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Train travel and feed back on my rough itinerary

We will be spending 6 or 7 days in Switzerland the end of Sept. 2015 prior to our Viking Cruise which departs from Basel on October 3rd. We need to be on the boat no later than 3:30 pm at the latest on the 3rd. I'd like feedback and suggestions on my very rough and brief itinerary. I will be booking our frequent flyer tickets the end of October so I need to decide on which airport to fly into and of course my dates. So far, it looks like Zurich is the best place to fly into as far as needing less FF points.

My Rough Itinerary:
Fly into Zurich, take the train that same day to Luzern, spend 3 nights in or around Luzern exploring that area. Or spend the first night in Zurich and then take the train and spend the next two or 3 nights in or around Luzern.
After that catch a train to the Berner Oberland area, spend 3 nights there.
Take a train to Bern and spend one night then onto Basel (or skip the night in Bern) and go directly to Basel
Catch a train from ? to Basel where we catch the cruise.
I haven't booked flights so we're flexible on dates and airports.
Thank you very much for your help.

Posted by
16941 posts

Sounds good. Rail service at Zurich is excellent. I'd say go straight to Luzern from the airport as it is only an hour or so on a direct train and Zurich hotels are mostly in the 300 chf/nt range. Bern can be pricey too, I'd just stop over for a few hours on the way to Basel. If you get to Basel by 1 pm you should be fine. It's a short taxi to the cruise dock.

Posted by
28079 posts

and both Luzern and Basel have plenty to see and are worth more than a short visit.

Posted by
2723 posts

Hi Sue,

Sounds like a terrific plan. Fly into Zurich, but skip the night in Zurich and head right to Luzern. Me, I would probably do 2 nights Luzern and 4 nights BO (Wengen), but 3 and 3 works well. Never been to either Bern or Basel, so I can't comment.

Posted by
57 posts

I agree—I'd skip the night in Zurich. If it were me, I'd spend 2 nights in Lucerne and 4 in the Berner Oberland. The reason I say that is because 4 nights gives you a really good weather buffer. It's a bummer when you go to the mountains and can't see anything if there's bad weather. I'd stay a night in Bern over Basel; the old part of Bern is beautiful.

Posted by
16883 posts

Zurich airport is an easy starting point, but I agree with heading straight from there to Luzern, to maximize mountain time. You could leave bags at the Bern train station and see Bern highlights in less than a day. You might consider a Swiss Pass for 3 days of travel within 2 months, about $265 per person, which covers trains/buses/boats/city trams/museums on your three longest travel days and gives you half off most transportation (not museums) in between those days.

Posted by
143 posts

I would choose mountains over city. Mürren and Gimmelwald are easy to get to by train and gondola from Zurich or Lucerne. Don't be intimidated by the transfers. They are easy. And the scenery just keeps getting better and better no matter which route you take. Maybe my recent photos will help you decide:

Soon I will create a gallery for the Schilthornbahn. The Schilthorn has amazing views and there is a revolving restaurant serving a champagne breakfast. Worth getting up for.

If you like hiking, mountain scenery, waterfalls, quiet villages which ban most automobiles, another day up there might be a great idea.

We were lucky and had 4 beautiful days in the Berner Oberland last month (July 2014). The weather may be a factor in your decision-making. I am sure winter weather is possible up there in late September.

Don't forget that you will get plenty of city and town time during the cruise.

Posted by
178 posts

Sue, Hotel Alpha is a great choice in Luzern...great price, breakfast, elevator,
clean & nice and a 10 min easy walk from train station...Mike June,2014 visit
and Hotel Staubach in Lautterbrunnen