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10 Day Itinerary Review - Late Aug/Early Sep

Hello all! I’ve done some research here and elsewhere, combined with our personal checklist and came up with the below itinerary

1 Arrive Zurich 1PM, train to Bern (Sleep Bern)

2 Train to Zermatt (Sleep Zermatt)

3 Matterhorn/Zermatt (Sleep Zermatt)

4 Train to Lausanne or Montreux (Sleep Lausanne or Montreux)

5 Montreux/Lausanne/Geneva (Sleep Lausanne or Montreux)

6 Train to Lauterbrunnen Valley (Sleep Murren)

7 Lauterbrunnen Valley (Sleep Muren)

8 Lauterbrunnen Valley (Sleep Murren)

9 Train to Lucerne (Sleep Lucerne)

10 Lucerne (Sleep Lucerene)

11 Train to Airport, Fly home

Using sbb.ch, I made a chart of estimated train times to and from each base. The only leg I wanted to dictate was Montreux to Interlaken, so that we could take those two legs of the Golden Pass route. This itinerary had the least amount of time on trains of the others I came up with, so I think it will work nicely.

Day 4 and 5 are still being researched and planned, so could stay in either place. Don’t want to put too much in the 1.5 days we'll be in that area. If anyone has advice on how best to spend the time in that area, I'd love to hear it. I suppose another option would be a third night in Zermatt to maximize chances of good weather for Matterhorn, but is there enough to do in that area to justify that while taking time away from elsewhere?

Any other comments on this new itinerary are very welcome. Have a great day!

Posted by
1174 posts

Spending the first night in Bern seems a bit odd, and only for one night. On arrival why not go straight to Zermatt since it would only be an extra 2 jet-lagged hours? I would add that freed-up day to Wengen/Murren and then do Bern as a day-trip from there.

Posted by
18 posts

Hey Eddie, thanks for the reply! We’re coming into Switzerland after a three day stopover in Iceland. So jetlag should be minimal.

I actually did consider going straight to Zermatt. My thought process was that maybe that first half day would be better spent hitting the ground running and getting that half day of Bern in. And then taking an early morning train to Zermatt if it’s a nice weather day, or lingering in Bern if the weather looks better for the following day.

Just reading your reply, I’m not sure if you’re suggesting Bern should get more than one night, or if it’s only worth a day trip?

Thanks again. This feedback truly helps.

Posted by
1653 posts

Bern is entirely skippable in what is a relatively short trip. Add a night in Zermatt instead, for the reason you stated.

And I find that Vevey is the best place to stay in the Montreux-Lausanne area, I really like the town center (whereas I find Montreux to be a bit of a "faded glory" - convenient for Golden Pass tho). Don't bother going all the way to Geneva, it is fine but less spectacular than the eastern part of the lake around Montreux.

Posted by
18 posts

@balso - Thank you. Appreciate that feedback.

Are there any day trip worthy locations from Zermatt? In case we get wonderful weather the whole time there, would love any extra recommendations of things to do.

Posted by
1653 posts

Zermatt is at the end of a deep valley so not well positioned for day trips. But there are so many hikes and viewpoints, it is easy to keep yourself occupied for 2 days.

Posted by
51 posts

Hello Alex
What are your travel dates? If you stop over in Montreux just make sure it isn’t the first part of July when the jazz festival is taking place. Zermatt is lovely for hiking (although a bit touristy) and worthy of a 2 day stay. The train getting there is spectacular - I never tire of it.
Good journey!

Sorry just saw your August-September timeframe so no worries about the festival.

Posted by
12040 posts

I agree, add another day to Zermatt. General rule of thumb, give yourself at least three full nights in any Alpine location to maximize your chances of good weather. Even on an otherwise clear day, the Matterhorn can shrowd itself in it's own personal cloud bank.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you all so much for the replies. This helps a lot! We will add a third night to Zermatt.

One final question, if I am stuck on seeing Bern. Would taking a day away from Lausanne/Montreux be worth it? The change would be still going into Bern that first day fresh off the plane, then heading to Zermatt early the next morning and staying three nights. This would also give us several more hours for a first day in Zermatt arriving sometime around 10-11am as opposed to 4PM or later.

Then only staying the one night in Lucerne/Montreux so that we can still do the Golden Pass into Interlaken.

Thanks again. You've all been super helpful.

Posted by
1653 posts

In my opinion, the Montreux area is more interesting than Bern. Don't get me wrong: Bern is a nice city. But going to Luzern, you will have your "fix" of cute Swiss cities.
Also, don't get too overhyped on the Golden Pass railway: it is certainly worth going that way from Montreux to Interlaken, but the scenery, while excellent especially climbing above Montreux at the start, is not necessarily better than on many other railways in the country. For instance, I find the Interlaken-Luzern railway, which you will also travel on, to be even more scenic (sit on the right-hand side leaving Interlaken, which becomes the left-hand side after Meiring as the train reverses).

Posted by
18 posts

Excellent, thanks for the tips balso. And to all, this has been truly helpful.

Posted by
651 posts

Zermatt: Here are our 2 favorite hikes.

  1. Take funicular up to Sunnegga. Walk to Grindjisee, and if the weather is good, you can get the Matterhorn reflecting off that small lake. Walk around some more to Riffelalp, where you can take the train down. This is the red line on this map: http://ikeikedondon.com/top_swiss3_image_all_1/zermatt_map05.png

  2. Take the train to Gornergrat, then walk down the hill in the direction towards the Matterhorn. You'll find a small lake, which might also be calm enough to reflect the Matterhorn. Then walk back towards the tracks (not to Gornergrat) and you'll arrive near the next station down from Gornergrat to catch the train.

Posted by
15 posts

Agree with the Zermatt comments above. If you want to find cheap lodging. From the Zermatt Train station take a left and walk 10 mins to the $20 a night campground. Check out the section of town built in the 1600s. If you are in good shape do the Hornlihutte hike.
That Murrren, Gimmelwald, Grindelwald area is Awesome. Message me if you want hike recommendations.
Also be flexible. If it's pouring down rain in Montreux /Zermatt consider St. Moritz /Ponsersina. Have a plan B.