12 day Switzerland itinerary by car - family of 7

12 day Switzerland itinerary by car - family of 7

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Sushil
Sushil
9 posts
new member
Jul 30, 2017 - 6:37 AM

Hi,

We are a family of 6 adults with one 6 month old infant. We will be visiting Switzerland from 22 Sept to 3 Oct this year. I would like to share our itinerary for suggestions and some information.

Day 1 – Arrive at Zurich airport at 6.15pm, pick our rental car and 6 swiss half fare cards from the airport centre and check into a nearby hotel in Rumlang.

Day 2 - After breakfast, head towards Lucerne. First stop - the Swiss transport museum, then drive to and park the car at parkhaus P1/P2 at Luzern Bahnhof. Explore Chapel Bridge, Town Centre and head to Mt. Pilatus after Lunch. Park the car at Alpnachstad and explore Mt. Pilatus (return journey - cog wheel train). Head to Interlaken in the evening and check into the hotel.

Day 3 – Visit Jungfraujoch by train starting at Interlaken West (Our hotel is close to this station). Do the circular route (Lauterbrunnen one way and Grindelwald the other). Spend some time at Wengen enroute.

Day 4 – Explore Lauterbrunnen valley by car, including maybe the Trummelbach Falls. Rest of the day at Interlaken.

(Day 3 and 4 itinerary could be swapped depending on the weather forecast for Jungfraujoch)

Day 5 – After breakfast, head towards Broc/Gruyeres for chocolate/cheese factory tours. Check into hotel in Gstaad in the afternoon. We plan to drive leisurely via. Spiez, Jaun, Broc/Gruyeres, Chateu-d-Oex, Gstaad.

Day 6 – Day trip to Montreaux (Chillon Castle), Lake Geneva, Lavaux Vineyards and Swiss Vapeur Park.

Day 7 – Head to Tasch (Zermatt) via. the Lotschberg car train. Check into hotel and visit Matterhorn.

Day 8 – Drive to Lugano via. the Gotthard Pass. Explore Aletsch Glacier enroute. Check into hotel in Lugano.

Day 9 – Visit Miniature Swiss and explore Lugano surroundings.

Day 10 – Head to Rhine Falls via Chur. Spend about an hour at the Falls and then drive to Zurich, check into Zurich hotel and drop the rental car at the airport.

Day 11 – Explore Zurich.

Day 12 – Return flight from Zurich Airport at 11am.

Re. driving in Switzerland, I have heard comments advising against this and using public transport instead. I just feel that driving gives us more flexibility and is more convenient with an infant and a lot of luggage. Further we have done similar duration road trips recently both in South Africa and New Zealand. I have spent a lot of time researching this family vacation including special swiss driving conditions using google and google street view. So I am quite confident of doing a safe driving vacation.

In addition to getting general advice and comments about the itinerary, I would like to know:

1. At Mt. Pilatus, we will like to visit the Rope Park at Frankmuntegg. Could we use the return journey ticket from Alpnachstad to travel to the Rope Park and back from Pilatus Kulm?

2. Can we generally expect decent weather (sunny/rainless days) during the course of our vacation?

3. Any better ideas for Day 4 & Day 6?

4. Do you anticipate any parking availability problems at the roadside parking at Chillon Castle on a Wednesday (27 Sept)? Any idea what is the max. time pemitted? Any better idea?

5. Can you suggest a good wine tasting place in Lavaux/Chexbres?

6. I do realize days 7 & 8 could be tight for Matterhorn. Would you recommend Glacier Palace or Gornergrat? Which would be quicker - travel time wise?

7. For Aletsch Glacier, which would be a better place to view – Bittmerhorn or Eggishorn?

8. Any other ideas for a day (day 9) in Lugano?

Thank you in advance. I know the team at Myswissalps is doing a great service to travelers like us by their good timely advice. I look forward to a great vacation and to filing a trip report after the conclusion of our trip.

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 30, 2017 - 8:05 AM in reply to Sushil

Hi Sushil,

It looks like a well thought out holiday! Road trips in Switzerland are not a problem - we usually recommend trains so people can see more of the scenery. Many mountains and some towns are not accessible by car (unlike S.Africa and New Zealand I believe) Those countries also don't have alternative transport options either; much like my home country of Canada - it's a car or nothing! I'm sure you will have a great car trip here though.

I'll answer your questions where I can!

  1. For a visit to Mt. Pilatus, I would recommend leaving your car at Luzern Bahnhof and just train to Alpnachstad - then do the round trip up and down Mt. Pilatus (where you can enjoy the rope park at Fräkmüntegg on the way down to Kriens.
  2. No way to know the weather I'm afraid. I would be prepared for rain certainly. We just had a week of 17/18 degrees and a fair bit of rain in Zurich. Now it is a week of sun and 30-33 degrees. In late September I would except cooler weather and a little rain but you could easily get sun and no rain the whole time. :).
  3. Day 4 - Lauterbrunnen valley bar car is about 15 minutes. I would train to Lauterbrunnen or drive and park there and explore by foot or bus.
    Day 6 - Sounds nice to me. :) If you want another mountain experience consider Rochers-de-Naye.
  4. It sounds by their website that they have a large parking lot - you do need a parking disc for free parking and they will provide at the cashier (keep it if you can - it will help with parking all over Switzerland - or buy it when you first arrive at a local grocery store (Coop or Migros). Read more about parking in Switzerland here.
  5. I'm afraid I haven't been to the area before - perhaps another member can give you some ideas
  6. Most people seem to think the Gornergrat has nicer views of the Matterhorn. It also is a little easier to get to.
  7. Have a read through our info pages on Bettmerhorn or Eggishorn for more details.
  8. I'm afraid I haven't been to Lugano before - perhaps another member can give you some ideas

Cheers!
Lucas

Last modified on Jul 30, 2017 - 8:07 AM by Lucas
Sushil
Sushil
9 posts
new member
Jul 30, 2017 - 8:33 AM in reply to Lucas

Thanks Lucas for all the advice. Good to know you are from Canada. I spent 15 years in this beautiful country studying and working all the way from Fredericton, Toronto to Vancouver back in the 70s and 80s.

shasya07
shasya07
5 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2017 - 8:18 AM

Hi..

i'm planning to visit to Switzerland next year in late April until early May.. i'm planning to rent a car too but i'm not sure whether is it worth it to buy the swiss rail pass since most of the transportation that i'll be using is the car... do you have any advise?

thanks,

Sha

Sushil
Sushil
9 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2017 - 8:40 AM

Hi Shasya07:

If you are traveling by car, you should consider buying the Swiss half fare card. This card costs about CHF120, is valid for one month and allows 50% discount on all public transport - trains, buses and boats. It will depend on what you want to see. For example, If you are including a ride up to Mt.Pilatus, Mt.Titlis, Jungfraujoch and Matterhorn, you will find that you will save money by going for the Swiss Half Fare Card.

Cheers,

Sushil

shasya07
shasya07
5 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2017 - 5:58 AM

Hye Sushil,

Firstly, thanks for the reply.. actually we're on a budget so we're planning to atleast just using one for each ride :D .. for example:

cable car - harderklum (interlaken)

scenic train (jungfrau)

boat cruise - lake lucerne

FYI - we'll be ending our holiday in Vienna.. So, i'm not sure is it still worth it or not buy the half fare card.

thanks,

Regard, Sha

Sushil
Sushil
9 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2017 - 7:03 AM

Sha,

A thumb rule for the half fare card would be -"If your total spend on the rides is going to be more than CHF240, you should save some money using the half fare card." All the three rides mentioned by you are eligible for a 50% discount. The total spend in your case will depend on the length/duration of the Lake Lucerne Cruise and the starting/ending stations of the Jungfraujoch scenic train journey.

Rgds.

Sushil

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