I will be flying to Switzerland in a few days on a official trip. I will have only 4 days of free time including a weekend. On the other days I'll have to attend regular office there (9AM-5PM) but should be free in the evening. This is going to be a tough tour with a lot of official works to do which will bring the available time for photography to very limited. How should I plan if I want to utilize this short time as much as possible? I love to shoot portraits, streets and landscapes.

EDIT: I will stay at Basel and my office is located at Allschwil. I will have access to my camera all the time, even during office time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it a possibility that you take your camera to work? That way you can make some photos when you see an interesting scene during your trip from/to work. Besides from that, I wouldn't know. Maybe you should add the place you're going to in Switzerland, so people familiar with the area can direct you to some photo-hotspot. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2012 at 11:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Living in Switzerland, (Geneva) I may give you some advice: you should take a tripod and shoot night photography of the city you are going to stay: most of them have old town part. For the week-end get a full access train ticket (sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/…) and visit the Alps (maybe Interlaken and till the Jungfraujoch) you may have other suggestion from this site myswitzerland.com/en/accueil.html \$\endgroup\$
    – floqui
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @floqui that almost sounds like it should be an answer to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @floqui:: I am also interested in seeing your post as an answer, if possible a little more detailed :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2012 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Specially if you can hook me up with a good package tour to do in 2 days/1 night, costing not more than 300 CHF. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2012 at 16:49

5 Answers 5


So as requested my comment as an answer:

If you are working all the day think to take a tripod and go out after work shooting pictures in the golden hours and also night photography. Most of Swiss cities have old town part and you will be able to get great street shots (As exemple here is a shot from Geneva I took with the tripod: http://dubath.net/Photos/picture.php?/103/category/13). Swiss cities are quite secure (you may go out by night with your DSLR without risks)

Depending of where you stay there is also many local viewpoints to reach in the evening, I can give you some more precise advice but I need to know where you will stay.

For the week-end get a full access train ticket http://rail.myswitzerland.com/userdata.php?passid=1 (So you are free to step in any train/bus/boat at any time) or choose a region and get a limited access card http://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/swisstravelsystem/swisstravelsystem-buchung.html and visit the Alps (Pictures from the top of the Weissmies http://dubath.net/Photos/picture.php?/79/tags/8-montagne)

You may enjoy

  • Interlaken and go up to the Jungfraujoch
  • Zermat (You have certainly already seen pictures of the Matterhorn)
  • Rochers-de-Naye (above Leman (Geneva) Lake)
  • ...

It will depend where you stay and how many time you are ready to stay into the train.

you may have other suggestion from the official swiss tourism site http://myswitzerland.com/en/accueil.html (including excursion offer, discount and booking possibilities) This site will give you some oportunities to find the requested "package tour to do in 2 days/1 night" the exact price will depend on the place you start from.

Also check the weather http://www.meteosuisse.admin.ch/web/en/weather.html and if you need a map print it from the official map http://map.geo.admin.ch/ (In particular when zooming you will found the curve level...)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I will stay at Basel (Hotel Rochat) and my office is located at Allschwil. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2012 at 17:04

Your opportunity is great. On the work days you will be available to shoot at the best possible time since sunset and sunrise will be outside of your working hours. You should use this to visit the site around the city, do street photography and catch daily life as it happens.

The weekend is your opportunity to go further and this is where a good travel guide will be very useful. Find out the most interesting landscapes that you can reach and go. The best is to hire private transport or drive yourself so you can stop at a whim and control your schedule exactly. Buses and trains rarely drop you off at the best time for photography.


I read a few of the other answers, and took notice that none of the other users come from the region.

Since I have been living in basel for more than 20 years I will give you detailed spots on where you can take great photographs given that you have a limited time frame.

Portrait Hotspots

Basel is a very touristic town with many people roaming the streets on a good and sunny day. The people are friendly and I have had mostly success when asking if I can take a portrait. You will have daylight up until 9 o'clock in the summer. I have been doing several projects in the area of portrait like the 100 strangers portrait challenge.

Here are various Hotspots in the center of town with a link to googlemaps:

Freiestrasse http://g.co/maps/3b423

This is a very long street with a broad variety of photographic opportunities. Basel: Freiestrasse mit Blick auf das Rathaus

Oberer Rheinweg http://g.co/maps/y62vq

Along the rhine especially in the evening you will find people enjoying a drink, cooking meat on a grill,swimming in the rhine (from july-august), and maybe even jumping from the mittlere Brücke. All in all the people are very pleasant especially after work. The best times to take photographs is between 5-9pm.


Steinenvorstadt http://g.co/maps/df5p8

This is a similar good spot like the freiestrasse. People will go out after a hard day of work and enjoy the evening.


To sum things up, those three places offer great opportunies for portrait and/or street photography. You will have people from many different cultures in a relaxed and great ambience. Of course there are a lot of other places to take pictures, but if you have a tight time frame, then I suggest that you walk from one of these spots to an other.


Without leaving basel, there are some great places from where you can take pictures of the rhine during sunset.

Münsterplatz http://g.co/maps/wjerp

From this spot you have two options. During the day you can go all the way up on top of the münster church, from there you will have a 360° view of Basel.

Opening hours during summer time:

Monday to Friday: 10.00-17.00 Saturday: 10.00-16.00 Sunday and festivities: 11.30-17.00

An other option, If you walk behind the Münster you will have a great view of the rhine. From there you can capture stunning pictures of the rhine banks and the "mittlere Brücke"

You don't have to go in the Münster, you can also walk around it.

The Rhine in Basel

I hope you have a great stay in basel and will benefit from these photo opportunities. Maybe I might even see you walking down the streets avidly taking portraits.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! I already have visited the Münster Church and some other streets including Freiestrasse. Mostly taking random-tourist type photos now just for showing to family. As soon as I get to know the area a little better, I'll invest more time doing it properly. I am situated in hotel brasserie au violon (lohnhof), maybe you can lend me a hand tomorrow evening 7-10pm, we can go for a walk together ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 13, 2012 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ On tuesday I am available after 7pm, we could have a chat and drink in town. today I am going rollerskating, as it is the official Monday night skating which happens every two weeks from april to August. How can I contact you? \$\endgroup\$
    – xtarsy
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 6:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have tagged you on a post at Chat.SE with my email address, you should receive a notification. Please drop me an email with your number and I will call. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 14, 2012 at 12:35

Each to their own - when I am 'overseas' I take my camera everywhere. In an unknown land there are photo opportunities on every occasion night and day. City streets provide material quite unlike 'at home'. Finding things worth photographing is never a problem :-).

Landscapes !!! - If you want landscapes and can fit this in a weekend you are unlikely to forget it for a decade or so. (I did it 9 years ago and the memory is still marvellous). Wherever you travel from and regardless of the mode you will have photo opportuniies along the way. Then -

Via Interlaken to (see map below)

A Lauterbrunnen
B Murren
C - D Winteregg
F Schilthorn?!!! - only if low level weaher uis superb.
G Gimmelwald.

Fantastic Swiss mountain views (Eiger, Jungfrau, ...), 1 x funicular railway (scary/fun), 1 x mountain railway, several cable cars including the biggest and steepest you'll ever meet (probably).
{Funicular gone in 2006 now cable }

Very touristy but also enough real Swizerland to last a lifetime. You don't say where in Switzerland you will be but with enough will you can get to this.

Lautergbrunnen is fabulous enough. Even if there is a blizzard the experience will be great. Photo opportunities galore. Doing the whole loop except Schilthorn would be worthwhile in any weather - but fine is much better.
From Lauterbrunnen take the 45 degree ish funicular rail ride to the vally wall top,
then quaint train along the wall top with Eiger and Jungfrau and much more views across valley and in due course descend by single span "I can't believe it's safe (but it is) cable car back to valley floor and short bus trip back to Lauterbrunnen.

In the middle if weather allows the trip to Schilthorn plus the destination gives you views unimaginable.

enter image description here

If the weather is completely completely completely fine take the expensive cable car to the James-Bond (built for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service") superb Schilthorn. If the weaher is not perfect don't go!

Trummelbachfalle - underground river - you go to it - terrifying, amazing, wet. Photos ... and here and {Youtube ](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KnRaddj4aE)

In Murren



I see some photos of my 2003 visit are on the net.
Trip record / no merit claimed / YMMV etc - but gives an idea:
Lauterbrunnen looking up the valley. Photos ...
Eiger view. Photos ...
We slept here (4 people) Policeman came in night. We explained. He was very polite & left us be. No Swiss national believes us :-}
Trammelbachefalle - Death waits. Photos ...
Avalanche, sheltering from, for the use of... Photos ...
Cable ascent. Impressive. Photos ...
Gimmelwald descent. Wow!

Minolta 7Hi, 5MP. EVF, Marvellous in its day.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is such a random answer. I will say, I have been to the exact places you outlined this past summer, and it was a fantastic trip. Especially Lauterbrunnen and Murren, the sights are amazing. I was only in the country for 3 days total but managed to visit all of those sights, go mountain biking, hiking, visit the mountain waterfall, and take tons of photos! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt - Random? Maybe? You'd get a superb landscape cross section - assume the beverages, culture and food will happen via the hosts along the way. IF you managed this trip you'd see (as you know) the heart of their mountain scenery, a mountain railway (of sorts), cablecars, and the trip to & from would give all the countryside you could hope for in the time available. [Me travelling by train - 4+ hours. Others sleep, watch videos, listen to music ... . I stand in the intercarriage section (best windows in this case) with camera by the hour. Quality varies. Memories priceless. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2012 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is random. This isn't a travel website, and you got really detailed about the travel portion. It is one thing to recommend an area for photography, another to get so detailed in the sights, cities, and specific experiences to enjoy while in the area. This is random as in off topic :) But I like it anyways. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 15:34

TPE is great for being able to pre-plan based on where the sun will be be at a given time:


Sounds like you'll be at work during the times of the least interesting light. Get up really early, and catch the sunrise each morning. Catch the sunset each evening. Rest in between. :)


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