Monday, March 23, 2009
The Best of Both Worlds in Surprisingly Affordable Switzerland
Can't decide on a city vacation or village escape? Enjoy the best of both worlds by training it on daytrips from the perfect Swiss "homebase," idyllic Kandersteg in the heart of the glorious Bernese Alps. Stay at a cozy family-run hotel (we have many suggestions) for about 80 Swiss Francs per person a night (now under $75 per person), including breakfast and dinner daily. That's less than the cost of just the room in a big Swiss city!
Then use your Swiss Rail Saver Passes each day for eye-popping excursions by rail, postal bus, and/or lake steamer to your choice of the best Swiss cities and hideaways. Bern, Muerren, Fribourg, Gruyeres, Lauterbrunnen, Sion, and other gems are easily accessible by train from Kandersteg, conveniently located smack in the middle of several major rail lines.
With an early a.m. start, you even could ride the stunning Centovalli "100 Valleys" train, for example. It winds its way from Kandersteg to Brig, dipping down into Domodossola, Italy before looping back into Switzerland to Locarno. (in the Swiss Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, on the tip of Lake Maggiore at the foot of the Alps) Ask us about the chocolate factory tour in a nearby village!
The wonderfully convenient Swiss Rail Pass also entitles travelers to free admission to over 400 museums/attractions all over Europe's tiny alpine country. What a deal!
We think there's nothing more relaxing than "hub and spoke" vacationing, and one of Europe's most "user-friendly," multi-lingual travel destinations is tops on our Europe list. With a cozy Kandersteg hotel as your base, you unpack only once and then return to the peace and quiet of your alpine village every evening just in time for a hearty "home-cooked" meal.
Go to http://www.myswitzerland.com to see which alpine festivals ("customs and markets") coincide with your trip dates. Or better yet, plan your getaway around the dates of some of the festivities, colorfully authentic slices of old world Switzerland. Join that herd of flower-bedecked, bell-toting cows and the costumed farmers making their way to the high alpine meadows.
And if you are a wine, cheese, and chocolate aficionado, your tastebuds are in for a real treat in Switzerland. On the morning of your return flight to the USA, hop an early morning weekday train from Kandersteg back to Zuerich's Kloten airport. Gute Reise! Bon voyage! Buon viaggio! Happy travels!
With dreams of alpine vistas, creamy chocolates, and glacial lakes spinning in our heads,
The Trip Chicks (Atlanta)