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Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Ontario
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Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

I am arriving in Geveva for four days in Aug. I would like to go for a scenic beautiful vacation in switzerland. Can anyone give me advice about whether I should just stay in geneva for the 4 days as a central sport to take day trips into the mountains? Or should I travel and venture into small towns or villages in the mountains for the whole four days... if so what small towns/villages are the best to stay in for 4 days (i.e. Montreax, matterhorn, gorges, or chamonix france)... if I had to travel and stay in a beautiful village or town what would be the closest to geneva airport? thanks for your help!

Zurich, Switzerland
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1. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Geneva is not really a central spot for day excursions to the mountains. I would stay in Montreux or Vevey. From there you could for instance go up by funicular to Rochers de Naye (the closest mountain), to Verbier - Mt. Fort, to Zermatt or on the Golden Pass route to Gstaad. Or, if you prefer to stay actually in the mountains, you could check Verbier or Gstaad-Saanen.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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2. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Hi craiger1,

Just popping up to second all of oller's recommendations; they're right on!

s

London
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3. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Hi,

Also agreeing that Vevey would be a good spot to be able to reach out into the mountains. If you do choose to stay in Vevey, I've posted about the things to do there. Also, putting in my usual bid for heading up to the village of Les Paccots (about which you all know I love to post! :)

Louisville, Kentucky
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4. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

I pick small towns and villages ANY day over any large city. Get a railpass, and take the train from the airport to another spot. Everything is accessible via rail and bus in Switzerland easily. Montreux is not a small town at all, but quite busy. If you have questions about train travel, go to www.sbb.ch

Also, August may be very hot and LOTS of places are not air conditioned, so you might enjoy staying in a high mountain town versus a hot city.

Seattle
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5. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Morges, Lausanne, Vevey, or Montreux are all within an easy train ride of Geneva and would make an excellent base for 4 days. Vevey is my favorite.

For something close to the Geneva airport but in France, the town/lake of Annecy is a beautiful place. You can get back to Geneva by train or bus.

El Paso, Texas
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6. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

We just got back from a five day trip. We stayed every night in Geneva, but we rented a car and spent three of the days out on trips away from the city. By far the day trips were the highlight. It actually wasn't bad to use Geneva as a base, but if we did it again I would probably stay somewhere else at least one or two nights to give more time to explore.

Day trip 1: Fribourg, Gruyeres and back to Geneva through the vineyards

Day trip 2: Chamonix in the French alps (1 hr 1/2). We had a great time here. I recommend going early to beat the crowds and taking the small telepherique (cable car) at the top of Mont Blanc to Helbronner. Amazing.

Day trip 3: Montreaux/ Chateau de Chillon - really enjoyed this - but again go early (and during the week if possible.) We had it all to ourselves, but by the time we were leaving the crowds were pouring in.

We only spent a day or so exploring Geneva itself. We much preferred the day trips, but you can't go to Geneva and not see a bit of the actual city - right?

Oh - and renting a car was expensive, but so worth it. We had early tried to plan our trips by rail and even though they have a great rail system we just couldn't get everything in that we wanted to see. The car offered us so much freedom and the roads were relatively well marked and easy to follow. Neither I nor my husband speak any French and we found our way around just fine.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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7. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Hi Again,

Oh boy, I don't want to get into a contest of wills with lifelove -- yet I must give an alternate view on the car issue.

I've taken about 14 trips to Switzerland in the past 11 years, rented a car only twice and regretted it both times! With the car, I fretted over routes, parking, & gas; taking the train, you don't have these worries at all. On the train, you get to mingle with the local folks: matrons going shopping in the city, businessmen coming home from work, a group of young mothers on an outing together, students on a field trip, not to mention other travellers from around the world. With a car, you'll be sealed hermetically from the life going on around you! Remember, too, that the train drops you exactly where you want to be -- the center of town, and that you can always enjoy a picnic lunch with your companions while watching the scenery together.

The excursions mentioned by lifelove are *extremely* easy to manage without a car! Rail schedules are at www.rail.ch. The only small problem might be getting to Chamonix from Geneva, but there is at least one bus service for a direct link.

So, please don't do the "North American" thing and just get a car out of habit! Using the train is one of the things I love most about my European travels!

s

Neptune Beach, FL
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8. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

If you go to Chamonix (with Mt. Blanc right there), Annecy is only an hour farther west. Annecy is a delightful resort area in the mountains with a lake and a charming old town. (It would be cheaper than Switzerland too.)

If you go to Chamonix, I'm sure you will take the lift up to the top of the mountain. It's quite a trip! You can get caught in a snow storm in the middle of summer up there.

New Jersey
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9. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

My daugher and I will be viisitng a relative outside Stuttgart in August. We would then to travel to Alps for walking/hiking for 4-5 days.

Is Zurich or Geneva better to fly into for train to Stuttgart, and then to base ourselves out of for the Alpine waliks?

Seems that smaller towns are better for Alpine walking. Any suggestions? We chose not to have a car.

Thanks

Mannheim, Germany
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10. Re: Should I stay: City of Geveva or the mountain/country side?

Obviously, Zürich is a much better airport if you want to go to Stuttgart. A train journey from Geneva to Stuttgart would go through Zürich. Or of course you just fly into Stuttgart and back out of Zürich or Geneve.

As to the alpine walking/hiking - there are hundreds of small towns useful as bases to choose from. You can hardly do wrong. From Zürich it would take about an hour by train to the first Alpine ranges.