Hi, all –
I’m in the very early stages of planning a trip to Switzerland and could really use some help, as there is WAY too much I want to see and do in what would ideally be a 3.5-week journey!
My goal is to have as diverse a range of experiences as possible, including cities and towns, different styles of art and architecture, varied natural scenery, etc. My only visit to Switzerland was more than 20 years ago, when I spent 2 nights in delightful Lucerne and much of the following day on the lovely Vierwaldstättersee. I am definitely looking forward to seeing much more.
A bit about me: I enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches, parks and gardens, natural scenery, castles, fruit and vegetable markets, picturesque villages, good food and wine, and the chance to see and experience other parts of the world. I’m a woman, will be traveling solo, and generally prefer to proceed at my own pace (rather than with a tour). I plan to use trains and buses whenever possible. I don’t mind changing hotels frequently, even every night or so. In contrast, I hate backtracking if I can avoid it. I’m not seeking down time--I’m sure I’ll have enough time to relax while on train rides and over dinners. Instead, I hope to take full advantage of the time I have to see and experience things. (OK, I’m unlikely to get up at the crack of dawn every day, but will do so when necessary to see or experience something that I would otherwise miss). I’m not seeking sporting activities, with the exception of a few nice (but not particularly difficult or long) hikes.
I’d like to fly into Geneva and out of Zurich. I’d prefer to travel from mid-to-late May into early-to-mid June with the aim of maximizing my chances that passes will be open, wildflowers in bloom, and crowds and prices not quite up to full high-season levels.
I’ve tried roughing out a few itineraries, more to get a sense of what is/isn’t possible than to develop a specific plan. None of my attempts has been satisfactory: Even after cutting several destinations from my list, my destination wish list is still clearly too long—seeing all of these places will take too many days, and I suspect that in some areas, I’m proposing a pace that is too rushed. I need your help!
A sample (and admittedly non-viable) plan:
(In this particular version I was trying to reach the Ticino as early as was otherwise reasonable on the theory that the Ticino would be warmer than elsewhere.)
Day 1: Fly from the US to Geneva, 1st of 2 nights there
Day 2: Geneva, 2nd of 2 nights there
Day 3: Leave in the morning for Lausanne; explore it, take the little train to the Lavaux wine terraces, and then spend the night in Lausanne
Day 4: Leave in the morning; visit the Chateau Chillon and Rochers-de-Naye before spending the night in/around Montreux
Day 5: Leave in the morning; visit Sion on my way to Zermatt
Day 6: Get up in time to take the Glacier Express to Chur. Hope the weather allows me to see the Matterhorn. (I am aware that this plan leaves basically no time to explore Zermatt. I think I’m OK with that.) Once in Chur, rent a car and drive to Mustair and spend the night there.
Day 7: Visit the convent in Mustair; drive to Scuol and spend the night there
Day 8: Return to Chur, perhaps stopping in Guarda en route; return the car; spend the rest of the day and night in Chur.
Day 9: Get up in time to take the Bernina Express to Tirano and the Palm Express to Lugano. (I would be so close to the Muottas Muragl! It sounds so appealing, but I just don’t see how I would have time.) Spend the 1st of 2 nights in Lugano.
Days 10 through 12: Explore the Ticino: Lugano, Bellinzona, Locarno, …
Day 13: Stop briefly in Lucerne and then head on to the 1st of 3 nights in the Bernese Oberland, possibly staying in/around Lauterbrunnen or Spiez
Days 14 and 15: Explore the Bernese Oberland
Day 16: Continue visiting the Bernese Oberland, and then move on to Bern in time for dinner and the 1st of 2 nights there
Day 17: Bern
Days 18 and 19: Leave in the morning of day 18; spend the next 2 days visiting Murten, Fribourg, Gruyere, …
Day 20: Leave in the morning; go to and explore Neuchatel, including a visit to the Latenium (unless one of you can suggest another place where I can visit a reconstructed / re-created prehistoric, stilted lake house, aka pile house)
Day 21: Leave in the morning; go to and explore Basel
Days 22 through 24: Leave Basel in the morning of day 22; head to the 1st of 3 nights in northeast Switzerland. I would like to visit the Rheinfall, Schaffhausen, Stein-am-Rhein, Appenzell, St. Gallen, ...
Days 25 through 27: Leave NE Switzerland in time to visit Winterthur and reach Zurich in time for dinner on day 25, and then spend 3 nights in Zurich.
Day 28: Fly to the US from Zurich.
So, what should I consider cutting and why? Are there any places I should really try to fit in even though I’ve already got too much on my plate? Any other observations that will help me come up with a realistic plan?
Thanks in advance for any and all comments!
Please help me pare my wish-list for Switzerland to fit into 25 days
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