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Help with 18 day Itinerary (Arrive/Depart Zurich)

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3 posts
new member
Jul 29, 2014 - 6:18 AM

Hi everyone,

Planning a 18 day trip to Switzerland (from 22 October 2014 - 9 November 2014) and have come up with a draft itinerary. We will be arriving / departing from Zurich and have planned the route to minimize overlaps where-ever possible.

Worried the itinerary is a little too packed so would appreciate any feedback. Would prefer for a balanced trip without excessive travelling each day. Not sure if we have allocated too little / much time for each place so any comments will be wonderful.

We intend to purchase the Swiss Saver Pass but have not decided between the 15 day or 22 day

Day 1 - (22Oct14): Arrive in Zurich in the morning. Explore the city

Day 2 – (23Oct14): Depart for St Moritz via rail in the morning. Arrive in St Moritz in afternoon

Day 3 – (24Oct14): Explore St Moritz

Day 4 – (25Oct14): Catch the Glacier Express from St Moritz to Zermatt. Arrive in Zermatt in the evening. Glacier Express stops from 27Oct14 onwards

Day 5 – (26Oct14): Explore Zermatt

Day 6 – (27Oct14): Depart Zermatt for Lugano. Undecided on which is the best train route for this leg.
May possibly involve passing through Italy so we are unsure if it is covered by the Swiss Pass

Day 7 – (28Oct14): Explore Lugano

Day 8 – (29Oct14): Depart Lugano for Geneva. Unsure of best route to take for this. Was thinking of taking part of the William Tell Line till Goschenen before heading towards Geneva

Day 9– (30Oct14): Explore Geneva

Day 10– (31Oct14): Depart Geneva for Montreux. Explore Montreux in afternoon

Day 11– (01Nov14): Depart Montreux for Interlaken

Day 12– (02Nov14): Explore Interlaken / Jungfrau

Day 13 – (03Nov14): Depart Interlaken for Bern

Day 14 – (04Nov14): Explore Bern

Day 15 – (05Nov14): Depart Bern for Lucerne

Day 16 – (06Nov14): Explore Lucerne

Day 17 – (07Nov14): Depart Lucerne for Zurich

Day 18 – (08Nov14): Explore Zurich

Day 19 – (09Nov14): Depart Zurich and Switzerland

7346 posts
expert &
Jul 29, 2014 - 5:32 PM

Welcome to MySwissAlps starhorizon!

General tips on how to create an itinerary can be found here. It looks like you've done your homework and managed to create an itinerary that allows you to cover a lot of Switzerland in only a few weeks. If that's your main goal, such a travel scheme is fine. But since you're asking for feedback and worrying if your itinerary is too packed, I'll mention some things to consider. This plan does involve lots of traveling indeed. You'll be spending a considerable amount of hours traveling from one base town to the next every other day (you can check traveling times yourself with the aid of the timetable). And although train traveling is pleasant in Switzerland, you should ask yourself if that's how you want to spend your days and if you like having more time to explore the towns and regions you're staying in instead. Also, staying in a few regions only and have more days in each base town allows you to be more flexible and adapt your plans to weather circumstances. On the other hand: you will visit Switzerland in the off-season. Weather is unsure and quite some viewing points and tourist attractions will be closed down. A holiday including long train trips thus isn't a bad idea.

If crossing the country by train is what you're looking for, then you may want to adapt your plans slightly. You could create an easier order of places to visit. Especially the way the visit to Lugano is scheduled now is far from ideal. An alternative would be, for example: Zurich - St. Moritz - Lugano - Zermatt - Geneva/Montreux - Interlaken - Lucerne, or Zurich - Lucerne - Interlaken - Montreux/Geneva - Zermatt - Lugano - St. Moritz. This would interfere with your Glacier Express plans, but you could take the Bernina Express to travel from St. Moritz to Tirano and then catch a bus to Lugano instead. Not quite like the Glacier Express, but still a nice trip.

In all, I would prefer to just leave some base town out and focus on less regions more intensively. An itinerary looking like Zurich - St. Moritz - Zermatt - Interlaken - Lucerne allows you to see a lot as well, but have a bit more spare time in your schedule. This sample itinerary may provide some guidance too.

In any case, you'll use the Swiss train network intensively, and a Swiss Pass will be very convenient. You may manage to make it with the 15 variant, especially if you spend your first and/or last days in Zurich and restrict yourself to local trips there. A Zurich Card would come in handy for these days. By the way, if you intend to travel from Zermatt to Lugano: yes, this is covered by the Swiss Pass. You can review the network map to check its validity. Note that you can get up to SGD 80 off of the Swiss Pass when buying online: see here for details.

When looking for accommodation, this hotel overview may be helpful.

Does this help you plan for your trip?

Last modified on Nov 1, 2018 - 4:17 PM by Arno
3 posts
new member
Jul 30, 2014 - 3:27 AM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika,

Thanks for your thoughts on our itinerary. Many useful suggestions for tweaking our itinerary to make it less hectic and more enjoyable. You mentioned we should consider using the Bernina Express to travel from St. Moritz to Tirano and then catch a bus to Lugano instead. Would like to check on the following points:

Is the bus from Tirano to Lugano referrring to the Bernina Express Bus? Is it part of the Bernina Express experience and is the Bernina Express Bus covered by the Swiss Pass?

Does the Bernina Express Bus operate in winter as well (i.e. in November 2014)? Any other buses that operate from Tirano to Lugano in November?

Last modified on Jul 30, 2014 - 3:34 AM by starhorizon
7346 posts
expert &
Jul 30, 2014 - 12:48 PM

Hi starhorizon,

Glad I could help!

The Swiss Pass covers the entire Bernina Express route including the bus section between Tirano and Lugano (seat reservations are excluded), as indicated on the validity network map. Information on the Bernina Express and its timetable can be found here. I forgot to take your exact travel date into account when advising the Bernina Express. The bus from Tirano to Lugano runs up to October 26; the winter timetable starts on October 27 and from that date there's no bus connection. Alternatives to travel from St. Moritz to Lugano after October 26 are a bus/train trip via Thusis and Bellinzona or a bus ride through the beautiful Bergell valley via Soglio, both covered by the Swiss Pass. The latter is a long journey, requiring a change of buses about 3 times. You can find details by entering Soglio as a 'via station' in the timetable.

Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 12:55 PM by Arno


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