Please advise on spending 5 days in central region

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2 posts
new member
Apr 11, 2014 - 7:12 AM

We are a young couple planning our first Europe visit this May. We seek advice on how to plan our itinerary on our Swiss leg.

May 7: Travel time on train (estimate 7 hr) from Venice to Switzerland.

May 8 – 12: 5 full days to enjoy. We hope to do the usual tourist sightseeing to experience the beauty of the Swiss Alps and culture, and stay 1-2 nights in the Alps.

Looking at 2 whole days in Lucerne and 3 whole days to spend in the mountains (either Murren/Wengen or Lauternbrunnan).

May 13: Depart by rail to Paris.

Q1: Is it worthwhile to use 2 locations as our base? Lucerne and Interlaken or Murren/Wengen or Lauternbrunnan?

From what we read, it seems that May is not a suitable time to stay in the mountains due to the weather. I have also checked the forecast for the above Swiss places and it seems to have showers on those dates we are there. I need some advice on what would be suitable options to stay in terms of location.

Q2) We hope to stay 1-2 nights in the mountains. Do u still reckon we do it (in view of the unpredictable weather) or just stick to day trip hiking and taking the gondolas up the mountains from our base?

Q3) Which mountain(s) are worth the visit during this May period for our short stay?
- Mt Rigid (to view the other higher mountains and able to look down lake lucerne shaped like a cross from Rigi Kaltbad); or Titlis (to do the Rotair n see glacier); or Pilatus or Jungfrau?

Q4) Which scenic train ride do you recommend?

Q5) Should we hire a local guide to visit the palaces and mountain trails?

Q6) We need recommendations on the places of visit for our 5 days. Open to any suggestions that would help us experience the Swiss culture and scenery.

Appreciate all advice that could help us firm up our itinerary soon. Thanks in advance! :)

5008 posts
expert &
Apr 11, 2014 - 4:18 PM in reply to Ray

Hi Ray,

I'm going straight to your questions:

1) Yes, two base towns makes sense if you want to see two different regions. Spending 5 days in one town would be fine too, as there is plenty to do and see in either of them. Lauterbrunnen is at the valley floor. Mürren and Wengen are located higher in the mountains.

2) May is in between the high seasons (Winter and Summer), which means that some attractions may be closed, and the higher hiking trails will be inaccessible because there is still snow. There has been a warm Winter though, so that issue could be less significant this Spring. May is (can be) a beautiful month in terms of the weather: not too warm in the valleys and magnificent snow covered peaks. There is no way to tell if it will rain during your stay. A more or less accurate forecast will only be available a few days in advance. You should definitely stay in the mountains if that's what you want to experience. Wengen may be the best option for you. In case of bad weather you can travel to down to the valley relatively easy and quickly by train.

3) All of them are worth a visit. You can read about these mountains and view the pictures to see which one appeals to you most: Titlis, Rigi, Pilatus, Jungfrau.

4) The northern section of the Golden Pass route can be covered when you travel from Lucerne to Wengen (or one of the other towns). You may be able to do the southern section on your way to Paris.

5) 6) You don't need a guide unless you plan to do glacier hiking or mountaineering. Hiking suggestions and practical tips are here. Other activities are here. Help with planning your trip can be found here.

Last modified on Apr 11, 2014 - 4:19 PM by Annika
2 posts
new member
Apr 13, 2014 - 3:07 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika

Thank you for your useful advice, appreciate it much.

I tried finding a budget accommodation in Wengen but it seems a number of them I searched are closed for Spring time. Do you have any to recommend? We will stay in Lauterbrunnen and visit Wegen/Murren if we can't find accommodation in Wegen.

We decided to divide our time between Lucerne and OB region. Which Swiss Pass do you recommend us to buy? Do I need to take into consideration every day of our stay?

We tried searching for a rail operator to travel from Venice to Lucerne but unable to. Do you know?

5008 posts
expert &
Apr 14, 2014 - 11:44 AM

Hi Ray,

I'm glad that was useful to you! Wengen isn't a budget location, but you may want to check Chalet Viola and Hotel Bernerhof. I would recommend to book quickly since your travel date is nearby and indeed in low season some hotels are closed. The cheaper ones that are open may be booked out quickly. Also you could post a new topic here in the forum titled "Looking for budget hotel in Wengen" or something similar, so more people will notice your question.

A Swiss Pass would suit your needs in any case. In order to see if other passes are better/cheaper for you, you first need an itinerary and then pick your pass based on that, as explained here.

To travel from Venice to Lucerne you can look up your preferred connection in the timetable, and then get a ticket (you can purchase the ticket together with the pass, once you have decided on that). The train operators are not relevant. It's not like with air travel where you can choose from multiple operators.

By the way, you could take the Wilhelm Tell Express when traveling to Lucerne. You can either do the full journey in one day, or spend in night in Lugano or Locarno (southern Switzerland) and take the Wilhelm Tell Express the next day.

Last modified on Jul 13, 2018 - 12:15 PM by Arno

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