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Requesting Switzerland Itinerary Help

Hello all,

My wife, mother-in-law and I will be traveling to Switzerland in July. We've never been, but are very excited since it figures to be much different experience than our other European trips. We usually like to focus on cities, and take excursions to towns and countrysides (ie Siena, Alsace, Cesky Krumlov, Bath, etc) where it makes sense. At the moment we are only booked in Lucerne and Gimmelwald (our first 4 nights). We have an early flight out of Zurich, so we'll need to spend our final night there. Rather than wasting time checking into a 5th hotel/airbnb, I'm proposing we spend our penultimate night in Zurich as well and day trip back to Bern and/or Murten.

I've roughed out my itinerary below and bolded a few questions/comments for your input. Once I nail down the sequencing of destinations after the Berner Oberland, I can focus on which rail pass to buy and reserve seats as needed (which is a little daunting).

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

7/7 – Saturday -
Depart Las Vegas to Zurich

7/8 – Sunday -
Arrive in Zurich at 10:10am,
Train to Lucerne,
Afternoon in Lucerne,
Sleep in Lucerne (booked)

7/9 – Monday -
Morning in Lucerne,
Travel to Gimmelwald,
Sleep in Gimmelwald (booked)

7/10 – Tuesday -
Männlichen-Kleine Scheidegg Hike,
Explore Wengen,
Lauterbrunnen Valley Walk and Trummelbach Falls,
Sleep in Gimmelwald (booked)

7/11 – Wednesday -
Hiking,
Para-gliding (either Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken),
Toboggan (any recommendations?),
Sleep in Gimmelwald (booked)

7/12 – Thursday -
Train to Lake Geneva,
Take Golden Pass from Interlaken to Montreux,
Evening in Lausanne,
Sleep in Lausanne (I’m open to other recommended places to stay)

7/13 – Friday -
Château de Chillon,
Explore Lausanne/Montreux/Lake Geneva, Sleep in Lausanne

7/14 – Saturday -
Chocolate Train from Montreux (or just the DIY version),
Sleep in Lausanne

7/15 – Sunday -
Train to Zurich,
Afternoon in Zurich,
Sleep in Zurich

7/16 – Monday -
Day trip to Bern and/or Murten (is it feasible to visit both as a day trip, or should I focus on one?),
Sleep in Zurich

7/17 – Tuesday -
Depart ZRH at 7:40am (I’m stuck with the early flight since we’re flying on points. With a later flight, I would have staying in Bern and taken the train to ZRH.)

Posted by
763 posts

I don't know of any trains that need to be booked in advance, except maybe the "Golden Pass" which has better cars for viewing. However, all other trains can just be bought on the spot. They are almost never full, and on the rare rare occasion that they are full due to a convention in the area, the Swiss provide buses as backup.

I don't know of toboggans in the area, but there is a Rodelbahn (luge on wheels) in Pfingstegg that is fun.

Posted by
8889 posts

The plan sounds OK. All I would suggest is to be flexible to changing plans on the day depending on the weather in the mountains.

One option at Luzern if you feel tired after your flight is to go on a lake boat. These start from in front of the station.

7/14 – Saturday - . . . . Sleep in Lausanne
7/15 – Sunday - Train to Zurich, Afternoon in Zurich, Sleep in Zurich
7/16 – Monday - Day trip to Bern and/or Murten (is it feasible to visit both as a day trip, or should I focus on one?), Sleep in Zurich

From Lausanne to Zürich, you go through Bern. It would be more logical to stop off in Bern on "7/15 – Sunday", leave your bags in the lockers at the station, then continue to Zürich. Murten is a side trip from Bern, only worth 2 hours. If you get fed up with Bern you could go there, leaving your bags. at Bern to pick up on the way back.

"I can focus on which rail pass to buy and reserve seats as needed (which is a little daunting)." - no reservations needed or usually possible. The Swiss transport system is designed to be "turn-up-and-go". All routes and all stations have at least one train per hour. If you have a pass, you can get on any train (or bus or boat) at any time to go anywhere.

If it helps, here is a map of the Swiss rail system, showing what the Swiss pass covers: https://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/infrastruktur/trafimage/karten/karte-sts-pass-gueltigkeit.pdf