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Central base to visit towns

Riversdale, South...
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Central base to visit towns

Hi there,

Would it be possible to have a central base and visit various towns like Zermatt,Interlaken,Andermat and cities like Zurich etc? If so,where would you suggest?

We only have 4 nights in Switzerland before we move to Italy.

Should we rent a car or travel by train - we prefer car.

Where can we ski in early May?

Wales
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1. Re: Central base to visit towns

In my opinion your best bet would be to stay in one of the places mentioned in your request - Interlaken. It is a superb town with two railway stations, and two lake boat departure ports. There are an abundance of great hotels from economy to five star within walking distance of the stations, and any destination is possible for a day trip.

Some of the higher ski slopes will still be functioning in May, but that is something you will need to sort when you arrive. There is no point in hiring a car in Switzerland, it is a bit like taking skis to Egypt.

Bellflower...
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2. Re: Central base to visit towns

I second the suggestions to stay in Interlaken and to travel by train. If you want to find out more about where to ski, suggest you post a separate thread with a title that is specific to skiing.

Zurich, Switzerland
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3. Re: Central base to visit towns

Even if Switzerland is a small country, it doesn't make sense to visit the different parts from one single base. I would limit the journey times to a maximum of two hours - otherwise you will spend the most times inside a car or train and miss to actually see and experience the various sights and places.

Interlaken isn't a particularaly attractive town IMO, but it's a good hub to see the attractions of Bernese Oberland and the town of Bern. It's not worth to do day trips from there to for instance Andermatt or Zermatt. First because it would be too much time consuming. Second because some of the most spectacular mountain scenery of our country would be just a few steps from your door - talking about Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn and many other.

Better concentrate on exploring one part of Switzerland. Another good base to stay would be Lucerne, from where you can check out the attractions of Central Switzerland and Zurich. It also has good train connections to Italy.

Train is the way to go. They are efficient, reliable and easy to use. Many mountain attractions are only reachable by public transportation, so a car is useless in many cases. See www.rail.ch for the connections.

Forget about skiing in May. Most ski areas close after Easter. In May you will be limited to only a few places where you can ski on glaciers (for instance Zermatt or Saas Fee), but even there only a few lifts will be open and the snow won't be good.

Edited: 20 November 2011, 08:23
Wales
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4. Re: Central base to visit towns

I disagree with the option of multi-bases; means you are always lugging your baggage behind you. And what is wrong with spending three or four hours in a train; there is not a single train journey in Switzerland that does not travel through spectacular scenery. I could spend all the daylight hours available goiing up the valley from Visp to Zermatt.

Furthermore I think Interlaken is an attractive town with a lot to offer, far more than Berne and Lucerne.

Zurich, Switzerland
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5. Re: Central base to visit towns

I agree that with only 4 days you should stay in one base. What I meant is that it's difficult to reach every corner of Switzerland from this base, wherever it is. If you decide to stay for instance in Interlaken area or Lucerne, then there is more than enough to see in these parts. It doesn't make sense IMO to do day trips to a destination far away from there. Train journeys might be entertaining and some train routes are even spectacular (but by far not all of them - I don't see anything much interesting if you cross the flatlands from Bern to St. Gallen for instance). However personally I favour to be in the nature instead of watching it from a moving box behind glasses. To climb a peak or just sit in a mountain hut, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the views - these are for me the real highlights!

Concerning Interlaken: The town (or better: large village) really doesn't have much to offer apart from souvenir shops. In terms of architecture, museums, culture or interesting shops towns like Lucerne or Berne are much better. Some might see it different, but I think this is not only my point of view but undoubted by most people.

Riversdale, South...
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6. Re: Central base to visit towns

Hi there,

Thank you so much for your feedback.

We are going to rent a car in Milan and drive to Switzerland and then back to Italy.

I have done a little more research and this is what I think:

Lugano to St Moritz - stay for 1 night

St Moritz to Andermatt - stay for 1 night

Andermatt to Zermatt - stay for 1 night

This would give us a good idea of small villages/towns in Switzerland??

We want to exclude big cities and museums etc and explore scienery and small towns/villages.

If there are prettier and better towns than St Moritz/Andermatt/Zermatt which we can cover in three days, please feel free to make suggestions.

Wales
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7. Re: Central base to visit towns

It is not clear when you plan to make this journey, but there are a few things you need to make sure of. You will have to make sure the car hire company is happy to let you take the car out of Italy; something they may approve at an added cost. It is unclear at what time of the year you will be making this trip, but if it is before April 30th. it is essential that you have winter tyres fitted; and considering your route wheel chains. You will not be able to take the car into Zermatt, it will have to be parked several miles away and your journey continued by train. You will also need an autobahen permit which costs 40 Swiss Francs. Even without fuelling the car, you have already exceeded the cost of travelling by train !!

Zurich, Switzerland
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8. Re: Central base to visit towns

The OP mentionned that they will travel in early May. This is generally not the best period to be in the mountains. Many hotels and transportation to the peaks will be closed due to off-season. There won't be enough snow to ski, but too much snow or mud to hike on higher altitude.

Also I don't like this itinerary - as mentionned I would suggest one base and day excursions from there. Changing the hotel every night means packing and unpacking, checking in and out - you will loose a good part of your holiday just for this. In addition in early May, some of the mountain passes will still be closed: Oberalppass between St. Moritz and Andermatt maybe, Furka pass between Andermatt and Zermatt most probably. There is the possibility to load your car on a train for these portions, but it is quite expensive and time consuming. You won't need winter tyres or snow chains in May though. And you shouldn't have a problem to take your hired car into Switzerland, as long as you drop it off in Italy again. However I repeat my recommendation to travel by train: The connections from/to Milan are excellent for most parts of Switzerland and your holiday will be much more relaxed this way. I know from my own experience how chaotic the traffic in and around Milan is and how much time you can loose in a congestion...

9. Re: Central base to visit towns

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