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Switzerland Paris in Oct

I like to start my planning early so I could use a few suggestions or comments on my travel plans. We are going to fly to Zurich Oct 3, travel Switzerland by train for 2 weeks or more than take a train to Paris for a week plus. Is 2 weeks in Switzerland enough? 1 week in Paris or more? We are flying back home Oct 31 should we train ride to southern France and then Paris? Just looking at the best way to fill 4 weeks seeing Switzerland & Paris. We like to take our time and not fill up a full schedule. Thanks for any suggestions!

Posted by
5019 posts

Two weeks is a nice amount of time for Switzerland. I would agree that you should go to Switzerland before Paris, as the Alps will be moving into the shoulder season by the end of Oct, and some hotels will be closing until ski season begins. You could end your tour of Switzerland in Basel, from which Colmar and Strasbourg are a short train trip away. Of course, even ending in Bern, coming out of the Berner Oberland, puts Colmar/Strasbourg less than two hours away by train.
The Alsatian area is a delightful with many great wineries. I can't help with exploring Paris, but there is a high- speed train to Paris from Strasbourg.
Do you have your Switzerland itinerary drafted yet? We were in country the end of Sept, 2021, and had a fantastic trip at that time of year.
I assume you're flying back from Paris?
Safe travels!
Ps We learned the hard way to always check beforehand on French labor strikes. The strikes are usually announced well in advance and can Occur fairly frequently.

Posted by
14163 posts

A week in Paris is a good start! I try for 10 days to 2 weeks but I know I love Paris and can never run out of things to do!

What are your potential destinations in Switzerland? It might help to know where you are planning to end in Switzerland for advice on onward travel to France. I love Provence but I would make sure that whatever your destination is, that there is a TGV (fast train) to Paris. Aix-en-Provence and Marseille have TGVs as does Lyon and Avignon. Here is a map from www.seat61.com The double blue lines are TGV routes to give you an idea.

https://www.sncf-reseau.com/sites/default/files/2020-06/CARTE%20RFN%202020_WEB_0.pdf

I also agree with doing Switzerland first...Paris is good any time and with Switzerland you may have the weather start to deteriorate.

Posted by
54 posts

Thank you both for those great suggestions. Going up to the eastern part of France is interesting and I'm going to look into that. Ending up in Basel would be nice to say I saw Roger Federer home town and then train it up to Colmar and Strasbourg. Looks like going north or to southern France would be a nice trip and there is a fast train to Paris from either area. I think two weeks in Switzerland we'd like to take the train basically around Switzerland. Appenzell, Luzern Lugano, Zermatt, Geneva, Berner Oberland and Bern I think will be the key areas. Or look where the scenic railroads take us. Our plan is to arrive in Zurich Oct 3 and leave from Paris on Nov 1. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by
2775 posts

If you’d like to read some more trip reports, I have mine posted. I was in Switzerland the same time as Pat in Sept. 2021 and I loved it so much I went back again in June 2022. I also just added a link to some of my photos.

Just click on my name and it will take you to my profile where all the links are.

Happy planning!!

Posted by
54 posts

I have been reading and reading about Switzerland and where to go etc and will continue to read all the comments from the Travel Forum. Our travel to Switzerland will be October 3 landing in Zurich and leaving for Paris October 24th. This is all changeable yet but this is what I have planned for an itinerary. We like to travel in a relaxed mode staying at one place 2-3 days. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.

Oct 4-6 Zurich leave on train to Interlaken and stay at Murren for 3 nights
Oct 6 - 9 Murren for Zermatt via train with any scenic stops along the way.
Oct 9 Murren to Zermatt via train with any scenic stops along the way.
Oct 9 - 12 Zermatt
Oct 12 take Glacier Express to St. Moritzr
Oct 12 -15 St. Moritz
Oct 15 - 16 take train to Turino for overnight
Oct 17 take Bernina Express to Lugan
Oct 17 take Gotthard Express to Luzern with stop in Bellinzona for castles
Oct 18 -20 Luzern
Oct 20 - 22 Bern
Oct 22 - 24 Basel
Oct 24 - 29 Paris
Oct 30 leave for home

Since I don't really know travel time between each area my itinerary maybe too aggressive or maybe I can fit more things in. Since we are getting the Swiss Rail Pass it should give us opportunity to do side trips at each place we are staying.

Posted by
5019 posts

Fyi- there is a Swiss Travel Pass sale starting April 15, with free nights for the various passes. I believe the sale runs for about a month.
Oct 6-9 you're staying in Murren, right?
If possible, I'd add a day in Murren, as the Alps are delightful, and in case of bad weather, you have a better chance of seeing the summits.
Do you mean Tirano for the BerninaExpress?
Pontressina is a bit more charming than the glitzy St Moritz, so that may be a consideration for that area.
Bern or Basel could be used as a base for visiting the other, and you could eliminate a hotel change.
I'm so jealous you get to be in Switzerland at that time of year.
It's fun to watch your planning progress as you develop an itinerary for this beautiful country. Hope you report back afterwards.
Safe travels!

Posted by
54 posts

Excellent! I'm going to certainly consider your suggestions. Thanks. I'm sure I will do a final itinerary just to see what I might be missing. We are staying at the Hotel Edelweiss in Murren I'll try and add another day there.

Posted by
7002 posts

Hi,

Let me comment/edit your proposed itinerary. Minor tweaks, overall!

Oct 4-6 Zurich >You could skip, and replace by Bern
Oct 6 leave on train to Interlaken and stay at Murren for 3 nights
Oct 6 - 9 Murren
Oct 9 Murren to Zermatt via train with any scenic stops along the way.
Oct 9 - 12 Zermatt
Oct 12 take Glacier Express to St. Moritz
Oct 12 -15 St. Moritz > as mentioned by others, Pontresina is nicer. Samedan is good too.
Oct 15 take train to Turino for overnight > It's Tirano. But Varenna, Italy, would be a better choice! And make it 2 nights there
Oct 17 take Bernina Express to Lugano > No. The Bernina Express is the train you would take on Oct 15. Here, if you stay in Varenna, you have to cross lake Como by ferry to Menaggio and take the bus to Lugano.
Oct 17-18 Lugano > 1 night is indeed enough
Oct 18 take Gotthard Express to Luzern with stop in Bellinzona for castles > To be able to stop, you need to take another train than the Panorama Express, but it is doable
Oct 18 -21 Luzern > Make it 3 nights
Bern > Removed. See my suggestion to stay in Bern at the beginning instead
Oct 21 - 23 Basel
Oct 23 - 30 Paris
Oct 30 leave for home

Posted by
54 posts

Thanks so much for the suggestions. We fly into Zurich so maybe add that 4th day to Murren and go to Bern for a day trip? We want to go to Basel because of a tennis tournament starting there at that time. I checked both Pontresina and Verenna and they both look fabulous so maybe instead of an overnight in Lugano go from Verenna up to Luzern. Looks like we can take a train from Tirano to Verenna. We can also skip Bellinzona however I do love castles. I will do more research to finalize our itinerary. Planning is half the fun and a great way to learn about the country before the visit.

Posted by
5019 posts

Yes definitely give up the overnight in Lugano, which is nice, but you're going for fabulous!

Posted by
16709 posts

Balso’s revised itinerary is much better. And staying in Varenna is a nice idea. If you do that, you can still take the scenic Gotthard Pass route to Luzern on the Treno Gottardo instead of the Gotthard Panorama Express (which may or may not run in late October anyway). The Treno Gottardo starts in Locarno instead of Lugano, runs hourly, and every other train goes to Luzern ( the others go to Zurich).

https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/experiences/treno-gottardo/

https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/topics/treno-gottardo.html

You can still get off in Bellinzona if you want, but make sure the train you board to resume the journey is also a Treno Gottardo, or you will end up going through the long deep tunnel under the Alps instead of over the Gotthard Pass. The ones going to Luzern run every 2 hours, so you should be able to take one that departs Bellinzona 2hours after you arrive there. But check the schedule carefully.

To reach Locarno from Varenna, take the train to Milano Centrale (1 hour) and change there to a train going to Locarno. There may be some options to change at Monza instead of Milano Centrale.

You may want to spend a night in Locarno instead of making the whole journey to Luzern in one day. There are nice hotels right on the lake just 2 blocks from the train station. They should be well-priced in late October.

Posted by
54 posts

Once again all excellent suggestions. Actually it was the Treno Gotthard that I wanted to take so I'm glad you steered me straight on that. I will continue to rearrange my itinerary to meet some of these changes you all have suggested thank you everyone!

Posted by
54 posts

I've pretty much taken all your suggestions but I am stuck. Leaving Varenna on the 19th to Locarno and then from Locarno to Luzern on the 20th. I need advice on the rest of the trip in Switzerland. Three cities we'd still like to visit Luzern, Bern and Basel. Coming off the end of the trip in Switzerland before heading to Paris I don't want to pack in a lot of stuff to see. I have from Locarno on the 19th until Oct 24th to visit which cities? I do want to end up in Basel to go to a tennis tournament on Monday 23rd. The 24th we head to Paris via train. This is the final part of our itinerary in Switzerland to finalize. Could we go to Luzern from Verenna in one day?

Thank you for any suggestions!!