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Book Review:
Switzerland's Mountain Inns

Switzerland's mountain InnsThe prospect of hiking in the Swiss mountains and staying in cozy alpine hotels is appealing to many travelers, but the reality can be intimidating--especially for those who are donning knickers, boots, and rucksacks for the first time. Just knowing where mountain hotels are, and what to expect when you find them, isn't the sort of information that's readily available in mainstream guidebooks.

Fortunately, Marcia and Philip Lieberman have come to the rescue with SWITZERLAND'S MOUNTAIN INNS: A Walking Vacation in a World Apart. The 268-page quality paperback was published in July, 1998, and it's probably the best all-around hiking guide for visitors who prefer moderate day hikes and creature comforts to the rigors of a high alpine tour.

The book covers six regions: The Bernese Oberland, Valais, Appenzell, Central Switzerland, Graubünden, and the Emmental. Each section contains descriptions of Berghäuser, or mountain inns, with information on accommodations, rates, food, local hiking opportunities, and how to get there on foot and/or by public transportation. Directions are detailed, so you're unlikely to get lost if you buy a good hiking map at a local tourist office, bookshop, or sporting-goods store before you head for the hills.

Mind you, Switzerland's Mountain Inns isn't perfect: the maps in the book are rudimentary at best, and a more compact format would be handier for carrying in a pocket or rucksack. But with the book having a list price of only US $17.95, such complaints can be dismissed as nitpicking.

A final observation: I've visited several of the mountain hotels described in Switzerland's Mountain Inns, and the descriptions are right on target. You won't find a better guidebook for this kind of travel in Switzerland.

About the book's authors:

Marcia R. Lieberman is the author of Walking Switzerland, The OutdoorTraveler's Guide, The Alps, Walking the Alpine Parks of France and Northwest Italy, and many articles for the New York Times on trekking in the Alps and Himalayas.

Philip Lieberman is a professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown University; he has written many books on the brain, evolution, and speech.


Switzerland's Mountain Inns:
A Walking Vacation in a World Apart

Marcia and Philip Lieberman
Paperback, 268 pages with b&w photos
The Countryman Press
ISBN 0-88150-406-8
US $17.95 / Can. $23.99
(
US $14.36 at Amazon.com)

Related articles

Hiking in Switzerland
When to come, where to walk, what to bring, and what to leave at home.

Swiss and Austrian Hiking Tours
A guide to escorted walking itineraries from 14 specialists in adventure travel.

Swiss Mountaineering Schools and Guides
Before you risk your life in the Alps, get help from an expert.

Jacket photo by courtesy of Amazon.com. All rights reserved.

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