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  • Info on a trip to Switzerland?
  • Premier Icon madjak
    Free Member

    After a discussion the other day (alcohol may have been involved) Mrs Jak and I decided randomly to go to Switzerland.

    I have a completely open mind on where to go but would like to see some countryside, mountains, lakes etc and some culture of some sort. Not too worried about seeing all the big cities but just having a cool time.

    The plan is for a short break maybe 4 days over a weekend, we’ll be leaving the bikes at home but if exploring was possible on 2 wheels via bike hire I’d consider it πŸ˜‰

    Any experiences of places to go that are not too touristy? Any help appreciated πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon pjm84
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    Take loads of money with you.

    Premier Icon CharlieMungus
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    Lugano and Locarno

    Premier Icon organic355
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    Skier/snowbaorder? Zermatt is defo worth a visit.

    Even if you are not its still worth a visit as you can get the train/gornegrat right up to to top/glacier with awesome views of the matterhorn.

    Need to leave your car in a big car park at the bottom though as the village of zermatt is car free (bliss), but watch out for those electric stealth taxis!!!

    http://www.gornergratbahn.ch/en/Pages/default.aspx

    http://www.zermatt.ch/en/page.cfm/experience/peaks/gornergrat

    Premier Icon scruff
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    Lucerne, Zermatt, Zurich, Zug- anywhere begining in Z really.

    Premier Icon buzz-lightyear
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    Saas Fee. Like Zermatt before it got touristy.

    Premier Icon grum
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    Unless you’re properly minted go to Austria instead.

    Premier Icon CaptainFlashheart
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    Zug

    Seriously? A more rotten hive of scum and villany, etc….
    Awfully dull place! Zurich’s nice, though.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Ask the man checking passports where you can pick up grandad adolf’s gold he deposited with them….

    Premier Icon beanum
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    I’m biased ‘cos I live in Lausanne but if you come in the summer you could do a lot worse than the Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) region in summer.
    Cycling through vineyards, boat trips, BBQ by the lake, I love it..

    You don’t mention when you’re planning to visit but the Montreux Jazz festival in July is a great atmosphere. There are plenty of other festivals that you could combine with a holiday…

    Montreux Jazz
    Festi’Neuch
    Caribana
    Paleo
    Greenfields Festival

    If you fancy more exercise, at the end of May there’s an organised Sportive where you can cycle round the lake (or take the boat to Evian and do half of it…)
    Cyclotour

    hth

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    The wee villages in the south are beautiful.

    Premier Icon madjak
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    pjm84 – Is it that expensive….? Will I be eating beans on toast for months…

    Its looking like people are thinking the Italian and central side are better, any experience with the french border side? Fribourg/Geneva.

    Never really looked into going there but a huge range of places to see.

    Is there a good base to get out and see some Mountains from a town with some stuff happening?

    Premier Icon beanum
    Full Member

    Geneva isn’t Switzerland, it’s full of banks and NGOs…

    Lausanne is a cool place with great bars and stuff to do but it’s a long way from proper mountains (1 hour drive). Your best bet would be Interlaken maybe? You can go paragliding etc there and it’s a short train trip /drive to Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen which have mountains and waterfalls galore..

    For the ultimate happening town near mountains it has to be Chamonix but that’s in France…:-)

    Premier Icon simons_nicolai-uk
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    Interlaken’s beautiful – can get properly up into the mountains if you go on to Wengen/Grindelwald.

    Flying to Basel is worth looking at as often the cheapest. Swiss trains are fantastic – comfortable, quick, reliable. Swiss transfer ticket (buy in advance) costs Β£96 and gets you from the airport/border to anywhere in the country on the day you arrive and back to the border on the day you leave. There’s nothing to stop you breaking your journey along the way.

    Exchange rate means you won’t be shopping and eating out (and beer) is expensive.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
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    Rob a bank first or take a lot of lube with you

    Premier Icon mrmoofo
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    yes, CH is that expensive. It was expensive to live when it was 2.2 CHF to the GBP . Now it is 1.46 CHF ish!

    Having lived there I am a little jaudiced about the place. It is fantastically beautiful, with some of the most unfriendly people that you can ever meet.

    However – Zurich and Geneva. Small cities but big for CH. Worth a look but it depends why you are going.

    Bern – stunning
    Interlaken – no great shakes as such but Grindelwald is. Views of the Eiger and generally Heidiness abound. Lauterbrunnen is also a must. Stump up for the Jungfraujoch Bahn and have a coffee at the top of the world. And get over how much it costs!
    St Moritz – worth a visit
    Lucerene – very picturesque
    There are several wall cities/villages (of which I have forgotten names) other than Gruyere. Which aslo has a Museum for the guy who designed for Alien.
    Montreux / Vevey – the Swiss riveria. Money abounds, fantastic views over Lake Geneva.
    Bodensee, Swiss side. don’t bother
    Lichtenstein – worth going to say you have been there. But there is nothing there
    Lugano – feels like Italy, looks like Italy, way more expensive that Italy – and stuff works!
    The mountain passes – Skt Gotthard, St Bernardino, Furka, Grimsel, Susten, etc, Great St Bernards, Petitte St Bernards etc
    Zematt/ Saas Fee – a long way from anywhere else but very Swiss
    Merrigen (?)Falls – where Sherlock Holmes met his end …
    Zug is a shit hole

    Eat Rosti and potato, ham and cheese in various combinations. Get ready for a Pizza costing you 18 GBP. the beer is rubbish, and most of the wine (unless it comes from Ticino) is about as bad.
    And ffondue is a winter meal – only tourist eat it in the summer.

    All of this comes down to your reasoning – if it is for the Alps , scenery, great fod, fresh air etc – go to France , Italy of Austria. And you will save yourself a heap of money.

    Personally, I would go to Chamonix or the PdS

    If you want to go, because you want to dop CH, then see above

    Premier Icon grum
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    I’m always bigging up Austria on here, but seriously consider it. Same traditional mountain charm as Switzerland, but much friendlier, and about a third as expensive.

    Premier Icon madjak
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    Thats a load of information guys, and looks like I’m going to be saving some pennies so no more MTB bits for a while, just as well I’ve just got some new pedals πŸ˜†

    Gonna do some research but liking the suggestions and do like a train journey as well.

    Cheers for the links Beanum.

    Just been looking at Interlaken, the choice to stuff to do is a bit bewildering

    Premier Icon B.A.Nana
    Free Member

    I’ve been climbing in the Swiss Alps a few times. Pretty much as above, Interlaken and Zermatt for the big mountain experience. Re cost, like any tourist areas, it’s much cheaper just outside the honeypots, supermarket, camping etc. I’ve never found it prohibative cost wise and I’m a porper, ie we base ourselves down the Zermatt valley in St Nicholas or Visp(cheap B&B’s/camping).

    There is a really nice walk from the top cable car from Fiesch to the biggest glacier in Europe.
    As above, would def recommend the gonergrat railway out of Zermatt. If you’re keen walkers, maybe also walk across to the Monte Rosa refuge to stay overnight or have lunch (involves a glacier walk).
    If you do go to the Valais area, I would also recommend driving over one of the big passes into the Aosta Valley (Grand St Bernard Pass?). Aosta centre is very nice, as is the whole Aosta valley.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
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    Switzerland – all round my favourite place in the world, with the exchange rate where it is it is a bit pricey these days but worth it.

    So two choices, pick a location (probably in the mountains) and stay there or do day trips from say a location on Lake Geneva like Montreux from where you can do day trips on the lake over to some nice little (touristy) medieval towns on French side plus some decent walking up above the city (eg Col du Jamman) as well as be a shortish train ride/drive from the resorts like Zermatt. The walking in the Jura is very good also.

    Zermatt is stunning as is the walking around Wengen

    You can rent bikes for the day if you want

    The railways often have deals combined with hotels

    The magazine featured the Aletsch Glacier a few issues back

    There is a different feel in the French vs German speaking parts and the food is different.

    What do you fancy ?

    Premier Icon B.A.Nana
    Free Member

    Also, as MrMoofo, if you can afford it and in Interlaken area, def catch the railway to jungfraujoch observatory at 3600m. You can also safely walk to the Monchjoch refuge (NB you might suffer from altitude sickness if you stay up there for more than a few hours).

    Premier Icon hammerite
    Free Member

    Watch Portillo travelling by train around Switzerland for some ideas, looks great.

    Portillo on trains wearing a pink jacket with a green shirt

    Premier Icon madjak
    Free Member

    Going to have to go through this togther and work out some priorities. To me there are several different holidays here.

    Would love to spend a week or 2 milling about the Mountains and will def be taking a look at the Austrian/French side as well. Like I said it was a bit of a beer shout, stick a pin in a map type thing. Another time I’d def be taking the bikes over.

    Maybe for this time and the few days we have it’d be best to stay in a town where there are some things to do/walk to and explore – like jambalaya said, well as a few of you have said!

    Montreux does have plenty of options and as we’ll only be there for 4 or so days we can’t spend too much time travelling to and from places. Will obviously have to discuss with Mrs Jak though. So I’m thinking something more like a extended city break with the option to get into the countryside for a bit.

    Thanks for all your input though all brilliant,

    Premier Icon growinglad
    Free Member

    Sorry for slight hijack
    @ beanum, I’m based in Zurich but will probably have an office install to do in Lausanne in a month or so, depending if I’m down there for a few days, may give you a shout to see if you are about for a beer!

    Or, I may take a bike down with me, so see how things are might give you a shout if you fancy it, or if you can recommend any routes.

    Premier Icon growinglad
    Free Member

    By the way, not sure if anyone’s mentioned it, but if you plan to travel by train, have a look to see if you can get a deal on tickets as a tourist, or if you can get a half card…might save you a few bob.

    It’s not cheap, but it easy a lovely country….and great for cycling…

    Can get routes here:

    http://www.veloland.ch/en/cycling-in-switzerland.html

    Food is a bit naff and pricey….but beer is okay….and they have some lovely wines and cheeses…

    I’d be tempted to do a small tour with bikes and tent.

    Premier Icon mrmoofo
    Full Member

    Beware that bikes on trains are charges at full fare prices … or can be
    The halbtax karte is a great boon – but I actually though that you could only get it as a local. But there are tourist deals. The Swissies know their country is expensive and are keen to get you around and spending money.

    food is naff in the Germany bit, some what better in the French bit and much better in the Italian bit.

    Taxis are frighteningly expensive – but the public transport system is brilliant, clean and punctual. You will have to fight the locals to get them to move their bags of seats at busy times. They seem to think tickets are valid for bags as well.
    Swiss men, and a fair few women, seem to also view nose picking as becoming invisble once you sit in a train.

    And I am sorry – the beer is mainly rubbish – Feldschoelssen, Cardinal and the one I have fogotton are gash.
    Appenzeller Quollfrisch, however, is wonderfull!

    Premier Icon growinglad
    Free Member

    Yep, 2nd this:

    Appenzeller Quollfrisch, however, is wonderfull!

    I lived in Greece for 10 years so had to suffer Amstel.

    After that Feldschoelssen isn’t so bad!

    Premier Icon B.A.Nana
    Free Member

    Can’t remember what we drank in every bar in Saas Grund last time, but it was a really nice German style wheat beer.

    Premier Icon beanum
    Full Member

    There are some good beers here, you can buy London Pride and Greene King IPA in all big COOPs πŸ™‚

    Seriously though, there is some good local bottled beer from BFM and Dr. Gabs but tap beer is universally awful away from the ex-pat bars..
    @mrmoofo, the forgettable beer you had forgotten was probably Calanda..

    For the OP, if you’re after a slightly different, funky hotel in Montreux this could be worth a look:
    Tralala Hotel

    Premier Icon beanum
    Full Member

    @growinglad – Sounds good, we can grab a beer if you’re around. Cycling could work too..:-)

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Free Member

    Swiss sell wine in sensibly sized half bottles, 50cl πŸ™‚ A most excellent backpack size whilst hiking etc.

    I cannot say I’ve ever sat in a Swiss bar enjoying the view thinkig I wish the beer was better …

    View from Col du Jammn last June, Montreux just visible …

    Premier Icon simons_nicolai-uk
    Free Member

    Beer – Erdinger Wheat Beer usually available and the CoOp sells a decent wheat beer in 500ml cans for 1CHF. When it comes to lager I can’t say it’s any better or worse than anywhere else in Europe really.

    Premier Icon mrmoofo
    Full Member

    I cannot say I’ve ever sat in a Swiss bar enjoying the view thinkig I wish the beer was better …

    I had ten years of those views. I lived at 800 metres From my office window I could see the Eastern Alps and the Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau. The loudest sound at night was the clanking of cowbells

    As I said the scenery is spectacular – esp for snowboarding / cycling/ motorcycling

    You either love the place , or you don’t. It was way too sterile and dull in the end. But that is only my opinion.

    Premier Icon deft
    Free Member

    Some suggestions for Interlaken, so I’ll recommend the hostel there: http://www.villa.ch/

    Yes it’s a hostel, but they do 2 person rooms, and the whole place is nicer than a lot of hotels. You get 2 free cups of tea/coffee per day (worth about a tenner!) and a bus pass/discount card.

    The train up the mountain is reasonably priced to Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, with loads of walking and general alping to do from there.

    Premier Icon Steve77
    Free Member

    A medium Big Mac meal costs Β£9 GBP so I’d recommend you stay out of McDonalds

    http://www.mcdonalds.ch/fr/carte-menu/menus/big-macr-menu

    Premier Icon ir12daveor
    Free Member

    I’m the bloke who guided the Singletrack Switzerland Article a few issues back.

    If you have a few days get yourself to Bettmeralp (Aletsch Glacier area). Despite the fact that it is a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest glacier in Europe (AFAIK) it is not ridiculously expensive. An overnight in the Hotel Sporting in summer will set you back 65CHF per night with your breakfast included. I think a Pizza is about 15-18CHF if I remember correctly. The area is stunning. I’ve been back there so many times now and it still takes my breath away every time I go back.

    There are some great walks in the area including one from Riederalp to Belalp across a hanging bridge over the glacier moraine.

    Premier Icon madjak
    Free Member

    Sorry I dissapeared, had to finish some work and go out and ride.

    The pic from Col du Jammn does look good, getting exited about the visit now.

    Have subsribed to Singletrack to read the artice on Switzerland, had a quick look and there are some spectacular shots in there! That must have been quite a trip. Will get a chance to read it tomorrow hopefully.

    Really been some great advice in here, thanks so much. Must hit the sack now πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon scotia
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    i’m prob very biased now as i live in the french speaking part near to lausanne.. married a swiss girl..first child just turned 1..

    if you want scenery its great, breathtaking at times..

    this may sound weird looking at some of the opinions on here, but personally i havent met a swiss who wasnt warm and friendly, maybe thats just me..

    anyways if you need some ideas let us know!

    Premier Icon mrmoofo
    Full Member

    i’m prob very biased now as i live in the french speaking part near to lausanne.. married a swiss girl..first child just turned 1..

    if you want scenery its great, breathtaking at times..

    this may sound weird looking at some of the opinions on here, but personally i havent met a swiss who wasnt warm and friendly, maybe thats just me..

    anyways if you need some ideas let us know!

    The French speaking part is very different in attitude and culture to those the other side of the roastigraben.

    TBH a view is view, after 2 weeks you stop noticing it and get worried about how much a car costs to insure ….

    Premier Icon scotia
    Free Member

    Been here 6 years now, have never worried about car insurance prices but maybe thats just me!

    back to the OP tho – need any pointers give us a shout.

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