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10 day Switzerland itinerary


My husband & I will be traveling to Austria & Switzerland in October. We'll be staying with friends in Vienna & Salzburg for a total of 5 days, then traveling to Switzerland. I need assistance with our Switzerland itinerary please. We want to see Zermatt, the Berner Oberland & Luzern, with a minimum of 3 nights in each location (perhaps only 2 in Zermatt). We'll be traveling by train. I'm thinking of starting in Zermatt and working our way up to Zurich for our flight home. Leasurely walks/hikes, nature, small towns and beautiful scenery is what we're seeking. Questions:

  1. What's the best way to get to Zermatt from Austria (we'll probably be in Innsbruck but don't have to be).

  2. What rail pass is recommended?

  3. What are the must see's along this route, or is there a better route?

Thank you in advance for your comments & suggestions.

Posted by
16428 posts

Starting in Innsbruck, the fastest route to Zermatt is to take the Railjet train to Zurich, then a Swiss IC train to Visp, then the local train up to Zermatt. That will take you 7 1/2 hours.
A more scenic route (not that the other one isn't) is to take the Railjet train to Sargans (leave 7:40 at the latest) then a Swiss IC train to Chur, then the Glacier Express to Zermatt. That route will take 9 1/2 hours and require a reservation fee on top of the normal fare.
An 8 day Swiss Travel Pass might work for you, at 363 chf. It might expire when you are in Luzern, but the ticket to Zurich airport is only about 33 chf, so you could buy separately. The Swiss one-month Half Fare Card usually saves the most money, but you will need to buy a ticket each time you travel. These would cover you from the Swiss border to the airport (if still valid). Figuring out the best pass with all the various options is almost an MBA problem.
Remember, from mid-October on, snow is not unheard of in the high mountains.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Sam, very helpful. Sounds like we may want to skip the Glacier Express as it's it's not too express. I like the idea of the 8 day Swiss pass.

Posted by
7205 posts

By all means skip the GE. Don't understand why able bodied people want to SIT on a train for so many hours when you could actually be out and ABOUT in that beautiful scenery if you just take a normal train and arrive earlier. Switzerland is full of amazing scenery, and there's no need to sit on a slow moving freight train to enjoy it.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks. Definitely decided against the GE. Wish the rail pass issue wasn't so confusing. I'm tempted to just buy the 15 day pass and not have to worry about it.