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Switzerland Itinerary Help/Feedback

Hello!

My husband and I are visiting Switzerland in July for the first time. We will spend some time in Italy first, then coming to Switzerland via Rome. We will be flying out of Zurich back to the US. I've narrowed down our Switzerland trip to two "bases" -- first staying in Wengen (4 nights) and exploring the BO area; and then basing in Lucerne (3 nights). We are flying out of Zurich back to the US. Here's what we're thinking:

Day 1 - Travel from Rome to Wengen (we thought it best to take a train versus flying). Stay in Wengen.
Day 2 - Explore Wengen/BO area
Day 3 - Explore BO area
Day 4 - Explore BO area
Day 5 - Travel to Lucerne. Stay in Lucerne
Day 6 - Explore Lucerne and area
Day 7 - Explore Lucerne and area
Day 8 - Head to Zurich and fly out that day.

My general questions are:

1) Is it best (to maximize our time) to take the train from Rome to Wengen? If so, how soon should I buy those tickets and any help on where/how/what to buy is greatly appreciated!

2) In Wengen, we have the option of staying at a hotel (Maya Caprice); or at a vacation rental (via Alpine Holiday). Has anyone stayed at one of the Alpine Holiday rentals? We like the idea of having our own space; but since its our first time, didn't know if staying in a hotel would be a better fit. We don't necessarily need a full-course meal every night, but also wanted to be sure if we did the apartment route, there would be restaurant options.

3) I would love any advice on how we plan our 3 full days in the BO area -- my husband is a photographer so I"m sure wherever we go will be wonderful! We would definitely want to do Murren, Lauterbrunnen, is it worth going to Lake Thun? And which Swiss passes should we be zoning in on , there are so many options! Do we buy those passes in advance?

4) Getting from Wengen to Lucerne -- would welcome which train pass ? or where I can find a schedule. And do we purchase that ticket in advance as well?

5) Lucerne -- I would welcome also any advice on our 2 full days in Lucerne. We will have just come from the beautiful alps, so like the idea of immersing in the city. Also, do we buy the train passes from Lucerne to Zurich in advance too?

6) Finally , how early to arrive at the Zurich airport for an international flight? Is 2 hours plenty of time?

So sorry for this very long message, but so appreciate any advice/feedback! We are very excited, but I'm just a bit overwhelmed on how to ensure we have our "journeys" covered from Rome-Wengen-Lucerne-Zurich ... and the passes to access the BO sites. And advice on a hotel vs. apartment rental in Wengen!

Thank you!!!

Posted by
5027 posts

You're in luck- the various Swiss passes have been discussed in great detail here. Just browse back thru the threads under the Switzerland section, and/or do a Search for the topic here on the Forum. The passes do confuse folks and it does take some work penciling out the best option for you. Also, the weather is an unknown for the mountains, so buying the summit passes in advance carries some risk.
Some of the various Swiss Travel passes go on sale April 15. The Swiss train system is remarkably efficient and user- friendly, and a joy to use.
I always stay in Murren, so can't help with Wengen lodging.
The Zurich airport has always seemed pretty well organized, so two hours should be sufficient. When we get there earlier, we are waiting for desk to open to check our passports.
There will be quite a difference in temperature between the Swiss cities and mountains in July, so be prepared for a range of temperatures.
You will have a fantastic trip in this beautiful country.
Safe travels.

Posted by
2355 posts

1) the train from Rome to Wengen looks to take around 7 hours. That’s probably faster than flying when you consider needing to get to the airport, the flight, then the train from the airport.

2) There are a few restaurants in Wengen, and you can easily take the train down to Lauterbrunnen for more options.

3) the Swiss Travel Pass might be your best option. It will cover travel from the Italian border. There is a sale soon that gives you a free day.

As for what to do - much is weather dependent. From Wengen you could take the cable car up to Mannlichen and do the Panorama Trail down to Kleinne Scheidigg. Or go up to the Jungfraujoch (partially covered by rail pass). Another easy trail with great views is from Grutschalp to Murren. In Wengen, there is a viewpoint called Staubachblankli. You could also take the cogwheel train up to Schynige Platte.

4) The Swiss Travel Pass will cover you to Lucerne and on to Zurich if you buy enough days. Look into the sale mentioned above.

6) If your flight is back to the US, I would get to the airport 3 hours before.

Posted by
20321 posts

Some of the various Swiss Travel passes go on sale April 15.

Problem is the upcoming promotion is to get 10 days for the price of 8 and you only have 8 days of use.

Another option is to get the Half Fare Card plus the 4-day Berner Oberland Pass. This gives better coverage of lifts and mountain railways in the Berner Oberland then the Swiss Travel Pass. The Half Fare Card will get you a discount on Day 1, 6, 7, & 8. as well as on the Berner Oberland Pass.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all so much for the helpful advice!

So the Swiss Travel Pass also covers trains from Rome to Wengen? (And then Wengen to Lucerne to Zurich?) And even if I can’t participate in the sale, this Pass would still be what I should buy for transportation? And I was wondering how early in advance to buy these tickets (that journey me from city to city).

Thank you!

Posted by
20321 posts

The STP only covers you from Domodossola at the Swiss border to Wengen. You may be able to find a very good price with an advance purchase Super Economy fare from Rome to Spiez, then use the STP there after. Find that ticket at https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html. You can compare with the price using the STP from Domodossola.

Question is what you mean by "Explore the BO area". The STP only gives a 25% discount above Wengen.

Posted by
3 posts

Got it, thank you!

One additional question for feedback: Would you suggest spending:

5 nights in Wengen/BO
2 nights in Lucerne

OR

4 nights in Wengen/BO
3 nights in Lucerne?

I was originally thinking of the latter (4 in Wengen/BO and 3 in Lucerne) but not sure if we should do 5 nights in BO instead and cut one day in Lucerne. (If we do 2 nights in Lucerne, we would arrive from Wengen on a Sunday, and then flight out of Zurich is Tuesday late morning).

Thank you for any insight!

Posted by
897 posts

Doing a split Trenitalia/SBB run would be the most ecomomical. I would give yourself a good gap when switching to allow for any delays you might have on the Italian leg.