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1st Switzerland Visit (Dec.) - Intinerary with 2 Bases (Lucerne and ?)

1st Switzerland Visit (Dec.) - Intinerary with 2 Bases (Lucerne and ?)

Old Aug 6th, 2022, 12:29 PM
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1st Switzerland Visit (Dec.) - Intinerary with 2 Bases (Lucerne and ?)

Hello good people of Fodor - My partner and I are planning our first visit to Switzerland in December for mountain views, charming, picturesque areas, and Christmas villages.
Me and Partner: Mid 40's, no activity or hike restrictions (just stuff that's not too scary)
Trip Duration: 13 days, 12 nights (arrive December 15th, fly back December 27th)
Coming from the U.S., flying into Zurich (and out from Zurich as well)
So far we have decided: One night in Zurich (upon arrival) then depart for Lucerne as base number one (5 nights) with Mt. Rigi, Mt. Pilatus, train to Basel as planned activities & looking for more suggestions.
Base two (for 5 nights) we are open to suggestions. Thinking Wengen, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Bern Oberland region...What do you guys think? I hate to be a baby looking to be spoon fed, but for the Base two suggestion, what are the corresponding alps, villages, areas to go?
Any hotel, restaurant/food venue, must do activities, off the beaten path things and the like are most welcome!

Thank you good people
Olibear024 is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2022, 04:07 PM
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Instead of spending that first night in Zurich, why not head directly to Lucerne? I find getting to my first destination right after arrival much less disruptive and it's nice to wake up already where you want to be. This will save an expensive night in a hotel too.

Keep in mind that Switzerland can be gloomy and foggy in the winter at lower elevations and around the lakes, but is often beautifully sunny further up in the Alps. It also tends to be quite cold and dark in some valleys in the mornings and the sun disappears behind the mountains around 2 or 3, so days are very short.

I solve this problem by going UP.

Your base two option is a good one, but I suggest avoiding Interlaken because 1) it's at lower elevation, near said lakes 2) it's a busy town and not particularly charming or atmospheric and 3) because the best of the area is further UP - think Wengen and Murren. Grindelwald is an option as well, but isn't car free as Wengen and Murren are. You can easily see the best of the Berner Oberland from one base, just take a look at each village and go from there. While I like Lauterbrunnen as a base, it's in a valley and will suffer from those dark mornings and dark afternoons in December, whereas Wengen and Murren will not.

Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunnen has wonderful food. You can dine there every day and never have the same thing twice.

I've spent many Christmases in Switzerland - other than the cities, you won't find it as festive at Christmas as say, Germany. It's definitely lovely, just not awash in holiday lights and markets, so you might need to temper your expectations in that regard.
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Old Aug 6th, 2022, 04:23 PM
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The train journey from the Zurich Airport to Luzern is just a bit over an hour. Departures are very frequent, and more than half do not involve a connection.
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 05:02 AM
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Due to the high mountains, Wengen will have no sun in the morning adn Murren will heve no sun in the afternoon between mid Decembet and mid January.
Sunniest and driest mountain places in December:
Crans-Montana, Riederalp-Bettmeralp, Flims
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 05:17 AM
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Fair enough neckervd. I thought they'd have more due to being higher, but they're still better options than Lauterbrunnen in the valley below, no?

One of our major concerns when visiting Switzerland in winter is sunshine, and as hard as we try, it often alludes us on our hikes as we tend to choose the wrong side the the valley at the wrong time of day. You'd think we'd learn

Last edited by Melnq8; Aug 8th, 2022 at 05:20 AM.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 04:46 AM
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"One of our major concerns when visiting Switzerland in winter is sunshine, and as hard as we try, it often alludes us on our hikes as we tend to choose the wrong side the the valley at the wrong time of day"
Such things can just not happen in the Crans-Montana area.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 05:45 AM
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An area not high on our list, but good to know neckervd.
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