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Please help with Zurich - Interlaken itinerary

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3 posts
new member
Apr 30, 2016 - 5:37 AM

Hello everyone, thank you so much for even consider helping me🙂🙂 I have some trouble planning on my family trip to Switzerland.We are a family of seven ,no children.We like Swiss alps , lovely hill , lakes and also want to catch a glimpse of history and culture.We will travel around the third to the fourth week of April next year.This is also our first overseas trip on our own.

Day 1 Arrive in Zurich around 8 p.m

Stay in Zurich hotel

Day 2 Zurich - Schafhaussen - Interlaken

  • Rheinfall
  • Stein am rhein
  • Rathausplatz
  • St Gallen Stiftsbibliothek

Stay in Interlaken

(I'm not sure if we can cover all these places in one day..?.)

Day 3 Interlaken - Grindelwald- Jungfrajoch- lauterbrunnen - Interlaken

Staubbach Fall (on our way down from Jungfrajoch)

I also want to walk around in Grindelwald and lauterbrunnen, but I believe there won't be enough time. Therefore, walking around Lauterbrunnen on our way back and give Grindelwald a rain check since we stay in Interlaken for a week. Is this ok?

Day 4 Interlaken - Schilthorn -Brienz

Gimmewald is a must isn't it?

7348 posts
expert &
Apr 30, 2016 - 1:51 PM in reply to Mindapple

Thanks for joining us, Mindapple!

Great that you get to visit Switzerland next year. April is low season, but if weather is fine the scenery will be absolutely stunning, and you'll avoid large tourist crowds. I'm a bit confused whether you plan to stay for just 4 days, or 4 days plus a week in Interlaken. Anyway, let's take a look at the plans you've mentioned for those 4 days.

If you want to do some sightseeing in Zurich on your day of arrival, please find tips here. Day 2 is bit much in my opinion. I'd personally skip St. Gallen and just focus on the Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein before heading off for Interlaken. The timetable will help you to plan such trips. As for day 3: you'll definitely have time to stroll around in both Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen if you don't have other plans other than the Jungfraujoch visit. However, if it's unsure if weather will remain good during the day, you'd better skip sightseeing in Grindelwald indeed and travel to Jungfraujoch as early as possible.

Gimmelwald is just a tiny village and there's not much to do there. Views up there are beautiful.

3 posts
new member
Apr 30, 2016 - 2:41 PM in reply to Annika

Day 5 Interlaken - Lucerne - Interlaken

Kapellbrucke,Lions monument, Lake lucerne , Museggmauer ,Verkehrshaus

Day 6 Interlaken - Montreux - Chateau de Chillon - Bern - Interlaken

If we leave Interlaken early in the morning we will be in Montreux around eight AM. We might spend maybe four hours there ,is this enough? Do we have time to walk around Bern old town on the way back?

Day 7 Interlaken

Here is where I'm stuck.I figure two options

- to Matterhorn or

- to First and bachalpsee or - any suggestion?

Stay in Interlaken

Day 8 Interlaken - Zurich

Fraumunster,Zurich old town,Uetliberg , Lakeside Zurich ( from Bellevue to Zurich horn Stay in Zurich )

Day 9 Zurich - Bangkok possibly 3 or 5 p.m flight to BKK.... By the way, Verzasca valley is the place I really want to go but it's such a long journey from Interlaken. Do you have any idea how can I arrange this place into my trip ?

3 posts
new member
Apr 30, 2016 - 2:50 PM in reply to Mindapple

Thank you so much for your advice and my apology for confusing you about those first four days itinerary.I feel the above plan is not smooth, and not so practical.Again, your help to fine tune this itinerary would be very much appreciate.

7348 posts
expert &
May 1, 2016 - 9:06 AM

Hi Mindapple,

Did you use the timetable I mentioned in my previous post in order to check traveling times? Some of your plans for day 5 to 8 require quite a lot of traveling time, but in the end it's up to you to decide whether or not you're fine with that. My personal preference would be to focus on the Interlaken region a bit more, in order to cut down on traveling times, unless weather is bad over there and significantly better in other regions. Please browse this list of day trips to get an idea of what's possible in this region and see if there are any alternatives that appeal to you. Mind that not all options will be accessible by late April, but trips such as Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, boat rides and valley walks are.

Day 5 is doable. Day 6 is a bit much. You'll have to leave Interlaken as early as about 05:30 in order to arrive in Montreux at 08:00. If I were you I'd leave a bit later and skip Bern. Also, consider using the Golden Pass to get there, rather than the default train connections displayed by the timetable. As for day 7: the First cable car won't run any earlier than late April, so I don't think it's an option for you. Visiting Zermatt for Matterhorn views will again result in a full travel day, but it's doable.

The Verzasca valley is far off from your other destinations and it doesn't fit in well with the rest of your plans. In order to visit it you'd have to recreate your itinerary.

Once your plans are set, I'd advise to look into rail passes. For the kind of itinerary you described, an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass would be a good fit.

7567 posts
May 1, 2016 - 3:37 PM in reply to Mindapple

Hi Mindapple-

I was trying to find the time to test your itinerary against the time table, but Annika already did it.

She also said it more gracefully than I do, but my overall impression is that I agree completely with your comment:

<<"I feel the above plan is not smooth, and not so practical">>

Basically, you are trying to do too much in the limited time available for your trip. It could interfere with your goals. Annika has made some good suggestions on how to refine your plan. You will have better experience of Switzerland if you spend more time in each of fewer places, or spend more time in the Interlaken region, or pick a base with more variety in the things to do nearby. More on that later.

That could mean skipping Northeast Switzerland. By the way, for those seriously interested in culture and history, I'd pick the Abbey and old town of St. Gallen before the Rhine Falls. Just my opinion. it is further than the falls from Zürich, Luzern, or Interlaken, however.

Since it is very clear from your posts that you have spent some serious time studying what is interesting to see and do in Switzerland, perhaps you also know this trick, which I will explain for the Golden Pass route as mentioned by Annika:

If you tell the timetable to find trains from Interlaken to Montreux it will find the fastest routes (which go through Bern). It defaults to the fastest route. To find the Golden Pass routes, use the same start and finish, but enter Zweisimmen in the "Connection's" or "Via" box. You will see different descriptive terms for trains at different times. They are explained in the link for the Golden Pass provided by Annika.

Interlaken is a god base for your longer excursions, and some of the Jungfrau region will be acccesible (and beautuful, if the weather is clear) even though many services and facilities will be closed for between-seasons vacations and maintenance. (For example, as Annika noted, the timetable would show you that the cableway from Grindelwald to First is not running then). If possible, if you wish to see the Jungfrau region, it is a good idea to stay 2 or 3 night close by, as you are doing, to increase your chances of finding a clear day. It is no fun to go up to the top by the expensive cograil ( or even partway to Kleine Scheidegg) and be inside a cloud. Kind of boring. ;-(

As Annika said, it is a good region to focus on.

If you want to see that region, a better travel time is in late June (after the 15th to allow the snow to go away on the higher trails or in September and usually, very early October, before it snows much at high altitudes.)

Also, trips to Bern, Luzern, Zermatt, and Montreux are all reasonable day trips from Interlaken.

Each has a lot o see and do:

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo

although I think you may have already looked at that information?

If you do consider changing your itinerary to permit a visit to Val Verzasca, it would be possible to do it in a long day from Luzern. Once you are at Sonogno, there is not a lot to spend time on, although the famous bridge partway into the valley at Lavertezzo is quite attractive. It is not a short walk from either end of the valley, so , if you go in by bus, there might be some scheduling concerns.

www.traveldudes.org/tr avel-tips/scenic-spot-old-roman-bridge-ponte-dei-salti-verzasca-valley-switzerland/12074

So, unless you decide to do a serious hike up the mountainsides, you will not spend as much time there as you might in one of the cities discussed. The photography is pretty good, in part because the extensive use of stone in all forms of construction provides nice textures.( Sorry for the misspelled name in the attached file.)

Consideration of a map of Switzerland, in conjunction with the time table, can help you think about a good base. Interlaken works for much of your goals.

Luzern is another place to consider. The variety of tourist attractions and natural beauty, although less awe inspiring than the Bernese Oberland includes a particularly beautiful lake, nearby "gentle' mountains (the Rigi) and high ones (Pilatus, and, a bit further, Titlis at Engelberg.) The old town is very nice, and there are some world class museums, especially the Rosengart Collection close to the main station.

Luzern has the advantage of a lower altitude, so that it will be well into the first part of Spring in late April. Fewer tourists than later in the season.

I've attached a screen grab from the timetable for a trip from Luzern to Sonogno and return.

3 1/2 to 4 hours, one way.

The time table will not show next April (to far in advance) but the schedule will be similar then as it is now, so I use May 1, 2016 for my example.A very long day. Even though the train ride over the Gotthard Pass is worth a detour, as they see, to travel on, I'd still not think time spent going to the Val Verzasca on a short, first time trip would be a good use of time. Personal opinion, of course. We enjoyed it when we went there while staying in Locarno for a few days. But,there is a lot more "Switzerland" to experience in the central part of the country.

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