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Itinerary; smaller town for 2 nights near Lucerne or Bern

We'll be traveling in Switzerland in early August (me, husband & almost 18 yr old son). So far our tentative itinerary is as follows (travel by train/Swiss Pass):

Land Zurich in evening.

Day in Zurich.

Travel to Lucerne, day in Lucerne

Day trip in Lucerne area

Next day travel to Bern - day in Bern

Day trip in Bern area

Travel to Montereux, enjoy lake area - arrive Geneva

Day in Geneva

Depart Geneva

My husband and I have visited the Jungfrau area in the past (~20 years ago), so we won't be heading there this time.

I'd appreciate input on the itinerary and ideas of smaller towns to base our 2 nights in the Lucerne or Bern area. Is Brunnen a good option (my husband wants to build a knife at the knife factory there) ?

Since we won't have a car, we can't stay out too far in the country but I don't only want to stay in the cities. Food related day trips are also a plus (e.g. trip to see cheese made)


Posted by
16894 posts

From Montreux, it's 1.25-hour train ride to Gruyeres (connect at Montbovon), where you can visit a modern cheese factory. Or, it takes almost 2 hours to Gruyeres departing from Bern (connect at Bulle). You need not take official, 1st-class "Chocolate Train" excursion to reach it. Bulle also has a cheese museum (closed Mondays) and a Thursday public market. From Gruyere, Rick's Switzerland book also describes a local bus connection to a more traditional cheese making experience in Moleson. Both producers conduct their active cheese making between 9 and 11 a.m. The Swiss Tourist Board is also a wealth of information about cheese.

Posted by
11294 posts

Note that there are hourly direct trains from Zurich airport to Luzern, so you don't have to spend your arrival day in Zurich unless you want to.

Even though you were in the Jungfrau area 20 years ago, are you sure you don't want to revisit it? I was just there in September 2014, and if I go back to Switzerland a revisit there is my first priority (of course, it's your trip and your priorities may be different). And you son hasn't been there yet - does he want to see it?

One thing I enjoyed around Lake Geneva that wasn't in Rick's book was my visit to Audrey Hepburn's grave, in Tolochenaz (a small village outside Lausanne). If you're interested, I can post details of how to get there.