Switzerland Itinerary

Jan 4th, 2014, 03:38 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Switzerland Itinerary

First of all I want to thank everyone who responded to the questions posed around our broader travel plans through Austria, Switzerland and the South of France. They were insightful and provide the basis for a set of questions that focus specifically on Switzerland.

Our plan is to spend 6 days/nights in Switzerland and focus on the countryside and mountain regions and have come up with the following rough itinerary; Arrive in Lucerne (Skip Zurich) from Austria (Innsbruck), go to Interlaken (Bernese Oberland) region around lake and through Brienz, stay in region possibly Lauterbrunnen and visit Murren and Gindelwald, then to Zermatt seeing the Matterhorn and Gornergrat, then on to Lausanne and/or Geneva (or other recommended towns), going around the north side of the Lake. Finally, we need a point to leave from Switzerland to South of France - likely by train.

So what do you think? How might we manage this trip so that we enjoy the beauty, catch the highlights while not spending every night moving locations or every day in a car or train? Can we take a train from Innsbruck, or somewhere nearby in Austria to either Zurich or Lucerne? Should we rent a car for this itinerary or should be use train only? Are we okay to skip Zurich and go directly to Lucerne? How about 1 day in Lucerne, 2 days in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken or some other town, 2 days in Zermatt and 1 day getting to Lausanne or Geneva - using that as a departure point to France? Any must do's? Any don't do's?

As always any feedback is appreciated. Rob.
RvanWely is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 06:24 PM
  #2  
 
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I didn't see your last question. I wouldn't bother driving, even though driving in Switzerland is a breeze, and there's certain places that you might not otherwise see.

It will definitely NOT take you an entire day getting from Zermatt to Lausanne or Geneva. You will need to take 2 trains, from Zermatt to Visp, then from Visp to Lausanne or Geneva. About 3 1/2 hours and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking, so it just whizzes by!

If, however, you're planning on skiing, then a car is better if you're bringing skis with you. Easier for Grindelwald in any event, and the drive from there to Geneva is very nice. However, no cars are permitted in Zermatt so, again, you're kind of stuck with going by train. I hate to use the word "stuck" since Swiss trains, even in 2nd class, are spectacular.

On Luzern, if you arrive in Zurich, under the airport is the train station, and you can go directly to Luzern. They run about every hour, and takes close to an hour to get there. I think Zurich is a beautiful town, but not a whole lot to do there. Luzern, on the other hand, is worthy of at least 2 nights, since there's a lot to see and do, both in town and in the surrounding area (i.e. Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi). Having a rail pass allows you to go on the lake steamer to the cog train up the mountain at a steep discount.

If the plan is to continue to Paris, either Geneva or Lausanne would work -- my recollection is that it's a shorter ride from Lausanne.
Surfergirl is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 10:11 PM
  #3  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,177
When are you going? The time of year matters.

"Our plan is to spend 6 days/nights in Switzerland and focus on the countryside and mountain regions ... Arrive in Lucerne (Skip Zurich) ... go to Interlaken (Bernese Oberland) region around lake and through Brienz, stay in region possibly Lauterbrunnen and visit Murren and Gindelwald, then to Zermatt seeing the Matterhorn and Gornergrat, then on to Lausanne and/or Geneva (or other recommended towns), going around the north side of the Lake"

Even during the best of times, that sounds a bit rushed to me. With only 6 days, I would think it would be better to focus on only 2, or at most 3, areas. But maybe I'm misunderstanding your plan.

I think it would be to your advantage to sit down with a guide book (or two) and a couple of good maps.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Jan 4th, 2014, 10:38 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi RvanWely,

I agree with kja -- with only 6 nights, you've got too many stops. If you truly want to have a relaxing trip and not move every day or every other day, you need to eliminate some of your destinations. Remember that every time you move bases, you lose about half a day of "outside" time due to the chores of packing up and checking out, then checking in and unpacking again.

You truly won't run out of things to do if you have fewer bases; each one will offer many opportunities for day-trips and sight-seeing as well as walks, hikes, or bike rides.

In order to get some variety in the trip, I would recommend one mountain destination in the German-speaking region (Jungfrau region OR Zermatt) and then one stop at a French-speaking lakeside town on Lake Geneva (Vevey or Montreux perhaps).

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2014, 06:05 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for the feedback. I am sorry, i should have mentioned the time of year. This trip is planned for mid September.
RvanWely is offline  
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