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Seeking Your Advice Before I Book My Flights

I'm planning my first and solo travel to Switzerland in September 2020. I want to do it at a leisurely pace and to prioritize the mountains. A 15-day Swiss Travel Pass seems to give me convenience and peace of mind even though I may not break even in monetary terms. The following is my tentative itinerary. I'd appreciate your comments and suggestions before I book my flights (which is at the very low end right now.)

  1. Fly into Zurich and train right on to Luzern (3 nights)
  2. Train to Berner Oberland, sleep in Murren (4 nights)
  3. Train (Golden Pass) to Montreux, then to Chamonix (3 nights)*
  4. Train to Bern (3 nights) with a day trip to Murten
  5. Train to Zurich (2 nights)
  6. Fly home

*I've dropped Zermatt in favor of Chamonix after reading the comparisons in this forum as well as watching several Youtube videos of the two destinations.

Happy travel.

Posted by
6553 posts

Most of my mountain time is in the Austrian Alps and the Northern Italian Dolomites. It's much cheaper than Switzerland, The Alps are incredibly beautiful too and it's just so much easier to travel there. And I also enjoy traveling through Munich and Vienna from time to time. We also get to see so much more via rental car than we would by train.

Posted by
6513 posts

Go for it. There is no comparison between Zermat and Mont Blanc. They are both different.

Posted by
3284 posts

Chateau Chillon in Montreaux is included in the Swiss Travel Pass, FYI. I think the itinerary is pretty good, though personally I wouldn't stay in Zurich. Maybe add a night on Lake Geneva for Montreux. Lausanne or Vevey?

Posted by
152 posts

Been to Chamonix and then last summer to Zermatt...had great weather both places...
enjoyed Zermatt more with the train ride up the mountain and views of the Matterhorn
everywhere you looked and a lot of great hikes...stayed at the Hotel Antika and everything
was great

Posted by
9499 posts

It is a nicely paced trip, IMO, although I would probably keep Zurich to one night before your flight and stay an extra night in Mürren.

The pass is incredibly handy and worth it even if you don’t quite break even, but a Berner Oberland Regional Pass might be another (better?) option for the time in Mürren.

Posted by
34 posts

I agree with Laurel above.

I’d give Zurich just an overnight.

Also it depends what you want to do. If hiking is your game I’d also skip bern and in place stick to the mountains.

You could spend more time in the French alps or go over to appenzell or the Austrian alps.

As you’ve probably seen no one is ever sad they spent more time in the Berner Oberland. If you’re gonna stay 4 days, then why not 5? If you’re gonna stay 5 days, you won’t be sad about adding a 6th.

Posted by
3284 posts

Bern is a lovely town to visit, tho I do agree that 3 nights in Bern might be a bit much. For us, we did a day trip from Luzern to Bern. One day was fine.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for your comments. I'm going to drop Bern right off and cut 1 day each from Zurich and Luzern, adding 1 day to Murren and 4 days to take 2 more scenic train rides. The revised itinerary becomes: Luzern via Zurich (2 nights), Lugano (2), Pontresina (2), Murren (5), Chamonix (3), Zurich/Geneva (1).

1) Is it possible to visit Chateau Chillon on the way from Murren to Chamonix, or maybe to do that as a day trip from Murren?

2) Does it make better sense to split the 5 nights between 2 hotels while I'm in Berner Oberland?

3) With the changed itinerary, should I reconsider whether the Swiss Travel Pass is the best solution, even though I do like the convenience?

Any help you can give is appreciated.

Posted by
9499 posts

I would not go out of my way for Chateau Chillon. It’s nice but not stellar versus the mountains, but maybe as a day trip only if you have nothing else to do.

Posted by
3284 posts

I wouldn't split time in Berner Oberland. The villages are fairly close together, I think the move would cost you some free time. I really liked Lauterbrunnen Valley, especially for the waterfalls, and the valley "feeling", you look up through the valley and into the mountains and nice location for visiting the other villages. Others love being further up into the mountains at Murren and Wengen.

I also wouldn't go out of the way for Chateau Chillon, as nice as it was. We happened to do it on our way to Geneva (went to visit CERN) If you happen to do the Golden Pass train route, then maybe stop at Chillon.

Posted by
7 posts

I've said that I'd prioritize the mountains (to appreciate nature and hike some), so maybe I'll make this a trip to the French and Swiss Alps, with Annecy as an extended stop-over en route, saving the rest of Switzerland for another trip. My itinerary would then become:

  1. Fly into Geneva and head over to Annecy (3 nights).
  2. Chamonix (4 nights)
  3. Murren (8 nights) with a couple of day trips to sights in surrounding area
  4. Morning train to catch a 18:25 flight out of Zurich.

How does this look? Is 8 nights in Berner Oberland too much?

Posted by
3284 posts

I like your thoughtful approach to travel planning. I hesitate to provide more input because at some point, its not helpful. However, I feel Luzern is so incredibly special that it would be a shame to miss. I think you have plenty of time for it in your itinerary. I think you could take time from both Annency and BO for 2-3 days in Luzern.

Posted by
1669 posts

I really like this last plan of yours, but as said above, you can easily take out 1 night from Annecy and 1-2 from Mürren to add 2-3 nights in Luzern. From where it is easy to catch a flight home, no need to stay in Zürich unless your flight is before 10AM.

EDIT: maybe just 2 nights in Luzern, as you'll have the morning of departure day too.

Posted by
9499 posts

We spent two weeks in late Sept/early Oct this year in Lauterbrunnen and it was our 4th time there in the fall. No, 8 nights is not too long.