Geneva to Zurich- 5 day trip blueprint

Geneva to Zurich- 5 day trip blueprint

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MattBackpack
MattBackpack
4 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2017 - 3:29 AM

My wife and I will be in Florence Italy for a few days this upcoming Spring and have decided to take in the beautiful sights that Switzerland has to offer. We fly out of Zurich on June 3rd and are in the process of planning a 5 day excursion throughout the Alps. Any ideas, suggestions or thoughts would be much appreciated. We will be backpacking (of sorts) and enjoy a hike here or there but are mostly looking to relax together on a romantic getaway.

We were initially planning on taking the train from Florence to Milan (I suppose?) and on to Geneva where we've booked a room at Hotel Metropole Geneve for two nights. After taking in the city and Lake Geneva for two nights we'd set onward to take in more beautiful sites ultimately ending in Zurich. I originally had a grand picture in my head of driving through the alps (and subsequently rented an Audi one way from Geneva to Zurich) but after reading some of the wonderful suggestions on this website I'm thinking the rail systems might be the best approach.

I would be interested in hearing from visitors who have been to Switzerland in the spring on some route ideas. If we kept the car rental reservation, I was thinking of visiting gruyere, bern, and or Lucerne over the course of a day and spending the subsequent two days in Zurich before leaving. By rail, the panoramic (Bernina/glacier, etc?) trains look very appealing and enjoyable but I am unfamiliar with how to connect routes with regional trains, etc and would be interested in hearing from some of your 'must sees' routes.

We have flexibility to cancel the hotel and auto reservations in Geneva if a separate route in from Italy to Zurich would be advised, as well.

Thank you in advance for your wisdom!

Lucas
Lucas
1903 posts
top member &
moderator
Jan 11, 2017 - 12:06 PM in reply to MattBackpack

Hi MattBackpack and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, travelling from Florence to Geneva will take you via Milan. I think you thought on using trains in Switzerland is a good one. Take a look at our train information page for more details on passes you can purchase.

As far as visiting Geneva is concerned, I assume you have something in the area you want to see? If you do go to Geneva then on your trip to Zurich you may like to go via Montreux and take the Golden Pass train to Interlaken - a scenic panoramic train. You can also take a day trip to Gruyeres on the Chocolate train (one of the lines on the Golden Pass) from Montreux if you find yourself there.

For further information on panoramic trains (like the Glacier and Bernina express) please visit our page here for prices and routes.Those last two trains or not convenient for you to take if you stick with your Milan to Geneva to Zurich itinerary. But you could always change your plans!

The Glacier express (Zermatt to Chur) or the Bernina Express from (Tirano to Chur) are the most popular and probably the most spectacular scenic train trips in Switzerland. Whether you want to alter your plan to try and take these trains is up to you. Chur is not the most exciting town however and from there you are getting quite close to Zurich and the end of your trip.

Perhaps from Milan take a train to Brig and from there board the Glacier Express to Zermatt if that town, and the Matterhorn interest you with a train ride to Gornergrat. From Zermatt take the Glacier Express all the way to Chur and on to Zurich?

Lots of options! A good problem to have I think. Once you finalize your itinerary with what you want to see please let us know and we can help finalize travel plans or answer other other questions.

Lucas

Last modified on Jan 11, 2017 - 12:08 PM by Lucas
MattBackpack
MattBackpack
4 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2017 - 11:42 PM

Lucas,

Thank you for the expedient response and excellent advice: we are much obliged.

We have cancelled the Geneva room and rental car, and look forward to planning a train to Brig and then onto Zermatt via the Glacier Express. The Matterhorn and hiking in that area is an item that has been on our bucket list for some time. After spending two days in Zermatt (if that would be suffcient) we'll take the Glacier Express to Chur and then (a regional train I assume) to Zurich for two days. Any additional tips and insights, like what rail pass you think would be sufficient, would be most welcome. Thank you again for the itinerary assistance!

Last modified on Jan 12, 2017 - 12:25 AM by MattBackpack
MattBackpack
MattBackpack
4 posts
new member
Jan 12, 2017 - 6:08 AM in reply to MattBackpack

Update: I've elected to go with the 3 day rail pass after crunching some numbers and connecting some dots. Leaning towards first class in order to have a bit more room on the GEx. I assume the 3/4/8/15 day window for the rail pass begins at midnight, or is it possible to elect a specific time along with the day?

Arno
Arno
9050 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 12, 2017 - 10:48 AM

Hi Mattbackpack,

Two sunny days in Zermatt would allow you to see a lot (see the Zermatt page Lucas linked to). The weather in the mountains is always a gamble though. Note that the route from Brig to Zermatt offers regional trains all day long and one or a few Glacier Expresses later in the day. The Glacier Express requires a seat reservation which needs to be paid for separately. Personally I would just take a regional train, as the views will be the same, and pay for the reservation only for the longer trip from Zermatt to Chur.

There is a Swiss Travel Pass (consecutive days) and a Swiss Travel Pass Flex. You will find all details on the below pages. Be sure to check all the tabs, including the "How to use" tab:

Last modified on Jan 12, 2017 - 10:49 AM by Arno
MattBackpack
MattBackpack
4 posts
new member
Jan 13, 2017 - 1:59 PM in reply to Arno

Excellent. Thank you Arno.

We've noticed that all of the Zermatt Hotels on your list are closed in May (except the Gornergrat one). The Grand Hotel relayed that it's because this is their offseason. Is this pretty typical or am I missing something? We are eyeballing Unique Hotel Post unless you have an alternate or better recommendation. Thank you!

Lucas
Lucas
1903 posts
top member &
moderator
Jan 13, 2017 - 4:34 PM in reply to MattBackpack

Hi MattBackpack,

Yes, hotels in resort towns (and smaller towns) often typically close in their off-season.

Lucas

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