Where should we spend one day in Switzerland?
August 14, 2017 9:09 AM   Subscribe

SO and I have an unexpected free day in Switzerland tomorrow. We're at the tail end of a work trip, fly out of Geneva on Wednesday and will see the city then, and are staying in Aigle. We both speak French and I speak passable Italian.

We're looking for ideas on how to spend tomorrow. We'll happily take the train anywhere, but can't rent a car. We like: old art, nature walks, history, good food, beer. We're over the shock of just how. damn. expensive Switzerland is, and can spend a bit, but we tend to prefer cheaper activities.

Send us on a day trip, Metafilter!
posted by third word on a random page to Travel & Transportation around Aigle, Switzerland (7 answers total)
 
The most beautiful view of Mont Blanc in Geneva is through the windows of the UN's Palais des Nations, though pictures are forbidden.
posted by brujita at 9:17 AM on August 14, 2017


I don't know much about the Frenvh cantons, but if you don't mind venturing into the German-speaking part, Luzern is incredible. It's still Switzerland, so it's expensive, but you can do a lot (walk along the lake, explore churches, check out the Kapellbrucke, etc.) for free.

Brienz is pretty nice, too. You can take the boat from Interlaken, then take the BRB to the top of the mountain for a spectacular view (and decent ice cream). Then wander among the woodworking shops in town after coming down. It'll cost more, but it was delightful.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:19 AM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Assuming you can enter France you can get to Annecy pretty easily from Geneva and it's utterly gorgeous, a lovely little medieval town on the edge of a beautiful lake.
posted by *becca* at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


The most obvious thing nearby is Chateau Chillon, a centuries-old castle/prison in a beautiful lakeside setting. Take the train to Veytaux-Chillon, and it's a few minutes walk. You could also go a little further by train, get off at Montreux and walk a bit less than an hour back to Chillon; it's lakeside past villas etc. and you can stop and see the statue of Freddie Mercury, if that tickles your fancy.

A little further, I really loved Lausanne - the train trip there is also pretty great, along the vineyards along Lac Leman. (Of course, you're doing this on the way to Geneva anyway.) I really liked the historic centre. You might be interested in the Collection de L'Art Brut, one of the world's best museums of "outsider art", art made by the untrained and often off--kilter. (One memorable piece was an incredibly intricately carved... wooden asylum cell door.) Depending on your accommodations, you could spend the night there and cut down on travel time.

Geneva is... not much, really. It's very cosmopolitan (without being metropolitan) in that all the international orgs are based there, but they generally don't have a lot of visitor facilities (the Red Cross has a decent museum) so there's not really a lot to see or do.

You could probably head into the Alps, alternatively. The train from Aigle to Zermatt is 2 1/2 hours, so you could take the train (and look at mountain scenery) and still have enough time to go on a bit of a hike to get a better view of the Matterhorn. There's an interesting graveyard in Zermatt, which is mostly mountain climbers.

Or, you could just take the train up into the mountains near you; here's some hiking information, and it seems there's a new peak-to-peak suspension bridge.

(NB: This is based on 15 years ago.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:41 AM on August 14, 2017


For the shortest trip I'd go to Lausanne and spend the day. It's a nice city. Bern is a charming city and not too far out of your way. If you don't mind a long and scenic train trip, Zermatt is really breathtaking.
posted by Nelson at 12:26 PM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd go to Lausanne with a stop at the Chateau de Chillon. Or you could go to Lausanne on the way to the airport instead of Geneva (one hour train trip with no changes) and go to Bern or even Luzern for your full day (I like Luzern a lot, but it would be a lot of time on the train (scenic, of course, because it's Switzerland).
posted by mskyle at 12:35 PM on August 14, 2017


I haven't been back since I was an exchange student decades ago but the old town of Annecy and the medieval town of Yvoire are definitely worth a trip - I think you can get regular buses from Geneva to both.
posted by humph at 1:50 PM on August 14, 2017


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