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Switzerland - blank slate for 7-10 days. Advice welcomed! :)

Hi all! Heading to Switzerland for 7-10 days in mid July. PROBABLY flying into Zurich. But literally NO PLAN!!!! So...I'm going to need help with that. Not HIGH end travelling, but not hostels etc either. Small towns & mountains vs cities (they don't need to be avoided but not super interested in spending much time there).
Places that have been recommended that we see: Burnese Oberland, Oeschinensee, Thun, Zermatt, Bern. Places that have been not highly recommended: Interlakken, Zurich, Geneva.

Places I've seen mentioned: Luzern, Murren, Montreux, Lausanne, St. Moritz / Pontresina, Lauterbrunnen, Geissbach....

Help? What is a great itinerary to really ENJOY the beauty that is Switzerland - moderate hiking (Not looking to reach a summit, but a little more strenuous than just walking a town), waterfalls / gorges, photos, experiences, and FUN. Just a friend and I doing some travelling - so FUN should be on the list - We're 40's...NOT 25 ;)

If anyone has a great travel itinerary they would suggest I'd LOVE any help. Also...best ways to get from point to point. I've read that Glacier Express is great but not necessary as you can see the same on the other rails....??? Info on travel passes also appreciated. Along with food we shouldn't miss! :)

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE <3

Posted by
1443 posts

My advice is to plan your trip around a 3-4 night stay at the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald. Visit the website and look at the area on Google Earth and you will see that everything else would just be commentary.

Posted by
20 posts

My lawd!!!!!! That looks like Heaven. FOR REAL!!!!!! This is a silly question...is it actually a hostel? I can tell you the friend that I'm travelling with isn't going to stay in a hostel :( But that area....O.M..G!!!!! :)

Posted by
1443 posts

It is a hostel - I misread your post. I thought it said you were ok with hostels. That particular hostel attracts a great set of travelers. I stayed there in my late 40s and never felt like I was out-of-place amongst the 20-somethings. But the communal experience does require you sacrifice some privacy. But the 45 CHF price is an incredible money-saver for super-expensive Switzerland. There are other great lodging options in Gimmelwald and the nearby towns - Murren, Lauterbrunnen, and Wengen - if hostels are a no-go.

Posted by
20 posts

Mona - It's a 2018 trip...I KNOW!!!! Long story short....a celebration of sorts and a random travel plan. I realize it will be tricky!!! HEEEEELLLPPPP!!!!

Eddie - I thought maybe you misread it ;) But now I MUST see that area! :)

Posted by
11433 posts

The Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Berner Oberland is worth 4-5 nights, easily. Stay in Lauterbrunnen, Murren, or Wengen. (Gimmelwald is an option but be aware it is the tiniest of villages and you have to leave it for almost everything. More suited to a two night stay.) Go to Booking.com and see what is available in your price range since the date is so close. We had a last minute trip a few years ago and ended up at the Steinbock in Lauterbrunnen. Not the lap of luxury, but clean and with good breakfast.

For the rest of your trip? Do you have the Rick Steves' Switzerland guidebook? Indispensable. Whole trip by train, BTW, and that is well-covered in the book. Better than we can do by posting here.

Posted by
1243 posts

Hi. Yes, Gimmelwald is really tiny. I stayed in Mürren and walked to Gimmelwald. Take heart, there is a place to eat with the same great views as the hostel, the Pension Gimmelwald. In fact, I think they are right next to each other. There is a nice outdoors deck/patio place to eat. Their website asks for reservations, but that must mean for the indoor restaurant. We walked and crashed there for lunch and beer. It sure is difficult to walk away from that view. Luckily, the gondola is a v. short walk away!

Posted by
8889 posts

Kelly, For accommodation and what to see and do in the Jungfrau region (which is a sub-area of the Berner Oberland, including Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren/Gimmelwald and Grindelwald), see this website:
https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/summer/

I would suggest, from Zürich airport go direct to Luzern for 2 nights (old town, lake, mountains in distance for day trips). Then move on to the Jungfrau region for the rest of your stay.

Posted by
20 posts

You all are SOOOOOO helpful!!!!

In the areas suggested...there are dozens of hikes, etc. What do you think that we shouldn't leave without seeing / doing????

Posted by
19 posts

I recommend staying in Gimmelwald as well. Take the cable car (Free to guest) to Murren if you need Groceries. Nearby Grindelwald is great also. Zermatt is all about the Matterhorn. Loved it there.

Posted by
768 posts

Kelly,
You asked about the one thing you shouldn't miss. I'll give you one for a clear day and one for a misty/rainy day. If you get a clear day, you must take the train up to Wengen, then cable car up to Mannlichen for the 1.5 hr trail from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. You can see for miles in all directions, and I prefer this view to those from the mountain peaks. Best trail in all of Switzerland, in my opinion.

On a misty day, walk or take the Postal Bus south from Lauterbrunnen to Trummelbach Falls, which you can even see in the rain since it is inside the mountain.

As for hikes, I'll send to your private forum mail the pics and maps of our fav dozen in the area. Click on your name in the upper right to read your forum mail.

Posted by
20 posts

FANTASTIC!!!!! These areas look SO INCREDIBLE!!!! What do you all think about the Glacier Express?

Posted by
726 posts

We did not do the Glacier EXpress, but did do the scenic train from interlaken to Montreaux for a day trip. I believe its the William Tell. Loved it and enjoyed the time in Montreaux a lot- took boat to the castle and then bus partway back and walked along Lake Geneva in the park. Found the Freddy Mercury Statue for my son, enjoyed the great art work. Just a lovely and restful day.
get Rick's book on Switzerland and follow his suggestions- you will have a great time.