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Itinerary help please

We are a mature, active, independent couple with total flexibility planning about 3 weeks in the Switzerland area next August. We love natural beauty and day hikes. We are thinking of driving mostly but doing the Glacier Express. We invite your insights!

  1. Fly into Milan, 3 nights with day trip to Lake Como (require an overnight there?)

  2. Get xfer to St. Moritz 2 nights (too long?)

  3. Take Glacier Express to Zermatt

3 nights in Zermatt for Matthorn exploration

  1. Get car; drive to Leukerbad 1 night (walk to Gemmi) (worthwhile?)

  2. Drive Great St. Bernard Pass, loop to Chamonix. 2 nights in Chamonix for Mt Blanc

  3. To Lake Geneva for 2 nights

  4. To Bern for overnight (is this worthwhile?)

  5. To Berner Oberland for 3-5 nights in Lautenbrunnen (having trouble finding really good lodgings here) or Wengen

How many nights recommended here if you want to go to all the peaks and some great hikes?
Choosing Wengen vs. Murren as easier to get to assuming we have a car. Thoughts?

  1. To Luzern for 1 night (worthwhile?)

  2. Fly out from Zurich

All thoughts welcomed. Thanks very much!

Posted by
2597 posts

I LOVE luzern and feel like at least 2 nights is very worthwhile. Luzern is in the mountains, on a beautiful lake and river. I also liked Bern for several reasons. In feels different from the other Swiss towns we explored, in an interesting way. The clock tower, the river, all the statues on the fountains, so much to explore. We really enjoyed the huge Einstein exhibit at the history museum. We did Bern as a day trip from Luzern. It also could be done from Berner Oberland. I wouldn't even want a car in Switzerland. Trains are exceptional. In terms of Lake Geneva, I didn't enjoy Geneva at all. I did go to Chateau Chillon which was interesting and it did look like Lausanne of Montreux would be nice cities on Lake Geneva to check out.

Posted by
8412 posts

I am curious about 3 nights in Milan. Are there sights you want to see other than taking a trip to Lake Como? I would stay at Lake Como (Varenna is convenient) instead for three nights and day trip to Milan if you are motivated.

Three nights is good in Zermatt in case that tricky mountain hides and the same strategy would serve you well at Chamonix as Mont Blanc can be elusive.

Spend as much time in the Lauterbrunnen area as possible. It is terrific and while we have been all over Switzerland, it is the Jungfrau Region that calls us back over and over. You can day trip to Bern easily, a good strategy if the weather is poor. I would place staying here over any nights you might spend at Lake Geneva or Luzern, but if you do choose to stay by the lake, look at Vevey. Lovely town between Lausanne and Montreux.

Posted by
42 posts

Laurel: we are planning to fly into Milan and get in late (7:40pm). But maybe I should swap for 1 night there and 2 in Lake Como area!

I thought a car would give us the flexibility to get to places like Leukerbad for the highly touted walk to Gemmi, and to experience the Great St Bernard Pass.

However, maybe it's not worth the hassle considering all the other sites we'll see?

Posted by
580 posts

I agree with Laurel. You could cut down on Milan, and maybe skip Leukerbad, and Geneva. I lived in Geneva, and I like it, but other places are even better.

So where to use those days? As Laurel says, "Spend as much time in the Lauterbrunnen area as possible." Incidentally, it's on the other side of the Gemmi Pass. Gemmi is nice, but kind of a "one sight" sort of place.

Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfrau area, on the other hand, have at least a dozen great sights/trails. I typically try to be there for 10 days at a time, and that is to take trails that are all "re-runs" for me. If you click on my name you'll find a link to our dozen favorite trails in the area, with maps and pics.

Posted by
8412 posts

You said you are having trouble finding really good lodging in Lauterbrunnen. What are you looing for? Hotel? Apartment? And where have you searched?

Posted by
68 posts

We stayed in Pontresina which is more affordable than St. Moritz. There a funicular that takes you up in the mountains and you have beautiful views over the valley. There's bus service to St. Moritz, Samedan and other local villages. We took the Glacier Express from St. Moritz (hotel provided transfer) as far as Brig (?) and based ourselves in Spiez for a few days from which it was easy to visit Berne and the Jungfrau.

I would flip your itinerary around and fly into Zurich and out of Milan, I agree with other posters that Milan is "meh". Lake Como is lovely though.

Enjoy!

Posted by
42 posts

Laurel: We are looking for as nice as we can get with kitchenette and views. I use Tripadvisor religiously to help. Haven't started looking at vacation rentals yet. Ideas welcomed!

Posted by
2597 posts

I stayed at a really nice one bedroom in the Lauterbrunnen Valley with great views. Check out Airbnb. I would do some research into Luzern before you discard. I love Berner Oberland and I also love Luzern, they are fairly different.

Posted by
42 posts

Jules M: if you have a link I'd love to see where you stayed. Thanks!

Posted by
2597 posts

It looks like I used VRBO. The apartment was called Grosshorn, but they had at least two rentals. I can't find the specific one on VRBO (btw, there are a lot) but this is the owners email

Posted by
12 posts

For rentals, this forum recommended Booking.com to me, which I found more useful than tripadvisor for accommodation research. Shows hotels and vacation rentals (you might have to click an extra box to see these). It has much more detail about the exact bed and room arrangements and more pictures with better captions than I found on other sites. Once I narrowed down the properties, I would supplement by checking to see if the property was also listed elsewhere (AirBnB, VRBO etc) as you can get even more detail that way sometimes. Finally, I used Google street view where available to check out the street and neighborhood and make sure we (family with tweens) would want to be staying there.