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Scrutinize my Switzerland Itinerary

So I just want the pros to tell me what they think of this trip plan and give constructive feedback/suggestions where necessary. Trip is June 28 - July 11 2022

Day 1: Arrive in Zurich (1pm); train to Colmar, France area
Days 2-4: Visit Alsace region; train to Lauterbrunnen
Days 5-9: Day trips/hikes to Schynigge Platte/First, Kandersteg, Grindelwald, maybe Thun/Brienz/Interlaken, Gruyere? Montreux?
Days 10-12: Murren hotel stay; Schilthorn ride; slower pace over these days
Day 13: Train to Lucerne; 1/2 day and night explore
Day 14: Depart Zurich (2pm)

Other thoughts included perhaps stopping over a night in Bern on the way to Lauterbrunnen from France and then diverting to Gruyeres perhaps. Also wasn't sure about maybe shortening the time in the BO and trying to get to Zermatt...

Thanks all!

Posted by
1444 posts

Basically looks good, but two points:

1 - Lauterbrunnen and Murren are right next to each other. I'd pick one or the other, but given you have 7 nights scheduled for the Oberland a change in hotel may be good.

2 - Visiting two countries means you may need to satisfy two perhaps very different covid requirements. And those requirements can change with little notice. Plus the requirements to return to the USA. Hopefully, it will be a moot point by then but something to consider especially if there are several people in the party.

Posted by
2856 posts

One thought I have, if you want to avoid staying in 2 countries, is to stay in Basel, Switzerland instead of Colmar. Basel is a great base for exploring France (Colmar and Strasbourg) and parts of Germany, like Freiburg. That way, if for some reason you can’t travel to France, you can just explore more of Switzerland.

I feel the same way eddie does about Lauterbrunnen and Murren—I’d just pick one base. Lauterbrunnen is great because it’s super easy to get to both Murren and Wengen from. But, if you prefer to stay up a little higher, I’d pick Murren or Wengen. You can’t go wrong with any of those options. They are all so close and easy to travel to and from I wouldn’t waste time changing hotels. And, if you avoid changing hotels, I might move one night to Lucerne so you can take the trip to Mt. Rigi, which was a favorite of my recent trip.

If you’re not already aware, be sure to check out forum member Shoe’s great guide to hiking in the BO. Found here:

https://lauterbrunnenhiking.wordpress.com/

Posted by
39 posts

Thanks so much for the replies. I definitely understand the counsel to pick one or the other (Lauterbrunnen or Murren since they're close). My reasoning is thus: trying to save money by camping in Lauterbrunnen at Camping Jungfrau, however this is also supposed to be our delayed honeymoon so I didn't want us to spend all our time in a small 2-person tent. Also figured that since we wanted to do some excursions towards Interlaken or Geneva, it would be a little faster to be in the valley versus always up in Murren. That's my thought...

Thank you for the reminder about COVID and different country reqs. I didn't think about staying in Basel. We have an Airbnb booked in Kientzheim that will really be enjoyable, but I'm gonna keep a close eye on the travel requirements as we get closer. My hope is obviously that things will dramatically settle down as we approach summer, but if not, everything I'm booking is refundable up to a week or so before leaving.

Can anyone speak to Gruyere or Montreux being worthwhile? Also given my plan, can anyone speak to the BO pass vs Swiss Pass?

Posted by
2856 posts

I understand your thinking now on staying in both Lauterbrunnan and Murren and it makes sense to me. I’m sure you will enjoy both locations. I walked past the campground when I was in Lauterbrunnen this past Sept. and I can’t imagine a more perfect location for camping.

I too hope things settle down a little by the summer. I have my own trip planned for June. I will be staying in Montreux for part of my June trip but did not go there when I was in Switzerland this part summer. My own impression, not having been yet, is that it’s not a must see for a first time trip to Switzerland. A little long for a day trip from Lauterbrunnen, but it can be done.

You mentioned Thun earlier and I really enjoyed the lake cruise and a trip to several of the castles. We took the train to Thun, saw the castle when it first opened, grabbed some sandwiches from the Brezelkönig at the train station, and hoped on the boat. We also stopped at the Oberhofen and Spiez castles (Thun was my favorite). Since this is your honeymoon, you might want to consider a boat ride on Lake Brienz to the Grandhotel Giessbach for a nice lunch.

I’m a big fan of the Swiss Travel Pass because it’s so easy and convenient. My advice is to narrow down what you expect to do and see and see what’s covered by the BO pass. If you’re out of the BO enough, I think the Swiss Travel Pass would make more sense. Another popular option is the half-fare card. Again, I prefer the Pass as you don’t have to buy tickets.

Posted by
1379 posts

Montreux has a beautiful lakefront promenade and is worth a day. Gruyeres is a pretty little hill town worth several hours. We stopped in the latter on the way to the former back in 2017. Would visit both again!

Posted by
1172 posts

Thun is definitely worth a visit. We absolutely love it there.

Posted by
62 posts

Sounds like a great trip! You have (as I calculate) 12 full days in country not counting travel days in and out. I would suggest 3 nights each in Lucerne, BO region (Lauterbrunnen campground), Zermatt and Montreux. If it were me, I would not change lodging within a region (campground to Murren) because you lose so much time in packing up and unpacking (especially if camping). But you need to look at budget, comfort, etc. for your best trip! I think Zermatt is worth trying to fit in (though Matterhorn can be shy but still the area is amazing) as well as more time in Lucerne and some time in the Montreux area if budget allows (hard to do as a day trip).

Posted by
39 posts

I really like the idea of seeing the Matterhorn, but it's just so much more expensive than camping in the BO or visiting Alsace. I'll keep digging for deals though. It seems like we'd probably get our most bang for the buck in the Jungfrau area, especially if we're camping some. I still feel like I have this weird obsession with getting over to Gruyeres. That's such a long day trip from Lauterbrunnen though!

Posted by
2856 posts

I still feel like I have this weird obsession with getting over to
Gruyeres.

I felt the same way when I had my first trip to Switzerland this past Sept. 😊 But it just didn’t work out for us as we didn’t want to have a really long day trip from Lauterbrunnen. There is so much to do in the BO area that you will not miss Gruyeres. I would suggest Bern or Thun instead as they're closer, but once you see those waterfalls and mountains, you might not want to leave the BO. That whole area is really just unbelievable.

Posted by
39 posts

So given the feedback, I edited the first part of the trip to exclude France in case of multi-country COVID difficulties. Instead of days 2-4 in Alsace, I added:

Day 1: Arrive in Zurich (1pm); train to Montreux/Vevey/Lausanne region
Days 2-4: explore cities on the lake, Lavaux wine area, Gruyeres, Chateau de Chillon, Gastlosen hike, etc; then train to Lauterbrunnen (perhaps the panorama train Montreux to Interlaken)

Questions remaining:
- given that we prefer small towns, hiking, lots of character, wine/chocolate/cheese tours - what lodging recommendations would you have that's budget friendly?

- any experience staying in smaller towns - I was checking out Chexbres in the wine region??

Posted by
2856 posts

I can’t help with lodging as I’m staying at a large hotel in Montreux. But, because you like small towns, when you are there, you should check out Saint-Saphorin. I came across this video when doing research for my trip and I think it might even be cuter than Gruyeres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieFwmKNncL8

And if there are no travel restrictions between France and Switzerland when you go, you can easily take a boat across Lake Geneva to Evian and/or Yvoire.

Posted by
7080 posts

Have a look at Baron Tavernier hotel in Chexbres (great views, walkable to village and station). Auberge du Raisin in Cully, near the lakeshore, is also pretty good (and simpler/cheaper), with an excellent restaurant on-site. Do mind that the Lavaux area is bisected by a busy railway, a motorway (A9), and a busy road (Rte 9), so check locations carefully if you want somewhere quiet/like open windows!

St Saphorin is very cute, but I am not sure what accomodation options you would find there - Vevey is 5 minutes away by train after all.