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5 day in Switzerland - What to do? Where to stay?

Hello, I am travelling with my parents to Switzerland mid-June 2018. I need your guidance and experience in setting up my travel plan.
We want to focus on the following things,
1. Take a ride with Bernina Train and enjoy the glass views from the train.
2. Visit Jungfraujoh mountain top.
3. Do 1-2 Lake/Boat trips
4. Visit any castle.
We are NOT into hiking or trekking much.

We are reaching Europe (from Cyprus) via Milan Bergamo on 17 June, 9:50AM and leaving back on 24 June, 10:15AM from Milan Bergamo.

I would like to know
1. Where should we stay ? Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald or Interlaken?
2. Should we take Swiss Rail Pass or book point to point tickets in advance for our travels?
3. Should we do the Bernina Express Train on 17th when we reach Milan Bergamo (the flight to Milan is about 4 hours time). I am thinking of the below,
Milano Centrale --> Lugano Stazione (1 hr 16 min)
and then from Lugano to Tirano via Bernina Express Train - not sure if Bernina Express train works in both directions - anyone knows?
Should we do it on our return journey back from Switzerland - via Chur to Lugano or part of the stretch before entering Milan again?
4. Does the Swiss Rail Pass cover the tickets also for Bernina Express or do we need to book that separately ?
5. Shall we also do city tours like Geneva in our trip ? Kindly advise.

Thanks a lot in advance for your answers!!

Posted by
8889 posts

Milan is an unusual airport to choose for travelling to Switzerland, but in your case it is fortuitous because the Bernina route runs from Italy to Switzerland, and unless you are going to or from Italy it is not convenient.

17th to 24th June is 7 nights, so not more than 2 places.

Note the Bernina Express is one extra tourist train, all rail routes in Switzerland, including the Bernina Pass route, have one train per hour. It is not necessary to get specifically the "Bernina Express" train, you see the same mountains from all trains.

This map: shows what is covered by the Swiss Pass. Red is rail, yellow bus and white are boats.

My suggestion:
Day 1 (17th) land Milan, Italian train Milan to Tirano (not Lugano). Then Bernina Pass route to St Moritz.. Stay one night.
Day 2 (18th). Train St Moritz - Reichenau - Disentis - Brig - Spiez - Jungfrau region (Wengen / Lauterbrunnen / Grindelwald but not Interlaken). Stay 4 nights.
Day 7 (23rd). Train to Milan. with a 10:50 departure you need to be in Milan the night before your flight.

Plan B:
2 nights Jungfrau region.
Train to Luzern 2 nights there. Luzern has boat trips on the lake.
Day 7 (23rd) Train from Luzern to Milan

If you are really not into hiking, plan B is better.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Chris F. I feel motivated after your reply. I am a bit nervous as I have not much studied about Switzerland and being a first time traveller to Switzerland, without much knowledge on cities (as are mostly villages), I felt a bit shaken and nervous, especially for hotel bookings , train tickets etc.

I like your Plan B suggestion.

Could you advise, if buying a Swiss Travel Pass would be an economical option for me ? Or to buy point to point tickets in advance?

Also, is it possible to cover Geneva or you would not recommend it ?

Posted by
8889 posts

I think I would choose plan B, as it gives you a better range of places. Luzern is a town, but a pretty one. People who only want to hike in mountains would go for plan A.
I suggest you trace out the complete route on the map I provided last time.

This 360° panorama of Luzern might interest you. The old town is on the right side of the river. The station and boat landing are to the left of the bridge. The mountain above and slightly to the right of the station (partially in clouds) is Pilatus. The mountains to the left of that are higher.

A Swiss pass would probably be a good idea. You would have to do a lot of arithmetic to work it out. It also includes boats on Lake Luzern, and partially mountain railways. See the map.
With a pass you would need to buy tickets for Italy separately: airport - Milan - Tirano and border - Milan - airport.

I would not recommend Geneva. It is a long way away, at the end of Switzerland, you don't have time and it is not the first choice for a Swiss city.

You can look up Swiss train times on the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) website: Note, the "from" prices you see on the first page assume you have a Half Price Card.
Italian trains: