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3 Days from Lucerne to Lausanne suggestions

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2 posts
new member
Nov 13, 2015 - 11:52 PM

My boyfriend & I will be arriving Geneva on Sunday Nov 29. We have a 3 days swiss travel pass starting Monday Nov 30. We were planning to stay Lucerne Mon night and Lausanne Wed night (there 4 days for my son's graduation on Friday from IMD graduate school.) Seeking itinerary ideas for Mon - Wed. Had hoped to do Lucerne on Monday and travel to Zermatt or St Moritz on Tuesday for Glacier Express - but understand closed. And too early for skiing. So thought Golden Round trip and do 2 nights in Lucerne but read cogwheel train from Alpnachstad to MountPilatus will be closed - still worth it? Wondering if should try to do Bernina Express ? or explore Zurich? Golden Pass Lucerne to Montreaux? better ideas? We are early 60's and not seeking hiking. Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!

7567 posts
Nov 15, 2015 - 2:15 AM in reply to 2Travelers

Hi, 2travelers -

Welcome to the forum.

You have been working hard at planning, as is evident from your comments.

With a short trip such as you have, using the "named" excursions in off-season (if available) might not be the best option. And, you have picked some possible places that require a lot of travel.

If you want to do them, use the timetable to figure out times and also look at maps. And, you do not have to use "named" excursion trains. Often, there is a "regular" train, with the same scenic views through slightly smaller windows on the same route.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable


You'll get a sense of time and distance.

Luzern, by itself, offers a lot of different scenic options. You could easily spend a few days there and nearby , even in normal grey, cold winter weather. Even better if you have sunshine. You don't have to select only the cograil to Pilatus. You can go up the back way, via Kriens, for example

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

Zürich is my favorite city in Switzerland, but it is not "once and done" for tourists. Takes some time... it is bit more subtle. Took me 10-15 years of visits before could say what I just said. Stiill, there are nice things for a day trip, but not as varied or scenic as Luzern.

Apart from specific places and train routes that you have researched, do you have particular personal interests? The Olympics Museum in Lausanne?

Hiking, trains, museums.....?

The famous places are famous for good reason, but there are a lot of really nice less famous places in reach of Lausanne.

I have just posted series of places worth visiting north of Lausanne. You might consider visiting some of them, as one option. Perhaps your son knows them?

Take a look at ALL of this thread:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/first-trip-with-my-21-and-13-years-old-kids

Trying to see the famous places in Switzerland in cold weather, between seasons when many services are shut down ( not to mention, resort-area hotels), is not an easy task. Starting from Geneva, instead of Zürich makes it harder.

I know...used to work in /near Geneva.

Luckily, the Swiss travel network gives you a lot of options, and, pleasantly, you can work on them via internet before you go.


2 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2015 - 9:05 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks for your reply

Some background: I was lucky enough to be visiting my son in June and had a chance to experience some great weather, visit Bern (walked the old town, but not the Bear park closed for renovation), Art Basel! 2 nights in Zurich spent mostly walking along the river in the drizzle or in cafes, a day in Geneva and several days in Lausanne including an afternoon walking part of the Unesco Lavaux grape vineyard path between train stops on way to Montreaux for dinner. I was most impressed by the rail system, and spectacular vistas I got to see.

This trip while in Lausanne Thurs - Sun, I had planned to do the Olympics museum on Thurs, and perhaps a tour of a wine cave/wine tasting (both of which I'd saved to do with Frank) ending with dinner in Montreaux again perhaps, and spend Fri in Lausanne sightseeing, walking along lake Geneva & the graduation, and hopefully Sat with my son and his girlfriend (which might be the only time the wine tastings are available).

I will check your other posts, but it is planning the Mon - Wed portion for which I'm now at a loss. I had hoped we could travel Monday morning November 30 to Lucern and spend the day & night there (since I have not seen) and perhaps even Tues morning as well before heading to St Moritz for Tues night. I had hoped we could do the reverse of the 7.5 hr Glacier Express toward Zermatt before heading to Lausanne for the night. We are both skiers and I thought we would enjoy the towns of St Moritz, lunch in the vintage restaurant car, the side trip to the Altesch Glacier, Zermatt and seeing the Matterhorn. I don't know if the "named" picturesque windows train even does a regular return when it is open/ running trips or only takes traveler's during the day from Zermatt east? Is it really a "must see" per Lonely Planet guide if only by regular railcar if we did it in the reverse?

Our Interests? I like wine, food, small cafes, water vistas, travel and walking. It's his first visit to Europe, but he's very into sports (hence the Olympics Museum in Lausanne), prefers cruises, and is a coffee drinker (but American, not strong, and not flavored, cappuccino nor expresso). We are not really hikers, shoppers, or focused on other museums and had hoped to view countryside, lakes & mountains by rail as we are in our early 60's, and did not plan to rent a car. Is there maybe a particular part of the Glacier Express trip from Zermatt that would be "not to miss" by regular rail car? Or not so much that time of year? I was told the Bernina Express (4 hrs) might be our best trip , closer, and shorter. Maybe just Lucern Mon night? Zurich Tues night and the Bernina express on Wed ending in Lausanne and skip Zermatt and the Matterhorn?

Lonely planet also recommends 1) exploring La Ferme des Moulins, Sembrancher (Martigny) horse & cart over cheese fondue… 2) chocolate train ride in a belle epoque pullman car from Montreaux to a chocolate factor or 3) soaking in a chocolate bath at the Geneva city spa... as unique experiences to Switzerland. Are these worth trying to do? I'm discovering we are traveling there in an off time of year so appreciate any insider tips you might suggest.


15694 posts
expert &
Nov 17, 2015 - 6:34 AM in reply to 2Travelers

Hi 2Travelers,

Even though it's low season, there are lots and lots of options left. The Glacier Express does not operate, but regular trains on that route do. So you can certainly proceed with that plan if you don't mind to change trains a few times and self cater as there's no restaurant car. The scenery won't be different.

The Bernina Express is quite far away for such a short trip. You can check the timetable to see if you think it's worth it.

It's not a bad idea to take the Golden Pass line to Lucerne and spend your days there. There's plenty to do as you can see here. Going to Mount Pilatus using the cable car is definitely worth it if the weather is good. Mount Rigi is a very pleasant day trip too, and it's free if you would choose to use a Swiss Travel Pass.

Another option is a trip via the Golden Pass route and Wilhelm Tell Express route.

Last modified on Dec 24, 2021 - 11:25 AM by Arno


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