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itinerary advice june trip

Hello!

We are planning a trip in June. Probably 14 days flying in and out of Zurich from USA. We have kids age 14, 11 and 11. This is our first Europe trip with kids. Goals are to expose kids to beautiful country, wonderful people, and we have some family history in Switzerland. We won't be doing major hiking though some moderate walks with great scenery would be wonderful. We envision lots of chocolate as well! I have reviewed numerous forum posts on itineraries and location advice but with our hoped-for Biel-Bienne stop I think we need some extra advice... We have not yet booked our airline tickets, but probably we should assume one night stay in Zurich at the beginning and end of the trip.

Stops we hope to make:

  1. Berner Oberland

  2. Zermatt (one kids obsessed with Matterhorn)

  3. Chillon (great memories from childhood)

  4. Biel-Bienne (family background - don't need a lot of time - maybe even a partial day stop)

  5. One of the scenic train trips

  6. Chocolate train? Wondering if it is worth the extra time but seems like it would be fun

Thanks for your advice!!!!

Posted by
16165 posts

I would not stop in Zurich for a night on your arrival, assuming it is during the day. Go from the the airport train station to your first destination straight away.

Depending on what time in June, you might want to leave the high mountain destinations for later in the trip, as early June could still be too soon for the mountains. Trains are only 1 1/2 hours from Zurich to Biel/Bienne. There is even a direct train at 9 past the hour, and trains connecting in Zurich at 18 and 46 past the hour. So you could be there 2 1/2 hours after you land.

Posted by
16866 posts

If your flight to Zurich doesn't arrive too late, it's easy to take a train past Zurich - reservations not required for most routes. Trains directly to Biel-Bienne take 1.5 hours and depart every hour, or there are additional departures with a connection at Zurich main station.

Biel-Bienne seems like a good direct to start, then Lausanne/Montreux/Chillon, then the Golden Pass route via Zweisimmen to the Berner Oberland, could do Zermatt next, then 3.5 hours to Zurich by the fastest train connections.

Posted by
12352 posts

Laura’s route works, but has you going away from Lac Leman on the Golden Pass train instead of the desireable downhill; approach with its beautiful views. Also it has you doing only part of the Golden Pass.

Instead, I suggest you head straight to Luzern upon arrival for your first night. There are direct trains every hour right from the airport, and many more with a connection at the Zurich main station. Travel time is just over an hour. Luzern is a good first night stop as you can stroll along the river or the lake to get some fresh air and then have dinner with a view before bedtime.

Next morning you take the Golden Pass train (or a regional train on the same tracks) over Brunig Pass to Interlaken, and transfer there to your Berner Oberland village of choice (I suggest Muerren and have a wonderful apartment to recommend). Spend 3-4 nights there.

Then return to Interlaken and continue on the Golden Pass route (via Spiez and Zweisimmen) to Montreux. This is your base for Chillon and the chocolate experience, whether you take the Chocolate train or other possibilities. So 3 nights here, or 4 if you want to explore more.

Next take the train eastward along Lac Leman to Visp, and transfer there to reach Zermatt. You will want at least 3 nights there.

From Zermatt, you can reach Biel in about 4 hours. Spend your final night there and travel to the Zurich airport the next day for your flight home.

As for June weather, as Sam suggests, the later in June you go, the better. We visited Luzern, Muerren, and Zermatt at the end of June a few years back and had a 50-50 mix of beautiful sunny days and overcast/drizzly, with one short blizzard in Zermatt on July 1. The next day was lovely. What rain there was, was light and did not interfere with our activities.
One benefit of this June timeframe is the wildflowers. Another is that it still may be pre-season in Zermatt so hotels or apartments may be cheaper. High season rates kicked in July 7 that year.

Posted by
672 posts

When my kids were young teens I took them to the Berner Oberland, and we returned a dozen years later. We've got lots of moderate walks to suggest, and if you click on my name you'll find a link to our dozen favorite walks, with maps and pics.

Check with the Tourist Info office when there to get updates on what trails might still have snow covering them. Still, they'll be plenty open to enjoy.

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks for all of the feedback - love all of the experience and detail! We've tweaked our stops a bit - hubby is willing to let go of Biel-Bienne family history stop (he was there on a visit a long time ago by himself and said after all it is not as interesting as some other places that our kids will enjoy m ore) so we are substituting in Luzern. At this point we think we'll stay for 3-4 days each in Luzern, Lausanne/Montreux, Berner Oberland and Zermatt. We might also now have 14 full days in country, not including travel days in and out of Europe.

Given those adjustments, what is a good itinerary? Assume mid-day transit out of Zurich, whether we have an overnight there or a morning flight arrival. Should we push mountains later in trip for weather and awesomeness of scenery compared to the towns (Luzern, Lausanne, BO, Zermatt, or Zermatt, BO), or is a different route better because of train connections or better sections of scenic train routes etc., i.e. Luzern, Berner Oberland, Lausanne/Montreux, Zermatt?

Posted by
31 posts

We didn't do the chocolate train but but a really nice day trip (from Bern but other nearby bases would work) to the Maison Cailler factory in Broc Fabrique. We also visited Gruyeres and the cheese factory there that day.

I wouldn't bother staying in Zurich, you can hop on a train right from the airport to your next destination. We stayed in Lucerne before we flew home, that was close enough to get to the Zurich aiport by train easily.