Switzerland itinerary in early Sept

Hello, I will be in Switzerland for 8 days and after reading various post I got overwhelmed and added more places to my itinerary. Is this itinerary too ambitious? I have been on many European trips and packed as much in as possible. I am in my mid 30s and very fit. Is this doable if I time the trains so that I am not wasting a lot of time waiting? Zurich - mid morning arrival, explore Zurich and head to Bern in evening Bern - 2 nights, explore Bern Interlaken - 1 night, day trip to Jungfrau - or should i stay somewhere else? Murren - 2 nights, Schilthorn
Zermatt - 2 nights, Glacier Express Train to St Moritz St Moritz - 1 night, Bernina Express Train to Tirano, bus to Lugano Como & Milano - 1 wk I will purchase an 8 day Swiss Pass. I assume all my transportation (train from ZRH airport, subway & buses) will be covered 100% except Schilthorn and Jungfrau at 50% off. It covers the Glacier and Bernina Express trains. Do I need to pay for seat reservations on the panorama trains? Thank you!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6827 posts

My two cents....I would skip Zurich an explore Luzern instead. From Luzern take the scenic Gold Pass train to Interlaken. Interlaken and Murren are in the same general area so choose one or the other for you entire stay in the region. I would only do Bern as a rainy-day option from the Interlaken area. That gives you an extra day to explore the area if the weather cooperates.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8732 posts

Mr Schneider and I agree. What do you want to see in Milano? Last Supper, Duomo and a few other places. One day for me. I'm a little older than you and a week on Como (I like Varenna) would be just about right. More night life (OK, all the night life) is across the lake at Bellagio and Menaggio. You could do worse than a week in Bellagio, or 3 or 4 nights.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9094 posts

My usual advice... when in the Alps, stay for a minimum of 3 nights in each location. If you only allot 2 nights, you risk your one full day being washed out in rain and/or fog. Now, September is one of the drier times of the year, but "dry" is only a relative term in this part of the world. It just means it rains less, not that you can count on extended periods of clear skies.

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

I agree strongly with Michael and Nigel.

Posted by Chris
Jersey CI & Mürren CH, Twitter :@murrenlover
386 posts

Zurich is pants....don't waste your time in that city. I would go straight Bern and do 2 nights and then bypass Interlaken and stay in the mountains. Do 3 nights in the mountains and stay in Mürren and enjoy the mountain vibe at 1650m!! Schilthorn has just opened the PIZ GLORIA VIEW and the new BOND WORLD.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kmr4ag6IF8 load more info (twitter) at @murrenlover

Posted by Jennifer
Denver, US
142 posts

Thank you everyone for your assistance. I am skipping Zurich as suggested and added Montreux instead. I am limiting my Swiss trip to 8 days due to transportation cost. The cost for the Swiss Pass from 8 to 15 days is only $100 difference but all the supplements and seat reservations add up. My estimated cost is around $700.00 so far and not including trains & subway in Italy. I would like to keep my budget within $5,000. Zurich to Lucern, Golden Pass train to Interlaken Interlaken - 2 nights, Golden Pass train to Montreaux. Jungfrau (if weather permits) in AM or train to Bern or go to Wengen/Lauterbrunn early if I feel lazy. Murren - 2 nights, Schilthorn, hike around area, Jungfrau, late afternoon train to Zermatt Zermatt - 2 nights - train to Matterhorn if weather permits, next day, Glacier Express to St Moritz St Morizt - 1 night, Bernina Express to Tirano, train to Lugano Lugano- 1 night, meet friend for lunch or dinner Varenna - 4 nights
Milano - 3 night, not able to get a reservation to see the Last Super (I've asked my Italian friend to try calling from there) and there is nothing going on at La Scala! Will visit museums & other interesting sites, window shop and take a day trip to Parma if I run out of stuff to do.

Posted by Chris
Jersey CI & Mürren CH, Twitter :@murrenlover
386 posts

I would also pass by Interlaken. Its a waste of a stop specially when you are so close to the mountains and the places you would like to visit in the Jungfrau Region. Unless you are doing anything in Interlaken like a boat trip I would stay in Mürren an extra night as it takes the same journey time from Interlaken Ost to the Jungfraujoch from Mürren but at least you are in the mountains and can enjoy others things like Trümmelbach Falls, lunch at Winteregg and the superb mountain trails. How about doing the Mürren Ferrata to Gimmelwald or paragliding from Mürren to Lauterbrunnen ?? http://www.klettersteig-muerren.ch/cms/front_content.php?idcat=2 http://airtime-paragliding.ch/flights/the-wall-2 http://www.truemmelbachfaelle.ch/ http://www.muerren.ch/wanderplan/index_e.html

Posted by Jennifer
Denver, US
142 posts

Chris, thank you for the links. I noticed that the train fares are much lower at www.sbb.ch website than those published on www.myswitzerland.com which is powered by RailEurope. Are the prices on www.sbb.com regular ticket prices or discounted prices with one of the passes (Swiss Pass, Card, 1/2 Card, Flex, etc)? For example, the regular train from St Moritz to Tirano (Bernina Express route) is 15 CHF per the www.sbb.ch website Is this correct? It is also 15 CHF for the BEX train (seat reservation). I am getting the 8 Day Swiss Pass and if I add additional days in Murren as recommended, the last leg of my trip is not covered. If it is only 15 CHF to take the regular train from St Moritz to Tirano, it makes no sense for me to buy a 15 day Swiss Pass for an extra $100. Please advise. Thank you!!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8732 posts

The default prices on sbb.ch assume a half fare subscription and are half of the normal price for tourists.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
548 posts

I agree with several of the other posters...skip Zurich and to to Luzerne...less expensive (by Swiss standards) and MUCH more beautiful. There isn't much to see in Zurich and the area around Luzerne is stunning!

Posted by Jennifer
Denver, US
142 posts

I will be staying in Luzern for 2 nights and 3 nights in Murren and skipping Interlaken. Does anyone know how I book a reservation on the Wilhelm Tell Express other than calling? I googled it and called the Switzerland Tourism in NYC. Found the packet online (http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/search/index.cfm?phrase=wilhelm+tell)that provides instructions but I am not sure how to login to railticeting.ch ? It provides a login and password page but if you have never signed up, how do you login? I signed up and login to the sbb.ch page and can't find the link as provided in this link (search result #2, pdf) It can't be that hard? My phone is NOT set up for international call and also with the 8 or 9 hr time difference, it is very difficult!

Posted by Mark
Chicago
13 posts

Jennifer, My wife and 2 sons and I just spent 8 days in Switzerland and had a fantastic time. Zurich didn't seem to offer much except extensive graffitti. We trained to Lucerne and spent 2 days in probably one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. We were blessed with perfect weather our entire trip. Take Golden Pass train route from Lucerne to Interlaken, then on to Lauterbrennen and then to Murren. We stayed 3 nights in Murren at the Hotel Bellvue. We hiked, took gondola to Schilthorn and saw James Bond exhibit, had a sandwich in Piza Gloria restaurant which slowly rotates 360'...watched 4 guys from Australia jump off of a shear cliff in squirrel suits(base jumpers). We then completed the Golden Pass train from Interlaken to Montreux and on to Luasanne. We did something a bit unconventional I guess...We took the ferry from Luasanne Ouchy across Lake Geneva to Evain-les-Banes in France and walked 5 mins to stay at the Hilton, which turned out to be a resort spa...boat ride is 25 mins.. We spent 2 nights being pampered before training to Zurich for an overnight before flying home next morning...We purchased 1/2 off Swiss passes which worked quite well. Learn how to use train schedule and you will find transportation can be effortless...Most of all, enjoy!!! Mark

Posted by Jennifer
Denver, US
142 posts

Thanks everyone for the great ideas. I am looking forward to it :)

Posted by Nick
Oak Park
38 posts

Jennifer, I would like to add one additional idea that I have not seen. Hike to the top of the Schilthorn. I was there last summer and my wife and hiked up from Murren and then back down. We hiked up via Birg and then down past the farms on the way down. This allows to do the steeper section up the mountain and then the less steep section which is easier on the knees when you hike down. This is not technical and you only have to be in good shape to do it. It takes most of the day, but it was one of the most memorable experiences on our trip. The weather is obviously a big question mark.

Posted by Dianne
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
1 posts

Hi Jennifer My husband and I on one of our trips to Europe specifically went to Milan to see The Last Supper. I looked everywhere to see how we could book ahead to be sure, that on the day we were in Milan, that we could see The Last Supper. The only way I found that we could do this, was to book the afternoon Milan City Tour which guaranteed you entry into see The Last Supper. It also gave you an inside guided tour of La Scalla....so well worth doing the tour.
Hope this helps.

Posted by Jennifer
Denver, US
142 posts

Even though the website shows that the tickets are sold out the date I want to see the Last Super, I was able to get a ticket by calling in (an Italian friend called from Rome for me) for 11.50 euros instead of paying the outrageous amount that the unofficial sites are selling for.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8732 posts

For the Last Supper it is much easier to telephone, from the States be sure you allow for the time difference and only call during Italian office hours, and you will speak to good English speaking operators who can help much easier than the website which doesn't show the total availability.