Hello, I have been following the fantastic posts on itineraries in Switzerland and my head is spinning. My wife and I, both in our early 60s and active, will be arriving by train in somewhere to be determined in Switzerland from Salzburg. The only thing that we must do is catch a flight out of Lucerne on October 20 at 1:30 pm, everything else is wide open. We are very seasoned travelers but have never visited Switzerland. Initially, I was thinking of renting a car but changed my mind after reading about the fantastic train routes and boat trips. We would really enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery that Switzerland has to offer coupled with a short visit to Zurich (this could be a day trip or a one night trip) as well as any other suggested cities and towns. In reading the various posts, it appears that Lucerne may be our best bet as a base for much of the trip but, we are open to any and all suggestions. Some short hikes may be a lot of fun but, truth be told, my wife is not much of a hiker so hikes would need to be no more than 60-90 minutes long and on the easy side. We would like to keep our lodging costs in the USD $300-$350 night. We are very excited about this trip but find ourselves completely overwhelmed by the many beautiful places and sights. Looking forward to hearing from you
Well the one thing I can tell you is that you will not be catching a flight out of Lucerne.... that is unless you have a private plane ;-) I expect it must be either Zurich or Geneva and better Zurich if you are going to locate yourself in Lucerne.
If you do decide to base yourself there you will certainly find lots do and see there. Two over night trips you might want to consider are the Golden Pass and William Tell train trips. You can join the Golden Pass at Lenk by taking the train from Lucerne and stay over night at Montreaux (French speaking part of Switzerland) before returning by another route on the next day. The William Tell begins on the lake of Lucerne and ends in Lugano (Italian speaking part of Switzerland), again you could overnight there and return by another route. In the case of the William Tell, I would suggest that you use the normal boat and train as the special train/boat combo is not worth the extra cash.
Budget wise I'd say you are well on the mark, normally when travelling we budget on paying around CHF110 - CHF120 for 3 or 4 star hotel including breakfast.
I didn't know there were any scheduled airlines at Luzern Airport. Charter?
Oh no, so sorry, we are flying out of Geneva (not Lucerne) at 1:30 pm on October 20.
As Jim pointed out, you can use the Golden Pass route to get from Luzern to Montreux. Then you are 90% of the way to Geneva Airport. Add in Lausanne for a day or two and you can call it a trip.
The two options to stay at are either Luzern, or one of the smaller locations in the valleys past Interlaken (Grindelwald, Mürren, Wengen + others). Since you have 11 days, start with 3-4 nights in Luzern, and the rest in one of the villages past Interlaken.
Travel the rail route from Luzern to Interlaken via the Brünig Pass (first half of the "Golden Pass" route).
Forget the day trip to Zürich. If you have a day spare, then Bern is a better city to visit. Easy day trip from Interlaken
When in Luzern:
- Take a day trip from up Titlis, see here: www.titlis.ch
- Take a boat trip from Luzern on the lake. If you plan this, you can get off the boat and take a train back, save doubling back on the boat.
When in the Interlaken area, you are further into the Alps, and will have hikeing, both long and short, literally on your doorstep.