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Trip from London to Switzerland-recommendations for itinerary and hiking

Hello,
My son and I will be going to Scotland, Ireland and England in May for an educational trip through his high school in June. We will be leaving from London and have the option of extending our trip. My son and I really want to see Switzerland and do mostly hiking and other fun outdoor activities since the first part of the trip will be a lot of museums. I'm really drawn to the Interlaken area and Zermatt. We would also love to add on a train ride. We would be flying from London on a Saturday and flying home the following Saturday. I had considered this itinerary:
Sat-Fly to Zurich and stay the night
Sun-Zurich to Chur then Chur to Zermatt on Glacier Express
Mon-Zermatt
Tues-Zermatt to Interlaken
Wed-Interlaken
Thurs-Interlaken
Fri-Interlaken to Zurich and stay the night
Sat-Fly home

Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated. I'm in the middle of Rick Steve's book currently but would love to have more of a general outline that makes sense. I tend to want to do everything. Thanks!

Posted by
845 posts

Interlaken is a mildly interesting on its own transfer point to Lauterbrunen and Grindelwald areas where the hiking will be... so you will want to dig deeper into the guidebooks to decide what you want to do in the Bernese Oberland.

BUT the weather in late May in the Alps may be highly variable. Probably not the best hiking and potentially (after looking at current weather in Switzerland today) still heavily snowed in at higher elevations.

Have fun.

Posted by
52 posts

We will be there second week of June. Will it still be snowy? So many fun sounding towns in Interlaken area. Which would you recommend for ease of getting around and moderately priced accommodations? Thank you!

Posted by
4668 posts

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/lucerne-62eb4d28-60ab-4837-b4b4-91a2486eb732

Perhaps my Trip Report will offer some helpful info. Thankfully, you can ignore the COVID references. There are other really helpful Trip Reports posted in the Trip Report section.

Lucerne is much more charming than Zurich, and is an easy hour+ train from the Zurich airport. I recommend staying in Lucerne instead of Zurich.
Interlake is a transit center, not a charming Swiss village.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
52 posts

Pat! Thank you so much. I printed it off so I can make notes. Very much appreciated and will definitely consider Lucern.

Posted by
11278 posts

June will be fine. So is late May. The weather everywhere is variable, but you know that.

I like your itinerary but go to Mürren, Wengen, or Lauterbrunnen instead of Interlaken. In one of these villages you will be in the mountains and closer to good hiking. Lifts should all be open by June 1 (night be an exception or two) and there should still be good snow on the peaks. Rick Steves' guide book is really very good about the area.

Sunday will be a long travel day, especially if you stay in Zurich. If you can get to Chur on Saturday, so much the better and then you can have an extra night in either Zermatt or the greater Lauterbrunnen area.

Get your reservations ASAP. It is bound to be another big summer of travel!

Posted by
2655 posts

This is a great resource put together by forum member shoe:

https://lauterbrunnenhiking.wordpress.com/

In looking at the pictures, you can see why most suggest staying in Mürren, Wengen, or Lauterbrunnen.

June is a great time to go. I’ll be there myself. 😊 I have a feeling it’s going to be crowded next June. Great advice from Laurel—get those hotels booked ASAP.

You might find my trip reports helpful. Pat and I went to some different areas, so our reports should give you a good variety of info.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/solo-in-switzerland-my-trip-report

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/still-dreaming-of-switzerland-a-trip-report

Posted by
52 posts

Thank you all so much! If you were to plan this trip, would you do Zermatt and the Berner area together? Is there a better area than Zermatt to explore? The hiking information and trip reports are excellent!

Posted by
4668 posts

I would skip Zermatt. I feel the Berner Oberland offers so much more, actually sleeping in the Alps at about 6,000 ft elevation (Murren). But there are several other schools of thought here, and everyone's opinions are valid.
Enjoy this beautiful country. I've been there three times and I'm going back again.
Safe travels!

Posted by
11278 posts

I agree with Pat about skipping Zermatt, but for some people it is a bucket list location so I understand wanting to try and include it. That said, once you are in the Lauterbrunnen Valley you’ll wish you had more time.

Posted by
52 posts

Okay! I took everyone’s suggestion and we are spending the whole time in Murren! If I had 10-14 days, we would add on Zermatt but we plan to come back and do a Northern Italy/Switzerland trip so it would make more sense to do it then. Love everyone’s suggestions.

Posted by
4668 posts

Billie.rush,
thx for sharing how your planning has evolved. Folks give lots of useful advice here on the Forum, and often the original poster never responds again, and we are left wondering if any of the input was helpful. Hopefully you'll write a Trip Report after your amazing adventure has concluded.
Safe travels!

Posted by
52 posts

I’ll definitely post a trip report and I’ll definitely have many more questions. Thank you for your response!