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Suggestions for itinerary from Zurich to Geneva?

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new member
Feb 21, 2016 - 7:10 PM

My wife and I will be landing in Zurich Friday 3/25/16 after a full night and morning of air travel. Our college age daughter will be meeting us there (on her spring break from university in Spain). Planning to rent a car on Saturday 3/26 and will be flying out of Geneva either late Tuesday (3/29) or early Wednesday (3/30). I would appreciate any suggestions of cities/towns/villages to visit as we meander towards Geneva. Not looking for hiking or skiing on this trip--mainly sightseeing and getting a feel/flavor of Switzerland. Any places we should absolutely include? Any to avoid? Also, what should we expect regarding the weather this time of year? Many thanks!

7202 posts
expert &
Feb 22, 2016 - 7:22 AM

Hi Kwedd, welcome to MySwissAlps!

If I were you, I'd travel by train rather than rent a car. By end March, mountain passes may still be closed due to snow, and the train system is very convenient. A good route to follow would be the Golden Pass line, with a few stops and side trips along the way. You might consider spending nights in Interlaken, Lucerne and Montreux for example. You'll find suggestions for day trips on the pages I linked to.

During your time of traveling it will be low season: ski resorts will be closing down and not all attractions may be available. There are still lots of mountain tops to be visited and beautiful scenic train rides to be made though, so you'll definitely get to enjoy your stay. Our pages on weather and seasons may be of help too.

Does this get you started?

7567 posts
Feb 24, 2016 - 1:29 AM in reply to Kwedd

Hi Kwedd-

As Annika has pointed out, the trains work well.

See Luzern. Go from there, by car or train, over the Brunig pass to Meiringen and Interlaken and thence Lauterbrunnen and environs.

Or, drive along the southern edge of the Emmental, through Langnau, to Bern. Train goes that way, too.

However, even though you can reach them by public transport, locations such as Hammetschwand ( near Luzern, may still be closed for Winter), many parts of the Emmental, and parts of the Dreiseenland (Three Lakes Country) such as Ligerz, Sugiez/Mt. Vully and Le Landeron are much easier to reach if you have a car. The shores of lake Lucern are accessible by scenic boat rides, buses, and trains to some locations, but a car can be faster.

Bern should be accessed by rail. No question.

Pleas see my recent post with pictures toward the end of these regions, also, two about the Emmental:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/is-my-planned-itinerary-possible

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/langnau-in-may

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/langnau-in-may/page/2

<<"Also, what should we expect regarding the weather this time of year?">>


www.myswissalps.com/ab outswitzerland/nature

Varies by altitude and region on any given day. Makes it a bit difficult to answer your question.

In mid-April in 2014 there were about 10 days in a row of dry, sunny weathers across most (not all) of Switzerland. Usually, it rains then. At least on some days. And in some places.

Google can lead you to average temperature readings for all sorts of towns in Switzerland.


7567 posts
Feb 24, 2016 - 9:01 AM in reply to Kwedd

Hi Kwedd-

Last year, we had a discussion of some interesting places between Zürich and Geneva.

Look in this thread:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/first-trip-with-my-21-and-13-years-old-kids

Particularly look in my 4th post, and later posts in the thread with details about some of the places on the list given in that 4th post.

The originator of the post "Gusigu" was traveling by train, but a car would work for many of those places. Certainly, though, for the larger cities, getting in and out is much much easier by train, and parking is expensive and not easy to find if you are in the cities.

The following comments may help you think about the choices between rental car and train.

My pattern for traveling in Switzerland for all but the shortest trips is to fly into Zürich, take a day or 3 to catch up on jet-lag ( I'm from the USA, with a 6 hour time change), rent a car and pick up my luggage at the hotel, then drive out of town, typically to Luzern first to visit friends. Even though i know my way around, I avoid driving while jet-lagged. (And, there are trains at least twice per hour for the 45 to 58 minute train ride to Luzern).

As I approach Luzern, I religiously hold to just below the low speed limits between approx. Rotkreuz and Luzern, or I get ( a few weeks later) a bill for 100 or sometimes lots more CHF in the mail from the rental car company and the police. The automated radar speed cameras work very well. They are common all over Switzerland , often in very odd places, and unless you never,ever plan to go back to Switzerland, you'd better pay. And, the rental car company has your credit card number and your address.

For many years i did not try the city driving in Zürich....took my luggage on public transport from my hotel to the rental car location, and drove directly out of own. During the transition over several years, I go lost a lot on the very short route between hotel and Avis. And, if I go off of familiar routes, I get lost frequently in Zürich. Today, with GPS so common ( at a cost of course) it would be a lot easier. However, the intersections come up very quickly, and the streets are far from anything like a uniform grid ( such as in Manhattan.) And, you have to figure out where to park.

I have learned the exact driving route to the Main Station ( Bahnhof) in Luzern, as well as the streets nearby. Once there, I can park for on the order of 50 CHF per 24 hours.

I use local public transport in the Luzern area, but drive to Weggis about 30 km away, to cheap parking by the cable car valley station for my frequent stays up on the Rigi. From Luzern, I drive to other villages all around the region between Luzern, Bern and Neuchatel for my later stays. I stay at inns that do not charge for parking. To visit the larger cities, I take a train from my inn to those cities, or, sometimes, drive to a small town station with inexpensive parking, such as ( one of many ....at random...Konolfingen) leave the car there for a day, and hike, or having parked at (for example) Hasle-Rüegsau station (limited parking) or on the side streets near Langnau im Emmental station or Sugiez Station , take the train into a city such as Bern, Basel, Geneva, Neuchatel.....

The point of those comments is not to suggest specific locations, but to illustrate a pattern and a mechanism for staying at lower cost villages in inns, using the car for inn to inn travel ( which can also be accomplished by public transport, but the schedules at countryside stations are often only once per hour).

The cost of this duplication is manageable for me, because I carry an inexpensive multi-year Half-fare card ("Halb Abo" or "Halbtax") available to Swiss residents or ( currently,at least) those with a Swiss mailing address.

i do it that way, because i have learned not to drive into the cities (take a train) , and often spend a day hiking somewhere where access to the trail heads is not as frequent as i would like by public transport ( take the rental car.)

For you, with a trip as short as yours, if you intend to focus on cities, the trains are the way to go. There are ways to manage luggage. And, you might stay at an an inn in a smaller town along the train route.

There is frequent interurban service all day long into the night between major cities at once per hour, and for many, particularly on the Zürich, Bern, Geneva axis, twice per hour.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

or (with less helpful explanation), the direct link -

www.sbb.ch/en/home.htm l

If you want to spend time in the countryside, on a short trip, a car will be most effective at managing time.

If you have three people, you'll want to balance the cost of a car rental vs. more expensive rail travel, and do the usual trade offs between time, cost and results. In your case, time may drive the setting of priorities.



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