Advice on 13 night Swiss summer itinerary

Advice on 13 night Swiss summer itinerary

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SSboomer
SSboomer
10 posts
new member
Mar 12, 2018 - 3:21 AM

Hi all. I'm trying to plan an itinerary for a trip to Switzerland this July/beginning of August. DH and I like scenery, good food ( did someone say chocoholic?), cultural events and wandering through historic towns. We are not interested in art museums or a wild nightlife. I get altitude sickness at above around 2500 m so we don't plan to go to Jungfrau. We are traveling from the U.S. and this is our first trip to Switzerland.

Here's a very tentative itinerary. We plan to travel by train between the cities listed. Any comments or advice would be appreciated-

Fly into Zurich. Take train to Lucerne

Lucerne. 4 nights

Day trip to Mt Pilatus. Boat trip on Lake Lucerne. Should we also go to Mt Titlis? Is this the right amount of time here or should we cut a day and add it elsewhere?

Bern 3 nights

Visit old town. Float down Aare. Day trip to Lauterbrunnen Valley,

Montreux 4 nights

Chillon Castle. Day trip to Gruyere and Brac ( cheese and chocolate) Day trip to Lavaux vineyards.

Geneva 2 nights

Possible day trip to Lavay des Bains

Fly out of Geneva

Also, is there a particular place anyone would suggest to be for the August 1 holiday ? I understand that it's celebrated all over the country with fireworks etc. What I'd like to know is if there's anywhere that would have some unique Swiss customs that I wouldn't see elsewhere.

Or is there another festival during the late July early August time period you would recommend?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Mar 12, 2018 - 11:52 AM in reply to SSboomer

Hi SSboomer, and welcome to MySwissAlps,

4 nights Lucerne is fine. Mt. Titlis and Mt. Pilatus are both good. Just different. I would also consider Mt. Rigi.

3 nights Bern might be long. Also, I'm not sure I I would like to stay in a city in the summer. You could stay in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and make Bern a day trip. Having said that, Bern is an excellent location to visit the historic towns of Fribourg and Murten.

Are you planning to swim in the Aare or to rent a dinghy and do the boat trip from Thun to Bern? Swimming is an amazing experience and the boat trip is still on my things to do list. When the weather is very nice, you need to make a reservation for a dinghy some time in advance.

4 nights in Montreux seems good too. To get there consider taking the Golden Pass route. You mean you would like to visit Lavey-les-Bains? It's best to visit them from Montreux.

I wouldn't stay two nights in Geneva. Frankly speaking, I would go from Montreux straight to the airport unless you have a very early morning flight. I would use these two days to stay in Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Grindelwald.

Regarding the national holiday, please have a look at this thread: www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/swiss-national-holiday.

SSboomer
SSboomer
10 posts
new member
Mar 13, 2018 - 6:15 PM

Hi Chantal,

Thanks for your detailed reply. Here are some answers to your comments and additional questions/clarifications.

I wanted to swim/float down the Aare. Saw this link on another site and it looked so cool. #22 www.fodors.com/world/e urope/switzerland/expe riences/news/25-ultimate-things-to-do-in-switzerland Since we would also want to spend some time wandering through the old city, I thought this would make a good base. I didn't choose staying in the Lauterbrunnen area because I have a serious problem with altitude sickness and it seemed like many of the sights in that area would be above my comfort level (around 2500 m). Am I missing something here?

Why would you skip Geneva? It seems like a pretty city with lots to do. Thought we would go to a couple museums (we aren't into art, but do like history and culture) and maybe visit CERN if we can get in.

I checked the thread you suggested regarding the national holiday. It goes into great detail on the fireworks in different places. However, I would like to know is if there's anywhere (particularly in the area already on the itinerary) that would have some unique Swiss customs that I wouldn't see elsewhere. For instance, in September, I saw there was a festival where there was a parade of decorated cows. (We can't change our dates. We are only available July through the first week of August.)

Thanks in advance for any help.

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Mar 13, 2018 - 7:58 PM in reply to SSboomer

Hi SSboomer,

Floating down the Aare is fantastic. Lauterbrunnen lies at an elevation of +/- 800 meters.

I don't find Geneva that pretty. It's ok, but not as nice as Lucerne and Bern in my opinion. And I am into art and the museums for art are better in other cities. CERN will be interesting to visit.

It's a Swiss tradition to have brunch on a family-run farm (www.brunch.ch/) for Swiss National Day. Maybe that is something you find interesting?

rockoyster
rockoyster
3714 posts
expert
Mar 13, 2018 - 8:05 PM in reply to SSboomer
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
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Mar 14, 2018 - 1:24 AM in reply to SSboomer

>> I didn't choose staying in the Lauterbrunnen area because I have a serious problem with altitude sickness and it seemed like many of the sights in that area would be above my comfort level (around 2500 m). Am I missing something here?

Yes, you are definitely missing something - Wengen (elevation 1,274 m) and Mürren (elevation 1,638 m). Both are charming villages with traditional alpine chalets and stunning views.

>> I would like to know is if there's anywhere (particularly in the area already on the itinerary) that would have some unique Swiss customs that I wouldn't see elsewhere

In addition to the excellent link provided by rockoyster, you can search here by date, place and type of event:

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-au/events.html

Alpenrose

Last modified on Mar 14, 2018 - 1:26 AM by Removed user
SSboomer
SSboomer
10 posts
new member
Mar 14, 2018 - 2:58 AM

Thanks for all the advice. I looked at the link Rockoyster sent and found something that looks interesting. It's the Alphorn International Festival in Nendaz the weekend of July 20-22. I'm trying to rework my itinerary to include that and have more questions. www.valais.ch/en/event s/events/top-events/international-alpenhorn-festival

The festival looks great, but it seems like Nendaz is spread out. Would it be practical to stay in the town and assume that we can walk or take a bus to all the events? We don't really want to rent a car.

Also, it looks like the train goes to Sion and then there's a bus to Nendaz. We will have our luggage from our two week trip with us. How far is it from the train station to Nendaz? Could we just take a taxi?

Thank you again.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3714 posts
expert
Mar 14, 2018 - 4:27 AM in reply to SSboomer

Glad you found something of interest.

I'm not familiar with Nendaz but it looks like it is a 35 - 40 minute bus ride from Sion. I doubt you would have trouble taking luggage on a bus. Accommodation may be an issue though.

I doubt the Festival would be so spread out you couldn't access it without having to resort to transport. Maybe the organisers could give you more info. There is an email contact at www.nendazcordesalpes. ch/en/program-2018.

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
578 posts
top member
Mar 14, 2018 - 10:16 PM in reply to SSboomer

Hello there

For several years we have been in the Bernese Oberland area during late July and early August and have enjoyed the National Day celebrations on August 1st. We have on a few occasions gone into Interlaken for the August 1st parade and I have attached some photos for you to look at. We have also been on the evening parade of boats on Lake Thun where all the fleet gathers at Thun before parading up the lake as far as Beatenbucht then returns to Thun, pausing for firework displays at some of the landing stages along the way. You can buy tickets in Thun on the day or preferably in advance so you can queue with your ticket already in hand - queue early to get a good position on board! Tickets are issued for a specific boat so be sure to join the correct queue.

We have also enjoyed National Costume Day (Trachtenfest) on top of Männlichen which includes country dancing in costume, an alphorn trio, flagswingers, yodellers and whipcrackers! (sometimes cowbell ringers as well). Some photos of them too! This year the date is Sunday 29th July, conveniently close to August 1st, so if you can plan to be in Bernese Oberland at that time in your trip, you could actually fit in the Trachtenfest, the Interlaken Parade and the Parade of boats - more than enough culture for anyone!!!

We researched the event in Nendaz you mention but decided it was too difficult to get to by public transport so didn't go. Interlaken, Thun and Männlichen are much easier to reach.

Maggie

PS I need 2 posts to fit in all the pics! With this post are 10 from Interlaken parade and in next 4 more plus 6 from Trachtenfest.

Last modified on Mar 14, 2018 - 10:25 PM by maggiehorswell
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maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
578 posts
top member
Mar 14, 2018 - 10:19 PM

second group of photos

Maggie

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Peterli
Peterli
449 posts
top member
Mar 15, 2018 - 2:45 PM

Hello SSboomer,

It would be easier for me to come up with ideas for the Swiss National Holiday (August 1) if you were to provide the exact dates for your arrival in Zürich and your departure from Genève.

One other thing; you mention "Lavay des Bains" as a possible day trip from Genève. I am not aware of such a place. Are you thinking about Lavey-les-Bains up the Rhone ? If so, that would be better as a day trip from Montreux.

Last modified on Mar 15, 2018 - 2:48 PM by Peterli
SSboomer
SSboomer
10 posts
new member
Mar 15, 2018 - 4:59 PM

Thanks for all the additional advice. I e-mailed the Alphorn Festival contact as Rockoyster suggested and they responded quickly. I'm posting their reply below in case anyone else asks in the future.

The event takes place in the center of the resort of Nendaz on Friday and Saturday. The Festival takes place at Tracouet on Sunday. You can reach Tracouet by telecabine. The departure point of the telecabine is also in the center of Nendaz. All the locations are easly accessible. If you look for an hotel o inn it is better to look for one in the center of Nendaz. Nendaz is situated 16km far from Sion. Taxis are available at the train station (25min drive to Haute-Nendaz). You can find taxi's numbers on this webpage : www.nendaz.ch/data/doc uments/20180104_liste_ taxis.pdf. It is also possible to reach Haute-Nendaz by postcar bus. You can find the timetable of the bus on this website : www.sbb.ch/en/home.htm l. The departure point is "Sion, gare". The arrival point on Friday and Saturday is "Haute-Nendaz Poste" and on Sunday "Haute-Nendaz télécabine". There is spaces in the bus for luggages.

The National Holiday information that Peterli sent also looks good. That's the problem with Switzerland - too many things to see and do but not enough time. I'll have to check on air and hotels and show these possibilities to my husband and make some decisions soon.

Thanks again.

Peterli
Peterli
449 posts
top member
Mar 16, 2018 - 3:24 AM in reply to SSboomer

Hello again,

<<The National Holiday information that Peterli sent also looks good. That's the problem with Switzerland - too many things to see and do but not enough time. I'll have to check on air and hotels and show these possibilities to my husband and make some decisions soon. >>

I'm not sure I sent you any Swiss National Holiday information ! What I did say was: << It would be easier for me to come up with ideas for the Swiss National Holiday (August 1) if you were to provide the exact dates for your arrival in Zürich and your departure from Genève.>> FYI, I have read that for budget reasons, Geneva will not be having its fireworks spectacular this coming August 1, which is a Wednesday. www.letemps.ch/suisse/ fetes-geneve-ne-feront-detincelles-2018

rockoyster
rockoyster
3714 posts
expert
Mar 16, 2018 - 3:41 AM in reply to SSboomer

Well that was a very helpful response you got right there. Thanks for sharing.

Peterli
Peterli
449 posts
top member
Mar 16, 2018 - 4:40 AM in reply to SSboomer

Here is the website providing information about the Nendaz Alphorn Festival, known locally as le Festival de cor des Alpes since this in the French-speaking part of the Valais. I see that it is from Jul 20 (Friday) to Jul 22 (Sunday) this year: www.nendazcordesalpes. ch/en/ I hope that nobody talks you out of going and am sure you will have a wonderful time. I have been looking at the events for each of the three days and it will be tough what day(s) to cut if you don't stay for all three ! www.nendazcordesalpes. ch/en/program-2018

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