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My current Switzerland trip itinerary

Would like to hear thoughts and commentaries about our current trip (my wife and I, both in our 50's). Arrive in Zurich Monday afternoon Sept. 6, depart Monday early afternoon Sept 27. Travel will be mostly by train with a half fare card.

Day 1 (first full day that is ) spend day in St Gallen with primary focus the Abbey library. Maybe toward end of day (see how tired we are), quick trip up to a Swiss Bodensee town like Arbon.
Day 2 one of the morning trains via Rapperswil to Luzern which I gather is the most scenic route to get there. Rest of the day spend in Luzern.
Day 3 If the weather is nice perhaps a trip up Mt Rigi, perhaps combined with wandering around Weggis and or Vitznau.
Day 4, a day trip to Bern (would do this on the day that looks cloudiest while staying in Luzern).
Day 5 last full day in Luzern, perhaps visit the Transportation museum, maybe combine it with one more lake ride, or a quick trip to Zug (I have vague memories of seeing Zug as a 15 year old and thought it looked like a nice place to visit and its just a quick trip from Luzern)

Day 6, onto Lauterbrunnen, or somewhere nearby. I'm thinking either 4 or five nights there, with things we'd enjoy doing being the Lauterbrunnen area waterfalls, some kind of easy hike in a higher elevation area, a trip up the Jungfraujoch, and a day devoted to perhaps both Brienzersee and Thunersee. I think for sure a walk from Isetwald to Giessbach falls looks wonderful. This time frame is still a little unclear in terms of total days, including Day 6 the arrival day, with us leaving either on day 10 or day 11. For now lets say we leave on day 11.

Day 11, onto Montreux/Lausanne. We'll take the scenic route via Zweisimmen, so not get to our destination very early, but a nice train ride, along the Golden Pass route is part of the attraction.
Day 11, thru day 13, visit Montreux, Vevey, Lausanne. Looking forward to walks along Lake Geneva, perhaps the Olympic museum.

Day 14, long train ride to Locarno. Will look for the route that stays in Switzerland and I believe incorporates part of the Glacier express route, via Brig, and Andermatt, though it looks like lots of changes. This, like our day 11 will be a train oriented kind of day. Day 14, thru day 17 will be Locarno, Lugano and maybe Bellinzona. In Locarno I'd like to walk up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, and walk along the lake side gardens. For Lugano area I think the San Grato park above the lake might make for a good focus for the day

Day 18, back to Zurich, and as its a pretty quick trip from the Ticino region, still have some of the day to wander around Zurich. Day 18 thru 20, spend some time in Zurich, and do at least one day trip, for sure Schaffhausen, and maybe another easy one like Baden or Rapperswill. Get tested in Zurich and hopefully we are both negative so we can come home on time.

Some of the days might move around a bit, a day more here, a day less there, maybe even add a day to the trip as well, as I have free change with united.

Will probably look for lower medium type price range for accomodations, and meals will be simple. If there is a good sausage stand in site we'll be there, and lots of picnic type meals as well.

Also, would love to hear feedback about different lakeside walks in the areas we are going to. I like city/town side lake promenade walks, plus countryside lake walks, with ideally a forested feel.

I enjoy wandering through beautiful, elegant older neighborhoods, so any recommendations along those lines would be appreciated.

I like the feel of the trip and believe my wife will enjoy it as well, and like the balance. It probably is more weighted toward cities and towns than most Switzerland trips, but as we are just staying in one country, wanted to get a feel for some cities as well, and we are still seeing some beautiful places.

Posted by
3893 posts

I really enjoyed our trip up Mt. Rigi, the beautiful boat ride was an added bonus. Also in Luzern is the Rosengart Art Museum. Its somewhat small, perfect for a couple hours and they had some nice pieces. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass it is included (or it was when we were there) We did the Rick Steves Walking tour from the travel guide.

In Montreau, we enjoyed chateau de Chillon (also on the Swiss Travel pass)

We also day a day trip to Bern from Luzern. The medieval old town, it's clock tower and fountains are charming. We enjoyed the extensive Einstein museum inside their history museum. You can also visit Einstein's home.

We stayed in the Lauterbrunnen valley. Loved it and found it convenient to other areas. It would be also be nice to stay in Murren. We enjoyed the walk down to Gimmelwald from Murren. In fact we loved Gimmelwald so much we were there a few times.

Posted by
2291 posts

This is a pretty well thought-out trip!
Unless you have a very strong interest in Lausanne which would lead you to spend a full day there, I would spend 5 nights in Lauterbrunnen rather than 4.

For lake trips from Lauterbrunnen, choose one lake. Brienzer See would be my choice, and I believe that from there, the cog railway up Brienzer Rothorn still runs in September: it is very worthwhile.

For Montreux-Locarno, rather than the Glacier Express route, I suggest that you travel via Brig, Domodossola (IT) and the Centovalli railway to Locarno. You cross into Italy, but I believe that since you are just passing through (and can prove it with a hotel booking in Locarno), you will not need a negative Covid test. But please double-check this.

Posted by
25771 posts

Hi Rob,

sounds like a well thought out and balanced trip, meeting your needs.

question - is your flight direct from the US or are you via Heathrow? If you are not via Heathrow you wouldn't have issues dipping into Italy. On your 14 to 17, as you will be on the border and actually on Lake Maggiore in Locarno you might really enjoy the Borromean Islands of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori and their exotic structures and lovely gardens.

Day 6 - you will have seen me mention that in my opinion Brienzersee has it all over Thunersee - YMMV. As you will on the very scenic Brünig Pass your train will be reversing in Meiringen, a pleasant town. A short walk from the station is Reichenbach Falls of Sherlock Holmes fame. There is a path going up and stairs, but easier is the old funicular which goes much of the way. Trails at the top, and great views from in front of and from behind the falls. A Postbus also winds its way up to the same point.

At Giessbach the walk down (or up) from the hotel level to the ship is quite steep. There is an ancient funicular going up and down. For guests of the hotel it is free. Visitors get soaked though - not cheap. But very old. And the area is lovely.

Day 5 - I have friends in Zug so get there as often as I can. Before the covid there used to be an aviary on the shore - very nice, and the promenade equally zippy. Very nice laid back town - nice views over to Cham. Don't know how the birds are doing now.

Posted by
5 posts

I have been to the library in Saint Gallen and the church next door, amazing, good choice.

Posted by
5668 posts

In Lauterbrunnen on a foggy/rainy day the inside waterfalls (Trummelbach) are a great option (we came down from Mürren when the mountains were socked in.)

Posted by
184 posts

The Port D'Ouchy area in Lausanne is beautiful on Lake Geneva. Lausanne also has a lovely Old Town area with a cathedral. The Lavaux Vineyards nearby have spectacular views and are a Unesco World Heritage site. Montreux has the Chillon Castle and Vevey is a charming town on Lake Geneva with the Laderach Chocolate shop. It is easy to get around this area by train. We really enjoyed our time there.

Posted by
398 posts

Thanks for all the ideas about everything. Just from researching plus what I remember from my visits to Switzerland in the 1980s as a young student, it is a beautiful country that I really want to see.

Unfortunately, it looks like due to family issues we will have to postpone our trip to another time. Not sure when, maybe fairly soon, maybe in the Spring?

Posted by
420 posts

Sorry to hear that Rob. I hope everything works out well for you and your family.

Posted by
2291 posts

Sorry to hear that!
You say Spring: be aware that up to mid-April is very snowy in the mountains, and mid-April to mid-May is the season of leftover snow + mud, with some closed hotels and restaurants. Still OK if that's your only option, but if you can go later than mid-to-late May, better!

Posted by
398 posts

Oh, thanks for that heads up Balso, will take that into consideration as we assess future trips.

Posted by
34 posts

sorry if you have to postpone your trip. Hope all goes well. Just for your notes for next trip, the hike from Mannlichen (access from Wengen) to Kleine-Scheidegg (or vice versa) is easy (basically flat) and amazing (view of Eiger etc.). This would be part of your Lauterbrunnen stop. Plan 2-3 hours total including up and down, depending on how long you stop to gawk at the views or take pictures. If you like castles, do not miss Chillon near Montreux. If you have time in Lucerne and like art museums, the Rosengart collection is very nice and not overwhelming. The city history museum in Lausanne is interesting (near the Cathedral which is also beautiful). There is a large scale model of the city that shows how it developed from Roman times and later.

Posted by
1 posts

There is a fabulous side trip across the lake to a medieval village on the French side. You catch a ferry at Lausanne and go to Yvoire, France for lunch - its a terrific way to spend a day. Another trip around the lake is to Chillon.

The only thing I found a problem was my pronunciation of "lausanne" when buying my first train ticket from Zurich, they sold me a ticket to Lucerne, a common mistake I am told. Have a great time. You have a fabulous itinerary.

Posted by
34 posts

Yes, very easy to switch up the pronunciation! Lausanne is "Low-ZON" and Lucerne (Luzern) is "Loo-TSAIRN" if in German speaking area, and "Loo-SAIRN" if in French speaking area. Bonus for French "r". :-)