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Zurich to Mürren to Frankfurt in May

My wife and I are planning our first trip to Europe in May 2019, arriving London on Sunday the 12th and departing Frankfurt on Monday the 27th. We want to spend the last 5 days in Switzerland (Berner Oberland) before heading up to Frankfurt the night before our early morning flight home.

We are flying into Zurich from Amsterdam Weds the 22nd, but don’t get in until 16:45 in the afternoon. We would like to stay in Mürren while in the Alps.

First question: Would it be better to take the train all the way to Mürren that evening, or go only as far as Lucerne and make the rest of the trip to Mürren the next morning? (considering daylight hours, evening vs. morning scenery, visiting another Swiss city, etc.)

On our way up to Frankfurt on Sunday the 26th, we would like to take some hours in the afternoon for a short K-D Rhine cruise, possibly from Bingen to St. Goar. It seems like a very long day on the train if we leave Mürren that morning. So we were thinking of going part way on Saturday evening.

Second question: Any pros/cons to that idea, and suggestions whether to stop in Bern, Basel or elsewhere for the night to break up the trip?

Posted by
18483 posts

Go straight to Muerren. You can leave the airport as late as 20:43 and get there by midnight, but more likely you should have no trouble getting the 17:40 train from the airport and getting there by 20:55. On May 22, sunset in Bern will be 21:06, so if it is clear, peaks of the Berner Oberland mountains should be lit by the setting sun as you arrive in Interlaken.

If you want to do that Rhine cruise, it could be done in a day. If you arrive in Muerren on the evening of May 22, you would have to leave on May 25 if you wanted to break up the trip to the middle Rhine valley. That means you went all that way to spend just 2 full days in Muerren. But is is your vacation. I'd suggest Freiburg (Breisgau) as a stop over point if you wanted to do that.

Posted by
14917 posts

I am with Sam. I would not give up a day in Switzerland to take a cruise on the Rhine. ( Do they have space for luggage on the riverboats?)

But if you want to get out on the water, and see another Swiss locale, how about a lake cruise at Luzern? You could spend most of the 25th in Muerren and then take the train (under 3 hours) to Luzern in time for dinner. A deck along the river would be nice for that. In the morning, take a cruise on the lake for 2-3 hours, and explore Luzern a bit. There are lockers for your luggage in the train station.

It is only 4 hours to Frankfurt from there, and you do not need to be in Frankfurt until dinnertime.

Posted by
5192 posts

Bern and Basel are wonderful little cities but I would not give up any of your limited Switzerland time from Lucerne or Berner Oberland. I do enjoy the middle Rhine and especially on a nice day, a short cruise past the castles offers a different experience in comparison to a boat ride in Lucerne which is also quite spectacular.

Posted by
768 posts

I agree with what has been said so far.
I have gone from Murren to the Rhine by train in a day but it was a LONG LONG day with a lot of train changes. Not something I'd recommend for a first trip while you are still new to train schedules and train changes.

As for Zurich to Murren, I see 4 options, and "better" depends a lot on how much you want to pack into a day, how tired you get, how much you get settled earlier rather than later, etc.
Here are the 4, and you can verify using :

  1. Take the quickest train from Zurich Flughaven (airport) to Murren. That goes thru Bern, and takes about 3hrs 15 min. However, not that scenic.

  2. Take the most scenic route past lakes and mountains, and means you have to say Zurich to Murren and insert "via Luzern". That takes about 4hrs 15min.

  3. Take the Luzern route above, but take an extra hour (plus the 15 min train change) to walk around Luzern (Lucerne) and grab a quick bite. No problem with train tickets, they are good the day (unless you pre-buy a particular time/route on sale, but that's rare and not recommended in case your plane is late)

  4. Stay a night in Luzern.

Once in Murren, you'll want to check with Tourist Info as to what trails are open in May. If you click on my name, in my profile you'll see a link to our dozen favorite trails in the area, with maps and pics.

Posted by
5 posts

These are all great suggestions, thanks to all. I like the idea of the straight shot to Mürren the Weds we arrive in Zurich. A cruise on Lake Lucerne sounds like a good alternative to the Rhine. And if we make the trip all the way to Frankfurt on Sunday, with a stopover in Lucerne, it would give us four nights and three full days in Mürren and the Alps.