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March Trip to Switzerland for 7 days

Hello All,
My 2 adult daughters and I are traveling to Switzerland in March.
We could use some advice on our itinerary.
We arrive in Zurich March 9th and depart on the 16th

Zurich- arriving in the morning. Spend the day sightseeing there. Staying the night
Lucern- take the train there and walking to see all the sights there. Is that possible? Stay 2 nights
Lucern- Visit Mt Pilatus- is that open in March? How long to get there and back?After

After that, we are open. Want to visit the Jungfraujoch area.
Where is a good place to stay? I read Wengen and Murren are beautiful, but are they hard to get to?
Is it best to stop there on our way up the mountain?
Also, heard Grindlewald is a great to be. Any advice where to stay the night?
Should we visit Top of Europe, First or the 007 Piz Gloria?? Can we do it all?

Then would love to see Geneva and Bern but we need to get back to Zurich the night before we fly out the morning of the 16th.
I would welcome any advice since we want to see a lot yet be able to enjoy our time.
Thanks much, Holly

Posted by
5046 posts

The mountain weather will tell you when you're going to the summits- I usually consider myself lucky if one peak is clear in the BO.
When you land, go straight to Lucerne, 1+ hr train, very easy, as the train station is in the airport. If you want to see Zurich, so do before your flight home.
Check the websites of the various peaks regarding dates open. That will be your most up- to- date info. I believe Mt Rigi is open all year around.
I recommend staying in Murren or Wengen, not Grindelwald. Use booking.com to research options and check hotel availability, then book directly.
The Swiss rail system is will get you most everywhere. Do you have a RS guidebook, as RS speaks highly of the trains.
Perhaps reviews the posts under Switzerland here on the Forum. There's a wealth of posted info available .
Don't really get much input about visiting in Switzerland in March, not sure if it is still ski season in the Alps, or a shoulder season.
Have a great trip.

Posted by
9 posts

We stayed in Murren based on R Steeves advice for 3 days - we followed one of the itineraries but that was way too long if you not hiking -there is nothing to do there- one day is to much

Posted by
530 posts

All things being normal (although what is normal these days?) you will encounter snow in the mountains and people enjoying winter sports at that time of year. Just so you are prepared for that (warm clothes, proper footwear).

Lucern- take the train there and walking to see all the sights there. Is that possible?

If by seeing all the sights you mean in the city itself, yes, you can easily walk it.

I read Wengen and Murren are beautiful, but are they hard to get to?

No, not hard to get to. Use SBB website or app to find your route.

Is it best to stop there on our way up the mountain?

If you are not staying there, but just want to walk through the village, then I suggest doing that on your way down.
Go up the mountain earlier (if the weather is good), enjoy your time up there, and walk through the village at a leisurely pace after that.

Should we visit Top of Europe, First or the 007 Piz Gloria?? Can we do it all?

Not sure exactly how many days you have, but yes, you can do all that. Remember there will be snow, you probably will not do much more than enjoy the view and perhaps eat something…unless you are doing winter sports (sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, etc.).

https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/live/operating-info/

Posted by
7007 posts

Mid March is still very much ski season; there should be snow down to village level in Wengen. And I would choose Wengen as a place to stay at that time of the year.

The ski season is not a problem at all: there are plenty of winter hiking paths that are open in winter. You need snow boots, but otherwise you can enjoy the scenery.
Jungfrau (top of Europe) can be very cold, so beware.
First has hiking paths, for example to frozen Bachalpsee, whereas Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) is just a viewpoint - but the views are better than at First.

Posted by
11453 posts

When we first went to Switzerland I had sooooo many questions , like you, and was quite confused.

Two things helped me plan and execute what turned out to be the forts of many many trips to Switzerland: a Rock Steves guidebook to illustrate that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and this forum for clarification when I was confused.

If you don’t want to make the purchase of a guidebook, at least check one out at the library, it is a relatively small investment in your very expensive trip and will be a great source of info while you travel as well as while you plan.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all for your valuable advice.
We won’t be skiing but will want to do some east hikes in the mountain areas.
After doing research, I think we’ll stay a few nights there, possibly Lauterbrunnen so can go one direction up to First then the other toward Top of Europe. Then onto Bern. It’s too much to head to Geneva.
Yup, will be bringing snow boots 🥾
This is a mother daughter trip and can’t wait to experience Switzerland in the snowy mountains!
Zurich, 2 days in Lucerne, 2 days in mountains. 1 day in Bern then head back Friday night to stay in Zurich that night before our morning flight back to US
We are sooooo excited!
With appreciation,
Holly

Posted by
20336 posts

After doing research, I think we’ll stay a few nights there, possibly Lauterbrunnen so can go one direction up to First then the other toward Top of Europe.

You got your locations mixed up. Grindelwald is where you go one direction to First and the other toward Top of Europe. If you stay in Lauterbrunnen, then one direction is Wengen and Top of Europe, and the other direction is Muerren and Schilthorn.

Posted by
4 posts

I was figuring we could go back down to Interlaken to take the railway to Grindelwald and up the cog railway to Klein Scheidegg and up from there.
Does all that take too long?
Where would be the better place to stay when we want to go to both sides?

Posted by
20336 posts

You actually don't have to go all the way to Interlaken to get from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald, just as far as Zwei Luetschinen. The trains from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen split at Zwei Luetschinen, with half going to Grindewald and half going to Lauterbrunnen. In the other direction they meet and hook together. The whole valley is shaped like a "Y", with Grindelwald on the left leg of the "Y", and Lauterbrunnen on the right leg, and Interlaken at the base. Zwei Luetshinen is where the legs meet.

You can also go "over the top" from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald on the Wengneralpbahn. Might take a little longer, but the scenery can't be beat.

Posted by
11453 posts

You can also go "over the top" from Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald on the Wengneralpbahn. Might take a little longer, but the scenery can't be beat.

This is great advice! We just hosted some friends in Lauterbrunnen and did a "joy ride" day as they were on-hikers. WE took them up to Wengen on the Wengneralpbahn (train), then to Maennlichen on the cable car. Had coffee and pastry there then rode down to Grindelwald Terminal on that cable car. After a bit of shopping in Terminal, we took the Eigergletscher Express gondola to the Eigergletscher station for lunch overlooking the Eiger. We saw an avalanche, which made the meal quite memorable. Then we took the Jungfraujoch train to Kleine Scheidegg, had a look around, and returned to Lauterbrunnen via the Wengernalpbahn cogwheel train.

With a Berner Oberland Regional Pass, that is all included. No out-of-pocket for the transportation.

Posted by
870 posts

I will second the advice that upon arrival in Zurich, you immediately take the train to Lucerne. If you do not want to purchase your train passes in advance, the SBB office has multiple customer service reps at that location. After crunching numbers for our excursions, the half fare card and Berner Oberland Pass offered the best value for us. We stayed in Wengen after debating between that and Murren, and were happy that we made that choice. Transportation to everything from there is very easy and the SBB app is user friendly. There is some construction in Murren, so be aware, and factor that into your decision. Our stay at Hotel Edelweiss in Wengen was terrific! Daniel and his team will ensure that you have a memorable trip. The hotel offers a 4 course dinner which was very good. When traveling from Lucerne to the BO region, sit on the right side of the train for beautiful views.

Posted by
7007 posts

In the winter season, all transport runs at peak frequency so there are many ways of getting from A to B. From Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald, you could even take the train to Wengen, walk across Wengen to the cable car up Männlichen for the views, and take the gondola down the other side to Grindelwald. You can be creative! And they sell a winter walking and sledding pass which could be pretty good value as it covers everything but Jungfraujoch.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks to Balso and others,
I’ve been taking notes.
You mentioned winter hiking and sledding. My 32 and 28 year old daughters would love that. I would too but hesitant at my 66 year old self! Can I join in on that fun? And shorter runs you recommend!

Decided to stay in Wengen.
I’d read the Bernese Oberland pass isn’t offered in March. Ughhh. Is that true?
You all have been great help.
Holly

Posted by
7007 posts

The walkers' pass offered during skiing season is better value than the Berner Oberland Pass, in my opinion, so no big loss there! Unless Jungfraujoch is a top priority (it's not covered at all).

Regarding tobogganing, it is a relatively risky activity - more dangerous than downhill skiing. To do it safely you need a helmet (can rent it), snow boots with a decent tread (your soles are your main brake!) that hold your ankles to some extent, and snow gloves or mitts (your hands hold the rope and you drag them in the snow to help in turns). Only do it on designed runs, and check your insurance coverage.
These considerations aside...it is a lot of fun and it is easy to get the hang of it.

Unfortunately, I never tried the runs around Wengen myself so I do not have first-hand recommendations, but in my research for a tobogganing trip a few years ago, I found that there are several runs of varying difficulty levels dropping down from Männlichen to Holenstein, and some milder ones along the Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg-Grindelwald. Plus several on the First side of Grindelwald (some of them with a walk to get to the top).

Posted by
503 posts

If your flight isn't too early in the morning you can stay in Luzern the night before your flight and still get to the airport easily via a 1 hour direct train. If your flight is after 9 in the morning, I'd suggest something like this...
Fly into Zurich, train to Bern - 1 night
Bern > Wengen - 3 nights
Wengen > Luzern - 3 nights
Fly home from Zurich (train from Luzern in the morning)

That makes you move hotels one less time and gives you more time to actually enjoy the activities you want while there + gives a bit of a buffer for poor weather days up in the mountains. The less time you spend checking in and out of hotels the more time you have to actually enjoy your trip.