecting train to Locarno due to delays with our first train and it was early in the morning so we took a detour and went to Bern and Luzern for the day en route to Locarno. We had wanted to swim in the Aare in Bern but the floods earlier in the month made the conditions unsafe. I would’ve liked to stay a night or two in Luzern, but we continued on to tropical Locarno.

Days 15-17 Locarno and Ascona- We stayed at Ibis Locarno which was nice and a great price. Staying in Ascona would’ve been even cooler because it’s just such a cute authentic old town with wonderful little alleyways for shopping and walking. We took a boat to Isole di Brissago which turned out to be amazing gardens with lots of “hide and seek” play areas that kids also love. It was really a unique place- a must-see. We also took a bus along the steep slopes of canyons to Lavertezzo with gorgeous turquoise clear waters, giant rocks, and a medieval bridge- so beautiful! When we left town we went to Domodossola Italy for lunch on our way to Brig.

Days 18-21 Lausanne- We have family here and we just love being right on the lake so we wanted plenty of time to relax, swim, and boat, etc. back at the same great Hôtel du Port. We took a boat over to Yvoire France a medieval town. We were going to Gruyeres again because we loved it so much the first time but there were train troubles so we stayed in Bulle and had a delicious fondue at La Gruyerien. We went to Bellerive pools/park a couple times- several pools and a lake area plus inflatables on the lake to play on. We also went to Aubonne where my grandmaman is from but there’s also a great outlet mall in the non-historic area. We ate our favorite local dish filet de perche many times but the best was at Brasserie Riviera in Ouchy. There also was a cool market that popped up in front of the hotel through the Ouchy promenade area on the last Sunday.

On our last day, we went to our Covid appointment at Geneva airport for our free rapid anitigen Covid test, then waited in an insanely long line with Swiss airlines. We did not like flying with Swiss. They were very disorganized both to and from and we had trying calling them a month before the flight with a couple question and despite hours of searching we never could find a working phone number that got you passed the first prompts, and never received a reply email. We flew to Zürich and then on United to Washington DC. United was a great to work with and great customer service if we needed anything.

A fantastic vacation.. we cried the whole way home. Can’t wait to go back… maybe even to live one day since my Swiss Dad gifted my daughters and I with Swiss citizenship.

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Anna
Anna
1467 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 14, 2021 - 6:56 AM in reply to Xpresso

Hi Xpresso,

Thanks for sharing your holiday experience and pictures. It's awesome you managed to visit so many places in 3 weeks. You've shared a lot of useful tips. Thanks again!

Regards,

Anna

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 14, 2021 - 10:48 AM in reply to Anna

Sure! And for “Scott’s Cheap Flights” subscribers or anyone who wants to know, great flight deals (in the $500s round trip) released today from Washington DC, Newark, NYC, and Charlotte to Zürich, Geneva, and Basel on many airlines for many dates, some until June 2022. Go to Google Flights and play around with dates, airlines, and arrival/departure cities. Deals usually only last a couple days. This is how we got our $400 roundtrip tickets from Washington DC to Geneva this summer.

Last modified on Aug 14, 2021 - 10:50 AM by Xpresso
hockeyfan
hockeyfan
76 posts
active member
Aug 14, 2021 - 2:13 PM

Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip report. So glad you had a great time.

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 14, 2021 - 3:00 PM in reply to hockeyfan

Thanks, it was a lot of fun. I should add that staying in an apartment in Zermatt provided a nice break from eating out and paying a lot of money at restaurants. The apartment allowed us to get food at the Migros and cook in our kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

Billandsuz1
Billandsuz1
16 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2021 - 5:28 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your awesome trip in Switzerland! So many good tips! We're leaving in early September, and are already taking action on one of your suggestions. We always enjoy VRBOs for any stay over 3 days. We're checking out AirBnBs now to change our stay from a hotel. Thanks again!

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 14, 2021 - 8:20 PM in reply to Billandsuz1

We would’ve booked more apartments instead hotels but given the Covid situation and our uncertainty on if we’d actually make it to Switzerland, we needed accommodations that would allow us to cancel last minute and those were generally hotels.

One more tip, ask if tap water is an option at restaurants to save some $. It sounds silly but we spent so much money on bottles of water at our meals for the kids over the course of 3 weeks.

Billandsuz1
Billandsuz1
16 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2021 - 8:58 PM in reply to Xpresso

Good to know! (We find beer is always a good option to plain old water! :-)

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 14, 2021 - 9:56 PM in reply to Billandsuz1

Yup! My husband and I enjoyed the Valaisanne beer for dinners;)

Mschwalbe
Mschwalbe
30 posts
active member
Aug 16, 2021 - 5:08 PM in reply to Xpresso

Hi Xpresso, I just want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your amazing trip!!! I can so relate when you say you were crying all the way home! My heart lies in Mürren!!! I was there in 2018 with my husband, and in 2019 with one of my daughters, discovering the most heavenly hikes. I spent endless happy hours planning in detail another hiking trip for 2020, but due to CoVid, we had to cancel. Oooohhh the heartache!!! I regularly watch live webcams in Mürren, showing the majestic Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger!! (I live in Canada; thanks to my parents I have a German passport as do also my two adult daughters. Of course, it's not Switzerland.... ) . Hope you will be able to go back soon!

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 16, 2021 - 9:13 PM in reply to Mschwalbe

I hope you’re planning your next trip to Mürren soon! But in the meantime the web cams are a great idea, I think I’ll do the same!

Mschwalbe
Mschwalbe
30 posts
active member
Aug 17, 2021 - 2:14 AM in reply to Xpresso

Hi!

I have not made concrete plans, but hopefully I can go next summer!!! BTW I look at the webcams that MySwissAlps proposes. Take care!

www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus/images

Annika
Annika
6579 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 17, 2021 - 11:54 AM in reply to Xpresso

Thank you Xpresso, for your great trip report and your wonderful pictures! I'm happy to hear you had such a fantastic time after all your planning and the travel insecurities caused by COVID. It seems like weather (which wasn't as brilliant as it sometimes is in summer) didn't mess up your plans.

How I can imagine the heartache when you had to leave! Fingers crossed you'll get to return soon. Dreaming of living in Switzerland one day is even better! Which town or area would you move to, if you had the choice?

Last modified on Aug 17, 2021 - 12:25 PM by Annika
Swede4life
Swede4life
55 posts
active member
Aug 20, 2021 - 7:45 PM

Thank you Xpresso. Great trip. Can you provide comments on the places you ate in Wengen and the restaurant in Murren? Did you eat any meals at the hotel? Thanks.

jli8324
jli8324
3 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2021 - 5:41 PM

Awesome trip report! I'm interested to know if your brought your dog with you from the US or it was in Switzerland already at your relative's place?

What is the process for taking your dog on holiday from the US if that was the case?

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 22, 2021 - 10:07 PM in reply to jli8324

Yes we brought our dog from the US (Virginia/Washington DC to be specific). We brought him to a vet in Virginia who is certified to complete the international health certificate (which happens to be our regular vet). After their quick exam they completed paperwork and then sent it off for approval (maybe from APHIS… not sure) and a signature and then it came back a few days later. This must be done 10 days before the trip. Our dog is only 8pounds so we called the airline and paid $125 each way for him to be able to fly with us in an approved dog carry on bag (there’s many on Amazon). He stays in the bag at our feet (and he sleeps most of the time) however some flight attendants don’t say anything if you take them out if they’re quiet. Only a few dogs are permitted per flight so reserve this early. And then for hotels or apartments I use Booking or Expedia and I put into the filter “pet friendly”. Switzerland is very pet friendly so many hotels and apartments (and shops, restaurants etc) allow a dog. We brought our Teddie everywhere and often ate outdoors with him too, although nobody minded him coming indoors as well (we usually put him in the dog backpack but people often asked us to take him out so they could play with him). He was free on all public transportation as long as he was in a bag (you need a dog ticket if they’re larger or not in a bag). It’s worth it for us to bring him especially because our trip was on the longer side at 3 weeks, but there is some extra juggling involved of course if you don’t mind it.

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 22, 2021 - 10:18 PM in reply to Swede4life

In Wengen we ate two of the nights at Sinas www.dasina.ch/english My husband declared it the best and freshest burger he ever had in his life so we returned the next night! The bruschetta is delicious too. We ate indoors one night and outdoors the other. Make a reservation for indoors. We didn’t eat at the main restaurant of Arenas Resort for dinner, only the buffet breakfast which is amazing. But we did eat one night at their other restaurant Pasta and More and we had a delicious Swiss meal Aelplermagronen; it’s macaroni with potatoes, bacon, onion and cheese. In Mürren we were there just for half a day and we went up to the Allmendhubel Flower Park and playground (flower park is really cool and beautiful views even if you don’t have kids) and there’s a delicious restaurant with an amazing view. It’s the only restaurant there so you won’t miss it. To get there you go to Mürren and then take a funicular (just a few CHF) up to Allmendhubel. And a bonus was the Swiss Travel Pass included the cable car and train from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren.

Swede4life
Swede4life
55 posts
active member
Aug 23, 2021 - 1:41 AM in reply to Xpresso

Thank you. Very helpful. We are from Fredericksburg Va.

Danielsan
Danielsan
194 posts
active member
Aug 24, 2021 - 2:55 AM in reply to Swede4life

Hi Xpresso,

That was a real fun trip report to read!! Was this your first trip to Switzerland? I can certainly see you going back, and can relate to your crying on the way home, as I was the same way. It must have been great to see your relatives there. Was that your first time meeting them?

Did you get your plane tix on that Scotts site? Does one need to be a "member''? Seems like saved quite a bit of money with planes and hotels and such.

I love the fact that you brought your dog, and love the pic of Teddie at the Gornergrat.

I stayed three nights at the Victoria- Lauberhorn (at the time, in 2018, Arenas wasn't yet involved) and loved it. My only "problem"? was that I missed all the amenities at the hotel, but only because I was out seeing all the sights during the day and closing the bars at night. And the view of the Lauterbrunnen valley from my room balcony was interrupted by a big, beautiful, tree, that was just in the wrong place. I also did the Granny walk to Kleine Scheinegg. It was overcast, but the clouds were high enough that I could see pretty much everything except for the very top of the Eiger. Spectacular hike though. I can't wait to get hack there.

I'm glad to hear you were able to get there in spite of the pandemic, and hope to read another trip report.

Danielsan

P. S.

To Swede4life, I ate at the Bernerhof restaurant at the hotel of the same name. Great food, a nice Swiss feel about it, and its just a few steps from Sinas (in Wengen.) The other night I ate at the restaurant on top of Harder Kulm with a fantastic view of Interlaken from high above. That was a nice meal too, with good food and good atmosphere with an oompah band playing music.

Xpresso
Xpresso
90 posts
active member
Aug 24, 2021 - 10:52 AM in reply to Danielsan

Thanks I’m glad you enjoyed it! No, I’ve been to Switzerland many times. My Dad’s whole family lives in Switzerland and we have over 100 cousins here plus aunts, uncles etc so we came every third summer as kids and continued regularly through the adult years too, now with my husband and daughters (yes and Teddie too;).This was the first time I took them on a Switzerland ‘Grand tour’ though and they were in love every step of the way! My daughter is hoping to return for college… I’d love to see a forum start with college ideas for young people! I know there’s an American college in Lugano (Franklin) that she’d love to know more about first hand.

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