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SOOOOO many choices , is 7 days enough? Cities or Alps?

Last min idea to head to Switzerland Aug or Sept ( can go anytime really, just want summer). Ideally we want to stay in a cute little chalet with goats and cows wandering thru the yard and take day trips to see everything but realize that's just because that's how I envision Switzerland ...quaint, beautiful, less hot than Georgia USA in the summer, and relaxing. A suggestion was given to us to head from Zurich to Lucerne to Grindelwald to Zermatt , then back to Zurich staying in 3 different hotels. Paddling on Lake Lucern, kyak on lake Brienz, Mt carts, scooter bikes, first flyer near Grindelwald,, hike to Edelweiss, 5 lakes hike in Zermatt Mts. off road scooters back down,and finally Gorner Gorge a rope course adventure then back to Zurich. Sounds like allot to squish into 7 days , and also seems like we may be on trains many many hours. Is this normal? Would anyway ever just pick one location to travel back and forth from or is that a rediculous thought especially when we are clueless ...Like I mentioned earlier, escaping the heat of home and enjoying the outdoors is our goal but we dont want to be go go go all the time. Would like time to wander streets and eat and drink, see animals, do nothing...I think too much, i need to know my options and what I think is best for what we think Switzerland is all about. My husband on the other hand would just wing it....we will NOT be doing that ( lol) I assume we don't want CITIES, we want Alps, isn't that what Switzerland is all about? ( PS We can stay longer than 7 days if recommended.) Jane

Posted by
6883 posts

September (preferably the first half) is better than August because there will be far fewer crowds, and hotel rooms might be a bit cheaper too.

Switzerland is definitely worth more than 7 days, but daily costs are high, so even if you have the time, it can quickly become a matter of budget.

In 7 days/6 nights, I would not head beyond the Zürich (for landing/departing) - Luzern - Berner Oberland (the region where Grindelwald is located) combo. Zermatt adds too much travel time.
So, basically 3-4 nights in the Berner Oberland and 2-3 nights in Luzern. As long as you do not fly out of Zürich before 10.30 AM, you can travel from Luzern on the morning of your flight day.

If you have, say, 10 days/9 nights, you can add Zermatt if you want (2-3 nights is enough there)... Or, my personal preference, Vevey or Montreux, where you have gorgeous lake views, vineyards, and a mellower-than-Zermatt but still impressive mountain scenery. It would provide a nice contrast with the Berner Oberland.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank u sooo much for the quick response.....I will look at my map and have to Google all these places as I am clueless....Will get back with you if /when I have questions? Jane

Posted by
1078 posts

I would consider looking at the Rick Steves Switzerland tour, it's 12 days and there are openings for two tours in September. We went on this tour 3 years ago and it is not only amazing it is very economical. Switzerland is expensive in regards to food, hotels and trains/buses so the tour makes it much easier as all of that is included plus all your breakfasts and 1/2 your suppers! I spent a long time looking at prices and I could not do all you get to do of the tour by going on my own. Your will fly in and out of Zurich, and will hit every item that is on your list.

Posted by
1403 posts

What Balso said. For 7 days go to the Berner Oberland for 5. Nights. You’ll see your cows in pastures on the path between Murren and Gimmelwald. Lucerne for 2 nights. Back to Zurich.
Fly home.

Posted by
8346 posts

Of course 7 days is not enough! Sadly, we rarely get to operate on "enough" as the criteria for the length of our trips. Luzern is a great option for a few nights because you get both city, mountains, and lake. Lots of opportunities here. Then I would move on to Lauterbrunnen Valley/Murren and enjoy the Alps. With 7 days you will be ahead to focus on just these two areas.

Posted by
11136 posts

We lived your dream, rented a chalet in Grindelwald, loved every minute. Good train connections. Did day trips but loved coming back to Grindelwald.

Posted by
16190 posts

If you want the Trottibikes, Mountain Carts, First flyer, etc. it sounds like you might want to stay in Grindelwald. That’s OK—-the town has a lot to offer in the way of hikes and adventure, even if it is not right on the “Rick Steves path”. We have had some nice times there, including a wonderful evening filled with the lovely haunting sounds of yodeling by a club sitting right at our hotel restaurant.

The Eiger North Face Trail is a fantastic hike if you are ready for something more than a leisurely stroll, and it sounds like you are. Lots of ways to do this—-uphill or down, including the Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg Panorama (easy) trail or not—-all can be figured out later. You may or may not find Edelweiss on your hikes, es[ecially in September. In five 2-week trips to Switzerland, all focused on hiking, I have yet to see one.

If you want a chalet-style hotel with cows and/or goats nearby, suggest Hotel Bodmi, above town in a meadow, with beautiful views. The Gleitschirm pilots (paragliders) land nearby and have a special table on the deck. The website photos show goats nearby; you may have to hike to the Blausee or elsewhere to see cows.

This third-party site shows the goats:

Or perhaps Suki could share the name of the Grindelwald chalet they rented—-I know they have good taste in accommodations.

You might like to head to Muerren one day to try the Via Ferrata:

For a really relaxing experience at the end of your trip, you might consider this spa at Rigi Kaltbad, a nice daytrip from Luzern:

Or consider staying up on Rigi like we did, instead of in the city of Luzern. The spas-hotel is one possibility, but there are others, such as the “herbal hotel” Edelweiss:

Posted by
383 posts

You mention wanting to escape the Georgia heat - I know it doesn't compare to Georgia, but just keep in mind that it can get warm and muggy in Switzerland too, especially in August, and heatwaves are becoming more frequent (since 2015, we've had 4 of the 5 warmest summers on record). Also, air conditioning is not that common here, so it can be tough to escape the heat. Yes, the lakes and mountains provide some respite, but sleeping can be uncomfortable in a place with no a/c and no window screens! :)
Zermatt and higher elevations are usually ok, but Zurich, Luzern and anywhere in a valley can get pretty warm.

I say this not to discourage you at all, but just so you aren't surprised if there's a heat wave!

September can be a nicer time to visit with less rain and milder temperatures - the crowds are usually smaller too.

Posted by
1159 posts

September really would be the best time to avoid crowds. You have some awesome suggestions above. We too think Zermatt would be too much. You will be in such awe over Luzern and the Oberland that you won't miss it. 7 days will go by fast. The mountains are so relaxing. Thun is a lovely little town up the tracks from Grindelwald. Would make a fun 1/2 day trip if you want diversity. If the weather is bad in the mountains, Thun offers a charming old town, the Thun Castle, beautiful lake scenery (the train ride is just beautiful along the lakes) We stay there frequently when in Switzerland as opposed to Interlaken.

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3 posts

OK, did a little researching....Decided maybe best to add a few days and fly into Zurich and out of Geneva. Spend a day or two in Lucerne, 3-4 days in Grindelwald area ( as the description of this area sounds exactly what i expect Switzerland to be like) then make our way towards Geneva and maybe stay in Laausanne or something? Skip Zermatt area all together as was told its allot like Grindelwald as far as beauty etc. maybe make it a 10 day trip? All of you are soooo helpful ( but making decisions is stilol no fun when you are clueless as what not to miss etc) Jane

Posted by
6883 posts

Great idea! Rather than Lausanne, I really suggest staying in Vevey or Montreux, which have better access to the natural and man-made wonders of the area: Lavaux vineyards, Chillon castle, Roches de Nantes, Lake Geneva...
As a bonus, the train ride between Grindelwald and Montreux (via Interlaken, Spiez and Zweisimmen) is very scenic, it is commercially known as the "Golden Pass" route.

Posted by
266 posts

If you want to see cows and enjoy local traditions, the Chasteilet in the Justistal near Thun and Interlaken is scheduled for September 16, 2022. It’s an amazing festival in a beautiful valley where large wheels of cheese are distributed to the local farmers. People gather in traditional garb, and the cows are adorned with flowers and bells before being led down the road to where they will winter. There is spontaneous singing, food to buy, and wine as well.

We took a special festival day bus from Thun to the Gron Parkplatz and walked to Spicherberg, the festival site. Afterwards, we walked to Beatenberg-Niederhorn (about an hour) and took the funicular to Beatenbucht and the regular bus back to Thun.

Spicherberg is about a 40 minute drive from Interlaken and 35 minutes from Thun, but there is a driving ban near Spicherberg the day of the festival.