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Please critic my itinerary

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New Jersey, USA
posts: 60
reviews: 16
Please critic my itinerary

Hi,

Following my business meeting in Heidelberg, Germany, I want to go to Basel or Bern (1 night), Gruyer (1night), Montreux (1 night), Lausanne (1 or 2 night). Should we also stay in Geneva?

Than I'm planning to go to Alsace and fly back from Frankfurt.

We'll have a car.

Does this itinerary make sense and where would do recommend to stay (our budget is under $250/night, preferrable less)?

Thank you!

Zurich, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Zurich
posts: 2,927
reviews: 26
1. Re: Please critic my itinerary

Gruyeres, Montreux and Lausanne are very close to each other - you can easily visit one place from the other and it doesn't make sense to switch hotels every night. Also Geneva can be visited on a day trip if you stay in Lausanne or Montreux.

In larger towns in Switzerland a car is nothing than a hassle and parking is very expensive. On lake of Geneva I suggest you stay in Montreux - at least some of the hotels there have private parking. For day trips to Lausanne and Geneva you better take the train from there.

London
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 8,331
reviews: 104
2. Re: Please critic my itinerary

You could stop off in Gruyeres en route to Montreux. Gruyeres is mostly car free, but you can park in designated car parks and walk up the hill. I would agree about having just one base in this region - Montreux is nice, as is Vevey and it's only a short train journey to Lausanne from either. You could also consider staying up in the local mountains, which would be cheaper, but then you would face the challenge of parking down by the lake.

New Jersey, USA
posts: 60
reviews: 16
3. Re: Please critic my itinerary

Thank you both very much for your replies.

I completely agree that having a car is difficult, w but e're renting a car when arriving in Franffurt, so we're kind of stuck since we want to have a few stops in Germany before getting down to Switzerland and than move to Alsace.

Do you suggest staying overnight in Basel or Bern?

And how many nights should we stay in Montreux? I'd like to have enouph time for the day trips to see Gruyer, visit the chocolate factory, Château de Chillon, go up to Rochers de Naye. And of couse vinyards! Also, I love being on the water so I was considering taking a cruise from Lausanne to Evians. Is it all doable?

Your hotel recommendations would be greatly appreciated as well!

Zurich, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Zurich
posts: 2,927
reviews: 26
4. Re: Please critic my itinerary

Basel or Bern is a difficult question. Both cities are well worth an overnight stay. Probably I would tend towards Bern as its old town is really impressing. With a car you might prefer to stay in a hotel outside of city centre, but with own parking, and take public transportation to downtown.

With everything you like to see in the area, I would say that 3 nights in Montreux are the minimum. As NWL said, you could visit Gruyères (and eventually also the Chocolate factory) on the way from Bern or Basel. Cruises on lake of Geneva also start from Montreux and they are very recommendable.

I don't have any hotel recs in the price range you are looking for - maybe others can help. Or check the reviews here on TA.

London
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 8,331
reviews: 104
5. Re: Please critic my itinerary

Basel or Bern? Tricky - both lovely, both interesting. Go for whichever draws you in the most.

A budget option in Vevey (on the lake, next to Montreux and right at the bottom of the A12 motoroway) is the Riviera Lodge:

www.rivieralodge.ch/eng/lodge1.html#

I don't know what the parking situation is.

Given your natural direction of travel, I would suggest stopping off at Gruyeres (2 or three hours) and at the chocolate factory at Broc (about an hour or so) on your way down to the lake.

If you stay in Vevey, you can take a ferry to Chateau de Chillon, or to Montreux and then walk along the lake promenade. Alternatively, you can drive and there is time restricted free parking for the castle (you need a blue cardboard clock thing, which you set to the time you arrive and put on your windscreen). If you prefer to stick to public transport - take the number 1 bus from Vevey to the castle.

You can easily combine the castle and a trip up to the Rochers de Naye (thus filling one day) - both are short half day activities. Alternatively, if you're going after the start of June, I can describe a beautiful drive that will take you up to roughly the same altitude where you can eat in a farm cafe.

The vineyards are hard to miss - you can take buses, trains, drive or walk through them.

You really could stay weeks in the area, but I given your time limits, I would spend three/four days in one lakeside base.

New Jersey, USA
posts: 60
reviews: 16
6. Re: Please critic my itinerary

just to clarify: when driving from Bern to Montreux/Vevey do we stop at Gruyer or chocolate factory 1st?

New Jersey, USA
posts: 60
reviews: 16
7. Re: Please critic my itinerary

sorry I clicked Submit too fast

Dear NorthWestLondoner, I'd definitely appreicate if you can provide info for the beatiful drive you've mentioned. We'll be there at the very beginning of June, so the stop at the farm cafe sound great!

another QA: should we do a day trip to Geneva? How unique and different it from Lausanne?

London
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 8,331
reviews: 104
8. Re: Please critic my itinerary

Either/or I think - they aren't far from each other, both off the A12 motorway by Bulle. Perhaps the chocolate factory first, then Gruyeres. Take a look at www.viamichelin and see what you would prefer.

Geneva is certainly different from Lausanne. Of the two, I prefer Geneva - it has a great old town and it's all quite easy to walk around. Lausanne is a bit more complicated. There's a great walking tour written by one of the experts - you can find this in the top questions section of the Geneva forum.

There are two farm cafes (buvettes) that I like, but my favourite is La Saletta (closed Mondays):

…blogspot.com/2010/09/la-saletta-buvette-dal…

I'm going to give you quite detailed driving instructions, but it's basically very simple - once off the motorway, you follow one road for a while, then turn off it and follow another road. That's it.

To get there take the A12 motorway from Vevey, and take the first exit for Chatel St. Denis/Les Paccots. After you exit the motorway, turn right and follow signs to Les Paccots. Follow the main road up to Les Paccots and continue straight through the village. Do not leave this road. Landmarks you will see are:

1. The Ermitage Hotel on the left side of the road after the village centre

2. The skating rink (large covered structure) to the right of the road.

About 1/2 mile beyond this is a largish car parking area with a sign on the right for the hotel Les Rosalys. Don't take this right turn to Les Rosalys, but keep following the main road as it enters the forest. About 30 seconds after this turning (by car), you will see a turning on the right with signs pointing to Creux des Tables, Buvette La Saletta and Buvette Le Vuipay. This is the very first turning you should have taken since turning off the motorway.

Take this turning on the right. Drive up and up and up and up and up for about 15 minutes (forest, then fields, then open steep mountain pasture). When you find yourself driving through open fields, along the side of the mountain, you are nearly there. The Buvette de Saletta is easy to identify as it is a farmhouse with outdoor seating, with umbrellas. You can also sit indoors. If it's full, there's another nice buvette Le Vuipay, about another 10 minutes' drive to the end of the road.

New Jersey, USA
posts: 60
reviews: 16
9. Re: Please critic my itinerary

Thank you so much. I'll make sure to stop for some real (farm) meal. How hard it is to drive down to Vevey/Montreux at night (if we decide to have a dinner there)?

Unfortunately, the river lodge will not be a good choice for us since the showers/toilets are outside of the rooms. Do you think staying in Villeneuve (Hotel du Port) would be a good option? I love that it's being on the water and not terribly expensive compare to the other properties. I can't get over how everything is SO expensive in Switzerland and still accomodations are very basic.

How about La Tour de Peilz? Is that a better option?

How far are the train station if we'll choose to stay outside of Montreux?

London
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 8,331
reviews: 104
10. Re: Please critic my itinerary

I'm afraid I'm not the best person to comment on accommodation as I stay in family accommodation. Hopefully others can advise. Villeneuve is a lovely spot, as is La Tour de Peilz.

The drive is doable in the dark if you are a confident driver, although I would suggest heading up in the light as it is very lovely. I believe sunset is about 9-9.30ish in June.