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Switzerland 10 Days

Hello! I am traveling to Switzerland with a friend in the beginning of May, and we would appreciate feedback or recommendations for our itinerary. My friend really wants to see Lake Como, but I'm not sure if it adds too much travel to our list even though we will be traveling light. I'm going after a well-rounded Swiss vacation with some beautiful lakes and mountain views. 

Day 1 (Lucerne): arrive in Geneva in morning and take 3 hr train to Lucerne, explore Lucerne after arriving
Day 2 (Lucerne): free day, potentially do a cheese or chocolate tasting
Day 3 (Murren): 2 hour morning train to Lauterbrunnen then cable car up to Murren, maybe do some easy hikes upon afternoon arrival
Day 4 (Murren) : paragliding across the Lauterbrunnen valley
Day 5 (Zermatt): 2 hr 45 min train from Lauterbrunnen in morning, do some hikes or explore Zermatt upon afternoon arrival
Day 6 (Zermatt): Five Lakes Walk or other hikes during day, Gornegrat railway up to the Matterhorn (for sunset?)
Day 7 (Lugano): 5 hr train to Lugano in morning, explore Lugano in afternoon and stay the night
Day 8 (Bellagio): 1 hr 15 min train to Como then 45 min ferry to Bellagio, explore Bellagio in afternoon and see Villa Melzi
Day 9 (Bellagio): day trip to Varenna via ferry and see Villa Monastero
Day 10 (Bellagio): free day
Day 11: leave in morning to travel home

Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by
4473 posts

First let me make the caveat that it is your trip and you should do what you want, but Switzerland is an expensive destination and may not be one you will repeat, whereas Italy is a bargain in my opinion (in terms of what you get for the money). Therefore, I would make the argument to do Switzerland "well" and not veer into Italy. You are going to pass by beautiful lake Geneva, and stay only a day on Lake Lucerne, and I think it would maximize your time more to explore either of them over Lake Como, but again, follow your hearts' desires!
Where is the outbound flight? if it is Milan, then disregard the above.

Otherwise, it is a lot of two night stays, which I find less satisfying then even one-night stays. Two days in Murren is heartbreaking.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you for your feedback, valadelphia! I was going to plan outbound flights from Milan, but I'm thinking of switching and keeping us in Switzerland for the full trip now. What do you think of this updated itinerary? Thank you again!

Day 1 (Lucerne): arrive in Geneva in morning and take 3 hr train to Lucerne, explore Lucerne after arriving
Day 2 (Lucerne): free day, potentially do a cheese or chocolate tasting
Day 3 (Lucerne): free day
Day 4 (Murren): 2 hour morning train to Lauterbrunnen then cable car up to Murren, maybe do some easy hikes upon afternoon arrival
Day 5 (Murren): paragliding across the Lauterbrunnen valley
Day 6 (Murren): free day
Day 7 (Murren): free day
Day 8 (Zermatt): 2 hr 45 min train from Lauterbrunnen in morning, do some hikes or explore Zermatt upon afternoon arrival
Day 9 (Zermatt): Five Lakes Walk or other hikes during day, Gornegrat railway up to the Matterhorn (for sunset?)
Day 10 (Zermatt): free day
Day 11: leave in morning to travel home (friend will be going to Geneva airport with this itinerary, while I'll be staying)

Posted by
20290 posts

Are your flights booked yet? If not you are better off flying into Zurich, and out of Milan Malpensa.
I also see you have a post about French Riviera and Provence late May. are you staying in Italy for that?

Posted by
16 posts

Flights are not booked yet. Two one ways (one into Geneva and one out of Milan) were pretty cheap for our dates, which is why Geneva was selected over Zurich for the initial itinerary. I will be in Europe for the summer, so I'm not too concerned about where friends are flying into/out of.

Posted by
4473 posts

I think that is great for an outdoor lover--and provides some r&r during a long trip. Less moving, more doing!

Posted by
471 posts

If you haven’t bought flights, you’d save 2 hours flying into Zurich instead of Geneva to go to Luzern. Departure from Zurich or Geneva from Zermatt is about the same.

Your itinerary looks good and relaxed. Your hiking options will be somewhat limited in early May, but I’m sure you still find great ways to enjoy your time.

Depending on your dates, do note that the train to Murren will be closed 6-31 May to install the new cars, so if you’ll be there then, you’ll have to take the bus to Stechelberg and then ride the cable car up to Gimmelwald and then on to Murren. Not the end of the world, just takes a bit longer to get to/from Murren that way.

For hiking in Murren in May, you can walk on the paved road from Murren to Gimmelwald, parts of the North Face hike may be open (Snow levels will determine), the paved path between Murren-Winteregg-Grutschalp will be open and you can also walk in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. A visit up to the Schilthorn & Birg is always great as well.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you all for all the insight into traveling in this region. I've read that weather in May is very unpredictable, so we are going to keep monitoring the weather for then and hope for the best! We're expecting a quieter time in Zermatt, but I believe some restaurants should still be open from researching on the Zermatt site? We will be sure to see which trails are upon when we arrive, but if anyone has any other recommendations for beautiful hikes in the late spring, please share!

wanderweg, will the cable cars be operating year-round? When researching, I didn't see downtime for cable cars - only trains. Do you believe this the proper mode of travel to each of our destinations with this change? Also, flights have been booked out of Geneva because they were significantly cheaper, so that will be our start and end point:

Geneva to Lucerne: Geneve-Aeroport - Lucerne (train, nonstop available)

Lucerne to Murren: Lucerne - Interlaken Ost - Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg (by bus) - Murren (by Stechelberg LSMS every 30 min?)

Murren to Zermatt: Murren - Stechelberg (by LSMS every 30 min?) - Lauterbrunnen (by bus) - Interlaken Ost - Spiez - Visp -

Zermatt - Geneva: Zermatt - Visp - Geneve-Aeroport

As a first-timer to Switzerland, you all have been immensely helpful in this planing process. I don't know what I would've done without these forums! Thank you all so much!

Posted by
471 posts

The cable car from Stechelberg will be running for sure. People live in these places and it’s the way they get to their homes, especially when the train is not running.

Once you get to Stechelberg via Bus, you get on a cable car to Gimmelwald and then walk 5 seconds to the next cable car from Gimmelwald to Murren. Last year they were running the cable cars every 15 minutes instead of every 30, but TBD whether they will be doing that in May or not.

A few things in the area that will be running that you can look into for activities outside of Murren walking - Schilthorn/Birg, Wengen, Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald First, Boat Ride on Lake Thun (castle Stops at Spiez, Oberhöfen & Thun) or Lake Brienz (Giessbach), Harder Kulm, Walking or ebiking the Lauterbrunnen Valley (Trummelbach Falls)….plenty to do :)

Posted by
20290 posts

Murren to Zermatt: Murren - Stechelberg (by LSMS every 30 min?) - Lauterbrunnen (by bus) - Interlaken Ost - Spiez - Visp -

That will take 3 hours and 20 minutes on average. if you care to take a more scenic route, the rail line via Kandersteg will take an extra hour get to Zermatt. You get to see the mountains you are traveling over, rather than the inside of a 20 mile long tunnel.

Posted by
16 posts

We will definitely consider the more scenic route, and thank you for the route clarification and activity ideas!

We will definitely consider the more scenic route, and thank you for the route clarification!

After thinking about it a bit more, my friends flight leaves from Geneva at 2:00pm, and she would be coming from Zermatt which is a 4 hr train ride....

Should we take one night off of Zermatt (or Murren?) to go to Montreux for part of the day (or can plan to get there in evening) so she has an easier commute to the airport the next morning? Or should we just stay in Zermatt and she’ll catch an early morning train out? I’m thinking this could be a weather-dependent decision as well, but I would appreciate any feedback! This is what the modified itinerary would be:

Day 1 (Lucerne): arrive in Geneva in morning and take 3 hr train to Lucerne, explore Lucerne after arriving
Day 2 (Lucerne): free day, potentially do a cheese or chocolate tasting
Day 3 (Lucerne): free day
Day 4 (Murren): 2 hour morning train to Lauterbrunnen then cable car up to Murren, maybe do some easy hikes upon afternoon arrival
Day 5 (Murren): paragliding across the Lauterbrunnen valley
Day 6 (Murren): free day
Day 7 (Murren): free day
Day 8 (Zermatt): 2 hr 45 min train from Lauterbrunnen in morning, do some hikes or explore Zermatt upon afternoon arrival
Day 9 (Zermatt): Five Lakes Walk or other hikes during day, Gornegrat railway up to the Matterhorn (for sunset?)
Day 10 (Zermatt/Montreux): 2.5 hr train to Montreux after breakfast and spend the day exploring (or can leave later in day, latest train at 9pm)
Day 11: leave in morning to travel home (friend will be going to Geneva airport with this itinerary, while I'll be staying)

Posted by
498 posts

I believe some restaurants should still be open from researching on the Zermatt site?

Certainly!

My choice would be to go to Montreux on day 10, but only if it interests you to explore that area as well.

Some further thoughts:

paved path between Murren-Winteregg-Grutschalp will be open

Yes, but it is not paved (thankfully) but is rather a gravel/dirt path. Much nicer for hiking than pavement - which doesn’t start until just before you enter Mürren. Photos and description here:

https://muerren.swiss/en/discover/routes-and-tours.html#ipd=39076401

If you do want to see the castles on Lake Thun, as suggested above, be aware that Oberhofen castle doesn’t open until May 12.

Riding an e-bike is super fun, so this is a good suggestion, but renting one just for the Lauterbrunnen valley is overkill. It is only about 5k long. Get a regular bike, or else expand your journey to include a larger area - Grindelwald, Interlaken, or even around one of the lakes. It will all depend what kind of battery they supply with the rentals.

Since you are already aware of the need to double check trail status and hours of operation for things, you will be just fine, Have a wonderful journey!

Posted by
20290 posts

I believe some restaurants should still be open from researching on the Zermatt site?

There is always Mickey D's on Bahnhofstrasse.

Posted by
63 posts

There are always restaurants open in Zermatt. I have been there during "off" season when some hotels are closed, but restaurants are open. The Stubi in the basement of the Traditional Julen Hotel serves great traditional Swiss dishes. Walking around you will see many restaurants open.

There are also grocery markets (Coop, Migros & Spar) plus some smaller stores scattered around Zermatt. We usually stop there to get snacks and beverages for our stay.