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Advice on a week in Switzerland

Hello, all

My girlfriend and I (ages 27) are hoping to get a good visit in Switzerland to round out a 24 day trip to Europe. We will be catching a Train from Paris to Zurich on August 7. And we will be leaving Europe from Lugano on August 16. So my current itinerary is:
8/7 - Train Paris to Zurich. Train to Lucern.
8/8 - Lucern
8/9 - Train Lucern to Interlaken
8/10 - Interlaken
8/11 - Interlaken
8/12 - Train Interlaken to Milan
8/13 - Milan
8/14 - Daytrip to Lake Como returning to Milan
8/15 - Train Milan to Lugano

So our delemma and questions then are, if we decide to cut out Milan and spend the entirety of our trip in switzerland (except visiting Como), what would be the best way to structure our trip? Are we missing any crucial places to visit in Switzerland? Is there enough to see and do in Lugano and the surrounding area to justify 3 days worth of time? I also know that Switzerland is wildly expensive to travel to and within which also influences our decisions.
I have tried to think the best solution/use of our time, but there are so many options! We enjoy both the outdoors as well as urban city centers, but want to stay somewhere comfortable without breaking the budget. Sorry my post is so long!! We greatly appreciate any advice!
Thanks, Parker

Posted by
7753 posts

Rather than staying down in Interlaken, spend your time up in the breathtaking mountains in Grindelwald, Wengen or Murren.

Posted by
7205 posts

Yes, previous poster is exactly correct - do NOT NOT NOT waste your time in this stunning area by staying in Interlaken. You came here to see the alps so STAY right in the middle of all that dramatic beauty. Choose either Murren, Lauterbrunnen or Wengen.

Posted by
8889 posts

Parker, If you want to get from Paris to Luzern, you do not go via Zürich. You get off the train at Basel (1 hour before Zürich), and go direct from there to Luzern. Via Zürich is 2 sides of a triangle, and takes 1 hour longer.
Book your tickets from Paris ASAP. 7th August is just over a week away, the cheapest tickets will already be sold out.

I agree, do not stay in Interlaken, but somewhere further into the hills (Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, Grindelwald). It will save you a 30-minute commute every day.

Posted by
7196 posts

hey man just back from Switzerland; like the above forget Interlaken and stay in Lauterbrunnen. or Murren
i am a budget traveler. They have all kinds of passes to save money but the passes are expensive as well. So Here is one tip
download the SBB rail ap because it will accept US Credit cards; the desktop version does not. Look to buy SuperSaver tickets. These go on sale 30 days in advance. They are usually half the price of a regular ticket (e.g. my ticket Zurich to Luzern was listed at 40chf I got a Supersaver for 20chf) but you have to buy them asap otherwise they sell out.
I stayed at Hotel Steinbock in Lauterbrunnen and had a great view and it is right by the train station. It is sparse but you are not going there to enjoy the interior in the hotel room you are going there to take in the scenery of the mountains

Posted by
10062 posts

With much experience in Italy and Switzerland, here is what I would suggest as an itinerary, but get the Rick Steves Switzerland Guide book for the info you need to make the most of this trip. Seriously.

8/7 - Train Paris to Luzern via Basel

8/8 - Luzern

8/9 - Train Luzern to Lauterbrunnen Valley - choose Mürren, Wengen or Lauterbrunnen. All are convenient and lovely in different ways. Each will work for you. Just find a place you want to stay.

8/10 - Lauterbrunnen Valley

8/11 - Lauterbrunnen Valley

From here it depends on what you want to do. Milan is a big city and will be hot. Seems you like the mountains. You can go to Lugano easily, or right to Lago di Como. Stay in Varenna on Lago di Como.

8/12 - Train to Milano and on to Lago di Como (probably Varenna is your best bet) OR train to Lugano

8/13 - Varenna (Lago di Como) OR Lugano

8/14 - Varenna (Lago di Como) OR Lugano

You can do both Lugano and Varenna, but I would pick one. I am not clear if your trip ends Aug 15 or that is just your next move. You could certainly do with one or two more nights in the Lauterbrunnen Valley if you like mountains and hiking. It is far better there than in Varenna or Lugano, IMO.

Posted by
10062 posts

BTW, Hotel Steinbock in Lauterbrunnen was a last minute decision for us many years ago. As mentioned, it is spartan but clean and they served a good breakfast.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for the advice!! We decided to change our plans a little and skip Milan and spend more time in the mountains and at como with everyone's help! We will be staying in Lauterbrunnen as I remember reading about that one in Ricks books, it was affordable, and everyone here mentioned it!