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nannibray Dec 31st, 2007 10:11 AM

Trip plan for 17 nights in Switzerland June 2008
Calling all experts!
My husband and I (Seniors) will be doing a 17 night tour of Switz. via train in June 2008. I have utilized a lot of info from this site so far. This is what I have come up with.
1 & 2 Zurich (Hotel St. Josef)
3-4-5 Lucerne area - Rigi - Need opinions here!!! We have been to Lucerne twice. What else should we do in this area for the 3 nights time? I do want to see the Benedictine Monastery at Einsiedeln. Should this be our first stop leaving Zurich? It doesn't have to be an overnight. Would like to do Mt Rigi. Also have read posts on Stein Am Rhine and Appenzell. Should we do these places and skip Lucerne and Rigi? Are 3 nights enough before we head to the BO? Stay in Weggis? If so - hotel suggestions? In short, suggest a plan for these 3 or 4 days for us.
Days 6-7-8-9- Lauterbrunnen doing the Wengen and the Murren sides of the valley. (I have a pretty good handle on this section of the trip
Days 10 - 11 Interlaken (should we just stay in Lauterbrunnen for all the BO days) Want to do Brienz Lake towns and also Lake Thun towns. Possibly do a day trip to Bern one of these days
Days 12 - 13 - Zermatt Should I book a hotel here or do as Rick Steves suggests. ie. Wait and see how the weather is in Zermatt and SKIP it if it is raining or too cloudy since seeing the Matterhorn is the main reason for going. I was in Zermatt in 1989 with our daughter, but my husband has not been here. I LOVED it and want him to see it.
Days 14-15-16 French side of Switzerland - Montreux,Vevey, Lausanne?? Chillon chateau etc. Hotel suggestions for this area?? 3 star hotel is max - We stick to a budget.
Night 17 Zurich Airport area. Booked the Marriott Courtyards here with award points.
Am mainly staying in Zurich the first 2 nights because our rail pass will only be good for 15 days.
Thanks to all you travellers! You have helped me very much when I read other threads. You are wonderful!

enzian Dec 31st, 2007 10:58 AM

Looks like a great plan---very similar to the path we have followed several times now. Here are my thoughts:

Rigi---we stayed up there our first night on this year's trip, and loved it. I chose Rigi Kaltbad rather than the very top (Rigi Kulm) as I liked the hotels better---more "Swiss chalet" style. We stayed at the Alpina:

and liked it, especially "living room" (in the photo) and the delightful and very funny Herr Caminzind. Some might find the rooms too small and the dinner rather plain. I would also consider the lovely Bergsonne:

Unless you are really avid hikers, you will probably find 2 nights at Rigi Kaltbad enough. It's an easy ride down to Weggis on the cablecar if you want to go elsewhere, though, so you could make it a base for 3 or 4 days if you like. The flowers were lovely there in late June; the weather a bit of everything, from heavy fog to glorious sunshine.

Two nights at Interlaken? I would just stay on in Lauterbrunnen instead of mooving. They are only 20 minutes apart by train. I found the hotels in Interlaken more expensive, and the views in Lauterbrunnen much nicer.

Zermatt: there are no guarantees of seeing the Matterhorn on any given day, but with a 3-night stay we had multiple opportunities to see it in various states, from partially obscured (but still lovely) to dazzling. With a one-night stay there, you might be disappointed and not see it at all. So you could either (a) from a reasonably nearby base, like Vevey, wait for a good weather report and jump on the train, or (b) go and stay at least 2 nights. The problem with(a) is that conditions change very quickly----it might be clear when you check, but fully obscured by the time you get there.

So I would strongly urge you to spend at least 2 nights there if you want to see the Matterhorn. Even if it is cloudy, the ride up the Gornergrat is well worth it---one of my favorite viewpoints in Switzerland.

Finally. . . I wouldn't spend an extra night in Zürich (the second of your firs two) just because of your 15-day railpass. The trip to Luzern is quite inexpensive, so you could by point-to-point tickets for that (and on to Weggis or wherever). This will give you an extra day to use elsewhere (like Zermatt).

suze Dec 31st, 2007 01:07 PM

days 14/15/16. I'm no expert but love the Vevey/Montreux area! Lausanne is pretty too but significantly bigger, so while OK to visit I'd stay elsewhere. Hotel(s) Negotiants or Geneve in Vevey are both modest rooms-over-a-restaurant hotels. Hotel Helvetie on the main street is nice enough and somewhat of a budget alternative for Montreux.

BarbAnn Dec 31st, 2007 01:44 PM

I usually agree with Rick Steves. But, I always include at least 2 nights in Zermatt. I have been in June, twice in Oct. All three times I have seen the Matterhorn. I have booked us again for October next year. We have always stayed at hotels owned by the Julen family. We love the Daniela. Have booked the same room as we had last time...a beautiful view of the matterhorn from the balcony.

The trip up to Klein Matterhorn is fabulous. From the viewing platform you can see villages in Italy. There is even ice caves. We have done it twice. This time we will take the train to Gornegrat.

I have stayed twice in Montreaux and once in Vevey. Stay in Montreaux. Your Swiss Rail pass is good on their city buses. It is a beautiful town. From Montreaux you can do day trips to Gruyere, Lausanne or even Geneva. I love the area. Swiss Pass is even good on the boats that connect the small towns on Lac Leman.

bettyk Dec 31st, 2007 02:20 PM

Stein am Rhein is truly magnificent. I would try to see it if there is anyway possible. I also agree that it is not worth moving to Interlaken; I'd spend the entire time in Lauterbrunnen. We really enjoyed Thun and Spiez but did not have time to do Brienz.

Maudie Dec 31st, 2007 02:21 PM

Go with Suze suggestion of Hotel Negociants in Vevey, we stayed there in June. It was a tad noisy at night being over a Brassiere but in a great position and easily walkable with luggage to the train station. Breakfast was juice, coffee and rolls, our room was quite large with a nice bathroom. Hope you are there for the markets on a Saturday morning.

We walked towards Chillon from Vevey along the lake as far as we could then caught a bus the rest of the way to the Castle. Another day we caught a bus up into the hills for a walk and some lunch then a train down to Lausanne and the ferry trip back to Vevey which was just lovely - all on our rail pass.

suze Dec 31st, 2007 03:59 PM

pja1 Dec 31st, 2007 04:35 PM

Hi nannibray,
I've got to agree with not spending 2 nights in Zurich just because of the 15 day pass. My opinion on Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken... stay in Lauterbrunnen. We spent 4 nights in Wengen and just didn't want to leave. Absolutely stunning area! I would also take the night from Zurich (or somewhere else) and add it to Zermatt for 3 nights and 2 full days. We did the Gornergrat and loved it. We walked from the Gornergrat station down to the next stop for the return to Zermatt (I forget the name). Very easy walk... gorgeous scenery including glaciers and the Matterhorn!
Just some suggestions.

Have a Happy New Year!


swandav2000 Jan 1st, 2008 03:37 AM

Hi nannibray,

Here are some ideas for activities and excursions from Montreux:

Montreux old town


Promenade Fleuri




I would suggest that you go from the BO to Montreux and then on to Zermatt and Zürich; that way you can use the Golden Pass route into Montreux, which is lovely (my second favorite train ride in Switzerland).

Montreux and Vevey have very different characters, as suze can also attest to. Montreux is almost purely a resort; it's full of hotels and the people who fill them who are on vacation. You'll mostly see these lounging and relaxing vacationers as you stroll along the lakeside promenade. The shops are mostly boutiques, jewelry, and souvenir.

In contrast, Vevey is mostly a regular residential town. The old town is next to the lake, and you'll mostly see local folks bustling around doing their workaday chores and shopping. The shops are mostly grocery and antiques with a few small boutiques.

So, that might help you decide which town to stay in along Lake Geneva.

Have fun!


nannibray Jan 1st, 2008 08:38 PM

Thanks everyone! I WILL scratch 1 day from Zurich. Done! Also will consider going to Montreaux area after Lauterbrunnen via the GOLDEN PASS. THAT WILL PUT US THERE ON MARKET DAY - SATURDAY. THEN TO ZERMATT. WILL DEFINITELY DO 2 NIGHTS IN ZERMATT AND AM CONSIDERING 3.
Now back to day 2 when I leave Zurich - should we try to zing to Stein Am Rhein before training to Lucerne area? Is that too much for 1 day? Got no comments on Appenzell so I'll chuck that idea.
Finally, if we do Zermatt last (after Vevey and Montreaux) will that be too long a train ride to Zurich?
Enzian - Like the looks of both hotels in Rigi Kaltbad.
Should I look also into Weggis for 1 night?
Am thinking we will just SKIP Lucerne.
Lastly, Am I alotting my days properly? Is 6 nights a bit too much for BO.
Can we do a day trip to Bern (and is that recommended) from BO?
Am now thinking perhaps 2 nights in Wengen and 4 in Lauterbrunnen. Everyone seems to LOVE Wengen!
Again, Thanks to all of you! The web sites are also VERY helpful! You guys will put Fodors and Frommer out of business! lol.

pja1 Jan 1st, 2008 11:46 PM

"Am now thinking perhaps 2 nights in Wengen and 4 in Lauterbrunnen. Everyone seems to LOVE Wengen!"
" Is 6 nights a bit too much for BO."

I'd pick one place to stay (Wengen) as Wengen and Lauterbrunnen are very close. Difference is Lauterbrunnen sits in the valley and Wengen overlooks it.
On our trip we thought 4 nights in Wengen was too short, so... I'd go with 5 or 6, but that's me.

In Wengen we stayed at and can recommend the Hotel Eiger. Very convenient to the train and absolutely gorgeous views from the room balcony!

I'd also go with 3 nights Zermatt considing seeing the Matterhorn is the reason for being there. Increases the odds of seeing it, perhaps.
We stayed at the Hotel Butterfly (Best Western) in Zermatt.

We also loved the area around Appenzell, yet we didn't stay there (we stayed in Liechtenstein) as we had a car for the first 3 days of our trip.

You could go from Zurich to the B.O. and save Luzern as your last stop before returning to Zurich. Also to consider... We stayed our last night in Luzern and took the train directly to Zurich airport on the morning of our return home.

Hope this helps.


JN Jan 6th, 2008 08:26 AM

If you're still considering alternatives, I'd suggest the following itinerary:
--Arrive in Zurich airport and train directly to Stein am Rhein. Stay there the two nights. To many Americans, this area gives a more unique experience than the big city of Zurich, IMO.

--3-4-5 Luzern. Do Rigi or Pilatus one day, do the Transport Museum on a cloudy day--it is fantastic--at LEAST half a day, more if you take in the IMAX--see the film on climbing the Eiger. Einsedeln could also be a side trip or a stop along the way.

--Days 6-11 in the BO. Pick one place and stay there. You lose time moving around and gain little by taking a place in Interlaken

--Days 12-13--Stay in Zermatt area and hope for clear skies at least once

--Days 14, 15, 16--I' probably in the minority here, but I'd take Locarno in the Italian part over Vevey in the French area any day of the week. The friendly, Italian ambiance combined with Swiss efficiency is great to experience. The Italian food influence is wonderful, and the peaceful strolling along the lake, visiting the fishing village of Ascona and the outdoor restaurants along the lake (Try the Al Pozz) make this a relaxing place to finish your stay. I found the Vevey-Montreuex area to be hectic, less than friendly and no more visually beautiful than Ticino.

--Day 17 train to Zurich and stay overnight before leaving for home in the morning.

Enjoy your trip.

suze Jan 6th, 2008 10:41 AM

Market day is SATurday morning in Vevey. Montreux has a smaller version on Friday morning under the pergola.

Phil Jan 6th, 2008 11:48 AM


Far from wanting to dampen your spirits I wonder if you have taken in account the fact that Switzerland will co-host the European football (soccer) championship from June 7 to 29 2008?

This could mean difficulties in reserving rooms at the better-known places and price hikes.

You may want to reschedule part of your trip or reserve really early.

Enjoy your trip.


enzian Jan 6th, 2008 03:50 PM

Good point, Phil. Of the places they plan to stay, is it only Zürich that is an actual game venue?

nannibray Jan 6th, 2008 06:45 PM

Thanks again everyone. Lots of good info. pjal Will stay 6 nights in BO in 1 place. lauterbrunnen seems best as will be quicker connections to the area.
jn Going directly to Stein am Rhein is VERY APPEALING! But do we need 2 nights there? (not that I want to be moving around but perhaps the day could be put to better use elsewhere.
Glad someone mentioned Locarno - was really thinking of that area. Have been to Berllagio on Lake Como and 1 day ion Lugano, but never to Lake Maggiori (Locarno and Ascona)

nannibray Jan 6th, 2008 07:18 PM

Wow! Lots to think about.
pja1 Will stay in Lauterbrunnen the entire time. Is easier to get to Lake Thun and Lakr Brienz and Murren and Wengen from there, rather than staying in Wengen.

jn Going directly to Stein am Rhein is very appealing. If we do, do we need 2 nights there?
Locarno and Ascona - Great idea! can we get good train connections from Zermatt to the Lake? How long a trip would it be? Would that be a pretty part of the Glacier Express? Am seriously thinking about only 2 nights in Zermatt. That would give 1 FULL day and part of the day we arrive and part of the day we depart if the weather is cloudy on our full day there. (and I have already been there and seen the Matterhorn is full sun) (want to take hubby tho)
What is the minimum number of days to add Locarno? Is 2 days rediculous? By going there we would be riding the Glacier Express? Which I want to do.
Last Request I have seen many posts on trip advisor for the Pension Villa Maria in Lucerne about 1.2 mile from center of Lucerne BUT Frommer 2005 edition does not give an e-mail address or a web site. only a FAX. and I can't FAX internationally. I REALLY want to contact Maria and stay there . Does anyone know the contact information?? Many thanks agin!

In summary. The only parts of the trip that are SET IN STONE are the days in the BO. Have been to Lucerne twice but have not done RIGI. Should we skip Lucerne area to do Italian Lake area and Montreux and Zermatt

nannibray Jan 6th, 2008 07:26 PM

Also - What is dif between 1st and 2nd class Swiss Saverl pass? Is the money well spent on 1st class?
As far as the soccer tournament - Our dates are firm - Airline award tickets and you know how hard they are to get!

Phil Jan 7th, 2008 12:45 AM

nannibray, enzian:

Yes, Zurich is the only venue nannibray is planning to stay at, but Stein am Rhein is likely to be heavily booked as well (rather close to Zurich).

The German team will stay in Ascona, just beside Locarno, and will need lots of additional hotel rooms for its staff and for the media. Ticino also hosts the Swedish team (in Lugano).

Three teams will stay on Lake Geneva (Turkey in Geneva, France in Mont-Pélerin, and the Netherlands in Lausanne). They also will need lots of space and hotel rooms.

And the Bernese Oberland is just 30 minutes' drive from Bern, another of the venues.

So you better book really early, if you want to get reasonable prices.

Enjoy your trip


Maudie Jan 7th, 2008 12:47 AM

IMHO - no 2nd class is just fine and you can use the money saved towards food or some special outings.

If you do go to Locarno, do yourself a favour and do the Olive walk from Lugano to Gandria and catch a ferry back. Here is the link.

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