10 Day Swiss itinerary Lucerne Interlaken Montreux

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4 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2016 - 5:40 AM

Hello Everyone-

My wife and I are planning to visit Swiss for the first time in mid-May (14 May - 23 May) on vacation.We like to check out the Alps and beautiful towns. The big question we are struggling with is which towns to use as a base and for how long. Like to limit the base to two or three if possible. Also, we do NOT want this to be a train vacation (meaning most of our time spent on a train).

Having said that, here’s what we have on our mind:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Zurich @ 4pm, go straight to Lucerne
  • Day 1 - 3: Lucerne base; Mt. Rigi or Mt. Pilatus, Museum of Transport, etc.
  • Day 4 - 6: Interlaken base; Jungfrau, Bern, Thun, etc.
  • Day 7-8: Montreux base; Vevey, Lake Geneve, etc.
  • Day 9: Zurich base
  • Day 10: fly out of Zurich @ 1pm

We plan to get 8 day Swiss Pass; so, on Day 1, we will pay out of pocket for a trip to Lucerne. On day 9, we plan to get back to Zurich so that we don’t have to pay the fare for Montreux to Zurich out of our pocket. This is the reason we are spending one night in Zurich (making four bases, rather than three).

Another option is that we stay at Interlaken from Day 4-8 and make a day trip or two to Montreux area. Wonder Interlaken is a good base for 3~5 day. Saw different nearby towns being recommended but it’s hard to decide until we actually check them out (which is probably too late). This means we are forgoing Zermatt/Matterhorn and the experience on Glacier Express.

As of now, we are flexible and open to changes. Any inputs on itinerary would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

6101 posts
expert &
Mar 7, 2016 - 6:17 PM

Thanks for joining us, concerto27!

You've done a good job by analyzing your priorities and creating an itinerary accordingly. I don't think you'll be experiencing this as an "all-train" vacation. Sure, you will be using public transportation each day, but there's a good balance between a few longer transfers and shorter local trips. Now, let's look into some details:

  • if you prefer scenic towns, you may indeed consider a smaller town in the mountains rather than Interlaken. It has a great central location, but other towns like Wilderswil, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen or Wengen are more scenic. I'm not sure though why you think it may be too late to switch. As for Wengen: note that it's still low season and that there may be snow and mud at this height during May;
  • making day trips to the Montreux area from Interlaken will result in very long travel days, and even more so from the other towns mentioned above (Wilderswil is closest to Interlaken and would thus result in the least additional traveling time). You'd best consult the timetable. If you want to avoid spending too much time in trains, it's better to pick Montreux as a base for day 7-8;
  • I think it's wise to skip Zermatt and the Glacier Express. They're great, but you simply can't have it all during an 8 day stay. Including them in your plans would inevitably result in long train days - unless you'd decide to give up other plans.

The 8 day Swiss Travel Pass for day 2-9 is a great choice. Purchase options are here. I'd recommend to use www.swissrailways.com/ en and get a print at home pass (no additional shipping or handling fees) by selecting "Online ticket" when asked for delivery options.

Once you're ready to book, our hotel overview may come in handy. If you need help finding suitable accommodation, you're welcome to use our accommodation forum.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:42 AM by Arno
4 posts
new member
Mar 9, 2016 - 7:35 AM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika-

Thank you so much for a detailed response. Really appreciate it!

One follow-up question: What would be a better choice as a base in Mid May: Gimmewald, Murren or Lauterbrunnen?

Thank you.

14101 posts
expert &
Mar 10, 2016 - 12:58 PM

Hi concerto27,

That depends on what you want: Gimmelwald is very small with hardly any facilities, but it's a beautiful place. Mürren is larger with great views. The size of Lauterbrunnen is in between these two villages, and it's at the valley floor, so a bit warmer and definitely no snow (other than a rare snow storm). It's less sunny as it's down in the valley. Lauterbrunnen offers the best connections to trains/cable cars.

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