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Switzerland Help

Planning a trip to Europe late April-early June 2020:

Fly US to Rome--3 weeks in Italy--9 nights in Switzerland--2 nights in Germany--fly to US from Frankfurt

Notes: We are planning to travel by train but are not opposed to car rental if it makes more financial or logistic sense.
We could possibly add one more night in Switzerland if it makes a significant difference.

Tentative Itinerary

Lake Como (Lugano) to Lucerne for 4 nights

Lucerne to Bernese Oberland for 4 nights in either Lauterbrunnen or Wengen

Lauterbrunnen to Bern for 1 night

1. After reading about La Maison du Gruyere tour and the Maison Cailler tour, we would love to include that in our itinerary but need suggestions about how to do that.
2. Is the Gruyere area a feasible day trip from Bern if we added an additional night there?
3. Does the sequence above make sense or is there a better way to arrange our trip?

Thank you for any advice you are willing to share!

Posted by
8643 posts

I am going to answer question #2. Gruyere may be a feasible day trip, but the reality is that it is not worth a day trip. You can have much better cheese making tours or experiences elsewhere. The town itself is primarily a tourist mall set in the old town. The castle tour was interesting, but not so that I would go out of my way to go to Gruyere.

Posted by
1808 posts

A day trip to Gruyeres from Bern is very possible. The train station is across the street from the cheese factory. The chocolate tour is about 4 miles away from Gruyeres and can be accessed by train (30 minutes) as well with a connection through Bulle to Broc-Fabrique. From there it is a 2 minute walk.

Posted by
3551 posts

Gruyere we did by car so I cannot comment as a day trip but the cheese tour is pricey and to me not worth it. Also Bern to me was so so. We had just come from Zermatt, lake thun, Lucerne and the villages and mtns around Riga and Pilates so Bern was paled greatly when compared.

Posted by
181 posts

I appreciate your insights. It sounds like Gruyere is not worth the inconvenience of going out of our way to visit there. What are your suggestions for other cheese making or other experiences that you think might be better?

Posted by
7209 posts

Gruyere was also high on my list for many years, and we finally went there on a daytrip from Geneva via train. BTW - if you have a Swiss Pass the cheese museum as well as the castle entrance are all free. I thought the cheese museum and self guided tour of the cheese making facilities was interesting - but not spectacular. The castle was the same. There are tiny museums dotted around within the old village area all of which are free with the Swiss Pass.

One of those museums was the HR Giger Museum (think sigourney weaver Alien). I enjoy Alien, but this museum was just over the top weird. In fact almost the entire old village is just inundated with Giger influence - weird stuff that totally distracts (IMHO) from the historic gem of this little fortress and cheese history.

I'm glad I went just to know what it's like and cross it off my list. I would not go back.

Posted by
6 posts

Lauterbrunnen and Wengen are both lovely. We stayed in Wengen and just loved it. Wengen is car free and up on the mountain, however Lautnbrunnen is beautiful, just a bit busier. The good thing about lauterbrunnen is that you can quickly get to lots of other areas. It probably depends on what you want to do when you are there? If you want mountain hikes stay in Wengen, if you want to visit various sites in the region Lautenbrunnen is probably easier but it still is a small town in an incredible spot, the lauterbrunnen valley is just stunning!

Posted by
1379 posts

We spent 4 nights in Wengen in July 2017 after evaluating staying in Lauterbrunnen, Murren or Grindlewald and definitely made the right choice. You can take the train to Lauterbrunnen and then take another train up. For a great day you can take a cable car up to the Mannlichen and then hike down to Kleine Scheidgg and then on back down to Wengen (described in RS Switzerland guidebook). if you get tired you can take the train down from KS.

We also went to Gruyere (touristy) and enjoyed it - an easy drive from Bern. My suggestion is to rent a car and make a day trip to include a couple of hours in Gruyere and then head on down to Lake Geneva and visit Vevay and/or Montreux.

Posted by
6 posts

For your Lucerne Rigi trip you could consider to stay 2-3 nights at Mount Rigi and explore lake, Lucerne and Rigi from there. Lucerne is eg from Vitznau a 1h boat trip. In case you prefer to stay outside the city and with a great view.