Hello Mark and Lucas
Firstly, thank you so much for your very quick and insightful response. It gave me a lot of good pointers.
Below is my 9 day plan as of now.
As mentioned before our plan is Paris to Montreaux - Grindelwald - Lucerne - Innsbruck (or Salzburg). Coming in from Paris and leaving to go to Austria are the only two things that are absolute fixed. Rest is flexible. Selecting Montreux, Grindelwald and Lucerne is something I determined out of the many blogs I have read. So I am happy to change them.
As for us what we like to do on a vacation - as a family we like to do enjoy our holiday leisurely by doing sight seeing between 10am to ,say, around 7pm and in between enjoy time off for lunch and relax and have a coffee and all. We are not a big hiking or adventurous family but sure we like to take short hikes. But the important thing is to see Switzerland’s picturesque beauty all the while eating delicious cheese, chocolates and fondue!
Here is my Itinerary (so far)
Day 0 Paris to MontreuxAccording to Train Times we will reach Montreux Station by 4:15pm.
Day 1 Chocolate Train (from Montreux) Leaving 9am to 6pm back
Day 2 Trip to Rochers De Naya
Day 3 Sight seeing around Montreux - Chateau de Chillion - Charlie Chaplin Museum
Take the Golden Pass Train from Montreux to Grindelwald (depart : 3:45pm arrive into Interlaken at 6:55pm).
Then take train from Interlaken to Grindelwald
(1) Either Day 0, stop off at LAUSANNE (not Geneva) and do Lake Geneva cruise and then continue to Montreux? How long does this cruise take?
(2) Or Day 2 can I do Lake Geneva cruise in the evening?
(3) Is there a recommended cruise company? We dont want to have dinner on the boat. we just want to see the beauty on the lake.
(4) Is it even worth doing Lake Geneva? Between Lake Geneva vs. Lake Lucerne vs. Lake Interlaken - if one was to be chosen which is the best one?
(5) What train line goes from Interlaken to Grindelwald?
(6) Would you recommend the chocolate train ride? Is it worth it? Or are there better chocolate places that I should consider and skip on this whole thing??
(7) In the last week, the more I read about Zermatt/Matterhorn I feel like it would be much better to spend a couple of days here then what I have documented in my itinerary above. For example day 1 and day 2 - can that be removed and then just do Zermatt? But then why even bother going to Montreux?? Your thoughts? suggestions?
Day 4 - As per Mark suggestion, loved that idea, First cable cars leave from the middle of Grindelwald. Along the way up, ride trottibikes at Bort, the mountain carts at Schreckfeld, and also do Zipline at First. Check out views at First and do short scenic hike along paved trail from First to Bachalpsee.
In the evening, go to Interlaken for 6pm session to do chocolate making @ Funky Chocolate Club .
Day 5 - From Grindelwald go to Top Of Europe/Jungfrau.
On way down from Top Of Europe, stop at Kleine Scheidegg before heading down to charming town of Lauterrbrunnen, and go check out Trummbach falls
Day 6 - Grindelwald to Schynige Platte - take the 2hr tour on the cog wheel train
Head to Interlaken - take 2 hour boat cruise Brienz
Head from Interlaken to Lucern (using the Luzern - Interlaken express)
Depart : 7:04 pm
Arrive : 8:55pm
(8) Does Day 4 seem like it is doable? As mentioned, we usually don't start our day till 10am in the morning. We can of course adjust if we have to do it. But normally we like to start our day relaxed.
(9) Day 5 - I mixed this plan reading multiple blogs. Is this feasible? Again probably start our day at 10am. Unless that it is recommended to start very early to go to the Top OF Europe.
(10) Can we go to Top Of Europe from Grindelwald or do I have to go to Interlaken to go to Top of Europe?
(11) Likewise, does day 6 looks like it is feasible or is it too crammed.
Same question as #2 above applied here. Is it worth doing Interlaken Lake? I really want to just see the falls Trummbachfalle which I believe I have covered above in Day 5.
Day 7 - Go to Mt.Titlis
Day 8 - Bern??? or Rhine Falls?? or ???
Day 9 - Check out Lucerne leisurely walk-around and then head to Innsbruck
(12) still trying to figure out what to do on Day 8…any thoughts? suggestions?
(13) Is it worth checking out Bern or Zurich? If yes, which one? For 1 day?
(14) Or should I reduce 1 day from Lucerne and add to Montreux and do Zermatt/Matterhorn??
(15) In LAUSANNE, Interlaken and Lucerne do they have a place at the station where we can securely store our large bags while we sight see during the day? or alteast for 4 to 6 hours?
(16) In the month of July how late is daylight till? For example in US, it is till 9pm, even till 9:30pm it feels like afternoon!
(17) Given what our family likes to do on vacations and there is so much to see in Switzerland, what would you suggest would be an ideal trip to Switzerland, how would you lay out the 9-day itinerary with all your experience?
Again thanks for your response (in advance)