My fiancee and I are planning a trip to Switzerland that is unfortunately way too short (3 days), but we are struggling to sift through all of the information to pick a convenient base for our hikes, scenery and cable car journeys up to mountains. Our current thoughts are Grindelwald, Interlaken or Lucerne. Maybe Gstaad?
Timing is early Sept. We land 5am Mon in Zurich and depart from Geneva 7am Thu. So, that's almost 3 full days and because it is so short, we want to just stay in one place. We are mid-30's, active & fit, love the outdoors and love FOOD. No need for fancy cities or anything - we want to see the beautiful Swiss scenery and countryside. We've been to Zurich before for work and have done some light hiking near Montreux (Rochers de Naye, I believe it was).
Key things we would love:
- great hiking/walking (no technical climbing) of varying lengths. A solid 4+ hour hike would be great along with some shorter ones.
- i'd prefer not to take a million different transfers to get to the hike. Is there a town where we literally grab our gear, and start walking/hiking somewhere? Maybe I'm asking for too much! We would of course be fine to take a short public transport to get somewhere.
- somewhat of a convenient town that has some restaurants, grocery stores, etc. (not for shopping, but we need to eat!) eg Gimmelwald seems to be too...small? is that inaccurate? Grindelwald seems to be a nice balance - not a city like Lucerne/Zurich/Geneva/Bern, but still picturesque and in the countryside.
- we'd also like to do the cable cars/cog trains up to the big mountains (eg Jungfrau, Rigi, Pilatus, etc) for some nice views, but I guess this can be done from nearly any city
- fiancee loves animals :)
- we plan to sleep near Geneva airport since our flight is so early on Thu, so town that has not too difficult a way to get there would be great. We are open to either renting a car or just using public transport.
Thanks everyone for your help and advice and please let me know if I can clarify anything. This is an amazing website of information!