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Need help planning a 10 day trip to Austria and Switzerland

We would like to fly into Munich and out of Zurich (or vice versa) in May 2017. We are planning a 10 day trip and would like to visit Salzburg, Vienna, Lucern, Bern, Interlaken and Zurich. We are open to including or excluding cities based on suggestions. Please advise what would be a good itinerary for 10 days. Thanks for your help!

Posted by
8626 posts

Do you plan to see Munich as well? Thats 7 cities in 10 days. You lose at least half a day with each change of location. Three places would be my target. I would skip Zurich and Bern, and substitute somewhere up the valley for Interlaken. Can you fly in or out of Vienna instead?

Posted by
9 posts

Hi Stan,

We do not plan on seeing Munich. Just looking for a place to get cheap flights in and out of USA. Vienna was expensive, hence the plan to have Munich and Zurich as our cities to fly in and out of. Definitely do not want to cover all those places in such a short time. Would like to do what is the most feasible and best option with respect to places to see, time and ease of travel. Are all those cities easily accessible by train?

Posted by
782 posts

If you fly into Munich you can catch the train to Salzburg,it takes about 1 1/2 hrs. and spend time there and then train to Vienna.You can fly from Vienna to Zurich then a train to Bern and work your way back to Zurich.

Posted by
27405 posts

For clarity: All of those destinations are linked by train; it's just an issue of how long the trip would be and whether in some cases flying would save substantial time.

You can check the time required for each leg on the Deutsche Bahn website or the SBB (Swiss rail) website. If tickets are not yet available for your projected travel dates, use dates in early April.

I like Bern, but I'd rather use the time in the mountains (late May would probably be better weather-wise). Zurich is not, for most of us, a very distinctive or exciting city, though it's perfectly pleasant. But given that it is achingly expensive, why not either spend time in the fabulous Swiss mountains or in a nice spot in nearby Germany or Austria.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the sugggestions. So based on the suggestions does it seem like a feasible option to fly into Zurich and take the train to Lucern, stay there for 3-4 days. May be make a day trip to Interlaken? How do we get to the mountains from Lucern? We can add a couple of days at Lucern if its not all doable in 3-4 days. We can head to Vienna for a couple of days after this and then spend a day in Salzburg before heading back from Munich?

Posted by
451 posts

I agree with MrsEB. Salzburg, then Vienna, then Murren in the mountains above Interlaken. I think most here would stay in Lucern the night before your flight home, it is roughly an hour train ride away from Luzern.

Land and straight to
Salzburg (2 nights)
Vienna (3 nights)
Murren (3 nights)
Luzern (2 night)

According to Rome2Rio, it will take most of the day to get to Murren from Vienna but Murren is worth it.

Posted by
8889 posts

"How do we get to the mountains from Lucern?" - Luzern is within site of the mountains. You just stand on the quayside and look (it is on a lake). You can take boat trips on the lake, the far end of which is fjord like and into the mountains. Details here:
If you want to go up a mountain, I suggest Titlis. Train from Luzern to Engelberg (~1 hour), then cable car up Titlis. At the top you have a small galcier and perment snow cap. Details here:

Interlaken can be done as a day trip. The rail route is over the scenic Brünig pass. But, places past Interlaken are better (Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald etc.) pick one and do 2+ nights there after Luzern.

From there train to Salzburg (change Zürich). This is a long haul but scenic. Salzburg to Vienna is easy. Then fly back from Vienna.
My recomendation would be MINIMUM: 2 nights Luzern, 3N above Interlaken, 2N Salzburg, 3N Vienna = 10 nights. Oops, you only have 9 nights (10 days), it will be a bit rushed.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. Based on your inputs, we are thinking of the following itinerary.

Day 1 : Fly into Zurich and immediately take the train to Lucerne
Days 2 and 3 : Stay in Lucerne
Days 4 to 6 : Traveling to Lauterbrunnen by train and spending time there
Day 7; Travel to Salzburg by train
Day 8 : Salzburg
Day 9 : Travel to Vienna by train late afternoon
Days 10 and 11: Vienna
Day 12 : Travel to Munich by train late afternoon
Day 13: Fly out of Munich

Does this look like a good plan? Are there any direct trains from LAuterbrunnen to Salzburg? Also, should we add a day to Salzburg and take away a day from Lauterbrunnen?

Thanks in advance

Posted by
27405 posts

You can check out rail options to Salzburg on the SBB website. I think multiple transfers will be required.

I think I'd keep the time allocation as-is if you're hoping to do some mountain walking/hiking in the area above Lauterbrunnen. Swiss weather can be iffy. This way, you have 2-1/2 days to find good weather. If you have extra time, you might take a boat ride on Lake Thun.

Posted by
8889 posts

Are there any direct trains from Lauterbrunnen to Salzburg?

No, but that is not a problem. Trains from Lauterbrunnen run to Interlaken, you always have to change trains there. And you would have to change again in Bern and Zürich. Changing just means getting off one train, walking a few metres (<100) and getting on another train. No hassle.

Go to the SBB website:
Enter From: Lauterbrunnen, To: Salzburg and a date and time, and you will get something like:

Lauterbrunnen dep 10:03, Interlaken Ost arr 10:24
Interlaken Ost dep 10:30, Bern arr 11:23
Bern dep 11:32, Zürich HB arr 12:28
Zürich HB dep 12:40, Salzburg Hbf arr 18:03

There are earlier and later options.

Posted by
58 posts

We've been blessed to visit all but Vienna several times. In case you're still making plans, here are my suggestions for yet another alternate schedule. I would suggest going to Salzburg and then Vienna first to allow things to warm up as much as possible in the mountainous Lauterbrunnen area. Its absolutely beautiful, but one year when we visited in September, they had 7 inches of snow the following week. Although it looks like May is typically in the low to mid 60's as highs, it wouldn't hurt to put Lauterbrunnen as late as possible in your schedule.

Day 1 : Fly into Munich. If you'd like to catch up from your flight, you might enjoy Munich for 1 day. We stayed at a lovely inn within walking distance of Nymphenburg Palace ( An easy bus ride takes you to the charming old city. Otherwise you can use a "Bayern One Day Ticket" to get you to Salzburg. Cost: 23€ for 1 Adult in 2nd class, add up to 4 more people for 4€ a person.
Days 2 and 3 : (Assuming you go directly to Salzburg on day 1) We love the charm of Salzburg! See the Getreidegasse shopping street, Mozart houses, amazing cathedrals, Hohensalzburg castle, Maria von Trapp's convent and film's cemetary site)... We even stayed one night in the real Von Trapp home now a B and B. Much to see and do in the area.
Days 4 to 6 : Travel and visit to Vienna (This is when you would need to use a different rail pass or individual tickets. Individual tickets while in Austria might make sense and then begin to use a Swiss pass at - or just past - Lichtenstein when you leave Austria. It would take some homework to decide...)
Day 7; Travel to Innsbruck by train. Innsbruck is a couple hours west of Salzburg. This would break up your long train ride to Lauterbrunnen, and Innsbruck is a lovely town. In addition to strolling through the old city, be sure to visit the Hofkirche with its dramatic statuary and the museum with its folk art and fantastic Christmas creche displays.
Day 8 : Travel to Lauterbrunnen Valley via Zurich and Lucerne (This is an absolutely beautiful, and somewhat lengthy train ride through the mountains! We much prefer the Lucerne route through the mountains. The Bern route is much less scenic.) While we've changed trains several times at Lucerne and had lunch there, other than the famous covered bridge, we haven't seen anything that we would recommend taking time to see in Lucerne. (Perhaps we didn't explore far enough...?)
Day 9 and 10: (If you didn't include Innsbruck you could add a day here.) Spend time in the Lauterbrunnen valley. We love the Zuben chalet in Lauterbrunnen, just 2 minutes from the train station and also the lift to the train that goes to Murren. While many enjoy staying in wither Murren or Wengen, we appreciate the convenience of easily reaching both sides of the valley from the town of Lauterbrunnen. In the valley itself be sure to see the Trummelbach Falls, the only internal waterfalls in Europe. Also the lovely folkmuseum to learn more of the life and history of the valley. The tourist office near the chalet can tell you about any folklore evenings and also weather clarity at the higher elevations (very important if you plan to visit either of the top peaks - pricey but outstanding views!) They can also provide you with hiking maps. We are flat-landers, but its easy to take the lifts up to the higher elevations, walk around and then take the lifts back down. The mountains are breathtaking and the valley is lined with waterfalls. The neighboring town of Meiringen, a short train ride away, is a great side trip with its ancient church and excavations and Sherlock Holmes connection. The next stop north has a wonderful alpine antique shop too!
Day 12 : Travel to Zurich by train late afternoon (we usually stay at a hotel near the airport)
Day 13: Fly out of Zurich
I hope some of this is helpful to you! Whatever schedule you choose I'm sure you'll have a marvelous time!!!