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5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Fort Lauderdale, FL
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5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

My husband and I are taking my parents on a trip for my Mom's 70th Birthday. We will be spending half the time in Paris and the other half in Switzerland. We have been to Paris twice, so I'm focusing on the Switzerland planning. We'll be taking a train from Paris. My Mom loves beautiful scenery and charming, quaint towns (which I suspect is most of Switzerland). She also loves chocolate, but is the museum really worth the trip?

We like to take our time in places and not rush through all the main attractions. We are not looking to do any hiking or anything strenuous. I had initially thought of the Glacier Express as a great way to see a lot, but I've read very mixed reviews about it. Possibly some shorter train rides with equally beautiful sights?

Any input on the best stops for us is much appreciated! I have not booked a flight yet, so we can potentially leave from anywhere.

Many thanks!

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1. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Hi there,

I'd indeed focus on 1 or 2 not too big towns in nice scenery, with good train rides near and of course access to boats and cable cars. Lucerne/Engelberg could be one, and the plateau above Interlaken (Wengen, Lauterbrunnen etc.) another one. The train ride between Lucerne and Interlaken is part of the Golden Pass line and nice, and so are many mountain trains in that area upto of course (only on a clear day) Jungfraujoch.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Martigny...
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2. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Early June is not the ideal time to visit mountain resorts here as most of them do not re-open for the summer season until mid/late June and when a mountain resort is quiet - it is deadly!! So I would focus on one or two areas around the lakes. Luzern is certainly a nice idea and while I would not call it "quaint" its old town is lovely. What about combining a two night stay there with a two night stay in the Vevey-Montreux area on lake Léman? This would give you two very different experiences - Luzern is in the German speaking part of our country and the culture/architecture/cuisine all reflects this. Vevey and Montreux are in the Suisse Romande or French speaking part and the feeling down here is entirely different. It is well worth experiencing the two to get a little taste of what this multi-lingual and cultural country is all about...

You can take the Golden Pass train from Luzern all the way to Montreux (it does involve several changes, but these are all very easy to do and the timetables are worked out so that there is no waiting) www.goldenpass.ch This line crosses the Bernese Oberland and will take you through some very pretty villages like Saanen and Rougemont (in fact you cross from German-speaking to French speaking Switzerland between these two places...)

Montreux is a lovely "belle époque" town made popular by Victorian tourists. Vevey is more of a "Swiss" town with a lovely old town which is quite extensive and which is a shoppers paradise as it has loads of small boutiques. Both are on the lake and behind Vevey are the Lavaux vineyards with spectacular views over the lake and to the French alps beyond. www.montreux.ch

Coming from Paris it would make sense to stop first in Montreux. Take the TGV to either Lausanne or Geneva and continue on to either vevey or Montreux (both on the same train line and 5 mins apart). Then take the Goldenpass over to Luzern.

Finally the Cailler Chocolate Factory at Broc has a good tour with a history of chocolate and its production and an amazing tasteing of all of their chocolates at the end of it. But I would not go to this area just to do that. If you wanted to spend a nice day, near Montreux, seeing the medieval village of Gruyères, its Cheese Factory (with tour) AND the Maison Cailler then that is worth it. But just the Maison Cailler on its own - probably not since your time is very limited!

Fort Lauderdale, FL
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3. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Thank you both so much for the information. The Glacier Express sounds like it might best fit in our plans. I would really like to see Matterhorn. Hambagahle , could that be worked into the trip you discussed? The cheese and chocolate tour does sound very nice.

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4. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

I meant the Golden Pass, not Glacier Express.

Martigny...
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5. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

If you want to see the Matterhorn you have to go to Zermatt. And this is not on the Goldenpass route...and it is a ski resort that will be reasonably, even very, quiet in early June. In the time you have available I do not think you can add Zermatt in...

I still think the best route is the one I outlined. Paris/Basel/Luzern/Montreux

Luzern to Montreux is on the "Goldenpass" line. There are two "Goldenpanoramic" trains per day in each direction. From Luzern you first got o Interlaken Ost and change there for Spiez. Change again for Zweisimmen. (all this is called the Goldenpass line) Then in Zweisimmen you board the "Goldenpass Panoramic" and continue on to Montreux. Now - why the Goldenpass Panoramic and why so many changes?? Simply because the route is an amalgam of several lines (Zentralbahn, BLS, MOB) and also has, at present, varying gauges. All this will be fixed in about 2015. And then it will be possible to take one train, with no changes, from Montreux to Luzern. But for now it is what it is...

There is a great advantage in taking the "Goldenpass Panoramic" from Zweisimmen to Montreux IF - and only IF - you are in First class and book the "VIP" seats. These are actually in front of the driver... almost on the rails. And really only the first row is worth it. Cost of seat res. is 15frs. IF you have a First class ticket and IF you can get these seats (www.goldenpass.ch) then do it!! Otherwise just take normal trains over the same route...

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6. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

When do the mountain resorts close? In May sometime? Assuming the itinerary you've set out, would it be easiest to depart from Zurich? Thanks again!

Martigny...
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7. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

The lower ones stop operating their ski lifts after Easter. Normally that is. But this coming year Easter is so late they might not have snow for skiing by then. Once the lifts close so do the hotels as clearly they have no guests. And so do restaurants. Usually one or two stay open in the smaller places, a few more in the larger ones.

The higher resorts (with skiing well over 2000m) close their lifts at the end of April. Zermatt stays open until the end of the first week of May. In the larger resorts one or two hotels will remain open and correspondingly a few more restaurants - or the restaurants open on a rota basis.

There is nothing worse than a ski resort when the snow has melted in the village and is melting on the slopes, lots of hotels etc closed and even a lot of the locals gone because they can take their holidays then if they don't have children in school. It can't even be called "quiet" - it is frankly depressing!! And this is why all of us who live here warn people not to plan to spend time in the mountains at that time of year...

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8. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Coming from South Florida, we would not fare too well in melting snow. Lol. Thank you so much for all the information. I'm sure I'll have more questions down the road.

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9. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Hi again! You're recommending to travel from Paris to Montreaux and stay there two nights, right? Should we take the Goldenpass from Montreaux to Luzern in one day or stay overnight somewhere in the middle? What is the total travel time and are the train changes in the same station that we arrive? I went on the Goldenpass website and it says there are no seats available in early June. Do you know how far in advance they start booking? I definitely want to reserve the VIP seats. Thank you!

Martigny...
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10. Re: 5 days in early June 2014- Where to go?

Paris to Montreux is easy either via Lausanne or via Geneva. (And no "a" in Montreux BTW - prononciation would be totally different and it is a word that "Anglos" have real problems with anyway!!)

I would take the Goldenpass all the way through to Luzern and not stop for a night somewhere. I would consider stopping for several days and stay in the mountains - Grindelwald, Wengen etc or on a lake - Spiez, Thun or Brienz. Not in Interlaken. But it takes around 5.5hrs all the way and is worth going straight through. There are train changes due to different gauges of rail at present. That is being worked on though.

You can reserve seats 60 days prior. The VIP seats go fast, especially the front row. So maybe it is worth calling them to get the exact date that bookings will open for your trip.