Advice on itinerary between Christmas and new year

Advice on itinerary between Christmas and new year

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Mcdoug72
Mcdoug72
2 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2016 - 5:37 AM

My husband and I just booked a somewhat last minute trip to Switzerland from December 26-Jan 1. We are flying into Zurich and out of Frankfurt. We will have a car for travel. Our goal is to experience switzerland's amazing winter and mountains. We would like to ski for one day and then spend time doing other winter activities like dog sledding, ice skating, sightseeing, etc. We are foodies and would like to be in places accessible to good restaurants but we are looking for unique experiences and don't want to get stuck in crowded tourist traps. We would like to see a few places, if possible on our short journey, maybe spending 1st night in Zurich if the Christmas markets are still open and then moving on. Any advice on an itinerary and what we must see/do, would be appreciated! Thank you! Can't wait for our trip!

Arno
Arno
11133 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 26, 2016 - 9:35 AM

Hello Mcdoug72,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! You have picked a wonderful time to visit Switzerland. It's also the busiest time of the year in many places; particularly in ski resorts, so avoiding tourists won't be easy.

I don't know of Christmas markets still open after Christmas, but there will be plenty of other things to do. You may want to consider skipping Zurich and stay in Lucerne as it offers more Alpine day trips, unless you have specific museums or other sites in mind in Zurich. As for skiing and snow: you'd best stay in place at high altitude as snow is likely late December but not guaranteed. Zermatt is such a place, but it will for sure be crowded there. The Upper Engadine area might fit you needs. There will be many tourist there too, but it's a much larger region so there will be quiet places too. The Bernina train line is worth it. Dog sledding is pretty rare, so you should search for that in advance and book a ride. Other snow activities are easy to find in the mentioned areas. There are some horse drawn carriages in the Engadine, you may like that instead.

I would avoid driving and take advantage of the excellent train system. A car really isn't an advantage unless you have some really remote places in mind you'd like to visit, and you're used to driving on snow as that may be required in late December. Please see myswissalps.com/ carversustrain.

Last modified on Nov 19, 2017 - 2:04 PM by Arno
Mcdoug72
Mcdoug72
2 posts
new member
Oct 26, 2016 - 11:12 AM

Thank you so much for your reply, Arno. What are your thoughts on spending a night in Geneva, my husband would like to see the chillon castle and eat fondue, and then using interlaken as a home base and doing day trips from there? I know it will be crowded but we have been told to go to the "top of Europe" and then maybe spend a day in murren and possibly zermatt as you suggest? It seems interlaken has some more accommodations options at this point and is pretty centrally located. Looks like the furthest day trip would only be about 2 hours. Is this suggestible or are we off base? Thank you!

Arno
Arno
11133 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 26, 2016 - 12:18 PM in reply to Mcdoug72

Hi Mcdough72,

I'd suggest Montreux instead of Geneva as that's where the castle is. You can even walk to the castle from Montreux, along the lake. Also Montreux is near the mountains while Geneva isn't. You may want to do a trip up to Rochers-de-Naye as well. There are two restaurants up there. The one in the rocks, to be reached through a pedestrian tunnel, is the best one I believe.

Interlaken is a good base, logistically. The town is not particularly pretty and there probably won't be snow, but's indeed a convenient base for many day trips. Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe) is one of the options. If you travel by train, be sure to take the Golden Pass line from Montreux to Interlaken.

The links will get you lots of additional details, including hotel and activity suggestions.

Last modified on Oct 26, 2016 - 12:20 PM by Arno

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