1st time Switzerland; 5 days on a limited budget

  • Removed user
    52345 posts
    5 March 2016 at 7:05:43 #808539

    Hello, we will be in Germany at the end of September 2016, and are looking to get some advice on spending 5 days in Switzerland and getting an overview of this beautiful country. Would to see a couple of cities, maybe travel by rail, also would like the Bernina express (spelling). We are on a somewhat limited budget. Any advice would be awesome. Thanks

  • Annika
    7001 posts
    5 March 2016 at 8:48:32 #849049

    Hi rainman, welcome to MySwissAlps!

    There are countless options, and to be honest it’s a bit hard to give random advice. Which itinerary suits your plans also depends on where you’re heading to after your days in Switzerland (did you book a flight and if so, from which city?). You should also decide whether you’re fine with a round trip, switching bases a couple of times, or whether you prefer staying in one town. Here are just some options to consider if you want to include the Bernina Express.

    • start off in Zurich and explore the city if you like. Then travel to the Upper Engadine for a few nights’ stay. There’s plenty to see and do there and it’s a beautiful, quiet region. The Bernina Express can easily be done as a day trip from here;
    • make a round trip by train: Zurich-Chur-Upper Engadine with a side trip for the Bernina Express to Tirano and back-Glacier Express to Zermatt. You can spend a couple of nights in towns/region that appeal to you;
    • make a round trip by train: Zurich-Chur-Upper Engadine-to Lugano by Bernina Express-to Lucerne by Wilhelm Tell Express.

    I suggest you start off by reading our pages on how to plan for your own itinerary. You’ll find lots of planning tips, sample itineraries and budget tips there. You can also study the "Where to go" section, in order to find out which region(s) appeal to you most. The timetable will be a great aid in planning each trip in detail.

    7546 posts
    5 March 2016 at 16:42:56 #849050

    Hi Rainman –

    In addition to what Annika said, you might check these linns in My Swiss Alps-

    http://www.myswissalps.com/pl antrip/doityourself/sa vemoney

    http://www.myswissalps.com/ho tels/budget

    If this is your first time in Switzerland, you might find that the Bernina Express is some time/distance away from the central attractions, such as Luzern, or the Jungfrau region. That might require some careful planning or compromises.

    After you have done some work with the resources Annika noted, you’ll be better able to make judgements about that.

    And, I like the Lower Engadine a lot for low tourist density, in addition to the more famous Upper Engadine mentioned buy Annika.


    Removed user
    52345 posts
    5 March 2016 at 17:41:03 #849051

    Thanks for the suggestions. We will be flying RT from USA to Frankfurt. After Switzerland we will probably go to Paris for 2 days then back to Frankfurt.

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    5 March 2016 at 17:48:48 #849052

    Slowpoke, thanks. Roughly how long is the Bernina express? I realize that we might get have to really move around a bit. I might be able to stay 6 days in Switzerland just trying to get a good overview. Besides the Bernina express, some areas of interest are interlaken, Zurich, Lucerne…also engadine. Wow, so much to process.

    7546 posts
    5 March 2016 at 18:20:36 #849053

    Check the link that Annika gave you for the Bernina Express.

    It has sections.

    http://www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress/gettingth ere

    And/or, use the timetable link that Annika gave you, with the cities that are included, which you can see on a map:


    The full route goes from Tirano to Chur

    if you are going to do all that you have suggested in 6 days or so, you need to learn to use the timetable and maps. And, you’ll be doing a lot of riding on trains.

    Late September can be very nice near the Jungfrau. Attached pictures were taken in the last week of September in 2009, at Männlichen or near it..

    Once you have made a guess at an itinerary, post it, and we’ll comment – politely of course…;-)

    Re – Paris and Frankfurt –

    Please leave your jet-lag in Frankfurt.

    Leave for Paris from Zürich or Basel, I think. Maybe Bern. Arno and Annika can suggest the best route, but those could all work well.

    Frankfurt to/from Basel or other major Swiss cities is a pretty straightforward option, but, of course that would skip Paris.


    Removed user
    52345 posts
    5 March 2016 at 19:34:36 #849054

    Thanks Annika & Slowpoke, wife and I will work on a itinerary the next few days and then post it for everyone’s thoughts. Appreciate it. Joseph

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