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Montreaux vs Lucerne in the Summer?

Hi everyone!

I can only pick one of these place to spend 1 or 2 nights, before heading to the Bernese Oberland. Based on what we choose, we will use the corresponding international airport to arrive to.

We are a couple in our 30s with no kids, so which would would you recommend?

Posted by
2153 posts

I believe you will have more options flying into Zurich, depending on your origin. It's only an hour train from the Zurich airport to Lucerne.
I love both areas, but I vote for Lucerne. From Lucerne, you can access Mt. Rigi on your Swiss Travel Pass.

I am currently planning a September trip [hopefully] to Switzerland, and am finding booking directly with the hotels is 10-20% cheaper than using online booking services. It takes a little longer, as the hotels respond in person. I am only booking hotels that can be canceled without charge [until about a week away.]

Have a great trip!

Posted by
1807 posts

Do you know where you’re going in the Bernese Oberland? I’m assuming that you’re relying on public transportation to get there. If flying into Zurich, you can take a direct train from:
Zurich airport to Luzern (1h 15m)
Luzern to Interlaken Ost (2h)
If flying into Geneva, you can take a direct train from the airport to Montreux (1h 15m).
Getting to the Berner Oberland via Luzern may require fewer train connections. I think you need to figure out where you want to sleep in the Oberland and then decide what airport to fly into.

Posted by
458 posts

We’re flying into Geneva in late August and staying at Montreux for a few days before heading to Wengen. But we love Montreux and we can possibly take a day trip easily to Zermatt from there. Lucern is also nice so think about what you want to do for those days before you head to the BO. Both are different.

Posted by
1204 posts

Back in 2017 we had the same decision and picked Montreux (2 nights) to catch the tail end of the annual jazz festival (also visited Chateau de Chillon). The town features a beautiful lakefront promenade we really enjoyed. Also wanted to hit Vevey but you can never do it all. BTW - the same trip we spent 4 nights based in Wengen in the BO and felt we made the right choice after visiting Lauterbrunnen, Murren, etc. because it's up in the mountains with several good restaurant, bar and entertainment choices.

Posted by
178 posts

I haven't been to Lucerne so can't comment on both. But if you end up in Montreux consider driving up to Gruyeres to see the cheese factory and nearby Cailler chocolate factory. A fun day and such a beautiful setting! About 30 min by car.

Posted by
4229 posts

Another vote for Lucerne!
I like the Montreux area, but for 1 night you will not have time to explore, and the town of Montreux was a disappointment.
Whereas even a quick stroll in Lucerne is a delight, and the quick 1 (or 1.5, I forgot) hour cruises on the lake are very pleasant.

Also, Montreux to Interlaken via the scenic route involves 3 trains - easy transfers, but still, much less easy than the direct and almost equally-scenic Luzern-Interlaken train.