We're planning a 2 week Alpine trip for summer 2019 (2 couples). I originally wanted to do the RS Alpine Your Way Tour, but decided that I wanted more time in Switzerland so I am considering an independent trip. We intend on purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass for 5 or 8 days. I am usually comfortable planning independent travel, but I am finding Switzerland confusing.
Fly into Salzburg. Stay 3 nights.
Pick up rental car in Salzburg on last day and head to the Zugspitze/Fussen area. Visit Zugspitze en route to Fussen area.
Stay in Fussen area 2 nights and visit Neuschwanstein area.
Drive to Lucerne and spend at least 2 if not 3 nights and explore Pilatus, Rigi, etc. Drop off car upon arrival to Lucerne.
I would like to split the rest of the time with at least 3 nights in the Berner Oberland area and then at least 2 nights in the Geneva area (to include a day at Chamonix). We will fly home from Geneva. We could add another stop or increase length of stay in the above mentioned areas. Bern is a possibility (or maybe a day trip there if possible) We should have 14 nights total, but don't want 1 several 1 night stops. B&Bs or vacation rentals a plus.
Now here is my concern...
I did pick up the RS Switzerland guide book, but have not totally devoured it yet. We want to ditch the car in Lucerne and use the Swiss Pass to use train travel for the rest of Switzerland (including the Panoramic Trains) . I am wondering which towns would be best as a base without a car. Proximity to trains, etc are a factor. We are capable of walking with light luggage, but not too far of course. I am considering Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald, Grindlewald. Is Zermatt a must see? How about Lugano area? We are more interested in nature, hikes, boat rides, cheese, wine and just hanging out...more than big cities and museums.
Is one really able to thread together day trips and overnight stays to just about anywhere in Switzerland?
Are the train stations fairly accessible by foot?
Is Air Conditioning scarce in Switzerland?
Thanks for any input.