We will be in Italy in early October and want to leave Florence and take the most scenic trip through Switzerland by train(s). We only have 5 days to do this, we need to end up in Frankfurt for a flight back to the USA. Where is the most beautiful place to stay, do day trips. I don't want to pack and move every night.
A reasonable itinerary could be: Day 1 - take an early morning train to St Moritz (high speed train to Milano + regional train to Tirano + the very scenic Bernina Express to St. Mortiz). Sleep in St Mortiz (or a nearby place like Pontresina). Day 2 - take a train to Bern following partially the Glacier Express route. Stay in Bern. Day 3 and 4 - pending on weather, you can travel through the Golden Pass line, climb to the Jungraujoch, visit Zermatt or use a day for a day-trip to Zurich, to the Jura region. to Lac Leman... Sleep in Bern. Day 5 - Depart Bern to Frankfurt on an ICE train (there are some daily trains not requiring transfers)
Re above recommendation, instead of staying in a large city such as Bern, or even Lucern or Zurich, maybe consider Interlaken instead. It's centrally located and from there you can go to Gindelwald, Lauterbrunen (to get the train to the Jungfraujoch), or up to the Shilthorn (which is less expensive trip than the Jungfrau trip), and several other mountain trips. Day trips to Thun (nice castle), Lucern, Bern, and Zurich are also easy from Interlaken. Happy Travels. Devra
1) Don't waste vacation time taking those special "Scenic Trains". Other normal trains travel on the same tracks and the same routes. If you just happen upon one of the special trains then fine, otherwise don't wait around. 2) Interlaken is not the prettiest of places. It's best perk is its central location as a train connection facility. Yes, you can get to many places easily starting from Interlaken. If you want to see the beauty and grandeur of the Swiss Alps then head on up into the Lauterbrunnen Valley for your stay. Scenery can't get much more dramatic than there. You'll see what I mean when your eyes pop out of your head upon first seeing it :-) There are alpine villages on either side of the valley complete with grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and waterfalls everywhere. Interlaken Ost is only a 20 min train ride from Lauterbrunnen if you decide you want to do a daytrip or 2 from there. I'd suggest Bern, Gruyere and Lucerne as your options for daytrips.
@Tim: If Suzanne wants to travel on scenic routes (I agree that scenic routes are beautiful even on normal stock trains), Lauterbrunnen is a bad choice because it increases the total travel time anywhere out of the valley.
Yep, it increases travel time exactly 20 minutes. Its stunning beauty also puts Interlaken to shame and seeing how Suzanne's purpose in visiting is to see (and be in) the fantastic scenery then 20 minutes extra on the train is negligible. However, most people who visit the valley with only a day or 2 of available time would rather stay there than to venture out somewhere else. I've brought 50+ people to Lauterbrunnen and they just can't believe such a place exists. They always say it was their favorite place...and this is after Rome, Venice, Paris, etc.
Thanks to everyone posting, it is very insightful. We have traveled to 62 countries in our lifetime, but have not been to Switzerland in about 15 or 20 years...so we are anxious to be inside the postcard. Please keep posting your ideas. I have just cancelled the Florence trip, we go there often, and decided to spend all the extra time after we leave Paris in Switzerland.