Place to stay in Switzerland - en route to Italy

02/27/2011 - 05:47

We are driving down to Italy later on in the year and wondered if anyone can recommend somewhere decent to stay (that includes breakfast) between Lucern and Sarnen in Switzerland. We have been trawling the web, but nothing has taken our fancy yet, so thought someone here may be able to recommend somewhere. We will be staying one night and may not get there till quite late in the evening, so somewhere near to a restuarant would probably be good. Do they do little B & B's or are most places hotels in that area? Also does anyone know if most places will take Euros or will we need to pay by card if we haven't got any Swiss francs? Many thanks John & Toni



Having just done the trip a few weeks ago, we tend to go straight through Switzerland (normally staying at Colmar and then Como), but......speaking to an Swiss/Italian friend here, they highly recommend Lucerne. We'll be stopping  there next time, S

We stay in the Ibis in Locarno. It's a new hotel very near the lake (Maggiore) and many restaurants. We usually pay by credit card. I don't think many hotels take cash these days. Real meusli at breakfast.

The problem we have with staying in Switzerland is the cost - seems relatively expensive.  We usually do Ibis or Novotel - you know what you're getting - but that won't really help in the area you're asking about.  There are a few around Hergiswyl  [not cheap] Stans and Bouchs [both better] - both on the lake - do a Google to see whats available - there are a couple of possibilities] B&B - never had much luck in Switzerland We did get caught out once by a restaurant that didn't accept cards or Euros [had to find a cash point to pay!] - so check for the 'Cards Welcome' sign before going in ---------------------------- May I ask why you are going towards Sarnen? - unless you are taking the slow wiggly, but scenic, route to the Simplon, I'd suggest using the St Gotthard Tunnel/Pass route - much quicker   Alan

In reply to by alan h

Hi Alan - You have pretty much confirmed what we have thought may be the case regarding Switzerland accommodation being quite pricey and not much in the way of B & B's.  Shall also keep the "cards welcome" bit in mind too. We are heading Sarnen way because ideally we want to go through the grimsel and furka passes. As we are going around the time that the pass usually opens we thought we would stop near Sarnen so that if necessary we could double back a bit and go through the san gottard tunnel if the passes are not open by then. As always, thanks for the useful info. John & Toni

Just a point............ On our recent return through France into Switzerland and onwards, we called in at a motorway services (in France - I think north of Colmar.........)for a coffee and a bottle of water. On sitting down for the coffee, my good lady opened the water (which she had picked up on the way into the seating area). I happend to look at the bill and was surprised that it was a little expensive.........I asked my wife (who had now just opened her bottled water ) how much the water was...........she thought it was 1 euro. (reasonable?). It WAS 1 euro............PAST THE TILL, before the till it was 2.30euro !!!!!!!!!!!!!! beware!! S

We have had quite good experiences in Switzerland. The Ibis in Basel is excellent and Basel is worth a visit if you happen to be near there. The other place we have stayed is Sursee, which is a good little town on the Sempachersee just short of Lucerne. The motorway service station near Sursee is excellent for fresh individually cooked Rosti - it just happens to coincide with lunchtime on our usual run! If only the UK and France could learn from them........ Terry

We would agree with the comments above - lovely as Switzerland is, it is also pricey and you can't expect everywhere to take euros. We have been using the following Gasthaus in the southern Black Forest in Germany, just to the east of Basel, for many years and can highly recommend it. I don't know where you are starting from in the UK, but it's a full day's drive from us in Kent (I think it's about 550 miles) and we are ready to stop when you get there at around 6.30-7pm.  The following day is a shorter journey for us and we really enjoy taking our time crossing the Alps.  One year we went the way you intend, via Luzern and over the Furka and Grimsel passes and then the St. Gotthard, which were all terrific.  Whichever way you go,  have a good trip!

Many thanks B&M for the recommendation, although probably not where John and Toni are looking to stay, this Guesthouse in Schopfheim seems to be ideally placed on my 'Basle Bypass' route for a last stop before Switzerland.  May well try it this year, although I do prefer to get well into Switzerland [around Lucerne] for my stop, to ensure an early next day arrival at my place

If you are just on a road trip rather than touring, try Holiday Inn Express, Luzern.  Its on the motorway just to the north of Luzern, good safe parking, has a Marche services beside it for an evening meal (which is pretty decent) and price includes breakfast.  We've stayed a few times on our way back to Italy, last time 10 days ago. Both places take cards or Euro's, even paid in GBP.  Luzern is lovely, Hotel des Balances in the centre is a great place to stay if you are not hurrying through.

In reply to by RIMCN

Many thanks for all the contributions. We have decided to go with RIMCN's suggestion of the Holiday Inn. It sounds ideal - we just need somewhere not too far from the motorway where we can sleep, eat and then get on our way through the grimsel pass early the next morning. Just in case anyone else is thinking of stopping there, they are offering up to 20% off if reservation is made more than 21 days in advance. John & Toni

I Google Earthed the passes you are going over and I have to say it looks a spectacular route. I unfortunately can't do scary roads any longer as I seem to totally lose it if the armco barrier runs out at any point. My friends tell me it's an irrational fear, but I can't see anything irrational about being afraid of plunging to an ugly death by falling off the edge of the road e.g. in the event of a front wheel puncture.  Italy seems to me pretty good about maintaining a good safe barrier (Splugen Pass excepted); some countries are decidedly dodgy - I was amazed to find a long unprotected area on the Fernpass - the main road from Germany into Innsbruck. You tend to wonder how many they lose. It is a problem though, as it stops me going up unknown mountain roads for fear of getting to a situation where I can't turn round and go back if I feel I have to. It wasn't always a problem, just another downside of advancing age......... Terry

In reply to by SirTK

Sorry to hear about your fear Terry. We are going in a right hand drive car so which ever one of us is driving will be closest to the edge, which may be a little easier than being the nervous passenger on that side we guess??? It is thanks to AlanH on the forum that we have decided to take the Grimsel and Furka pass routes. We asked about a scenic route through the Alps and he came up trumps. We liked the look of the Stelvio pass (the one that was on Top Gear a while back), but it is too far over for us because we are heading down to our holiday home in Santa Marina (Campania) with a short stop over in Rome. Just hope the pass will be open by the time we go! If not we will do it the other way later in the year. Hope to be able to stop and take some impressive photos. So will post some on here when we get back. John & Toni

Thanks Alan h. We have also found the second one in Italian in the past. See We can understand this one a bit better than the German one. Have also found a few webcams that we will be keeping our eye on nearer the time. Apparently the snow hasn't been as plentiful so far this year - unlike last year. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will continue that way. Many thanks John & Toni 

We've used the Ibis at Rothrist for overnights heading south. Its about 30 -40 minutes south of Basel (before Luzern) and within a few hundred yards of the motorway junction. There is a restaurant, but once when it was closed the hotel made a reservation for us at a restaurant they recommended about 10 minutes drive away. Our plan the follwoing morning is then a coffee stop at the motorway services at Bellinzona and means we tackle the Milan ring road before lunch when its not usually too busy

OK....Found out.....I'm Suisse. Hotel Gottard in Weggis. 20 mins from Luzern and on route. The rivieria of Switzerland. Owner Beni Nanzer. Restaurant on the lake. Viervaldstattersee....Lake Luzern......You owe 1 glass prosseco..... CB.

"You could consider an overnight stop in Mulhouse" We always used to do an overnight stop in Mulhouse on the way down to Italy - There are plenty of places to stay - we used the Novotel   at Sausheim, as its good quality and on the 'Swiss' edge of Mulhouse.  However, Mulhouse is that bit farther from Italy than Lucerne area, so we now stop in Switzerland overnight, so we can be at our house mid afternoon the next day

We found a lovely little bed and breakfast just 10 mins from the motorway nr San Gottardo - the place was in Gurtnellen Dorf up a steep lane! so if you google that you should find it. book through the owner it will be cheaper! Double room 50 euros and thet do meals and have bar.Amsteg nearer the motorway had lots of signs for rooms so I imagine that would also be good. I paid in euros.

We were down that way a couple of weeks ago and stayed in Eguisheim - about 10 minutes south of Colmar. I think the hotel was Hostellerie trois comtes. A lovely picturesque village with a wine shop on practically every corner. Very handy for the motorway and hotel had a nice restaurant. The traffic through Basel however was horrendous both ways but worth it for the lovely weather when we got to Garda.

"The traffic through Basel however was horrendous both ways" The route I use to avoid Basel, when travelling down to Italy is - Come down the German autoroute towards Basle [if coming from France, join it from Mulhouse], take the exit to Lorrach [jcn 68] and follow this road to the Swiss border where it joins the Swiss motorway system.  The road is now fully dual carriageway  and it has always been a quick route into Switzerland that avoids the delays that often occur in Basle I travelled this route [in reverse, from Italy to UK] on Friday afternoon - totally free of holdups - border crossing delayed us by about 3 minutes

Thanks to Alan, I discovered this route two or so years ago, and it works. Approaching the border at the bridge over the Rhine, it looks busy, but it's just a load of trucks, waiting for customs clearance. You just sweep through. Our route was Alan's too, from Zebrugge, across Belgium, into Luxembourg, then France. We stopped for three nights in Colmar, then went on over St Gotthard. I might have tried that Swiss place if I'd known! There are lots of cheap "factory" hotels around Colmar/Mulhouse, but some nice small family ones - see

I back up recommendation by rimcn of express by Holiday Inn at Luzern, v convenient just off motorway, spotlessly clean, nice staff, motorway services adjacent with v good restaurant, I've seen locals eating out there! Exit at rear to some pleasant farmland walks to stretch your legs.

We have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, just off the motorway at Luzern.   Good value, friendly and good location.   In our opinion, much nicer than Milano/Assago on the way back.....   Watch your satnav though - it takes you to the street Wurmistrasse, which is the side entrance to the hotel (walk into reception and they will open the gate for you).   Stick on the motorway till you see the sign, and  it takes you straight there. We make it in one leg from Calais/Dunkirk between breakfast and teatime - Dunkirk downwards, following the satnav costs about 50 euros less on tolls than Calais as you start 20km to the east, so do less miles in France.   (Dover-Dunkirk with Norfolkline, noe DFDS Seaways)   Both routes take you into Switzerland at Basel, and through the St Gottard at the other end. We have done this 8/9 times in the past 3 years.