Annecy, like many cities with canals, is called the second Venice, in this case adding “Savoy”. You can spend a day on beautiful Annecy old town. Menton castle, gorge du Fier, secret gardens, Mount Sambuy – another three days. If you want to relax and swim in the lake, you can spend 10 days not boring. It’s quite expensive though, in my opinion. More available with car. But as a base for regular trips to Chamonix, Annecy is not suitable even with a car – too far away. Just one visit to get to know.
April, May and Juny in Germany are rich in various holidays and additional days off. Especially happy are Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg. They have still additional Pentecost school holidays.
In this part we look at what there is to see from the north around Lake Neuchâtel: around the city of Neuchâtel, Lake Biel and Lake Murten.
Lake Neuchâtel is a very decent size, so the reachability of certain attractions will depend on where you have accomodation. For example, for Estavayer, which I talked about in the previous part, all the sights from the east and south will be quite easily accessible, but the mountains on the other side of the lake are rather far away. Although once by car you can also go there.
In addition to the routes described in this topic, do not forget about the Soleleitungsweg – the path that leads over the lake from the salt mine to Bad Ischl. In 2021, it was under repair (the condition in 2022 must be checked). The most picturesque part, with information stands, suspension bridge – from Hallstatt to Gosau Mühle.
Neuchâtel Lake is the largest inland Swiss lake, a paradise for watersports and bird lovers. For the former, numerous campsites are provided, for the latter – protected areas along the entire eastern coast, which begin immediately beyond the borders of a few and small settlements.
The lake is divided by several cantons (quite funny, there are even exclaves and enclaves: Vaud, Friborg, Neuchâtel and a bit of Bern). This is very inconvenient when preparing, since the sites of each of them try to talk more about their sights, although they can be quite far away from the lake, and less mention of the sights of other cantons, although they are within easy reach.
From Garmisch you can clearly see the Alpspitze – a very beautiful and expressive peak with a recognizable shape. In contrast, the Zugspitze is often closed by the Kleiner and Großer Waxenstein. But you can also find points (if you climb further and higher in Partenkirchen), from where you can see all the peaks.
The area where Neuschwanstein Castle is located is worth spending a few days there. Let’s see what we can do around Neuschwanstein castle: climb Tegelberg, hike along the Pöllat Gorge, visit Fussen and rest at four lakes.
The harbor of Lindau just asks for a camera. Especially when a pleasure boat gracefully enters it.
The island and the old town are small. In an hour you can slowly walk around all the streets. When choosing a hotel in Lindau without car, make sure that it is located on or near the island. So that you do not have to get to everything by local buses. The coastal part of the city is not small at all.
Looking at the photos in the first part, you may ask – where are these lakes, there is only a meadow and wooded mountains. Nevertheless, three decent-sized lakes are hidden in the forests, and in the neighboring valley towards Reutte there are two more large lakes, on which there are even pleasure boats. And there are many small mountain lakes and reservoirs, some of which are used to provide snow for trails, and in the summer they are very beautiful landscapes.
Mountain lakes were hidden under clouds, but in the forest ones we even managed to swim.
Gmunden is located on the edge of the Salzkammergut. A little further – and already the mountains come to an end, industrial zones begin, highways intersect around Wels. But in Gmunden you still enjoy the mountain scenery.
Gmunden is suitable as a base for exploring the region around Traunsee, Bad Ischl. It’s not near to Hallstatt for day trip, although it is still possible. But for a real exploration of the mountainous part of the Salzkammergut, it is better to find an accomodation closer.
Now we will go to the other end of the lake – to Morcote and Caslano. Let’s look narrow streets of Morcote and Villa Scherrer park.
Chiemsee Lake is the largest lake in Bavaria and the third largest in Germany. It is called also Bavarian Sea. It is known mainly for the palace of Ludwig 2 of Bavaria, located on the island of Herren, and the monastery on the island of Frauen.
But do not forget that here you can spend a full vacation, inexpensive and varied. Within 30-90 minutes drive you can find cultural attractions, historical cities, museums, and natural attractions – mountains, lakes. On one side of the Autobahn to Salzburg there is a large network of cycling routes, on the other side of the Autobahn there are mountain hiking trails.
For several years we looked for the possibility of going to Ticino, and finally it worked out and travelled to Locarno.
Accommodation in this region is very, very difficult, unless you go there in winter. We decided to go to Maggiore at the end of September, when schoolchildren and students return to their textbooks, families with small children prefer warm seas in the Indian summer and only European pensioners remain.
Hallstatt is not only picturesque place, but also an important place for those who interesting in history. In this post about Hallstatt museum und history, Salt Mines and Hallstatt observation deck.
Salt was mined here already in the 5th millennium BC. The wealth of the local population was based on salt, which traded with both the Baltic and the Mediterranean countries. An entire cultural era has been named for this small Hallstatt town.
For me, the charm of Hallstatt is a combination of antiquity, beauty and the feeling of isolation from the whole world that arises there: a lake, swans, houses on a cliff and steep mountains on all sides.
However you can feel that, only if you accomodate in the town or come in the unpopular season. The region is worth a stopover for a at least few days (better 1 week). One-day exursion might be only disappointment – too short and soooo many people.
Lake Garda West side has a mild climate with a lot of greenery, palms, lemons, cypresses.
The two regions should not be confused – Salzkammergut and Salzburgerland. Despite the similar names, these two regions coincide with each other only a very small piece of Lake Fuschl.
The Salzkammergut is a historical area, the private property of the Habsburgs around Bad Ischl. As a tourist region, it unites Aussee, Wolfgangsee, Fuschlsee, Dachstein, Traunsee, Attersee, Bad Ischl, Mondsee, Attergau, Almtal.
Salzburgerland is an administrative unit, federal state, most of which lies south of Salzburg to the border with Tyrol along the Hohen Tauern mountains. There are several points of interest here: Hallein, Werfen, Lake Zeller, Krimml, most of the Grossglockner road.
Gosau Lake (Gosausee) is a deep glacial lake with blue water, which reflects the surrounding mountains: the Gosaukamm ridge and the Dachstein glacier. It is the most beautiful of the Salzkammergut Lakes.
You can get here while on holiday in Hallstatt, Bad Ischl, on Lake Wolfgang or Traun.
Let’s look at Lake Lugano from above – in this topic we will consider the 5 best viewpoints of Lake Lugano.
Lake Lugano, with its emerald water, is more intimate, cozy and beautiful than Lake Maggiore. Holiday here, of course, is more pleasant than on Maggiore, if only you manage to find a good place to stay. And this is even more difficult here.
If you look only highlights, you need at least 1-2 full days. And for a more detailed exploring of region – 3-4 days.
The most popular destinations on Lake Garda East side are Garda and Malcesine.
From Bardolino to the north, the mountains begin to rise gradually. In the Garda they are still small, in Torri they are already of a decent height. Each village offers hiking and cycling trails of varying difficulty in these mountains.
Starting from Torri, the proposed accommodation is often high above the lake level.
The most popular of the Lake Garda South are the amusement parks between Lazise and Peschiera, Sigurta Park and the old town of Sirmione. But even smaller sights deserve attention.
Сoming to Schwyz and Brunnen you find yourself in the very heart of Switzerland – the place where it originated and where its name came from. Brunnen is on Lake Lucerne, Schwyz Schwyz is a bit further towards Lake Zug.
German complex name of the lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) is due to the fact that its shores were previously divided by four forest cantons (one canton was later divided into two, so now there are five).
The least beautiful part of the lake, in my opinion, is from the side of Lucerne, which gave it its second name. The most beautiful, respectively, from the opposite side, this part has its own name – Lake Uri (Urnersee). Lake Uri beginns from Brunnen.
Lake Garda is large. Its northern and southern parts are very different, and getting from one end to the other is not so easy: the roads are slow and crowded. In the north there is more nature and walking, in the south – tourist sights and entertainment.
In this topic, a general orientation: roads, transport and the most famous sights so that you can decide where rent a hotel.
Rigi is an imposing mountain massif along the northern shore of the lake Lucerne. On the another side of it is Lake Zug.
Note that there are several different ways to climb. The seemingly obvious climb to the summit (Rigi Kulm) is not necessarily the best in terms of views. From there you can clearly see Lake Zug, but poorly Lake Lucerne. Explore all the possibilities in advance. In addition, it is better to leave in the morning so that the sun does not light up Pilatus.
At the foot, tourists usually settle in the villages of Gersau, Vitznau, Weggis. The only disadvantage of this accommodation is that you need to get to the train by bus to Brunnen or to Küssnacht.
Lake Uri (Urnersee) is the most beautiful part of Lake Lucerne, with emerald waters and surrounding high mountains. This part is at the same time the historical heart of Switzerland, from where it actually began.
The old part of Sirmione is a busy and overcrowded very small old town surrounded by walls. What to see in Sirmione? There are a fortress, Roman ruins, a thermal pool and an ancient water source for it, and one special beach. Picturesque, but tiring, it’s more suitable for excursions than for recreation.
The place with healing waters was used as a resort even by the Romans. The next generations were not so smart and valued the protective function more. In the 19th century, tourism was rediscovered. And now the tourist plan is clearly being overfulfilled.
We continue to move clockwise around Lake Lucerne. This part will focus on Klewenalp (part of the shore from Seelisberg to Bürgenstock), Bürgenstock and Stans.
The villages of Beckenried, Emmetten, Buochs belong to Klewenalp.
Region Jungfrau has too much interesting. What to choose – Lake Thun or Brienz? Lake Thun is larger. The relief here is more varied, the picture is changing all the time. There are several interesting places on the lake: the Beatus caves, Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Thun and the Thun castle. Lake Brienz is rather monotonous in relief and boring, but Giessbach waterfalls are very impressive. So I would choose Lake Thun cruise, but also Brienz and Giessbach waterfalls with car or public transport.
Lucerne (Luzern) is one of the most beloved Swiss cities for tourists. Lucerne old town and attractions are enough for whole day visit. It can be also a good rainy day option. But staying here for a long time to explore the lake is probably not the best idea: there are many people, transports, and the view is not the same as further along the lake, where the mountains are higher and closer.
The statement that Lucerne is surrounded by mountains, which I have repeatedly come across on the sites, is not true. There is only one mountain nearby – Pilatus. And you can climb it not from the city itself, but from the suburb of Kriens. However, the Reuss River is beautiful, and away from the center, for example by the ramparts, there are quiet, pleasant residential areas.
Lake Brienz, surrounded by mountains, is like an oval bowl with turquoise milk water on the bottom. The water owes its milky color to the Aare, which flows into the lake between Brienz and Giessbach.
Despite the beautiful color of the water, a Lake Brienz cruise seemed boring to me. Apparently because of always the same banks. It was more pleasant to take the Interlaken – Meiringen train with huge panorama windows than to “hang around” for a long time on a ship between the banks.
In this post you find the Jungfrau region map with Brienz and Thun lakes and the valleys on the right and left of the Jungfrau, but without going over to the southern side of the mountains.
To be able to more clearly see the names, the map is further split into pieces. More detailed maps are also available in separate topics.
Meersburg is the most beautiful town on Lake Constance, although some might prefer Lindau. Plan at least half a day for Meersburg Castle and the town’s picturesque streets.
Meersburg is located in the very center of the main attractions on the lake.
Lake Constance (Bodensee) is one of the most favorite places of vacation. And this is its main drawback for everyone who wants to relax. For those who are not disturbed by the crowds of walking, skating, swimming and eating, there are a lot of advantages: clean water, equipped beaches and warm pools, water sports and entertainment, numerous asphalt roads for pedestrians and cyclists along the shore and between vineyards, delicious food, fresh trout from the lake, finally enough attractions if everything else gets bored.
At the end of the overview of all the attractions of Lake Constance, let’s turn to its Austrian part, tell briefly about Bregenz and see what there is in the region for children.
Lake Überlingen is the most interesting part of Lake Constance: picturesque hilly shores, many attractions from natural to cultural, from parks to castles. This part has towns Überlingen, Uhldingen, Bodman, island Mainau and at the end of the lake Überlingen Meersburg.