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3 weeks in Switzerland

I am scratching my eyes out! And my husband is helping! We're trying to sort out a bit of an itinerary . . . first two nights in Luzern, 4-5 nights around Fribourg, 3-4 nights Berner-Oberland, 3-4 nights Ticino . . . We want to have a relaxed trip and see lots of stuff at the same time. Like to hike, bicycle, explore towns.
The Friborg idea is to stay, visit Lausanne, Neuchatele, Bern, I don't know. Any thoughts appreciated. We are leaving September 5.

Posted by
12040 posts

Definitely check out Zermatt. I know it gets tough love on this website, but the Matterhorn really is one of the most stunning mountains in the world. And once you ascend above the Alpine level, the views are second to none. If you have a rental car, consider a drive over the Grimsel Pass. You'll see why...

Posted by
2847 posts

I agree with Tom on Zermatt. I'd trade that for Ticino if you love to hike and bike. Are you renting a car or traveling by train? Any places booked yet or are younlooking for suggestions? Hard to tell what the actual question is here.

Posted by
7205 posts

I hope you have a little pot of gold stored up for those 3 weeks in Switzerland. It's a beautiful country, and my main reason for going to Europe...but it's definitely an expensive place.

Posted by
31 posts

I was just in Switzerland for 2 weeks. When in Luzern, you MUST go up Mt. Pilatus! Take the gondola up the one side, and the world's steepest cog railway down the other, and the 110 year old steam paddlewheel boat back via Lake Luzern. It will be a full day of incredible views. We did it on a cloudy day and it was still spectacular. Interlaken with a day trip up to the Jungfrau is pretty amazing, too. Only go if it is clear, however, because even with a rail pass discount, it's expensive. We stayed at the Backpacker's Villa Sonnenhof, a hostel, and it was a very pleasant experience. They have TV's showing a live view of the top of the Jungfrau while you enjoy the complementary breakfast, so you can decide if you want to go that day. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about our experiences. Enjoy!

Posted by
263 posts

I agree on the Mt. Pilatus trip. It has amazing views and the cable car and train are pretty neat. I also agree with Zermatt and the Matterhorn. If you are in Ticino, I recommend Lugano for a day or two, especially the Swiss Miniature in Lugano. These are scale models of famous buildings, with all sorts of moving things involved. It sounds corny, but it was very entertaining. In Lausanne be sure to see the cathedral. I don't think the Olympics museum is open yet. I also recommend taking a trip on the lake boats.....from Lausanne to possibly Montreux and training back. Gives a great overview of the area. I believe lake boats go on a fall schedule, so be sure you use the correct time frames. There are loads of castles/chateaus in the area: Grandson, Chillon by Montreux, for example. And Gruyure (whick I think I spelled wrong) also has a castle, great eating places and is close to Broc which has a Nestly factory and factory store complete with tasting room.
I agree with you also about exploring the towns. It is beautiful, and it is expensive. Have a wonderful time.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the info. We'll be on the rails all the way. I know I didn't have a specific question - just feel like we're bumbling. However, we've decided to do "Rick's favorite two week itinerary" and monkey around with it a little. We were going to give Zermatt a miss, but now I wonder. I figured looking at a Toblerone was close enough . . . Anyhoo, might put that one back on. And we figure we'll spend more time in the Berner-Oberland.
Has anyone done the 2 week itinerary and stretched it to 3? What additions/subtractions did you make???

Posted by
13225 posts

We have done four separate 2-week trips to Switzerland, focused on hiking, and have never yet visited Ticino, Appenzell, or the Engadine. We don't like to move around as much as Rick's 14-day trip suggests, so we stick with a more compact trip in the Berner Oberland and Valais regions, adding Suisse Romande once. If you would like to follow Rick's suggested route, which requires a lot of train/boat time, the good news is that in September you can get 2-for-1 Flex passes. The offer is for the 4-day Flex, which you can use to cover the four longest travel days, and all others will be 50% off. Or you could get several successive 4-day Swiss passes but that would cost a lot more, and if you aren't on the move every day the Flex passes are a better deal. As for what to add to make a 3-week trip, two of our favorite places that are off the RS radar screen are Kandersteg and Bettmeralp. Kandersteg is a pretty village with lots of great hiking right from town, and a beautiful alpine lake above with more hikes. See for photos. There is also a great biking opportunity here: rent bikes and ride into the adjacent valley, the Gasterntal, which is undeveloped and lovely. There are a couple of mountain inns there that offer lunch or snacks if you like. At Bettmeralp, you will find a car-free village perched high above a valley, similar to Mürren. Behind the village rises a ridge, and just over the ridge is the incredible Aletschgletscher, Europe's largest glacier. This starts on the south side of the Jungfrau, at Konkordiaplatz, and flows south before making a 90 degree bend to the west. There are hiking trails along the glacier and to various highpoints for views. If you hike up the Eggishorn you can look up the glacier north to the Jungfrau, then stop at Kühboden for a milkshake on your way home. We typically spend 3 nights at each of these places.

Posted by
284 posts

This doesn't help with your itinerary but it's something I copied into a file that I hope to do someday - looked like so much fun - from one of Rick's blogs about Bern (you said you were looking for fun stuff): The sidewalk going up the Aare River is congested with wet and happy Swiss, hiking upstream in swimsuits just to float back into town. I join them marveling at how this exercise brings out the silly in a people who are generally the polar opposite of goofy. Every hundred yards a railing with concrete steps leads into the rushing river which looks glacial blue but is surprisingly warm. Leaping in, I'm immediately caught up in the current and propelled toward the grand capital city of Switzerland amid carefree swimmers and a flotilla of rubber life rafts.
Nearing the Marzilibad Park, I stroke over to snare a metal railing always a bit nervous that I'll miss the last one and rush towards the city's scary weir and, it seems, oblivion. Hanging onto the railing was a tanned and wiry grandmother and several giddy children clearly enjoying an afternoon going up and down the river.