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A week in Switzerland during December '15

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2 posts
new member
May 13, 2015 - 1:50 AM

Hi all, it will be my first time visiting Switzerland this coming December and I would need some advice!

Currently, I have the following places in mind,

1. These are the places that I really would love to visit: Arosa, Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, Lucern

2. These are the places that I am not too sure of: Basel, Bern, Geneva, Zurich

I have to end my journey at Chur, because I am intending to take the Bernina Express to Tirano.

In addition, I have two choices from travelling into Switzerland:

1. Taking a bus ride from Annecy (France) to Geneva Airport (So... If Geneva can be missed, the 2nd option might be more valid, but vice versa as well)

2. Taking a train from Paris to Zurich

Any advise/input on how I should go about my journey would be great! More importantly, I am not too keen on changing base too frequently, and budget is of course an important factor. I'm not too much into hiking, and prefer towns with rich history as compared to metropolitan cities. I'm intending to purchase to Swiss Pass as well! Thank you in advance!

7567 posts
May 13, 2015 - 6:06 PM in reply to helloamanda

How many days would you like to spend in Switzerland?

Here are some things to think about.

Will you be there in early December or late December? (Thoughts about weather.) Central European winter can be cold, grey, wet, nasty, and, wet and grey. Out door activities are between seasons - skiing is not really started. In ski country, many hotels are closed in early December.

At that time of year, the higher altitudes ( above 2000 meters are likely to have snow.

A town rich in Swiss history is Schwyz. The Abbey and Abbey library in St. Gall are stunningly beautiful historical attractions, dating to 747 AD.

stibi.ch/en-us/info/ exhibition.aspx

en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Abbey_of_Saint_Gall

What sort of historical themes interest you?

Even the largest Swiss cities are not "metropolitan" in the sense of new York or London or Paris or Tokyo.

Check this link for more information on the cities

myswissalps.com/ wheretogo/towns

Any interest in museums?

If so, what kind?

If you are in Luzern, it will probably be off season, so you may find slightly better rates and more availability of rooms that in the summer high season.

Basel, Bern and Zürich are all easy day trips from Luzern.

Bern has a lot of history simply in the architecture of the town, with its arcaded streets. They date back, in part, to 1405.

en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Old_City_of_Bern

A lot of Swiss history is in small bits and pieces in the countryside.

Geneva was the center of the Reformation in Switzerland, and that is evident in the museums, churches, monuments.....

7333 posts
expert &
May 13, 2015 - 6:10 PM

Hi helloamanda, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

First of all: how long do you intend to stay in Switzerland? That's an important factor when composing your itinerary.

As for places to visit: if you prefer charming towns, you should definitely include Lucerne. Bern and Thun can be recommended too. Arosa and Lauterbrunnen are smaller mountain villages, but you may find that appealing too. Interlaken isn't specifically picturesque, but located ideally. Basel, Geneva and Zurich are the larger 'metropolitan' cities, but all three have nice old town centers that allow for some strolling. You can best look into the links I included and decide which towns are high on your list.

Looking at your 'must sees', an itinerary could look like this: Paris - Zurich - Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen - Chur, with a side trip to Arosa. You'd then take the Bernina Express to Tirano. By the way, you could also include the Glacier Express when traveling from Interlaken to Chur, by getting to Brig first and then getting on the Glacier Express. How much time you'd spend in each town, depends on your preferences and the duration of your stay.

Information and purchase options for the Swiss Travel Pass can be found here.

I hope this gets you started! This general planning section may be of help too.

2 posts
new member
May 14, 2015 - 1:47 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke and Annika! Thank you for your inputs!

I'll be in Switzerland around 12th to 19th December. Will skydiving be allowed during the period?

After looking at the links, I think my itinerary should be as below

Day 1: Arrive at Zurich during noon and train to Lucerne

Day 2: Lucerne

Day 3: Travel to Interlaken, day trip up to Lauterbrunnen & skydive

Day 4: Day trip to Bern from Interlaken

Day 5: Travel on Glacier Express to Chur (by getting to Brig)

Day 6: Day trip to Arosa

Day 7: Travel on Bernina Express to Tirano

Thank you for the tip on Glacier Express!! I was wondering how I could incorporate that into the trip as well. I have a few questions below!

1. How long does it take to travel from Interlaken to Chur via the Glacier Express?

2. Is 1 full day sufficient for Lucerne?

Thank you once again!

7567 posts
May 14, 2015 - 7:35 AM in reply to helloamanda

After looking at the links, I think my itinerary should be as below........

Day 4: Day trip to Bern from Interlaken


I like Bern a lot, but you may not wish to spend a full day there. Generally Luzern is worth more time than Bern. I know the forum moderators Arno and Annika usually make that recommendation. ( By the way, out of habit, I use the German spelling for Luzern, since it is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.) There is lots to do in Luzern itself that is indoors. On the other hand, many of the attractions around Luzern are outdoors and you might not want to be walking or out in the countryside in Mid-December. Maybe a lake boat......Mid December is a time when it is difficult to predict the weather. I have had beautiful, not too cold days then, great for walking and sightseeing on the Rigi, for example. Or I have had awful and bitter cold days.

One of the attractions of Bern is a walk through the arcaded Old Town ( good in any weather) and up to the Rose Garden. Very few to zero roses there in mid December, although the view over the city is nice.

Bern is easily accessible from Interlaken, as you have noted, or, also , from Luzern.

I think if i were planning the trip, I'd tend to keep Luzern and Bern on adjacent days , so i could adjust my time between them. But, i would not be trying to sky dive at Lauterbrunnen. Interlaken, in itself, is not as interesting as either of those two cities. But, if skydiving is happening at that time of year ( and the moderators would know better than I ) then you might want flexibility to accommodate changing weather, and thus be near Lauterbrunnen.

<<"1. How long does it take to travel from Interlaken to Chur via the Glacier Express?">>

About six hours. Use the timetable, and put Andermatt in the "via" box.

sbb.ch/en/ home.html

That link to the Swiss Rail timetable gets you to a page where you can put in a "via" intermediate stop.

<<"2. Is 1 full day sufficient for Lucerne?">>

The precise answer is - "That depends" ;-)

In warmer weather, I can spend a week based in Luzern, visiting all of the attractions , going up on the Rigi and Pilatus, riding the lake boats, visiting some of the smaller villages around the lake, take half a day to ride the lake boat, funicular and walk to Hammetschwand, have lunch, and return......In cold weather, you can get a sample of the city itself in one day or even 4 hours, but you are only scratching the surface.

Walk through the Old Town on both sides of the river at least to step inside the Jesuit Church on the side nearest the station but mostly the main part on the opposite bank, crossing the river back and forth on different bridges. Walk to the Lion of Luzern, and visit the Bourbaki Panorama. Walk through the very small Picasso museum in the old town.. Get a bite to eat. Four hours.



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