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Switzerland 9 day itinerary feedback & critique welcomed

Switzerland 9 day itinerary feedback & critique welcomed

Aug 15th, 2013, 07:57 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Switzerland 9 day itinerary feedback & critique welcomed

Hello everyone!


I will be leaving to Switzerland on August 25th and wanted to pick your brain on my itinerary!


These are the highlights and I've already printed out the train rides to coordinate the timings.

I will be getting the half fare card.

Mon 26-Aug
Hotel: In Zurich
Arrive at noon, tour Old Zurich & shopping

Tues 27-Aug
HoteL: In Zurich
Zur to Steim Am Rhein in morning afternoon, possibly shopping in Zurich evening

Wed 28-Aug
Hotel: In Lucern
Zur to Baar. Luggage in Baar station, Hella Grotto Caves, then to Lucern and sight see Lucern

Thurs 29-Aug
Hotel: In Lucern
Golden trip day up in Mount Pilatus and the two peak hikes, if time sight see in Lucern in evening

Fri 30-Aug
Hotel: In Lucern
We were going to take the Viator Swiss alps tour (viator.com/tours/…d576-3885LUPASS) from lucern and discovered they don't have availability Aug 30. Any suggestions on what to do instead from Lucern?

Sat 31-Aug
hotel: interlaken (Note: we were thinking of staying in Murren or anywhere in the Lauterbrunnen area instead and cancelling our hotel in Interlaken. Any suggestions?)

Murren hiking 4-5 hr hike from Murren to Stechelberg, sleeping in Interlaken (hotel location can be changed)

Sun 01-Sep In Lausanne
Interlaken to Montreux. Luggage in locker. Chateau de Chillon, Dinner in vevey, sleep in Lausanne

02-Sep
Hotel: Solothurn
Browse lausanne morning. Head to Solothurn for rest of day

Tues 03-Sep
Hotel: Zurich airport
Solothurn to baden, hot springs, eat in zurich, late check-in at airport
laineylains is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 08:46 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,622
It seems very choppy to me. And two of the most boring places in Switzerland (Zurich and Lausanne) have almost half your nights. Zurich is nice enough, I'm glad I spend a half day there but it's not worth three nights. The Zurich airport is less than an hour train ride from Lucerne so you can spend the night before a flight there with no problem. Put your three nights in Lucerne at the end of the trip.

If you arrive at Zurich airport around noon I would go straight to Interlaken that day. And I would actually spend the other five nights there. It is well situated for day trips in all directions. Certainly good for a couple days up in the mountains but you can also go to Bern (the most interesting Swiss city), spend time on the lake (Thun is a very nice little city with a castle, boat ride on the lake is lovely), and you can do a day trip to Montreux if you want to see Lake Geneva and Chateau de Chillon. So lots of day trip possibilities and if you base in Interlaken you can choose, based on that day's weather, when you want to go into the mountains. It's a waste of time and money if they are socked in clouds.

Between Interlaken and Montreux is the "Golden Pass" train ride. I didn't find it particularly spectacular but pleasant enough and certainly fine for a day trip. I just spent 6 nights in Lausanne in July. While it was a decent location for all the day trips I wanted to do, the town itself was quite boring.
isabel is online now  
Aug 15th, 2013, 12:14 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,177
My suggestions:

Tuesday
Go to Schaffhausen, visit the Rhine Falls, the medieval city center of Schaffhausen and it's castle and board then a Stein am Rhein bound Rhine river boat. You may continue with a later boat up to Constance and go back to Zurich from there. This would be a full day trip.

Friday
The itinerary offered by viator can be made by public transport from either Lucerne or Interlaken: go by train to Meiringen and change to a small train to Aareschlucht West. Walk then through the Aar Gorge up to the Eastern end and board there a bus to Grimselpass - Gletsch and another one from Gletsch to Belvedere. Visit the Ice cave and return via Andermatt - train - Lucerne.

Or do it in the other sense: leave Lucerne by train at 6.18am to Goeschenen - Schoellenen Gorge - Andermatt in the Gotthard area and go on by bus to Furka Pass - Belvedere ar 9.20. Visit the Ice cave, leave Belvedere by bus at 11.00 up to Gletsch, have lunch there and leave at 13.02 with another bus to Grimsel Pass - Aareschlucht Ost ar 14.19. Walk through the Aar Gorge to Meiringen and continue with any train to Lucerne (every hour).

Saturday
Muerren - Gimmelwald - Stechelberg is by far not the best hike you can do. Allmendhubel - Oberberg - Gruetschalp would be much more scenic (if it must be in the Muerren area).

Sunday/Monday
There are steamboats between Chillon - Montreux - Vevey - Lavaux - Lausanne and motorboats between Yverdon - Neuchatel - Murten as well as between Murten - Neuchatel - Biel/Bienne - Solothurn
(Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchatel, Thielle river, Lake Biel/Bienne, Aar river).
neckervd is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 12:36 PM
  #4  
 
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Two things: "Shopping in the evening" - shops close early.

While in Montreux, rather than wasting time on Lausanne (only a so-so cathedral and an Olympic exhibit, and lots of walking uphill/downhill...), take the little mountain train up to Les Rochers de Naye where you'll have the best views across the lake onto Mont Blanc and the French/Swiss Alps.
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/roch...ew.html‎

Two towns up there worth staying the night - Caux and Glion.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 01:00 PM
  #5  
 
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Posts: 7,699
Hi laineylains,

I agree that you are not spending enough time in the mountains. Out of your 8 nights, you only have one in a mountain town. I would take some of the nights from Zürich/Luzern and spend them in Wengen or Mürren. Any nice views from the mountain trails will depend on having clear weather, and having only a single day there reduces your chances of clear skies.

Since you'll have spent time in the big Alps at the Jungfrau area and at Luzern, I think you can safely skip the Rochers-de-Naye. The best thing about Montreux is its flowered lakeside promenade; I would spend my time enjoying the lakeside itself. Vevey is also gorgeous and well worth a half a day.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 03:51 PM
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Don't just do the ordinary, go for the extraordinary, that's what you came for.

You'll get plenty of lakeside views in Lucerne, and along the lake Thun if you go to the Bernese Oberland - http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/b...oberland1.html

From Montreux take the boat to the Chillon castle - www.cgn.ch

Take that train to Rochers de Naye - www.goldenpass.ch/?OrgID=7

From Vevey go up on les Pléiades - www.myswitzerland.com/en/les-pleiades.htm

Make time for a trip to the Gornergrat above Zermatt with the best views of the Matterhorn - www.gornergrat-kulm.ch/de/kulmhotel-gornergrat/
If you leave Lucerne on the 06:00 train you can be there at 10:09, and to go back, if you leave on the 17:07 you're back in Lucerne at 22:00, or with the 17:56 departure you get to Lucerne by 23:00. Staying the night would be preferable though - up on the Gornergrat or in Zermatt. It's an extraordinary place.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 06:00 PM
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I was just at Gornergrat last month and agree it's one of the most incredible places I've been. But the OP only has 9 days - can't do everything. I was also at Chateau de Chillon and think it's a really nice castle. If I had to choose between those two I'd pick the Matterhorn. But the OP has to make some decisions as to what can be fit in. Certainly not everything that's been mentioned here. But that is why I suggested he drop Lausanne and cut way back (or drop) Zurich.

And I really think anyone planning a trip to Switzerland should plan it so that you aren't locked into one or two specific days for the mountain trips (Bernese Oberland or Matterhorn) - both of these are just not even close to the same experience in cloudy weather - of which there is quite a bit in Switzerland. Maybe I've just been unlucky but in two separate trips - each about a week long - I had lots of cloudy days (and even more cloudy afternoons). So being flexible to be able to pick the best days based on weather is very important. So for example, booking a hotel in Zermatt locks you into those specific days and if the weather is crap you wasted two days. Whereas if you do it as a day trip, even if it's a long one, you can choose your best day.
isabel is online now  
Aug 15th, 2013, 08:17 PM
  #8  
 
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I agree with Isabel.

Zürich is really boring.

And if you are going shopping in Zürich you had better bring a wheel barrow full of CHF with you.

The prices in the shops on the Bahnhofstrasse would even give the Duchess of Westminster the shivers.

Better to stay in Luzern. Take the train to visit Rapperswill.

I also find it strange that you would visit the Bernese Oberland and not go up to see the Jungfraujoch.

The best walk in the BO is from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg.

Interlaken is not a pretty town like Wengen or Murren.

Lausanne is also boring.

I would rather stay in Vevey or Montreux.

I am very pleased you are buying the half-fare
card.

Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 09:18 PM
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The lakesides of Luzern and of Thun are very pretty, but they are very, very different from that of Montreux. Again, I would spend my time down by the lake. The walk from Montreux out to Chillon along the flowered lakeside promenade takes about 45 minutes, and it's one of the best things about Montreux. You can take the ferry back to Montreux, to Vevey, or even to Rivaz and enjoy the views of the vineyards.

What in the world is ordinary about that???

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 09:31 PM
  #10  
 
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I've stayed in Lausanne several times but it was in a hotel basically lakeside and the reason I stay there is because of the hotel!

I wouldn't even bother with Lausanne especially if this is your first trip to Switzerland.

As to going up to view the Matterhorn, be very aware that while it is spectacular as well as is the view over the Monte Rose Massif the big problem is that the peak is often shrouded in clouds. The rail trip up to Zermatt and then further offers great views but they do not necessarily compare with the many more you'll get from almost everywhere in the Berner Oberland and not just in "if you have to stay in" Murren...what a place to "have to" stay in!

The Rochers de Naye trip is wonderful especially as you seem to almost cling to the steep mountainsides on the way up and down in that almost Toonerville Trolley.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 09:52 PM
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Another suggestion for a day out in Lucerne is to go to Mt Rigi. Boat trip across the lake then a cog railway to he summit with fabulous views.
marg is offline  
Aug 16th, 2013, 05:28 AM
  #12  
 
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I agree with the previous replies about spending less time in the cities and more in the alps.
If walk down from Murren to Stechelberg, you'll be looking down and not up to the mountains, and it will be hard on your shins walking too far downhill (trust me!).
There are MUCH better hikes around there. Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is fantastic. Or, near Murren, hike to Spielboden alp, get a drink at the restaurant there, then up to Schiltalp to see the cheese farm. I've the good hikes here in a website I made for my pastor's family when they went to the Lauterbrunnen area:
http://www.calvin.edu/~shoe/lauter/
Allen212 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2013, 08:11 AM
  #13  
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Hello folks!

Your feedback has been absolutely helpfully.

We picked Lausanne as it'll shorten the trip to solothurn afterwards.

We will stay in Lausanne as a hotel location and not roam in Lausanne.

The Lausanne hotel is NOT cancellablr unfortunately but the other hotels in our trip are.

I have revised the overall plan based on your feedback, is it better?

Any suggestions of some moderate hikes with scenic views during the entire hike for a good 3-4 hrs if the one I selected is not good?

Mon Aug 26 1st day - land at noon, hella grotto caves in baar,, chill at lucern
Tues aug 27 2nd day - hotel in lucern, mount Pilatus golden trip
Wed aug 28 3rd day - hotel in lucern, aare gorge, ice cave, glacier
Thurs aug 29 4th day hotel in lucern, mount rigi
Fri aug 30 stay in murren or lautetbrunen, hike
Sat aug 31 JFj?
Mon sep 1 hotel in Lausanne only, visit Montreux and vevey
Tues sep 2 hotel in solothurn
Wed sep 3 Zurich shopping (dept store and chocolates at grocery stores) late evening check in at airport
laineylains is offline  
Aug 16th, 2013, 09:04 AM
  #14  
 
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We were going to take the Viator Swiss alps tour (viator.com/tours/…d576-3885LUPASS) from lucern and discovered they don't have availability Aug 30. Any suggestions on what to do instead from Lucern?>

Mr Rigi - take a boat to Vitznau and take a train to this famous mountain lookout or take the William Tell or regular boat to the end of the lake at Fluelen - gorgeous trip - take train back.

Engelberg is about an hour by mountain train - one of Switzerland's most awesome Alpine places - way more wow than Pilatus - like Zermatt and the Jungfrua regions.

All these trips by train and boat would be covered in full by a Swiss Pass - an 8-consecutive-day pass it seems may be better for you than the Half-Fare Card if you do excursions - and a pass covers in full the lift and train from Lauterbrunnen to Murren and Gimmelwald and back down to Stechleberg - not sure you factored all those things into your calculations - Half-Fare cards are best for folks going to basically one place - you are travel all around the country - I would revisit the 8-day pass and if at all close go for the pass - you may do more than you thing and even not waiting in ticket lines can be abig plus sometimes.

For lots of great stuff on Swiss trains, passes, etc I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com;
http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 17th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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Mon sep 1 hotel in Lausanne only, visit Montreux and vevey>

many folks prefer to stay in smaller and much more romantic and old-worldish Vevey or Montreux - why stay in big modern Lausanne if you are day tripping the few miles to nearby Vevey and Montreux?
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 17th, 2013, 10:30 AM
  #16  
 
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Zurich proper is not the most exciting, but it is a base for Winterthur (20 minutes by commuter rail), some outstanding art museums. The Kunsthalle in Zurich, also recommended.

I found very little price variation in Switzerland, i.e., the watches cost the same on the Banhofstrasse as everywhere else. The Swiss franc is very high now, even compared to the Euro (much less the US Dollar). If, for example, you are on the Bodensee, it is well worth going across the border for dinner.
drlaz is offline  
Aug 17th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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It is such a shame that you based everything in Lucern. It's as though you are taking the non-alp tour of Switzerland.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 17th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Lausanne has a nice historic center where people lives in. The cathedral is considered by specialists as the most interesting gothic cathedral in the alpine area. The Olympic Museum, the Musee de l'Hermitage and the Cantonal Museums are all fine. Fans of modern architecture are fond of the Rolex learning center, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the new Opera House.

Lausanne is a nice untouristy town (with fine views to the Lake and the Mont Blanc chain from almost everywhere). People who prefer places full of other tourists, souvenir shops, tourist traps and Disneyland like kitsch buildings like Neuschwanstein castle would probably be disappointed, however. Therefore Lausanne seems not to be very popular with tourists from overseas.
neckervd is offline  
Aug 17th, 2013, 06:53 PM
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Well Lausanne was our base while we explored the area from there over to Chillon. And we liked it--mainly because we had yet to head north.

Once we hit Bern and the Oberland, sorry, everything else paled.

Sorry, I have never been to Neuschwanstein castle and do not intend to go there.

I don't shop, but I must admit I brought home a cow bell. Our most magical night in Switzerland was in the Kleine Scheidegg hotel--the one pictured in the Eiger Sanction--where a carpet of city lights in Grindelwild lay before us, the stars were are canopy, and we could see climbers' lanterns on the North Face, all to the sound of cow bells all night.

I cannot imagine going to Switzerland and missing this.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 17th, 2013, 07:24 PM
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AZ...doesn't the sound of the cow bells stay with you long after you have left the BO? There is something so special about that sound...nothing says welcome to the BO like the gentle clang clang clang of the cow bell...dreaming of returning.
michele_d is offline  

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