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Itinerary advice - 11 nights (2-3rd week Sept)

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6 posts
new member
Aug 7, 2016 - 4:53 PM


I am planning the itinerary for our family (parents, my brother and me) vacation in September. My parents are in their mid-late fifties. We are mainly interested in scenery and taking short walks (1-2 hours). We will fly into Geneva and depart from Zurich and have 11 nights in between to explore. We are looking at getting the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass (as the 8-day pass will not cover our entire trip). My current draft is as follows and I would appreciate any sincere comments and advice from everyone.

Day 1 (Montreux): Arrive in Geneva ard 2pm. Travel by train to our hotel in Montreux and check-in. Board an evening cruise on Lake Geneva from Montreux to Lausanne (view of lavaux vineyards). Travel by train back to Montreux for the night. *If time allows, to fit in a stroll by the lake outside Chateau de Chillon.

Day 2 (Zermatt): *If not done on day 1, take a bus to Chateau de Chillon to have a walk about outside (not planning to enter). Check out of hotel. Travel by train to Zermatt (~2hr 45min) - plan to reach Zermatt by 2 pm at the latest. Check in to hotel in Zermatt. Depending on weather, either (1) take the cog railway up to the summit of the Gornergrat and walk down a couple of mid stations before taking the cog railway back down to Zermatt or (2) take short walks in and around Zermatt itself.

Day 3 (Zermatt): Gornergrat excursion or short walks (Findeln, etc). Maybe visit Gorner gorge.

Days 4 - 7 (Interlaken): We are not planning to visit Jungfraujoch. A list of ideas are Harder Kulm (preferably catch sunset), Grindelward, First (* priority), Wengen, Mannlichen, Kleine Scheidegg, easy walks in the area, lake cruise, Schilthorn, lauterbrunnen valley (waterfalls), paragliding (only me, not the parents), Aare gorge (possible option), tobaggan run near Kandersteg (possible day trip).

Days 8 - 9 (Lucerne): We have visited Lucerne briefly on a coach tour 6 years ago and have seen some part of the city already (Chapel Bridge, Lion Monument...). Some ideas are Titlis / Pilatus excursion, Boat trip to Vitznau, day trip to Bern (possible).. Anything interesting to recommend?

Day 10 (Pontresina): Travel by train to Pontresina via Chur (~4 hours). Check in to hotel in Pontresina. The main motivation to travel to this part of Switzerland (in this part of our trip) is to experience the rail journey along the Berninia Express route (we are fine to take the regular trains) which I've read so many raving reviews of! After checking in, some ideas are continue the Berninia Express route further down towards Tirano / Alp Grum, or explore the Pontresina / St Moritz area. Need some recommendations - should we visit Muottas Muragl or .. ? Anything we should not miss in this area?

Day 11 (Zurich): Depart after lunch to Zurich (~3.5 hours by train). Arrive Zurich in the evening and check in to hotel. Have dinner and explore around nearby.

Day 12: Explore Zurich city (any ideas?) before heading to the airport for our flight at 5:15pm.

1. For the last leg of the trip, I'm thinking whether we should skip Zurich city and extend our stay in Pontresina (i.e. 2 nights in Pontresina instead of 1). Are there many must-see or highly recommended ideas / walks in the St Moritz / Pontresina area? I am swayed by the free mountain railways offer for hotel stays of 2 nights and above in this area. But at the same time, am afraid we won't be able to appreciate the place fully if we are struck with (for lack of a better word) "alpine ennui" after visiting Zermatt & Jungfraujoch region. Does anyone have similar experiences (e.g. visiting both the jungfraujoch region and st moritz area in the same trip) and how was it for you?

2. Does anyone have experience with Orange / Swisscom prepaid data sim cards?


15661 posts
expert &
Aug 8, 2016 - 6:28 PM

Hi Applegsy,

I can tell you've spent quite some time on your itinerary. Well done. My thoughts:

Day 1: I assume you've checked the boat timetable as you don't have a lot of time that day.

Day 2: It would be a shame not to see the castle from the inside. The entrance is free with your Swiss Travel Passes. Half the castle is surrounded by water, so there is no option for a whole lot of walking around the castle. You can take some nice pictures from the outside, but also from the inside and the several courtyards.

Day 8-9: Have you visited Mount Rigi before? Really nice views, plus options for short hikes, and it's free with the Swiss Travel Pass.

Day 10: I agree, I'd stay longer in Pontresina and shorter in Zurich. One day in that area is really not enough (I've stayed there for weeks and still haven't seen everything). The scenery and architecture is quite different from Zermatt and the Jungfrau region. The train is called Bernina Express. Zurich is nice, but it's a city, not the Swiss Alps.

For SIM cards, please see myswissalps.com/ simcard. The Wifi hotspot explained on that page may also suit your needs as you're traveling with a family, so one hotspot would be sufficient for all of you.

For hotel suggestions you can refer to myswissalps.com/hotels.

I recommend to print your Swiss Travel Passes at home so you won't loose time upon arrival. That way you can board the train to Montreux straight away. All options are listed on myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/ price.

6 posts
new member
Aug 8, 2016 - 7:30 PM

Hi Arno,

Really appreciate your comments and suggestions. I have discussed with my family and we have decided to skip Zurich for this trip.

We have not visited Mt Rigi - only took a trip up Titlis some years before but weather was not great (no choice as on a tour).

Apologies for the typo! Bernina not berninia haha. As we have a couple of days in the UK before flying into Geneva, we are considering the European data sim card introduced at myswissalps.com/ simcard.

At the moment, we are still putting the finishing touches on the itinerary & booking our hotels/apartments.

Thanks again Arno. Welcome any other comments / suggestions from the forum.


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