Hi, going to Switzerland for our 25th anniversary trip for 8 days and think we settled on Lucerne, Lake Lugano and maybe one night in an Alps village. Does anyone have a good idea of how many nights in Lucerne and Lugano to get a feel of the area and for good side trips from each. Also wanting to spend a night in between say Andermatt or something like that.
First let me say that Luzern is not among my list of places to spend much time in Switzerland, it is nice for a day, but there really is not a number of days worth of stuff to see. That said, it does provide easy access to Pilatus and Rigi for great views of the Alps. Either of these mountains is worth the time. I prefer Rigi, for which Zug is a better town to stay in, lakeside like Luzern, but more real. An easily accessible Alpine town would be to go to Engelberg via the Luzern-Stans-Engelberg railway from Luzern. The trip up to the 10,000 foot Mt Titlis and the panoramic view is worth it. This is an all day trip. Lugano is also worth it, especially on a warm spring day, if you want a little Italian flare. Going back to Bellinzona, changing trains to head to Locarno / Ascona you can take the train to Domodossola and then into the Valais and head to Bern. In the Spring, Murten and Avenches are both beautiful, then back to Zuerich for your flight home. see next post
I like to make loops when I travel, rather that backtracking, and this would allow you to do this. Taking the train back to Bern, you have many options for stops in the Interlaken area, and then can continue to Bern, Murten, and Avenches, or you can head back to Luzern via the Brunig Pass. By mid April the Open Air Museum in Brienz should be open, look for information about Ballenberg, and is a great days outing. Also nearby is the Aareschluct, the narrow gorge of the River Aare, quite spectacular. Also along the L-S-E railway is the town of Hergiswil which has a great hand blown glass works with a good museum and demonstrations (buy stuff that is nearly perfect in the seconds store across the street and save a lot). And as for Salzburg, save it for another trip. It is nice, but not so nice as to take two days of travel time. One other note: the Appenzell is perhaps at its best in the Spring time, but not on a Sunday as too much is closed.
Andermatt is not a necessity, was just wondering where a nice Alpine village may be in between Lugano and Lucerne. would you know how many nights in Lucerne and Lugano would be good? three? i am planning on getting a flex pass rather than driving
8 days on the ground, thanks
it's been extremely difficult to pick spots for our 8 day vacation and where to concentrate. We were also thinking of a side trip to Salzburg for a few days and then coming back to Switzerland for 5 to cover Lucerne and the Alps. Very tough decisions.
I chose Lugano because I thought the Italian inspired area might be nice with touring around the piazzas and old towns might be charming and maybe a stop at Como. Where would you suggest in the Berner Oberland and for how long. Would this be ok in late April? I thought because it was off season that there may not be much to do.
Kent/Kevin, thanks for the great info. This makes it even tougher to choose an area. Do you think because it's off season and the weather may be iffy that we should stay closer to the small cities/towns for sightseeing?
I always say, "If you are going to worry about the weather, you might as well stay home." The key with Switzerland is to remain flexible no matter what time of year you go. I have had in cold, raining, and low visibility in the valley, ie Luzern, then go up one of the mountains, ie Rigi, Pilatus, or Titlis, and it is clear and beautiful with an ocean of clouds. Also, I have gone up the Gotthard Pass north tunnel approach moving from rain to snow as we ascended, go through the tunnel, and come out in Ticino in warm 70 - 80 degree clear blue sky. This is partly why I never get a flex pass for Switzerland, when with the Swiss Pass you can change your plans with the weather. You won't miss things, you will just see different things, or see things in a different order. I usually have some kind of list of things to do on a nice day, and things to do on a rainy cool day, then I jumble them up as the weather permits. And remember, to some extent the alps create their weather.
I was mostly concerned with off season weather in the Alps towns and maybe there wouldnt be much to do but it sounds like just enjoying the scenery there would be plenty! you suggest getting a train pass that you can use every day?
As Kevin says, no matter what time of the year one visits Switzerland, the weather will always be unpredictable. The high peaks play havoc with the weather patterns. Thus its important have a lot of flexibility in your itinerary, and always have backup plans.
I would get the 8 day Swiss Pass, and I would go second class, that is what most of the Swiss take. The cost difference between the flex pass for 4 days and the full 8 day pass is only about $65, and the difference between a 5 day flex and an 8 day full pass is less than $25. In other words, the price difference is not worth the limitations it would put on your options.
Either type of pass gives you access to the local transit systems as well, but only on the days you use the flex pass. Since you will use local transit even on the days that you are not travelling by train, it makes sense to have the pass for the everyday.
The included museum pass is a nice bonus that will save you money in many places. It is included with either type of pass, but again you would want it to be valid on everyday, not just the days you use the trains.
For more information on the trains, check out
then click on "Discover Switzerland"
Thanks for all of the info! the Saver pass sounds like a deal and will be able to use it every day. That sounds like I could pick 2 places to base from and then just train it every day to some destination within an hour away
If you had to choose one mountain or Alp summit to splure on a tour which one would be good?
are tours necessary to those spots or can you get there with the train passes. All of this great info is making me think of changing my intinerary.