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14 days: Lucerne, Wengen, Zermatt, Lugano (should I remove Zermatt)

Traveling to Switzerland for 14 days (July 29-Aug) with my husband and 12 year-old son. We’re pretty active and love hiking and adventurous activities but also like to balance it out with some relaxing. Can’t decide if our itinerary is too packed. Tempted to take out Zermatt and add another night in Wengen and one to Lugano. Would appreciate any feedback.

Fly into Zurich (3:25pm arrival)
Stay in Lucerne (2 nights)
Lucerne to Wengen (5 nights)
Wengen to Zermatt (2 nights)
Zermatt to Lugano (3 nights)
Lugano to Zurich (1 night)

Posted by
2458 posts

I can’t imagine going to Switzerland and cutting out Zermatt

Posted by
4972 posts

May I ask why you chose Lugano? Personally, I would go instead to the Montreaux / Lausanne ( French) area instead, especially if you are going to Zermatt. But your trip does seem well - researched.
The Berner Oberland area is fantastic- I'm glad that you'll have five days there, it's just heaven!
Please note that the cities in Switzerland can be in the 80's in the summer, which usually catches folks off -guard, myself included, so bring some summer clothes, in addition to the mountain layers.
Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
5 posts

Pat - I have a two friends who both separately thought I’d like Lugano (they both have lived in Switzerland). That’s how it ended up on my itinerary but researching your suggestion! And thanks for the weather tip. In your opinion do you think I should add two more days in Wengen and just leave Zermatt off the list? I’m so torn.

Posted by
11433 posts

I would be inclined to drop Lugano and add those nights to Zermatt and Luzern. As hikers, we found the mountains around Luzern of more interest than Lugano. At least one more night in Zermatt is advisable. I would probably do 3 Luzern and 4 Zermatt, myself.

Posted by
4972 posts

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/lucerne-62eb4d28-60ab-4837-b4b4-91a2486eb732

Perhaps my Trip Report from 2021 will offer some helpful suggestions. We did have travel restrictions because of COVID mandates, which are no longer relevant .

I'd skip Zermatt and add a day to Lucerne so you could do Mt Rigi and Mt. Stanserhorn , (the latter has a unique open air cable car.) Also, if you had a major flight delay, as I have had twice since COVID, you lose your first day, so I like just planning for that issue.

Five nights in Wengen is great, but no one here every complains about having too much time there. If you have a rainy day, you can day trip to Bern. But I have found rainy days there to also be delightful, and
we have not seen it rain all day, the breaks between showers bring out interesting vistas.

iMHO Lugano seemed more like Italy, graffiti and litter, and different from the other organized and pristine Swiss cities.

Having one day in Zurich before your departure day can be fun, and do stay in the old town, which is walking distance to the train station. On warm summer days, Folks jump off the bridge into the river, ( by the high- rise Marriott), and float up stream . They also string cables from the bridge, and perform gymnastics on the tight-rope style cables. Never would this be allowed in the US.

Research the Montreaux area to see if you're interested, and come back with more questions.
Safe travels.

Posted by
2767 posts

I loved Zermatt and I just did it as a day trip. Would of loved more time there.

I’m headed to Lugano next month for a couple of nights on my way to Italy. I have a hard time believing any place in Switzerland is dirty.

My trip reports from my recent Switzerland trips are posted. Just click on my name if you'd like to take a look.

Posted by
44 posts

On my second trip to Switzerland we spent some time in Locarno and Lugano. Personally I loved it but it definitely feels more like a visit to Italy than Switzerland. But it was fabulous. I definitely think the highlights of your trip will be Wengen/BO and Lucerne. Just decide from there what else excites you. It’s all icing on the cake.

Posted by
5 posts

After a little more research I made an adjustment and decided to drop Lugano and add in Montreux! Would love any more feedback.

Fly into Zurich (3:25pm arrival)
Lucerne (stay 2 night
Wengen (stay 6 nights)
Montreux (stay 2 nights)
Zermatt (stay 2 nights)
Zurich (stay 1 night)

Posted by
2767 posts

If this was me, I would go straight to Wengen and put lucerne at the end and head to the airport from there. One less hotel change. Other than that, looks like a great trip.

All this talk about Switzerland lately has me thinking about a return trip for 2024. I miss it!!!!

Posted by
5 posts

Carrie - I like that idea but was a little worried about jet lag with my son and trying to navigate trains to Wengen after a long flight. Plus my son just found out there’s a FIFA museum in Zurich so I promised we could do that before we leave, ha!

Posted by
2767 posts

Have a great trip!! And be sure to look for the ice cream guy when you are in Wengen. He has a cart in the little plaza in front of the coop grocery store near the train station.