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First time in Switzerland

Please advise on my itinerary.
Arrive Zurich and take train to Lucerne for two nights
Train to Interlaken 3 nights
Train to Zermatt 2 nights
Glacier express to St Moritz 2 nights
Train to Bellagio 3 nights
Train to Milan 2 nights
Two questions. Should we stay in Interlaken or somewhere nearby. Should we buy Swiss Pass for this itinerary?
My flights are booked into Zurich and out of Milan
Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions

Posted by
2344 posts

Instead of Interlaken, continue on to either Wengen or Murren. This will get you up in the alps, instead of at the base of them.

A rail pass is a good idea. In addition to the trains from point to point, many of the cable cars up into the mountains and boats on the lakes are covered.

This seems like a lot of stops with short stays in places where seeing the actual sights (like the Matterhorn) are very weather dependent. What happens if it rains for 3 days straight? I would drop at least one stop (probably 2) and increase the number of nights at the remaining places in case of bad weather.

Have you considered the Bernina Express? It ends near Lake Como. It’s an easy train ride to Varenna, then a ferry ride to Bellagio.

Posted by
31 posts

Trip starts on May 6. Is there a train from Wengen to Zermatt or would we have to go back to Interlaken? Since we are taking the Glacier express from Zermatt to st Moritz I thought we would take a regular, shorter train to Lake Como

Posted by
31 posts

Would you add nights to Lucerne and Zermatt and not go to Interlaken?

Posted by
501 posts

I think that your itinerary for the Swiss portion of your trip is just fine.

I assume that you have chosen locations that you would like to see, to cut some out just because you ‘might’ have bad weather would be a shame.

Switzerland is very small. To put things into perspective, I often make day trips from my home in Thun (30 Km from Interlaken) to all of the Swiss destinations that you mentioned. When I go from here to Zermatt I have enough time to go there, spend the day hiking and return home for supper. If you were in Zermatt and found that there was nothing at all you wanted to do there (I can hardly imagine this would be possible), then just get on a train and go elsewhere for the day.

Before we moved here we would always stay in Interlaken whenever we visited. It is a very central location and has a wide variety of affordable accommodation. From there you can easily explore the entire Berner Oberland (a much larger area than just Wengen and Mürren). Just check the webcams in the morning and choose the destination with the best weather that day.

Most people on this forum like to stay in Wengen, Lauterbrunnen or Mürren and those are great options, but it is all just a matter of preference. (Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen ~ 14 Km/ 8.6 miles)

Posted by
4925 posts

The question is- do you want to actually stay in the Alps or under them? Interlaken is a commercial transit hub. Lauterbrunnen is a little ways up towards the Alps, and Mürren and Wengen are actually in the Alps, and the views are spectacular, even on cloudy days. Do you want to wake up and spend the evenings in the Alps, and experience the vistas during the " golden hours" ?
I would suggest watching some of theRS videos to get an idea of the areas. I also had problems visualizing travel routes before I went to Switzerland, and understanding that these spectacular mountains can get in the way of more "direct" train routes.
Have a great trip in this beautiful country .

Posted by
31 posts

Thanks for your responses. I’m just realizing how compact Switzerland is and more rain and cooler than I anticipated. But May was our only option.
I’m a little confused on transportation from St Moritz to Bellagio. Are there more trains in May than now? The schedule appears very limited now. Thanks

Posted by
6957 posts

Well, to get to Bellagio from St. Moritz, you have to get to Varenna-Esino station first, then take the frequent ferry from Varenna.
St. Moritz to Varenna involves a change of trains in Tirano, but it very straightforward and should have relatively frequent connections. Beautiful journey, too (arguably better than the Glacier Express!).
In Varenna, the work from the train station to the ferry pier is very short.

Posted by
31 posts

Thanks for everyone’s help and suggestions! Especially My Swiss Life. I’m sure I’ll have more questions. Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Thanks

Posted by
30 posts

Myswisslife I saw your post and have a question. We arrive May 9th into Zurich and then head to Lucern for 2 nights and then to Bern for 2 nights and then a friend said to stay in Grindelwald. Is that a town you would recommend or Murren instead? I would love a view of the alps and am thinking
The Derby Swiss hotel may not have the views. Another question is when we arrive in Zurich can we hop on a train easily to go to Lucern or do we need tickets ahead of time? Looks like there are a few different train companies to purchase tickets from. Thank you

Posted by
4925 posts

Warenow1-
SBB is the fantastic , efficient , wonderful Swiss train system. Trains to most anywhere in The country run 2-3 times an hour. Download their app for info on routes and prices.
You need to research and decide if it's best for you to buy tickets individually, buy a Half-Fare card, or maybe a Swiss Travel Pass.
There are Supersaver tickets that can be purchased in advance, but be warned if your flights are significantly delayed, it could be wasted.
If you're traveling around the country, a Half Fare card or one of the Swiss Travel Passes might be best for you.
I'm a fan of Murren- sleep in the Alps!
Safe travels!

Posted by
501 posts

Hi Warenow1

I looked up the hotel you mention, it looks like it is right at the train station in Grindelwald. If this is the one you mean then yes, you will have wonderful mountain views. The photos that they share on their website are accurate as far as what you can expect to see out the window. Grindelwald is on quite a steep slope, so that means the buildings below you are much lower and there is more opportunity for wide open views. Not sure if I am explaining this well...check out the Grindelwald tourism website to see photos and live webcams of what the area looks like.

Mürren is at a higher elevation, but both villages are indeed in the mountains with spectacular views and lots of great activities. Check out the other recent thread on Grindelwald to get more thoughts and ideas. I would personally say that there isn't a bad choice here.

Posted by
30 posts

Myswisslife.

Thank you so much for taking the time looking up the hotel I have booked and for all the information!
Susan

Posted by
374 posts

I wouldn't stay in Interlaken for cute swiss alps charm because you won't find it here. I stayed in Lauterbrunnen and while it was small it was very peaceful and had that charm. Gimmelwald is even smaller.

Posted by
31 posts

Hi. I’m traveling with my 3 adult children and I’m concerned there might not be enough things to do in the evening if the villages are too small. They will want some nice restaurants and bars. This isn’t a quiet, romantic trip 😊

Posted by
31 posts

We would be taking day trips to the villages and around the lakes.