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Itinerary Advice - 10 Days in Switzerland August 2017

My wife and I have 10 days in Switzerland in August and could use some advice/inspiration for our itinerary. We fly into Zurich and leave 10 days later by train to Munich. We intend to purchase half fare passes for our trip. We are primarily interested in mountain views, moderate hikes (we are athletic but not mountaineers), and charming towns. I can't decide between Wengen and Murren so I think I want to spend time in each.

8/21 Arrive 11am in Zurich. Rest and a little sightseeing
8/22 Train to Lucerne for 2 nights. Boat ride, explore town, maybe a hike
8/24 Travel to Murren for 2 nights. Schilthorn if clear, hiking, Gimmelwald
8/26 Over to Wengen for 3 nights. Jungfraujoch, Kleine Scheidegg, hiking, maybe find an activity near Grindelwald
8/29 Train to Lausanne for 2 nights. Day trip boat ride, I've heard the french side is nice
8/31 Train to Munich

Does this itinerary allow enough time at each location for a good experience?
Are there any must see locations that might be better than Lausanne?
Is the half fare card a good choice for this itinerary?

Thank you for very much for any assistance.

Posted by
12040 posts

Wengen and Mürren sit right across the valley from each other. There's no reason to stay in both. The activities on each side are very easily accessible from the other.

Posted by
11292 posts

I had a very similar trip in September 2014 and it was great. I went right from the airport to Luzern for 3 nights, spent 4 nights in Mürren, then 3 nights in Lausanne, then went right from Lausanne to the Geneva airport to go home. So I like your plan very much!

I agree that you don't need to change hotels from Mürren to Wengen. Particularly with 5 nights total, you'll have plenty of time for activities on both sides of the valley.

For my trip I used the Swiss Pass. The reason I chose it over the Half Fare card was the included Museum Pass; although I didn't get to as many museums as I thought I would, I did still get a lot of use from it (particularly in Lausanne). The thing I didn't realize until I got there was how convenient the Swiss Pass is. With the Half Fare card, you have to buy tickets every time. With the Swiss Pass, you just hop on and flash your pass when asked for a ticket; you only have to buy tickets for things not fully covered (in my case, only the Schilthorn, the Allmendhubel, and the Jungfraujoch). Now, it's not difficult to buy tickets, and often you can do it from a machine, but it was still a great luxury not to have to even think about this most of the time.

So, I recommend adding up the cost of the transit and activities you definitely know you will do, and seeing how they compare with a Swiss Pass vs the Half Fare card. If it's close, get the Swiss Pass for the convenience.

For most people, the must see sight while in Lausanne is the Chateau de Chillon near Montreux. As someone who doesn't love castles and crowds, my experience there was not so happy; however, I liked Montreux. Closer to Lausanne, my best memories are of the Museum of Outsider Art (Musée de l'Art Brut) and seeing Audrey Hepburn's grave in nearby Tolochenaz. I also enjoyed the Olympic Museum.

Note that while a boat ride on Lake Geneva is going to be pretty, it won't be nearly as dramatic as the scenery on the boat ride from Luzern to Vitznau and back from Weggis to Luzern (which is why I didn't do any boat rides on Lake Geneva). While there are several boat and lift combinations available from Luzern, I chose the one to Mt. Rigi over Mt. Pilatus, merely for financial reasons (the entire trip to Mt. Rigi was covered by the Swiss Pass, while parts of the Mt. Pilatus trip were only 50% off). Mt. Rigi was a great half-day (more like 2/3 of a day door to door). If you have a Half Fare card, you can take whichever you prefer; with only 2 days I wouldn't do both.

Posted by
21314 posts

Another thing about lake boats: Do not assume that if a 2-hour trip is good, a 6-hour trip will be three times as good. No. Pay attention to what your guidebook says about the most picturesque part of the lake. Day-long sojourns on lakes are for people who need to be immobile because they are nursing bad ankles!

Posted by
2723 posts

Hi,

I'd suggest heading right to Lucerne for 3 nights. Skip Zurich on the arrival day.

I'm partial to Wengen, so I'd stay there 5 nights (we stayed 4 nights and wished we had more time).

Paul

Posted by
2 posts

I like the idea of an extra day in Lucerne. Mount Rigi and Pilatus look great and we want to try a Swiss luge.
I think we'll stay 5 nights in Murren to explore the Berner Oberland. It looks like the last transit from Lauterbrunnen to Murren departs at 11:28pm so we'll have the option of going out to a larger village for dinner if we choose.

Thank you for all the responses. They are very helpful.

Posted by
445 posts

I agree with the others, stay in one place. It is very easy to get from one side of the valley to the other. I have stayed in both Gimmelwald, just below Murren and Wengen. My wife, 8 year old and I perfer Wengen. Look on the internet, there are several good maps showing hiking trails.

From Murren, we took the funicular to Allmendhube, then took the North Face Trail back to Murren. http://www.onthesnow.com/bernese-oberland/muerren-schilthorn/trailmap.html It was beautiful! This trip is mostly down hill but there are a few up hills. The following year we stayed in Wengen and took the chair lift up to the Männlichen and walked to Kleine Scheidegg. Great views with a steep drop off to one side. The walk is easy and slightly down hill. At Kleine Scheidegge, you there are several trails there including one going town hill to Wengen. We also took a train to Grindelwald and then took gondolas up to First and walked to Bachalpsee to see a lake surrounded by snow capped mountains https://www.grindelwaldbus.ch/en/hiking-and-exursions/grosse-scheidegg.

We liked Wengen the best, good variety of restaurants, two grocery stores, and a variety of stores. Murren is much smaller but more touristy. Grindelwald is the largest and most touristy.

Wade