Hello again –
I think I have a much more do-able, if longer (30-day), itinerary for Switzerland than my initial proposal. Many thanks to all of you who already commented! I’m confident that my trip will be immeasurably better as a result of the helpful and thoughtful information that so many of you generously shared.
To briefly recap, I’m a woman who will be traveling solo and using a Swiss Pass. I enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches, parks and gardens, natural scenery, castles, markets, picturesque villages, and good food and wine. (I should definitely enjoy Switzerland!) I don’t mind relocating every night or so, and often find benefits to doing so. I want to take some relatively easy walks or hikes, but am otherwise not seeking outdoor activies. My goal is to have as diverse a range of experiences as possible.
Those who are interested can find my initial thread at:
My proposed route may seem a bit odd, but I’m trying to work within a few constraints. Specifically, I want to:
• fly into Geneva before May 27;
• fly out of Zurich;
• ensure that I visit cities when the museums I most want to visit are open;
• make sure that my time in the Upper Engadine is after the seasonal opening of the funicular to Muottas Muralg; and
• maximize my chances of seeing wildflowers in the Bernese Oberland (or should I be seeking to maximize my chance of seeing wildflowers in the Engadine instead??? Which of these two regions should I aim to see first?)
I think this plan meets these goals as well as possible, but please feel free to suggest alternatives!
So here’s my current plan:
Day 1: Arrive in and begin exploring Geneva (night in Geneva)
Day 2: Begin to recover from jet lag, explore Geneva, move on to Lausanne (night in Lausanne) … (I know it would be VERY easy to skip an overnight in Lausanne! At least for now, though, I want to spend a night there, even if it means an unnecessary relocation. You have my permission to call my crazy.)
Day 3: Explore Lausanne and the Lavaux wine terraces; move on to Vevey or Montreux (1st of 2 nights in Vevey or Montreaux) (I know! ANOTHER unnecessary move!)
Day 4: Visit the Chateau Chillon (walking along the lake to get there) and Rochers-de-Naye (where I look forward to sitting for a while to savor the view)
Day 5: Take the train to Gstaad (just to see the scenery en route), spend an hour or so in Gstaad (since I’m there), and then move on to Gruyeres (night in Gruyeres)
Day 6: When I’ve finished visiting Gruyeres, move on to Fribourg (night in Fribourg)
Day 7: Visit Neuchatel’s Latenium and Solothurn on my way to Basel (1st of 2 nights in Basel)
Day 8: Explore Basel
Day 9: When I’m ready to leave Basel, move on to Lucerne—the only place in Switzerland that I have already visited (night in Lucerne)
Day 10: Leave Lucerne for Ascona (1st of 2 nights in Ascona)
Day 11: Explore Ascona, Locarno, etc.
Day 12: Visit Bellinzona on my way to Lugano (1st of 2 nights in Lugano)
Day 13: Explore Lugano
Day 14: Take the Bernina Express as far as Samedan and then go to Mustair (night in Mustair)
Day 15: Visit Mustair and move on to Guarda (1st of 2 nights in Guarda)
Day 16: Begin exploring the Lower Engadine: Guarda, Ardez, Scuol, etc.
• If either Day 16 or 17 is a clear day, I’ll visit Muottas Muralg (the funicular should be open by this time). I may be able to change my arrangements for accommodation, and if not, I can always backtrack.
Day 17: Continue exploring the Lower Engadine, and then relocate to Zuoz or Pontresina (1st of 3 nights).
Day 18-19: Explore the Upper Engadine. My priorities include Muottas Muralg and nearby lakes, valleys, and villages
Day 20: Go to Bern, making sure to take a train that goes through Samedan and Thusis so I can see the Albula Pass, etc. (1st of 2 nights in Bern).
• BTW, I realize that I could see Bern between Fribourg and Basel, but I want to have at least city-and-museum fix between my two blocks of time in mountainous areas.
Day 21: Explore Bern
Day 22: Head to Lauterbrunnen, possibly stopping in Thun en route (1st of 4 nights in Lauterbrunnen) (I’m hoping I’ll feel cozily ensconced at the base of the mountains rather than oppressed by them. I think I’ve found a room that has a view down the valley!)
Days 23-25: Explore the Bernese Oberland. My priorities include Schilthorn, Schynige Platte, Staubachfalle and Trummelbachfalle, Kleine Scheidegg, Brienz and its outdoor museum, and various walks and villages in the area. I’ll decide what to do each day after hearing the weather forecasts.
Day 26: Go to Zurich (1st of 4 nights in Zurich)
Days 27-29: Explore Zurich (and Winterthur)
Day 30: Flight to the US
Any and all comments are welcome!
BTW, this particular plan means that I’ll skip a number of places that originally made it to my high-priority list, such as Zermatt, Sion, Chur, Appenzell, St. Gallen’s, Schaffhausen, and Stein-am-Rhein. (St. Gallen's and the Appenzell were probably the hardest to forego.) At this point, I’d say that much as I’d like to see these places, I’d feel worse if I missed the places that remain on my list. But nothing is written in stone, so feel free to offer counterpoints!
I’d also welcome recommendations for restaurants and/or foods. As a rule, I don’t eat lunch, but I definitely enjoy my evening meals. I want to sample local foods and, as a foodie-wanna-be (if only I could afford to be the real thing!), I’ll probably splurge on a a few dinners along the way. I’ve been taking some notes from guidebooks, trip reports, and other sources, and will welcome your input on regional specialties and restaurants throughout the price spectrum.
Thanks so much!
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Revised itinerary for Switzerland – have I come up with a better plan?
Hello again –