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Zermatt or ???

Hi. I've been going crazy finalizing our two-week Europe itinerary, which begins next week. Trip includes two kids, ages 17 and 20. They have been to Europe once, a couple years ago, but never to Switzerland.

Here's where I could really use some advice: We have two nights free between our three-night London stay and a three-night stay in Wengen in the first week of our trip. Should we fly to straight to Switzerland (via Zurich or Milan?) and stay a couple nights in, say, Zermatt? Or is there a better destination in Switzerland pre-Wengen? The only place I've been in Switzerland is Lucerne and it was years ago. We are all very active.

I was checking out squeezing in another city/country (Amsterdam, Munich or Paris) on the way to Wengen to show the kids even more but it seems like that will complicate things and exhaust us!

After Wengen, we plan to take the Bernina Express and to spend some time in Ascona or Lake Como before returning to London for our flight home.

Thanks for any and all tips!

Posted by
3551 posts

While Zermatt is beautiful , it is slow to get there with transfers and the weather can be iffy. In addition to hotels that are quite costly. If u prefer not to vist Lucerne again , consider the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It is in the Berner Oberland area with waterfalls, and drop dead gorgeous mtns. The gondolas take u where u wish to go then ride or hike down. Book lodging asap, it is busy in summer.
Another option could be beautiful Engelberg. A quiet village a stunning monastery to tour and a gondola up mtn if u wish.
I would say fly straight to Zurich and train out as soon as u arrive as train is at Zurich airport.

Hope this helps alittle.

Posted by
11484 posts

It might be a good idea to add those nights to Wengen. There are endless hiking opportunities in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounding mountains. We have spent almost three weeks there over the course of four trips and will go back. More than enough to keep you active. Stopping in another location just eats up time that could be devoted to doing something. If you spend two nights in Zermatt and your one full day is overcast, well, it will feel like a lost day.

Posted by
2744 posts

I agree with Laurel. Stay two more nights in Wengen. It will be way more relaxing and there is so much to do there. Flying to another country for just two nights will feel rushed.

Posted by
3392 posts

I personally love Zermatt but only go if the forecast is for clear weather...otherwise it's really not worth going.
Take the gondola up to the Trockner Steg and then walk past the lake up to the glacier (or the place where the glacier used to be...it's melted and totally gone as of a few years ago) and you have an amazing view of the Matterhorn towering above you. Tons of little Valais blacknose sheep graze up there. If you're feeling adventuresome you can keep going up to the hutte that is on the side of the Matterhorn. Tough hike but a unique place to visit.
I also recommend going up to Glacier Paradise...one of the most amazing gondola rides I've ever taken and crazy views from the top.
Take money...our day in Zermatt (we didn't spend the night) was one of the most expensive days I've ever had in all of my travels. Worth it though!

Posted by
16894 posts

Trains through Paris are fast - 2.5 hours London-Paris and 6.5 hours Paris-Wengen. But tickets can be expensive. The best rates you see online today for your travel dates are the best you can get - they'll only go up as more seats get booked. If you're planning to get a Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card, then that would kick in at Basel, the official border station and a common connection point, so you'd only have to buy reserved TGV tickets as far as Basel.

Posted by
368 posts

Engleberg is also very nice. You can take the gondola to the top of Mt. Titlis. There are many hiking trails. There is an Abby that is famous for its cheeses and the valley is very beautiful. We stayed at the Ski hotel Engleberg. It was very nice.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for the detailed responses. I really appreciate it. Haven't decided what we will do but obviously have to do it quickly and your input is invaluable!