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Two week September itinerary assistance

Hi everyone - my wife and I are in our mid 30s and are planning a trip in September (2021). We're reasonably fit and are looking for a relaxing trip after 2020 :) . I know we're a little late in planning for a trip that's so soon, but it's the only time we can get to Europe in the next year. After reviewing many posts here, I've developed a basic itinerary that is primarily based off a post from Chris F in this forum.

I saw a post where someone said that 3 days in an alpine town is best, so that's why I've got us in Zermatt for 3 days. I've read tons here from folks going back and forth on staying in Zermatt. I'm still a little unsure about Zermatt, I'd like to see some of the Italian region or the Upper Engadine area, but I'm thinking I can save that for a future trip - as Rick says, assume you will return :)

I'm a sucker for trains and I'm especially looking forward to staying in the Berner Oberland region. I'd like to avoid uber touristy areas as much as is reasonable (that's the idea behind staying in Murren for so long) while still seeing some of the major sights.

Would love any feedback you folks may have for us. This forum has been an incredible resource and it's so kind of everyone to spend their precious time helping fellow travelers.

We are planning to arrive in Zurich on Saturday September 4th at 8am and depart Zurich on Sunday September 19th at 10am.

Basically:

  • Chur 1 night
  • Zermatt 3 nights
  • Montreux area 2 nights
  • Murren 6 nights
  • Luzern 2 nights

Full Itinerary:

  • 1: Fly into Zurich from Newark NJ, train to Chur, sleep Chur
  • 2: Train to Zermatt via Glacier Express Route, sleep Zermatt
  • 3: Sleep Zermatt
  • 4: Sleep Zermatt
  • 5: Train to Montreux-Lausanne area, sleep Montreux-Lausanne area
  • 6: Sleep Montreux-Lausanne area
  • 7: Train to Murren via Golden Pass Route, sleep Murren
  • 8: Sleep Murren
  • 9: Sleep Murren
  • 10: Sleep Murren
  • 11: Sleep Murren
  • 12: Sleep Murren
  • 13: Train to Luzern, Sleep Luzern
  • 14: Sleep Luzern, train to Zurich Airport (do I have enough time to do this if my flight is at 10am?)

Thanks so much!

Posted by
2980 posts

Here’s an idea for an alternate plan with these thoughts in mind:

*The Golden Pass route takes you far afield to Montreux/Lausanne (use Google Maps to see the routes and distances).

*Murren is a small village and pretty isolated so 6 nights there might be too many since there are other places you want to visit.

Since you say that you would like to see some of the Italian region or the Upper Engadin area - why not go there this trip? Check out the Bernina Express Route as an alternative to the Golden Pass Route.

I’ve enjoyed staying in Pontresina (it’s near St. Moritz at the end of the Glacier Express route and near a section of the Bernina Express route). Pontresina is a smaller village - some hotels there provide a rail pass for the Engadin region (or you can purchase one.) If you like hiking, you can hike between towns and if you get tired, take the train back to Pontresina - there are so many amazing trails that leave from Pontresina. You can visit the towns and villages in the region via train. I’ve taken the train from there into northern Italy though these days I’m not sure of restrictions for crossing borders - something you’d want to check out.

For a more relaxing trip and to make the most of your time, I’d consider something like this:

-Arrive Zurich - train to Lucerne (2-3 nights - A relaxing place to recover from jetlag).

-Luzern to Zermatt (2-3 nights)

-Glacier Express - Zermatt to St. Moritz (then train to Pontresina) (4-5 nights)

-Maybe Bernina Express from St. Moritz (a quick train ride from Pontresina) south (spend a night or two in northern Italy if you can easily cross the border - check out Covid border requirements) and then return via Chur - spend a night or two there OR take Bernina Express as a daytrip with base in Pontresina.

-Spend the last night in Zurich - it’s too risky to train from Lucerne to the Zurich Airport for a 10:00 a.m. flight.

Trains in Switzerland sounds like a wonderful September destination - however you decide to arrange your trip!

Posted by
383 posts

We stayed in Muerren for 6 nights two years ago and we would have loved to stay longer. We hiked most days, all over the Lauterbrunnen valley area, did a boat ride, visited the Ballenberg museum, planned a day trip to Bern if we had a bad weather day (but we didn't). The Swiss transportation system is awesome and makes it so easy to get anywhere. Here is a link to my trip report if you are interested in more detail.

Investigate your travel pass options; we had BO passes for our stay, and every ride (train, gondola, boat, bus) except the Schilthorn lift was 100% covered. Since you are traveling to more area outside the BO than we did, the Swiss Travel Pass might be more beneficial for you, but you'll have to do the math and figure out what works best for your travel plan.

Aside from Luzern, I've never visited any other place in Switzerland, so I don't have any feedback on the rest of your itinerary.

Luzern is about a 1 hour train ride from Zurich airport, so no problem at all to stay there the night before your 10:00 flight. There are direct trains leaving at least once per hour, sometimes more often. Check the SBB app or website for train schedules, and make sure you are looking for "Zurich Flughafen," which is the airport. Swiss trains are incredibly reliable and nearly always exactly on time, so no worries about being late.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
9719 posts

I like it. As long as you are hikers, you’ll love the time in Mürren. The rest of the places you are going pale (IMO) to Mürren and the rest of the Jungfrau Region.

The advice to look into a Berner Oberland Regional Pass is solid. Buy one and don’t think twice about jumping on lifts and trains starting at Brig on you way from Zermatt and all the way to Luzern.

Posted by
2110 posts

I like your initial plan, but you will miss the spectacular Albula railway if you start your Glacier Express journey in Chur.
Instead of Montreux, I would head straight to the St Moritz area (e.g., Pontresina) upon arrival and spend 3 nights there, including time to see the Bernina railway.
You also skip the Golden Pass, but it's OK, I find the Albula and Bernina railway far more spectacular - no comparison, to me.

But again, your initial plan works and if you want to see Chillon castle, lake Leman, Lavaux vineyards... then go for it!

Posted by
1283 posts

The Swiss Travel Pass is on sale with a 25% discount if purchased before the end of July. There are several postings here regarding the sale.
Have a great trip !

Posted by
672 posts

If you want to see the trails around Murren, click on my name for a link to maps and pics of the area.

Posted by
400 posts

Our upcoming journey has us 3 days/4 nights in Lauterbrunnen valley. Based on past experience this is about as few as you would want to do. I think 6 days is good. Just to put a little variety to it, why not 3 in Mürren then 3 in Wengen?