Best central base town in Swiss alps?

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WillysCrew9
WillysCrew9
13 posts
new member
May 29, 2018 - 4:27 PM

My family of 10 (8 adults 2 children-age 13 and 10) will be traveling to Switzerland May 17-26th, 2019. We want to rent a house/apartment in one "base" location. Willing to travel 1-2 hours to destinations. What town would be best? We will have a car but are open to using train as well. Would prefer mountain or village location. Thank you.

Lucas
Lucas
9817 posts
expert &
moderator
May 29, 2018 - 6:38 PM in reply to WillysCrew9

Hi WillysCrew9 and welcome to MySwissAlps!

If you are looking to spend your time in a mountainous region, the popular option would be the Jungfrau Region.

A town like Wengen, Grindelwald, or Lauterbrunnen could work well. You could also look at the Grabünden Region and towns like Davos or St. Moritz.

We have a link for helping you find apartments and chalets here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/rentals

Hopefully the links for the regions and towns above will help you narrow down where you want to stay. The Jungfrau Region is more central for traveling around Switzerland if that is your aim as well. Use the Swiss railways timetable to plan out your trips around the country: https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable

But of course you need to first decide what you want to see and do
https://www.myswissalp s.com/wheretogo
https://www.myswissalp s.com/activities

Last modified on May 29, 2018 - 6:38 PM by Lucas
WillysCrew9
WillysCrew9
13 posts
new member
May 29, 2018 - 7:22 PM

Thank you for the quick response! After reading through the posts it seems most people have at least two "base" cities. My father in law was from Ruti. He passed away a year ago and this trip is in honor of him so want to stop there. They still have family in Schuffhausen so are wanting to spend time in that direction as well. Would you recommend perhaps staying part of the trip in the Lucerne Area to be able to visit Appenzell, Rhine Falls, etc. and part the Jungfrau region to see the mountainous parts of Switzerland. There is just so much greatness in Switzerland and we want to make the most of our time!

1960man
1960man
727 posts
top member
May 29, 2018 - 10:56 PM

People staying at two bases are usually staying in hotels. If you want to rent a holiday home for a whole group it is best to stick to one central location. I have done this nearly every year for 20 years.

There is nothing quite like having the whole of a Swiss country house for your exclusive use.

With a car you will have plenty of flexibility. This is what I do, my wife and I travel to Switzerland by car but also have Swiss half fare rail cards. This is a very flexible combination.

I recommend you look for a holiday home in the centre of Switzerland - BUT - I know from experience the widest choice of exclusive use holiday homes are in ski resorts.

Try Interhome ( a Swiss company)

Lucas
Lucas
9817 posts
expert &
moderator
May 30, 2018 - 5:33 AM in reply to WillysCrew9

If you rent a car or two for the trip, one location would work as 1960man says. If you are planning on using trains to get around perhaps 2 locations work but many rentals have 5-7 night minimum stays (but not all).

Perhaps staying in a hotel for the 1st 2 nights around Zurich / Schaffhausen could work for you and then a rental unit for the rest of the trip around Lucerne. My timetable link will show you train timings anywhere you want to go (IE Appenzell to Lucerne is close to 3 hours by train(s) and 2 hours by car).

Last modified on May 30, 2018 - 9:40 AM by Arno
Gunzel
Gunzel
154 posts
active member
May 30, 2018 - 9:19 PM

Northeast Switzerland is a lovely area often neglected by international tourists.

I used Winterthur as a base on a trip and it was a good choice.

There are local/regional day tickets that are an attractive alternative to a Swiss Travel Pass - and cheaper too.

I agree about having one base if you're renting an apartment or house. I chose Kandersteg in 1989 and it was wonderful.

I am biased towards public transport but it seems somewhat unwise, in my opinion, to hire a car when Switzerland has the world's best public transport system that's easy to understand and use.

And you leave the driving to experts while enjoying the magnificent scenery.

Enjoy your travels!

WillysCrew9
WillysCrew9
13 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2018 - 1:27 PM

Thank you all for your input. After much thought we have decided to rent a chalet in Grindelwald. We concluded Appenzel and Schaffhausen were not necessary to our itinerary as we had been there several times before but they were sort of tradition so had added them. Our family in Schaffhausen has arranged their schedules to meet us in Ruti for our visit. Our itinerary includes:

Fly out Thursday 5/23

Arrive in CH Friday 5/24, drive to house (about 2 hour drive), grocery, settle in

Saturday 5/25 - Interlaken

Sunday 5/26 - Ruti/Rapperswil - Schrepfer visit

Monday 5/27 - Shilthorn

Tuesday 5/28 - Lucerne

Wednesday 5/29 - Lauterbrunnen

Thursday 5/30 - Matterhorn

Friday 5/31- ?

Saturday 6/1 -travel back to Mpls

Of course actual days could be contingent on the weather but these are the points of interest we have decided on. It looks like we have one free day. Do you think we exploring the city of Grindelwald would be a good way to spend our last day in Switzerland? Or perhaps there is something that you could suggest that we could add? Thank you!

Lucas
Lucas
9817 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 1, 2018 - 3:13 PM in reply to WillysCrew9

Sure, exploring Grindelwald can work on your last day. You may have seen enough of it during the week though. Without knowing your group's interests makes suggestions a little harder.

If you decide you've seen enough of Grindelwald, there are certainly a lot of hikes and other activities nearby if anyone is interested in that: https://www.myswissalp s.com/grindelwald/acti vities

Perhaps a visit to Thun and a boat trip there? https://www.myswissalp s.com/boatlakethun & https://www.myswissalp s.com/thun

WillysCrew9
WillysCrew9
13 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2018 - 3:43 PM in reply to Lucas

Oh....a boat trip could just be the perfect thing to do! Thank you...I think I will put that on the list.

andrew
andrew
82 posts
active member
Jun 1, 2018 - 10:26 PM

Hi Willyscrew9,

I’ve come to your post after it’s a day or two old and I agree very much with what has been written in reply, especially about self catering accommodation.

I always regard Luzern and Interlaken as the twin foci of tourist Switzerland although neither is exactly a village location.

From Luzern you can get to Zurich or the Rhine falls; to Interlaken or, in the opposite direction, to St Gallen and the beautiful but often missed Appenzell area which is perhaps pushing your timing a bit unless you stay there or nearby, as suggested by Gunzel. There are several “tops” close to Luzern and you can enjoy lake cruises as part of you route to or from them. In Luzern the Lion Monument, for example, is a ‘must’ but is very popular and not always as peaceful as it can be.

Interlaken is well placed as the gateway to the Jungfrau region. You can stay in places such as Wengen or Grindelwald but if you want to explore further afield you will then have to go via Interlaken every time adding an hour to your journey each way. We like to stay along Thunersee in Spiez. It’s only 20 minutes by train from Interlaken. Spiez is far less touristy – more like a large village than a town - but still has routes in four directions. Your one to two hour travel time (or maybe a little more) takes you to the Jungfrau region, Bern, Montreux, Lausanne or back to Luzern and in most cases you can choose different routes for your outward and return journeys. The lakes of Thun and Brienz with their different characters are still close at hand and Spiez has its own ship station on lake Thun.

Have fun planning your trip. Remember, Switzerland is an easy country to travel in and the well integrated Public Transport system is unsurpassed. One note of caution: not all mountain transport is working in May and some walking tracks may well still be closed depending on the snow conditions.

Andrew

Gunzel
Gunzel
154 posts
active member
Jun 1, 2018 - 10:50 PM

I agree about Spiez but the one thing to keep in mind is there is something of a walk between the wharf on the lake and the station. It's uphill from the wharf . There is a local bus between the wharf and the station but as I recall not a frequent service.

One needs to be careful about the words one chooses but Interlaken is popular with international tourists who often travel in groups and sometimes can be rather noisy or love to push and shove - or both.

WillysCrew9
WillysCrew9
13 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2018 - 11:38 PM in reply to Gunzel

Thank you. I am going to file this away so that my next trip to Switzerland can include this region that I have never been to!

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