French or Italian Countryside in July

I am planning a trip with my mom in late July/early August. We will be on a tight budget, but we will have a base to stay with family in Basel, Switzerland. The trip will last about 2 weeks, and we would possibly spend half the time in Basel and want to spend the rest sleeping out. My mom is OK with sleeping in hostels with me to keep within our budget.

We are interesting in exploring little villages around the area, possibly in France near the northern border of Switzerland, and some in Switzerland as well. Since its the busy season, we want to steer clear of big cities, and we have seen most of the “obvious” tourist sites in central europe, so we are looking for interesting places,getting out in the country and experiencing how people live, rather than hopping from cathedral to cathedral. Switzerland isnt that big so we might want to go across to Italy as well.

Please share any suggestions of little known places we could visit by train or bus, we might also rent a car, depending on the cost. I am looking for ideas to start build an interesting, but not too hectic itinerary, so any suggestions would be appreciated.


stephanie 21/01/14    Where to goFranceItalySwitzerland Link Report

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One personal recommendation would be Malcesine in Northern Italy. It’s a beautiful small town by Lago di Garda, easily accessible, at the foot of a wonderful mountain (Monte Baldo). It’s not exactly a hidden spot, and there will be a fair few tourists, but it’s a gorgeous town and the mountain provides great views. If you want to test out your Italian, you could always ask a local to tell you the name of that lovely-looking village you can see from the peak, and how to get there…

Brenzone is a nearby town I’ve heard good things about, too, but I’ve never been so can’t say for myself!

One more general suggestion would be couchsurfing – great if you’re on a tight budget, and a good way to find out about out-of-the-way towns and villages. It’s also great to find out you hosts’s favourite places in the area, as they’re often not the main tourist spots.

I hope this helps, and wish you the best of luck on your trip!

Rebecca Hallett 24/01/14    Link Report

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  • Thanks Rebecca, I checked out both towns and it looks beautiful. We’ll see if I can talk my mom into couch surfing, it’s a good idea. We might also take a few days and head east to Croatia and Montenegro, it’s all a bit overwhelming to plan!

    stephanie 30/01/14    Link Report

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  • I’m not sure why you’d leave Switzerland, there’s so much to do and see.

    Were it me, I might take a long day to visit Ballenberg and spend the night in Interlaken. Then a train up one side of the valley to Grindelwald and then back down the other side and back to Basel. Tickets at, maybe deals at the tourist office, you should check.

    PirateAt50 14/06/14    Link Report

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