>> Hi, my husband and I have 25 days to spend in Switzerland. We fly into Zurich. We will be traveling by train. I am wondering do I purchase a 15 day Flexi pass or 8 day?
If you will be in Switzerland for 25 days, but have a Swiss Travel Pass that covers only 8 or 15 days, what will you be doing on the other days when you have no pass coverage?
If walking or hiking, will you need to catch local transport (bus, train, cable car etc) from your accommodation to the start of your walk, or back from the finish? Local public transport is free with the Swiss Travel Pass in many towns and cities, including the following ones that you have mentioned in your posts: Zürich, Luzern/Lucerne, Interlaken, Geneva, Lugano, St Moritz, Locarno, Zermatt, Bern, Lauterbrunnen. Some cable cars and funiculars are free with the pass, others are discounted.
>> We usually go on organised tours
One of the benefits of organised tours is that they take care of your luggage and get you to and from your hotels :) When you have to get yourself and your luggage to your hotel, location of the hotel becomes more important. Before you book, Google the address of your intended accommodation to find out how far it is from a railway station or bus stop. If relying on a bus, find out what the evening and weekend service is like by using the SBB timetable.
>> We are interested in seeing as much as we can without breaking the budget.
In that case, I would definitely stick to places that are covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. I know it's tempting to try to squeeze in an extra country or two, especially if you are travelling a long way to get to Europe, but there is so much to see and do in Switzerland, and so many areas of great natural beauty, I don't think you would regret confining your travels to areas covered by your pass.
For alternatives to eating out in restaurants, check out the ready-to-eat food options at Migros and Coop supermarkets. However, don't discount the idea of eating in mountaintop restaurants - that is a special experience, and there are usually very affordable options on the menu. Larger railway stations usually have plenty of fresh take-away food available, even late in the day. I always travel with a set of lightweight cutlery and a plastic dinner plate to make do-it-yourself meals more convenient.
On my 7-week trip to Switzerland in August-October last year, I kept costs down a bit by spending about half the time in youth hostels, choosing only those that offered private ensuite accommodation and were very close to public transport. Hostels are not for everyone, but if that option interests you, I could provide some more details of my experiences in them.
>> Start Zurich 28/6, then Interlaken for a week, Geneva 4 days, Zermatt 2 days, Ascona 5 days, St Moritz 3 days, back to Zurich 2 days. Depart 24/7/17.
Is that the order of your travel? What are your plans for getting from one place to another i.e. what route will you take? What time of day do you arrive in Zürich on your day of arrival? What are you planning to do in Zürich on your last 2 days? By providing these extra details, you could get some good suggestions from people.
One of them might be: don't spend so long in Zürich ;-) As Slowpoke suggested, finding time to stay in Luzern (rather than visiting as a day trip) would be a decision you definitely would not regret, and it is a good destination for your day of arrival unless you arrive late at night.
>> This trip is the first one I have organised myself, we usually go on tours. I am feeling very overwhelmed by it all. I don't want to mess it us because it is so expensive.
For your first self-organised trip, you couldn't have picked a better country. Switzerland is so easy to travel in. Practically everywhere is so accessible: you will really appreciate this if you come from Australia, where so many places are difficult or impossible to get to by public transport - not to mention distance and travel times.
Public transport in Switzerland is frequent, coordinated, clean, safe, reliable, and goes practically everywhere: including the most beautiful parts of the country such as mountain tops, mountain passes and lakes.
If you can incorporate a PostBus trip into your itinerary, so much the better. They are easy to travel on with luggage - it goes into a compartment under the bus.
A trip on a PostBus through one of the many mountain passes can be quite a thrill, and you will love the sound of the PostBus horn, warning oncoming traffic of the approach of the bus: usually the bus will need all of the available road space to get around a tight curve, and other traffic will have to give way.
Examples that might fit your itinerary are Brig to Domodossola over the Simplon Pass, and the Palm Express from Lugano to St Moritz, which incorporates Lake Como and the Maloja Pass.
Also, with so much time in the Interlaken area, the round trip from Meiringen through four passes of the Central Alps might interest you. I did it last year and it was superb! It is free with the Swiss Travel Pass, but reservations are compulsory (and free), and can be made online.
The online timetable gives you all sorts of detailed information about getting around, once you learn how to use it. And you couldn't have picked a better forum to ask your questions!
One reason why you are feeling overwhelmed might be that there are so many beautiful places to go that it is hard to make decisions about where to go and what places will have to wait for another trip (if you are lucky enough to be able to return another time).
One way to overcome this is to start working with the timetable and plan the actual trips you would like to do on each day. You will quickly find out what is doable and what isn't, which will help you narrow down your choices.
Happy planning, and keep the questions coming as you refine your plans!
>> What part of Australia are you from?
I'm from Melbourne.