Seeking advice - short Switzerland trip

Old Oct 18th, 2021, 10:21 AM
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Seeking advice - short Switzerland trip

Hello,

I am planning my trip to Europe in summer 2022. I will be flying in and out of Rome.
I would like to visit Switzerland for 4 days. Plan to base in Zurich.

Few places i absolutely want to include in my itinerary:
- Lucerne + mount Pilatus and/or mount Rigi
- Lauterbrunnen with a couple of hikes in Bernese Oberland
So, that should be 2 full days. As for the remaining 3rd full day and half of the 4th, could you please help me with below?

1) Geneva vs Lausanne? What would you pick for a quick visit? I keep hearing conflicting opinions. I would like to visit Chateau de Chillon (and Montreux). But would also like to include another town on the lake.
2) I would also like to go to Gruyere. Is it worth visiting? My thoughts were either I see Chateau de Chillon, Montreux and Gruyere OR Geneva/Lausanne and Chateau with Montreux.
3) Is it possible to visit mt Pilatus and mt Rigi in one day? From my research, it's possible, however, both trips will be very rushed, meaning not much time on top. Can anyone please confirm?
Alternatively, if you were to choose between the two, which mountain would you go to?
4) I initially was torn between staying in Zurich vs Lucerne. So many people say Lucerne is a nicer town to base out of while in Switzerland. My only reservation is that on the way back i will have to travel straight to Rome, so from studying maps and transport sites, it looks like Zurich - Rome would be less hassle than Lucerne - Rome.
However, please let me know if you think Lucerne is worth this inconvenience!

Thank you in advance

Last edited by friend16; Oct 18th, 2021 at 10:36 AM.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 05:42 PM
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I think you may be underestimating the travel time for these 'day trips'. I would not consider them day trips from Zurich or Lucerne, myself, although not impossible if you're up at dawn and don't mind a lot of time on trains. I suggest you check sbb.ch/en to see how much travel time will eat into your day. You can also check travel times to/from Italy.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dreamon View Post
I think you may be underestimating the travel time for these 'day trips'. I would not consider them day trips from Zurich or Lucerne, myself, although not impossible if you're up at dawn and don't mind a lot of time on trains. I suggest you check sbb.ch/en to see how much travel time will eat into your day. You can also check travel times to/from Italy.
Thanks, I know all travel times, I donít mind spending time riding trains and waking up early. Thatís how I usually travel - try to see the most in the least amount of time

Last edited by friend16; Oct 18th, 2021 at 08:18 PM.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 08:36 PM
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No worries. I prefer to see more by exploring a smaller area for longer. Everyone travels differently.

If time on transport is not an issue, then perhaps Vevey instead of Geneva? I have yet to visit but many people recommend it. You could combine with Montreux. Check it out to see if it's of interest.

When I checked travel times (and changes) Lucerne - Rome vs Zurich - Rome, they seemed very similar. Perhaps also consider basing yourself in Bern? I haven't spent enough time in Zurich to form an opinion of it but certainly enjoyed Lucerne and Bern.

For Mt Pilatus and Mt Rigi, just go to whichever one appeals the most and see what time is left in the day.

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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dreamon View Post
No worries. I prefer to see more by exploring a smaller area for longer. Everyone travels differently.

If time on transport is not an issue, then perhaps Vevey instead of Geneva? I have yet to visit but many people recommend it. You could combine with Montreux. Check it out to see if it's of interest.

When I checked travel times (and changes) Lucerne - Rome vs Zurich - Rome, they seemed very similar. Perhaps also consider basing yourself in Bern? I haven't spent enough time in Zurich to form an opinion of it but certainly enjoyed Lucerne and Bern.

For Mt Pilatus and Mt Rigi, just go to whichever one appeals the most and see what time is left in the day.
Thank you, I actually saw a lot of recommendations to visit Vevey on this forum, will check it out.

As for picking the base town - I actually for some reason never considered Bern. But now that youíve mentioned it, i realized that a lot of trains from Lucerne/Zurich actually pass Bern on the way to Bernese Ob / Montreax, so it would make sense to stay there.

Thanks again!
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 10:19 PM
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Hi friend 16,

I think Bern is a great choice as a base -- it puts most of central and western Switzerland within a (about) 2-hour train ride. Nice city (haven't spent much time there myself though), but its central location is a main factor. The same is true of Thun, a beautiful town on Lake Thun, where I based myself for several days a few years ago -- most of central and western Switzerland is about a 2-hour train ride away.

If you want to see what Montreux & Vevey are like, I am in Montreux right now, and am writing a trip report with photos. The trip report is titled, "Not Brunnen, maybe Montreux, maybe Lindau." Let me know if you have further questions...

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 06:36 AM
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I would pick Lausanne over Geneva especially if you want to visit other lakeside places such as Montreux (have you considered taking a train up to Rochers de Naye also?
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 11:35 AM
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Thank you for your advice!
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by swandav2000 View Post
Hi friend 16,

I think Bern is a great choice as a base -- it puts most of central and western Switzerland within a (about) 2-hour train ride. Nice city (haven't spent much time there myself though), but its central location is a main factor. The same is true of Thun, a beautiful town on Lake Thun, where I based myself for several days a few years ago -- most of central and western Switzerland is about a 2-hour train ride away.

If you want to see what Montreux & Vevey are like, I am in Montreux right now, and am writing a trip report with photos. The trip report is titled, "Not Brunnen, maybe Montreux, maybe Lindau." Let me know if you have further questions...

Have fun as you plan!

s
Thank you, appreciate your advice!
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Dukey1 View Post
I would pick Lausanne over Geneva especially if you want to visit other lakeside places such as Montreux (have you considered taking a train up to Rochers de Naye also?
Haven't considered Rochers de Naye, but googled it now - looks stunning! thank you
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 07:12 PM
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I would pick Montreux/Vevey over any of those you mentioned to base for 4 days. It seems Geneva (if you need a big city hub) would fit better than Zurich for the things you list wanting to do.
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Old Oct 20th, 2021, 05:57 AM
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If you are at all interested in visiting Evian in France there is an easy boat connection from Lausanne. Remember, Lausanne is a city that offers more to do than some smaller towns and somewhat better rail connections. However, there are certainly many reasons why the smaller places can be just as fulfilling.
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Old Oct 20th, 2021, 05:57 AM
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Some train journey times Switzerland - Rome:
Zurich dp 7.33 - Milano C ar 10.50, dp 11.15 - Roma Termini ar 14.25
Lucerne dp 14.18 - Lugano ar 15.58, dp 16.02 - Milano C ar 17.17, dp 17.45 - Roma Termini ar 21.00
Bern dp 7.34 - Milano C ar 10.40, dp 11.15 - Roma Termini ar 14.25
Montreux dp 14.37 - Milano C ar 17.40, dp 18.15 - Roma Termini ar 21.25

Trains from Zurich and Lucerne every 30 to 60 minutes
Trains from Bern and Montreux 3times daily
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Old Oct 20th, 2021, 06:46 AM
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You can easily check train connections/timings here:

www.sbb.ch/en
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Old Oct 21st, 2021, 02:52 PM
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Thank you everyone, very helpful!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 08:52 AM
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"You can easily check train connections/timings here: www.sbb.ch/en"
...but only from end December, as the Trenitalia trains wil not be loaded before. Italo trains will never be mentioned in SBB timetables.
The timetable dates in post 13 are valid until December 2022 (SBB trains up to Milan and Italo trains Milan - Rome).
For all connections: https://www.raileurope.com/
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Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
"You can easily check train connections/timings here: www.sbb.ch/en"
...but only from end December, as the Trenitalia trains wil not be loaded before. Italo trains will never be mentioned in SBB timetables.
The timetable dates in post 13 are valid until December 2022 (SBB trains up to Milan and Italo trains Milan - Rome).
For all connections: https://www.raileurope.com/
Yes, those of us who are familiar with the time tables know that, NeckerV and now the OP knows it, too. I just thought it might be helpful to that poster to not have to rely on the rest of us for timings information.
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 04:09 AM
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I just told the OP where he can actually get timetable informations, as the SBB timetable shows for the moment only 1 daily train connection Switzerland - Rome (18 hrs journey, by overnight train via Villach)
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Old Oct 24th, 2021, 06:44 PM
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Do you already have your airline tickets? If not I'd seriously look into a multi-city (open jaw) ticket. Fly into Rome and fly back home from another city (or into other city and home from Rome). This shouldn't add cost to the tickets and will save you the wasted time and cost of getting back to Rome to fly home.
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Old Oct 25th, 2021, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
I just told the OP where he can actually get timetable informations, as the SBB timetable shows for the moment only 1 daily train connection Switzerland - Rome (18 hrs journey, by overnight train via Villach)
You obviously looked at only one possible departure point.
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