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10 Day Itinerary in Switzerland after River Cruise to Basel

Hi everyone,

I hope this finds all my fellow travelers healthy and enjoying travel to your favorite places.

I'm looking for help for the best route for our 10 days in Switzerland (we can extend it up to 12 days if we want/need). We get off our River Cruise next September (we've now pushed it back twice) in Basel, Switzerland. There's no changing that part. Here is what we want to do, just not sure of the timing and sequence.

Grindelwald (3 to 4 days)
Zermatt (2 days)
Chur (1 day)
Lucerne (3 to 4 days)
Fly home to the US on day 10 or 11.

Any thoughts, ideas and help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Deb

Posted by
16486 posts

Reading between the lines, I assume your one day in Chur is so you can ride the Glacier Express from Zermatt. Since you will immediately turn around and head to Luzern, you might as well take the final leg to St Moritz as it is a very interesting part of the ride, going over the Landwasser Viaduct and the Albula rail line to St Moritz with its many spiral tunnels and hairpin turns. Then travel to Luzern the next day.

Rather than Grindelwald, I'd suggest Muerren or Wengen which are in the mountains and car free. Wengen if you want to do the Jungfraujoch, or Muerren if you want to do the Schilthorn. Muerren is perhaps a bit more magical.

Posted by
6542 posts

How about going from Basel to Luzern first? Its only about 1+ hours by train, and then you're not backtracking.

Posted by
7503 posts

I agree with your decision to stay in Grindelwald. We found the scenery stunning and it has many conveniences too, choices in dining and hotels. Good train connections too. We spent a week there.
Chur? If thinking of staying in St. Moritz, instead stay in lovely nearby Pontresina instead. We were warned not to stay in St-Moritz and were glad we didn’t.

Posted by
16486 posts

If its only a one night stay, I have no problem with St Moritz. Pontresina, only if staying a few days.

Basel is very convenient for your last stop as it is just over one hour by direct train to Zurich Airport. Zurich is your best airport for a flight back to the US. Could even be a direct flight depending on where home is. And Grindelwald is only 2 hours and 40 minutes from Basel SBB station with one change at Interlaken Ost. More changes and a little more time to get to Wengen or Muerren, but it is worth it.

Posted by
62 posts

First of all, if you can have 12 days in Switzerland rather than 10, do it!

Agree that if time permits it is a bit more magical to stay in Wengen or Murren than Grindelwald (which is fine if that is what budget and travel time allows).

Since you have time, try to find RS's book if you have not done so already. It has a nice train diagram that shows how the trains actually run, which is not intuitive from looking at google maps, since mountains and other topography gets in the way of some routes that might look direct on the map. Also, local travel patterns come into play so there are some more express routes that might not be the shortest distance between two points on the map but they connect business/commuting centers and therefore are faster and have more frequent service. For the optimal route, check the train schedules at

Posted by
1929 posts

Having just done the Bernina Express and staying in Pontresina a few days, I vote for that.
We rode the non-posh regular train cars, and got off right before the Swiss border, waited 17 minutes , and rode bock. Each way was under two hours. The scenery is so magnificent it was worth doing it twice, and on the return run , we knew what was coming up, so we were in better positions to get photos.