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first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

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Knoxville, Tennessee
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first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

So, we found three sky miles tickets to Zurich from the U.S. so we booked them and bought one more ticket for our family of four. It will be our first trip to Switzerland. We have been advised to consider visiting Lucerne, Interlochen (Wengen, Lauterbrunnen) and possibly Bern or Basil, along with a day in Zurich.

We're also considering Geneva on the front end of our eight night visit. Yes, we're energizer travel bunnies!! We love culture and history and my adult son is very interested in the Protestant Reformation period. I've heard there is a PR museum there. Wondering if it's worth seeing? We'd like for this trip to be a mix of urban and mt. culture.

I believe we'll need to move two or three times, esp. if we go to Geneva. We're also on a very tight budget. We are not planning to ski however, we would like to find hotels, apt. or maybe even hostels (aren't there castle hostels in S.?) with some charm/character for no more than $3000 per week. I believe the accommodations should be located relatively near a train station, as that will be our principle source of transport. We also want to hear where we should invest our time on this trip ---based on our interest in short hikes (if possible in the winter), museums, eating and taking in the sights. We are also planning to take advantage of the Christmas markets, so we'll need tips on finding the best ones!

Goldau, Switzerland
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1. Re: first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

Hi travellingbabyboomer

How much time do you have available? And when exactly are you travelling?

Please watch the spelling of the places you would like to visit. It's Interlaken and Basel (the other once are correct.

I would recommend you start by reading the relative points form the Top Questions about Switzerland (TA Switzerland forum) where you can find many answers which will help you to plan your stay here (including informations about budget travelling).

I do not know about hotels in castles in Switzerland. Our castles are too old for this and they are not close to railway stations.

You can find all the timetables and other informations about public transport in Switzerland on www.sbb.ch/en

For areas to see look at www.myswitzerland.com

pore

London
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2. Re: first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

How many bases you chose will depend on your energy levels, but we can better advise you if we know for how long you are travelling.

There are plenty of nice hostels with private rooms in Switzerland - not often in historic buildings, but usually in lovely locations.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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3. Re: first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

We will arrive on the morning of Dec. 13th and have from then until Dec. 20th, so eight days. Sorry for the misspellings. I'm just now familiarizing myself with Switzerland and in somewhat of a hurry because we need to decide on a "best first time" itinerary and get accommodations booked. What we are tentatively planning to do, after we arrive in Zurich, is head to Geneva. I believe that will be a 3.5 hour train trip? (hopefully no longer!). Our purpose for traveling there will be primarily to see the Protestant Reformation museum (assuming it's worth the time and effort). Our son is planning to be a Presbyterian minister and is very interested in learning more about church history and Calvin, the father of the Pres. church. I also think we will appreciate the "old Geneva" museum and the fact that we'll be in an area with french influence. Both of my adult children have studied french so they would like to experience S.'s french region. We were also planning to travel to nearby? Montreux to see the Castle Chillon? I have no idea the distance from Geneva to Montreux so it would be helpful to know and then, I need to decide whether to stay one or two nites in between these areas or in Geneva or Montreux. Hope that question makes sense. Upon leaving western Switzerland, we would take the Bernina Express/Golden Pass or whatever scenic train travels onto the Interlochen region (I'm not sure if this is a region or an exact place) I believe I've seen it also called the Oberland? And, we will go to the "top of Europe" at Jungwald. If we stay in Interlochen, where exactly? And should we split up our time between Interlochen and Lucerne and Bern (which is also on our list). Or would you recommend one of those places or even another, as a base for seeing all three? Keep in mind that we also want to enjoy the Christmas markets that will be taking place in these towns at that time too. (Incidentally, do you know if there are trains that run as late as 10 p.m.? in Dec.?) We will not have a car and will be completely dependent on trains with occasional use of a taxi, if we must. Also, can four persons ride in the same taxi in S.? After visiting Interlochen, Lucerne, and Bern, we will end our trip with one night in Zurich before leave on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st. I hope that info helps. Again, I apologize for the misspellings. It's a lot of info to take in and retain in a short period of time. We're open to suggestions about a better first-time itinerary as well as accommodations. We would need either two hotel rooms or possibly an 2 bedroom apt. that rents nightly. (Hostels are not out of the question but have no idea how to find them.) We are on a tight budget but would like to experience Swiss charm! And as far as our current itinerary "ideas" ---again, we are leaning toward Geneva and the Lake Geneva area for one/two nites, then moving to Central S. to see Interlochen, Bern and Lucerne (four or five nights) and then, ending the trip in Zurich (probably one nite but maybe two?). Thanks for your assistance!! (P.S. We do no want to move around anymore than 3 times.)

London
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4. Re: first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

Hopefully the Geneva fans will be along shortly with some good information with regard to the Calvinist sights of interest.

I have a feeling that the hostel in Montreux/Territet is seasonal and won't be open in December, but it's worth checking out. A frequently recommended option would be the Riviera Lodge in Vevey. Vevey is a lovely town and is nice and convenient for the sights of Montreux (Christmas market, Chateau de Chillon, train up to the Rochers de Naye etc). If you are feeling bold, there's actually yurts or dorm accommodation up at the top of the Rochers de Naye - not a good base for sightseeing as you are up in the middle of nowhere, but a fun option to consider. Vevey is also good to access the local mountains, where the ski season will likely not yet be underway, but there is often nice snow shoeing, ice skating and sledging in December. Let me know if this appeals, and I can give some pointers. I am also aware of a church trail up on the plain above Vevey that you can follow. It's mostly Catholic churches in this area (in the canton of Fribourg). Since most of the walk is on the plain, with sturdy shoes and warm clothes, you should be able to enjoy it in the winter:

les-paccots.ch/en/navpage-SportSummerFR-Hike…

Goldau, Switzerland
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5. Re: first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

Hi traveling babyboomer

In my opinion you are trying to do too much in too short time. Why not spend most of your time at Vevey or Montreux - http://www.montreux-vevey.com/en/ and Top Questions about Monteux (TA Montreux forum) - and do day excurions to Geneva - www.geneva.ch and Top Questions about Geneva (TA Geneva forum) etc?

You could then take the Goldenpass train - www.goldenpass.ch - to Lucerne two or three days before you leave and spend the rest of your time in this area - see www.luzern.com and Top'0 Questions about Lucerne (TA Lucerne forum) -. You can find all timetables, routings et on www.sbb.ch/en (your inputs for the journey from Montreux to Lucerne would be from Montreux (or Vevey) to Lucerne via Brünig Hasliberg. If you decide for Lucerne you can take the train from there to Zurich airport the day of departure if your flight does not leave too early as it takes only one hour.

Interlaken, a town in the valley is a hub for the Jungfrau area - www.myjungfrau.ch -.

pore

6. Re: first trip to Switzerland in mid-Dec..need help w itinerary!

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