5 day itinerary

Old Apr 6th, 2024, 05:49 AM
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5 day itinerary

Hello everyone,
I am planning a 5 day trip from Paris to Switzerland. This is essentially the first time I am traveling to Switzerland (apart from Lugano which was a day trip) and I want to keep things simple. I am on a student budget so don't want to do anything too expensive.
I was thinking of visiting Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Zermatt. However I am a little confused on how to plan this, as I can see that Zermatt is the farthest one from the other places.
This is my plan. I am yet to figure out all the details and the activities at each place, hence open to suggestions.
Day 0 - Paris to Zurich overnight bus (Flixbus)
Day 1 - Zurich - go around the city (stay the night at Zurich)
Day 2 - Zurich to Lucerne - go around Lucerne (stay at Lucerne)
Day 3 - Lucerne to Interlaken - want to visit Grindelwald (stay at Interlaken)
Day 4 - also Interlaken (?) and get to Zermatt by evening (stay at Zermatt)
Day 5 - Zermatt - Matterhorn and a hike ( this will be a Sunday)

I have to get back to Paris by Day 6 morning and am a little unsure on how to do this. Get to Geneva and then take a bus? or some other city (or back to Zurich)? (Flixbus to Paris)
Also, is it better to buy the Swiss Travel pass? From what I have seen there is a 4 day pass available.

I am open to suggestions about the activities and any changes in itinerary.
I am mostly looking for "free" things to do - like walking/hike and things covered by the Swiss pass and any must see attractions.

Thank you in advance!
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 07:08 AM
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Welcome to Fodor's!

Your itinerary is full on and will only give you a tiny taste of the places you plan to visit. It's a lot of moving about, and since you mention being on a student budget, keep in mind that Switzerland is expensive, and the more you move around, the more it will cost.

Having said that, it sounds as if you're young and energetic and if your goal is only to walk around Zurich and Lucerne, a day in each will probably work for you. Since you want to see Grindelwald, why not spend your night there instead of in Interlaken? Interlaken is a tourist and transport hub, and not that appealing IME. The best of the area is above Interlaken.

Lucerne to Grindelwald will take 2:34-3:08 by train including changes.

Keep in mind that you've not left any wiggle room for poor weather - Zermatt and other peaks can be socked in by clouds, so you might be setting yourself up for disappointment by trying to see so much in such a short period of time.

Yes, with all your planned movement, a pass of some sort is probably the way to go. This will save you time having to purchase tickets before getting on a train/bus.

I assume you head back to Zurich on Day 6? What time does your flight leave? Have you looked to see if you can get from Zermatt back to Zurich (assuming that's the plan) in time for your flight?
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 09:04 AM
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What month of the year is this trip? Have you investigated and compared the transportation fares? Lodging/hostel costs and availability everywhere?

Personally, I'd skip Zurich and Zermatt. Both will involve time and money to reach and could have limited lodging options in your budget range. FYI, there is Flixbus service between Paris and Luzern, although the journeys are loonngg.

But, if you can remove the additional/higher costs and time associated with Zurich/Zermatt, I'd reconsider the budget and look again at train and air fares. Flying to/from Geneva would probably be cheaper than Zurich.

If you are flying out of Paris on Day 6, you should probably get there the night before.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 09:04 AM
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Agrh...my post went into moderation. It'll appear above Jean's when released.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 10:29 AM
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Hello,
Thank you for the response. I realized after submitting my post that I didn't really include the travel details and I wasn't sure how to edit it. Sorry about that.
I am based in Paris so I don't have to catch a flight from there. The trip is from May 8th(Wednesday, arrival in the morning) - May 12th( Sunday, departing at night). I saw that the weather in general is good during this time. I need to be back to Paris by Monday morning. From what I have checked so far, the hostels seems to be on the expensive side, depending on the city. I know its late to plan this now considering its only a month away, but I am okay to spend a bit more if necessary haha. I am not very keen on spending on the scenic trains or the very expensive cable cars, etc if I can have an alternate option.

okay, I'll check the flixbus option from Paris to Luzern. I don't mind skipping Zurich, but I do want to visit Zermatt, but you are right about the limited lodging options. I have to look into that.
I am open to any other suggestions about places to visit.

Last edited by wanttovisit; Apr 6th, 2024 at 10:40 AM.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 10:44 AM
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Sorry, missed the bit about getting back to Paris on Day 6. Looks like Zermatt to Paris is a haul by train (nine hours).

You mention you need to "get back to Paris by Day 6 morning". This will be impossible if you plan to spend night 5 in Zermatt.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 10:45 AM
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Went into moderation again!
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
Welcome to Fodor's!

Your itinerary is full on and will only give you a tiny taste of the places you plan to visit. It's a lot of moving about, and since you mention being on a student budget, keep in mind that Switzerland is expensive, and the more you move around, the more it will cost.

Having said that, it sounds as if you're young and energetic and if your goal is only to walk around Zurich and Lucerne, a day in each will probably work for you. Since you want to see Grindelwald, why not spend your night there instead of in Interlaken? Interlaken is a tourist and transport hub, and not that appealing IME. The best of the area is above Interlaken.

Lucerne to Grindelwald will take 2:34-3:08 by train including changes.

Keep in mind that you've not left any wiggle room for poor weather - Zermatt and other peaks can be socked in by clouds, so you might be setting yourself up for disappointment by trying to see so much in such a short period of time.

Yes, with all your planned movement, a pass of some sort is probably the way to go. This will save you time having to purchase tickets before getting on a train/bus.

I assume you head back to Zurich on Day 6? What time does your flight leave? Have you looked to see if you can get from Zermatt back to Zurich (assuming that's the plan) in time for your flight?
Hello,
Haha you are right, I think I am being too ambitious. Maybe I should cut down on the number of cities. If I do get the 4 day pass, will that cover the travel in trains (except the reservation charges) ?
Thanks for the suggestion, spending the night at Grindelwald does seem like a better option. I assumed there is a lot to see around Interlaken hence the 2 days there. What would you suggest other than Grindelwald around the same area?
About the weather, I hope it will be good considering it is almost mid May. I want to see the Matterhorn and maybe do the 5 lakes hike.

Getting back from Zermatt is a little problematic yes, cause in the end I will be taking an overnight bus on Sunday (Day 5) evening to Paris. So the cities I can take a bus from are Zurich, Bern, Geneva, etc. I am not really sure on how to navigate this, cause the train trip from Zermatt to Zurich is about 3 hours so I will have to leave Zermatt in the afternoon/evening. Maybe visiting Zermatt is not possible on this trip.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 01:21 PM
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Yes, the four day pass will cover the trains (and buses and some boats. It will also offer discounts on some cable cars). In all my trips to Switzerland, I've not once reserved a seat on a train.

Two days in the Berner Oberland is giving it serious short shrift. One could spend weeks there and not run out of things to see and do. And you don't have two days, but more like one and change; you seem to be forgetting about travel time from location to location. The BO is full of hikes, and there are many villages to visit, such as Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Murren.

I think saving Zermatt for another time is very wise.

It's easier to plan in nights...so how many nights do you have?

Is this correct? One night Zurich, one night Lucerne, one night Interlaken/Grindelwald, one night Zermatt? So four nights? That's only three full days and doesn't count travel time.

Do I understand that you plan to hit the streets of Zurich after an overnight bus from Paris? Without sleep?

Ambitous is an overstatment. I suggest you pick two places at the most, with two nights in a given area.
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Old Apr 7th, 2024, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
Yes, the four day pass will cover the trains (and buses and some boats. It will also offer discounts on some cable cars). In all my trips to Switzerland, I've not once reserved a seat on a train.

Two days in the Berner Oberland is giving it serious short shrift. One could spend weeks there and not run out of things to see and do. And you don't have two days, but more like one and change; you seem to be forgetting about travel time from location to location. The BO is full of hikes, and there are many villages to visit, such as Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Murren.

I think saving Zermatt for another time is very wise.

It's easier to plan in nights...so how many nights do you have?

Is this correct? One night Zurich, one night Lucerne, one night Interlaken/Grindelwald, one night Zermatt? So four nights? That's only three full days and doesn't count travel time.

Do I understand that you plan to hit the streets of Zurich after an overnight bus from Paris? Without sleep?

Ambitous is an overstatment. I suggest you pick two places at the most, with two nights in a given area.
Hello,
Thank you for the suggestions. It definitely made things clearer.
Yes, its 5 days/ 4 nights. I plan to get some sleep on the bus to Zurich. It's not the best idea but it is the cheapest option, so it will have to do
Instead of staying the night at Zurich, it maybe a better option to travel to the next place. So staying in 2 places sounds good. 2 nights at each place. Would Lucerne and Interlaken be a good combo? Or Lucerne and Grindelwald? I have checked the hostel prices, and it's more or less all in the same range, so I am open to any of them.
Also, I am confused between the Swiss travel pass (4 days) and Interrail pass (4 or 5 days). The internal pass is cheaper (even for 5 days) but it won't cover boat rides and buses I think?
Thanks a bunch!
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Old Apr 7th, 2024, 10:35 AM
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Lucerne and Grindelwald are good choices. Wish I could talk you into giving up on Interlaken. Why do you want to stay there? It's not in the mountains, not particularly nice - I stayed there years ago and said never again, but you do you. It's a good base if the lakes appeal, but that's about it IME.

Actually four nights is only three full days, but I see that you're counting your arrival day. Maybe spend a few hours in Zurich that day and then move on to Lucerne for the next few nights.

I'd avoid the Interrail Pass, they're usually not a good deal and rather limited. The Swiss Pass will cover all trains, buses, boats and gives discounts on some cable cars within Switzerland and to some border towns in othere countries. You'll have to crunch the numbers to see if it's good value for your particular trip or not, but I suspect it is, with all the movement you have planned.

I highly recommend downloading the SBB app which covers just about everything you need to know about transport in Switzerland.

https://www.sbb.ch/en


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Old Apr 11th, 2024, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8
Lucerne and Grindelwald are good choices. Wish I could talk you into giving up on Interlaken. Why do you want to stay there? It's not in the mountains, not particularly nice - I stayed there years ago and said never again, but you do you. It's a good base if the lakes appeal, but that's about it IME.

Actually four nights is only three full days, but I see that you're counting your arrival day. Maybe spend a few hours in Zurich that day and then move on to Lucerne for the next few nights.

I'd avoid the Interrail Pass, they're usually not a good deal and rather limited. The Swiss Pass will cover all trains, buses, boats and gives discounts on some cable cars within Switzerland and to some border towns in othere countries. You'll have to crunch the numbers to see if it's good value for your particular trip or not, but I suspect it is, with all the movement you have planned.

I highly recommend downloading the SBB app which covers just about everything you need to know about transport in Switzerland.
I had had replied a few days ago, but I think the message didn't get posted.
Interlaken was one of the popular places on Google search haha, hence was considering that. But yes, I decided on Lucerne(2 nights - Mt Pilatus and some other things maybe) and Grindelwald (2 nights - First , Lauterbrunnen ). It's not a lot of time, and I am a little worried about the weather, but hope it works out.

Yes, I thought I could visit the Rhine Falls and then go on to Lucerne on the first day. I did consider the Swiss travel pass but it seems like the Half Fare card will work out better, but I still have to calculate that to be sure.
Thank you for all the suggestions. Definitely clarified things for me.
Much appreciated!
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 04:59 AM
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It'll be a whirlwind trip, but hopefully you'll be able to return for a more indepth visit sometime.

Have fun, and come back to let us know how it went.
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 01:14 AM
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It will be in the second week of May. Since it's between the seasons , few trails are closed and some things are opening that week (gondolas, boat rides, etc). It may not be the best time to visit but will have to go.
Yes definitely, the more I look at it the more places I want to visit so I'm overwhelmed at this point 😂 I hope I can come back for a longer trip.
Thank you for all the suggestions!
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 08:52 AM
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Do you really want to go by Flixbus from Paris to Zurich?
It seems to me that Flixbus to Geneva or Basel as well as Easyjett from Orly to Geneva (with hand luggage only) are cheaper,
For the way back on Sunday 12th Flix Nightbuses from B asel or Geneva ar the cheapest solution.

"It will be in the second week of May. Since it's between the seasons , few trails are closed and some things are opening that week (gondolas, boat rides, etc). It may not be the best time to visit but will have to go."
More than 40.000 kms of hiking ttrails will be open and many boats and gondolas will run.

But first of all, you must know what xyou really want to do, which places you want to visit and how much money you want to spend, Swizerland is a rather expensive country.
The biggest problem may be the weather, as there doesn't exist any serious forecast for the time after May 1st.
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