Base for 5 nights in Switzerland coming from Varenna

Hello all, Looking for a suggestion on where would be a good base for 5 nights in Switzerland at the end of April/early May. We are coming from Varenna at the end of 3 weeks in Europe. We love train trips and will probably have a Swiss pass, although we don't want to spend all day on trains. There seem to be so many alternatives so I would appreciate any help.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Vicki, It would help to know where you'll be going after Switzerland? Also, are you interested more in outdoor activities or urban sights? The usual favourite here is the Berner Oberland outside of Interlaken. Cheers!

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

Unfortunately, late April/ early May is the absolute worst time of the year at many of the major Alpine resorts in Switzerland. The ski season is over, but the conditions are too wet, overcast and muddy to allow for any decent hiking. As a consequence, most of the tourist infrastructure closes down for a few weeks, and the farmers use this lull period to fertilize the mountain pastures... which involves spraying liquified manure with a power hose. It smells lovely... If your main reason for visiting is to see the Alps, you may want to consider using somewhere in Bavaria as a base instead. The resort towns there (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, Rosenheim, etc.) don't experience as deep a hibernation as their Swiss counterparts.

Posted by Vicki
Sydney, NSW, Australia
3 posts

Thanks Ken and Tom. As we are flying out of Zurich back to Australia, I think it will have to be Switzerland. As it is not the best time of year, I am thinking the Bernina Express from Tirano (from Varenna) overnight in the St Moritz region, Glacier Express to Zermatt, two nights in Zermatt, then train to Lucerne, spending the last two nights there. Train to Zurich on our last morning. Maybe it is a bit overkill on trains?

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

"Thanks Ken and Tom. As we are flying out of Zurich back to Australia, I think it will have to be Switzerland. As it is not the best time of year, I am thinking the Bernina Express from Tirano (from Varenna) overnight in the St Moritz region, Glacier Express to Zermatt, two nights in Zermatt, then train to Lucerne, spending the last two nights there. Train to Zurich on our last morning. Maybe it is a bit overkill on trains?" Hi Vicki, Sounds good to me, although I probably would not spend more than one night in Zermatt and more time in Lucerne or the Berener Oberland instead. One advantage of traveling at this time of year is that the hotels that are open usually offer better prices than at other times of the year. And as for the weather, I've made countless trips during this time of the year and can never recall it to be as bad as some people here seem to have found it, but then my trips were mainly train trips like yours.... Jim