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5 day / 4 night itinerary for a Basel to Zurich trip in mid-October

My wife and I will finish an Amsterdam to Basel river cruise the second week in October and want to do a train trip from Basel with stops in Bern, the Berner Oberland and Luzern then flying out of Zurich early Day 5. First visit to Switzerland so any and all advice is welcome!

1) Would like to send our heavier baggage ahead from the Basel train station to Zurich airport or train station for pick-up on Day 4;
Q - has anyone experienced that service provided by SBB and willing to provide a review?

2) Proposed itinerary > Day 1 - forward baggage at station if available; train to Bern for 1/2 day tour; train to Interlaken and on to either Gimmelwald or Murren for 3 night accommodations. Day 2 - sightseeing and hiking. Day 3 - sightseeing and hiking Day 4 - early departure to Luzern via train (Golden Pass?); 1/2 day tour in Luzern and then on to hotel near Zurich airport, pick-up baggage. Day 5- morning flight back home. Any thoughts about Gimmelwald or Murren or somewhere else as the base for 3 days?

3) Is the Swiss Pass the best train pass for this itinerary?
Thanks for your advice!

Posted by
27743 posts

When are you sightseeing Basel? It is, for me, much better than Bern and Zurich combined.

What time in the morning is your flight home? Most people will suggest to stay the night in Luzern and take the 63 minute train straight to the airport station just under the airport.

Posted by
7 posts

Good point Nigel - maybe day 1 when we get off the cruise would be good to spend in Basel. Would like to make a short stop in Bern but most of our time will be in Berner Oberland area. Any preferences on those base locations? Our flight is early so staying close to the Zurich airport for that reason. Thanks

Posted by
27743 posts

I've enjoyed the Lauterbrunnen Valley - specifically Mürren - in September but never in October. I honestly don't know what will be open. I would guess that the summer will have wound down, yet I wouldn't have expected winter sports to have kicked in. It could be quite quiet.

Others will probably have better information than I, but that's my best guess.

Gimmelwald, a small place at the height of the season will likely be even smaller.

If thngs are still ticking over in Mürren I might suggest staying there, although I can see lots of potential for Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
16883 posts

Your two longer train travel days to and from Muerren add up to about 150 CHF. You'd save money by buying a One-Month Half Fare Card and paying 50% for all transport tickets as you go.

Or, for some additional hop-on convenience, the Swiss Travel Pass for 4 consecutive days would fully cover a route like Muerren-Wengen and return and give you a 50% discount Muerren-Schilthorn and 25% discount Wengen-Jungfraujoch. It also covers some museums, in case of bad weather.

The Mürren - Allmendhubel funicular will be closed from 16 October but the Mürren - Schilthorn gondolas not until 13 November.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks Laura,
Good information on train ticket options - seems like Swiss Travel Pass makes the most sense!

Posted by
631 posts

I'm with Nigel (again!). Basel is definately worth time. The old town is all within a walkable area. Hopefully the cruise ends early enough to use the rest of the day.

As for the luggage service, never used it but if SBB are running it you can expect precision. Note that there is a railway station at the airport, if that's where the hotel is then send it to that one not the main station in the city. But make sure you get the domestic luggage deal and not Fly-Luggage, which seems to offer no benefit if not flying with a Swiss airline.