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Help reviewing our Switzerland and Alsace Region itinerary

Hello! Trying to plan a Switzerland + Alsace Region trip. It would be the first one for my family, mom+dad+2 teen girls who just turned 15 years :-)
I'd really appreciate your comments on this itinerary,
please fell free to point out any MUST NOTS on it :-)

APRIL 3 : Arriving 7pm to Zurich
Pick up rental car.
APRIL 4 : Zurich
APRIL 5 : Zurich
APRIL 6 : Driving from Zurich to Lucerne.
APRIL 7: Lucerne, most probably Mt Pilatus day and a boat on the lake, or else if you have other suggestions:-)
APRIL 8 : Lucerne, this day we’d like to visit
Grindewald and Interlaken.
Return to Lucern (do you suggest book hotel in this area instead of returning to Lucerne?)
APRIL 9: Lucerne, this day we’d like to visit Jungfraujouch and also returning to the hotel at Lucerne (or should we look up for other hotel?)
APRIL 10: Driving early from Lucerne to Strasbourg, so that we can arrive and see some highlights of the city.
Overnight at Strasbourg.
APRIL 11: Strasbourg : continue touring the city and adding 2 or 3 nearby towns
Overnight at Strasbourg.
APRIL 12: Driving from Strasbourg to Colmar.
Passing by and touring maybe 2 or 3 towns on the way. Overnight Colmar.
APRIL 13 : Colmar: continue touring the city and driving to some towns nearby (2 or 3). Overnight Colmar.
Towns we are planning to visit:
Riquewihr 
Eguisheim
Kayserberg
Riveauville
Saint Hipolyte 
Colmar
Strasbourg 

APRIL 14 : Driving from Colmar to Bern.
APRIL 15 : Bern
APRIL 16: Driving from Bern to Zermatt.
We’ are planning on arrriving early in the afternoon.
APRIL 17 : Zermatt
Suggestions on what to do?
APRIL 18 : Zermatt 
Some more suggestions for this day ?
APRIL 19 : Driving from Zermatt to Chamonix.
We have been here before, so we are very excited to come back !!!!
APRIL 20 : Chamonix
APRIL 21 : Chamonix
APRIL 22 : Driving to Geneva.
APRIL 23 : Geneva.
APRIL 24 : Return home to Costa Rica. 

Posted by
4675 posts

Is this trip for 2022 or 2023?
First, a car is useless for most of this-at least for the Switzerland part. The Swiss trains are friendly and efficient, and the Swiss Travel Pass [or half-fare card] works wonderfully.
Go straight from Zurich to Lucerne, it's a 1+hr train.
Lucerne- maybe three nights.
Don't day-trip to the Berner Overland [Lauterbrunen, Murren, Wengen area]. You will be in one of the most beautiful places on this planet - sleep at least four nights in this area.
Zermatt is a "one-trick" town; if you can't see the Matterhorn because of mountain weather, the area isn't the most unusual. Instead try Lausanne and Montreaux instead.
Stay/sleep in these beautiful areas instead of day-tripping.
Read through the last few months under Switzerland on this Forum; also check our the Trip Reports under that section. There's a significant amount of useful and pertinent advice from fellow travelers.
Then come back here and we all can help with the French side of the adventure.
Happy planning.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi,

Itinerary sounds fun and I think you will enjoy it.

If you’re going to be getting around by car and you’re going this in summer or early autumn, my suggestion would be to make the most of it and drive over some mountain passes. If you go over the Furka you can visit the Rhone Glacier.

Boat trip and Pilatus are w good idea. You can get a combined ticket at the station for boat to Alpnachstad - funicular to Pilatus - gondola to Kriens - bus to Luzern.

The towns/villages in Alsace you chose are good ones. Riveauville is one of my favourites.

Posted by
1443 posts

I think you're skimping on really the very best part of Swiss alpine scenery: the Berner Oberland. I would modify your first week as follows:

  • Spend the night in Zurich on April 3-4
  • Take the train to Luzern and sleep there on April 5-6.
  • Take the train to Lauterbrunnen and sleep there April 7-9.
  • April 10 take a train to Interlaken and pick up your car rental and proceed to Strasbourg as planned.

Even better, you could cut out Zurich entirely, spend your first 2 nights in Luzern on April 3-4 and then the nights of April 5-9 in Lauterbrunnen.

From Lauterbrunnen you will have easy access to everything scenic in the Berner Oberland. Murren and Wengen are also great options if you want to stay higher in the mountains. However, be aware that in April higher elevation towns such as Murren and Wengen are likely to still see snow (they are a mile up, just like Denver).

Posted by
11130 posts

Skip staying in Colmar and stay in one of the wine villages such as Requiwehr or Eguisheim. They are much more charming than Colmar which was a disappointment for us.
Re: April 11- I would rather see you staying in one of these towns than seeing it a day trip. You are not taking advantage of the Berner Oberland, one of the world’s most beautiful places! We loved staying in Grindelwald and felt like we could reach out and touch the mts!
We have stayed in Alsace and the Berner Oberland. We are glad we visited both but there is no comparison in beauty, awe inspiring sites! The Betner Oberland wins hands down! We enjoyed Lucerne but it is not the BO!
I would rethink your plans.

Posted by
11300 posts

Fast Eddie has a great plan for you. If you like hiking/walking in the mountains, but sure to add another night in Lauterbrunnen.

Spend the night in Zurich on April 3-4
Take the train to Luzern and sleep there on April 5-6.
Take the train to Lauterbrunnen and sleep there April 7-9.
April 10 take a train to Interlaken and pick up your car rental and proceed to Strasbourg as planned.
Even better, you could cut out Zurich entirely, spend your first 2 nights in Luzern on April 3-4 and then the nights of April 5-9 in Lauterbrunnen.

Zurich is just a city. Switzerland is about the scenery.

Posted by
32701 posts

Just be aware, briefly mentioned above, that the first week of April is really early (and late) for the Lauterbrunnen Valley of the Berner Oberland.

You will likely still have snow on the ground, even in some of the pedestrian areas, may get more overnight, and the snow will probably be melting causing icy slush and rivulets of water where you want to walk (first hand experience a couple of weeks later in 2019).

Ski season will be over but hiking season won't have started; expect various facilities to be on holiday or shut for maintenance - check before travel. People do live there so the whole place won't be shut - in fact farmers will be itching to get into the fields - but you may have inconvenience.

Posted by
6879 posts

Actually, the ski season lasts until Easter (Apr 18), so lifts and all should still be running in the first week of April.
It is a poor snow year, so it is already "mud season" right now. Shoes with good tread are essential!

Posted by
1360 posts

A few suggestions:
Pick one base for your overnights stays in the Alsace region and then day trip to the others via car.
Calculate the price of renting a car for the entire trip versus taking the train and then renting a car only in the places where needed for day tripping.
Looks like you've planned for 7 nights in Zurich-Lucerne - take 1 from Zurich and 1-2 from Lucerne and stay in the Berner Oberland (Wengen or Murren).

Posted by
3 posts

Very grateful for each suggestion, this trip is for April 2022 (next week!!) we’re making final modifications to the actual plan, so we can stay longer in OB.
We are definitely keeping the rental car.
If in need of more help, will surely come back here :-)
Many thanks !

Posted by
3 posts

April 3.:Arriving 7pm Zurich
April 4: Zurich / City tour and highlights
April 5: Rhine Falls and then drive to Alsace Region
April 6: Alsace
April 7: Alsace
April 8: Alsace
April 9: Lucerne / City highlights (must sees)
April 10: Mt Pilatus
April 11 : OB (Grindewald/ Interlaken/Jungfraujouch
April 12: OB
April 13: OB
April 14: OB
We are no skiers, we do like hiking but aware by your inputs it is not the season (mud season right?) so this area is going to be for the scenery and relaxing :-)
April 15: Montreaux- Laussane (either one)
April 16: Montreaux-Laussane
April 17: Driving to Zermatt (or as close as we can get to...)
April 18:Zermatt
April 19:Zermatt
April 20: Driving to Chamonix : we have been here and we loved it, we surely want to come back :-)
April 21: Chamonix
April 22: Chamonix
April 23: Drive to Geneva
April 24: Back to Costa Rica