I am planning a 7 night trip to Switzerland next June, flying in through Zurich. Three nights Lauterbrunnen, one night Lucerne, final night Zurich. I wondered if Bern was worth adding for a night or two or should I add nights to Lucerne or Lauterbrunnen? Thanks
Bern is "skippable", at the most it derves a half-day. But, if you your staying in the Berner-Oberland area and you have a rainy day, Bern is only an hour away by train from Interlaken. So its a good backup option if you encounter bad weather.
Beth, I don't think Bern is skippable. I'd rather skip Zuerich and Geneva, in fact I am skipping Zuerich this time even though I, too, fly into Zuerich. Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a good reason. (Zurich and Geneva and Luzern are not even though they are also very, very beautiful). Poke around on the Internet to get more info and see photos. It is the most beautiful and charming small city you can imagine. I notice that it gets underrated on this website, possibly because there is no major international airport there? But that's even better, less hustle and bustle.
Just to demonstrate where I'm coming from, I find all of Switzerland's cities skippable; Bern the most though. They are nice places to live, but in terms of tourist attractions, I find them a bit lacking. I have traveled to Switzerland three times, my first visit I checked out most of the major cities:Zurich, Bern, Lausanne, Basel, and Luzern. After that I had no desire to visit them again; my next two visits I never stepped foot in any of those cities. IMO Switzerland's best sights, are in the Alps and the small villages that surround them; that's were I spend all of my time.
I just got back from Europe and did that same little circle you are talking with all the same cities. Bern is very skippable. I was not happy with my day/night in Bern because there was so much construction going on. I couldn't even do Rick Steve's self guided tour because of it. (And by the way, the stuff he mentions on his walk are not very exciting). The bears were not very fun either -- they just stayed in the corner and slept the whole time like bears do. I know that the attraction there is that it's the capital of Switzerland, but spend your time elsewhere. I'm the type of person that has to be out walking all the time and Bern got boring fast. Spend an extra night in Luzern!! I loved it there and I loved walking around it. Spend a morning at Mount Pilatus and then use the rest of the time to explore the town. There is a mini lake in Luzern if you also want to lounge. Happy Planning! :-)
SKIP Bern. Do another day in the Berner Oberland area. And yes, go up to Mt. Pilatus. I thought Lucerne was worth another night to.