I am currently planning a family trip to Switzerland in July (2 adults, 1 teenager), and need some advice. I am hoping someone can chime in and help me out. I have watched and rewatched Rick's videos, and I believe I have created an achievable itinerary, but having never been to Switzerland before, I am not fully confident in my choices.
We will not land in Zurich until quite late in the day (10:30pm) day 1. I would also like to note that I am attempting to stick to a budget of no more than $300 USD per night for a room (when I am not paying with points), hence some of the hotels mentioned below.
Here is my first go at our itinerary:
Day 1: Train from airport to Zurich's main station (eye on Central Plaza Hotel or Swiss Chocolate by Fassbind)
Day 2: Morning walking tour of Zurich's old town and lunch, train to Lucerne, late afternoon walking tour of Lucerne (eye on Hotel Central Lucerne)
Day 3: Morning boat tour of Lake Lucerne, train/bus to Lauterbrunnen then cable car to Mürren (eye on Hotel Alpina, Jungfrau Mürren, or Hotel Alpenruh- will depend on construction from what I have read here- I prefer Alpenruh based on photos)
Day 4: Gondola to top of Schilthorn, breakfast, some hiking, and possibly Pfingstegg activities (too much?), spend 2nd night in Mürren
Day 5: Morning in Lauterbrunnen Valley, train to Bern, early evening walking tour of the city center/riverwalk (eye on Moxy Bern Expo- not very charming, but free with 35k Bonvoy reward certificates)
Day 6: Day trips to Gruyères (morning), backtrack to Broc for the chocolate factory tour, and then on to Lausanne (afternoon/evening) with cruise on Lake Geneva and a tour of Château de Chillon, spend 2nd night in Bern
Day 7: Open to exploring Bern or only doing the cheese and chocolate day 6 and travel to Lausanne on this day- very open to sage advice; we will stay near the airport the evening before our flight (eye on Leonardo Hotel Zurich Airport)
Day 8: Very early flight into Heathrow
We are exclusively traveling by train, bus, and cable car. Do the areas I have selected as our home-base each evening make sense?
We vacationed in Italy this past summer, so I am OK with us not visiting Lugano. We have traveled throughout Germany and Austria, so I feel Appenzell may be a bit out of the way with only a week to explore, as it appears to be quite similar to villages we have visited in the recent past- am I way off base here? I do not have a stop planned in Zermatt because we would like to avoid anything too touristy- is this a huge miss?
A bit about us- we are not big shoppers, we appreciate the art and architecture throughout Europe, and experiencing new cultures and exploring trails and natural wonders are very high on our list. We are not "foodies", but I do seek out authentic cuisine when traveling- budget and moderately priced. Making our dollar stretch as much as possible so we can do as much as possible is important to us, but we do occasionally splurge.