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Switzerland trip planning, fall 2023 - 21 days


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Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 14, 2022 - 6:11 PM

Hello Everyone, We just started planning our 21 day trip to Switzerland in late Sept/early Oct 2023 and looking for some advise as to which town to stay as a base. We are looking at airbnbs in the Bernese Oberland region or Lucerne area and getting a swiss rail pass since we won't be renting a car. We prefer staying in one location and traveling from there. Towns we would like to see are Grindelwald, Zermatt, Gruyere, Lugano, basically as much of this beautiful country that we can! We are in are early 60's, very fit and love to hike and explore, we like the countryside but also nice local restaurants. We would plan on staying in a hotel a night or two in addition if the travel is long to a particular destination. Cities are last on our list. We would be flying from the US into Zurich.

With all that said, any recommendations for a base location with easy access to public transport? Thank you!

Ildiko
Ildiko
2515 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 14, 2022 - 7:16 PM in reply to Mek0722

Hi Mek0722 and welcome to MySwissAlps.com!

For the Bernese Oberland Interlaken is a good base. If you want to visit the Jungfrau region (part of the Bernese Oberland), I can recommend Wengen or Mürren or Grindelwald too. You can look for apartments in Interlaken here: www.myswissalps.com/interlaken/rentals.

For apartments in the Jungfrau region visit this one: www.myswissalps.com/jungfrauregion/rentals.

At www.myswissalps.com/accommodation/airbnb you can read about the pros and cons of Swiss Airbnb’s.

It is a very clever decision to buy a Swiss rail pass and also to travel by train here, in Switzerland. The Swiss rail system is amazing! If you are not familiar with the system, please check this one: www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/howtotravel. A Swiss Travel Pass would be great for your itinerary: www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass. You can also have a look at the Swiss Half Fare Card: www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard.

Visiting those wonderful places you mentioned won't be easy from one place. I recommend staying in Zermatt (www.myswissalps.com/zermatt/rentals), in Lucerne (www.myswissalps.com/lucerne/rentals) perhaps also in Lugano or Locarno if you are visiting canton Ticino (www.myswissalps.com/lugano/rentals or www.myswissalps.com/locarno/rentals) and in the Jungfrau region.

I hope this helps,

Ildiko

Dangrad
Dangrad
3 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2022 - 1:55 AM

Hi Mec0722,

We are also going to be in Switzerland at the same time (Aug 22nd to Sept 28th next year), however, we'll be in a rental car for the first 13 days on the east side (Vaduz, St. Moritz, Lugano, Bellagio) and then via train for the rest (Lucerne, Zermatt, B-O, Lausanne and Geneva where we depart from).

Curious, you spoke about a “base”…are you going to stay in that one city all three weeks?

That might involve a lot of train riding out in the morning and back in the evening as opposed to just going to the next city and staying 3-4 nights as per our plan. Not criticizing, only looking for your thoughts and insight to staying in one place.

We're in our mid-50s and also active and fit!

Kind Regards,

Dan

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
238 posts
active member
Nov 15, 2022 - 3:52 AM

In fact I would suggest 4 places : Lucerne, Interlaken / lauterbrunnen, Montreux and Lugano

Yes you will pack and unpack but you have fairly long period of stay. We stayed in one place for 8 days and tried to cover our itinerary but days stretch a bit cheers Chetan

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2022 - 4:31 PM in reply to Ildiko

Thank you for the helpful information! I will surely explore these websites!

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2022 - 4:35 PM in reply to Dangrad

I am starting to come to that conclusion! I've been looking at a week in Zermatt and possibly 2 weeks in Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen. Looking so forward to it but don't want to sit on a train for 1/2 my vacation when I could be hiking!! My initial want was to stay in Zermatt for the entire trip but there is far more to see. The last time I was in Switzerland they smoked on planes but I do remember the Matterhorn!!! Thank you for the reply!

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2022 - 4:37 PM in reply to Shroffchetan

Thank you! Exploring at least 2 to 3 at this time.

1960man
1960man
4383 posts
expert
Nov 16, 2022 - 12:38 AM in reply to Mek0722

Personally I would avoid Grindelwald (everybody goes there/Jungfrau!).

If you want to hike in the Jungfrau region use Interlaken as your base, as you can go do day trips from Interlaken west (eg Montreux, Gruyeres), north (eg Bern or even the Jura mountains) and east (Luzern area)

I recommend Graubunden as a great area for hiking - ride around on the famous narrow gauge network of the RhB railway and hike in between. Stay anywhere you can find good accomodation in the Engadine

You can cover Zermatt's hiking possibilities in about 4 days IMO

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2022 - 6:14 PM in reply to Dangrad

Hi Dan, do you plan on booking your flights now or waiting a bit? Looks like the flights to Zurich via Swiss Air are pretty reasonable now. Thanks,

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2022 - 6:16 PM in reply to 1960man

Thank you, do you think its worth visiting the Saxon area and Chamonix in France?

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2022 - 6:24 PM in reply to 1960man

One other question if not Interlaken is there another town close by like Wilderswil, Beatenberg or Lauterbrunnen? Thanks

Ildiko
Ildiko
2515 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 16, 2022 - 7:15 PM in reply to Mek0722

Hi Mek0722,

at www.myswissalps.com/interlaken/hotels you can find alternative smaller towns if you prefer not to stay in Interlaken but close to it. Bytheway, Interlaken is not a big city either :)

You can also stay in Thun or Brienz: www.myswissalps.com/thun/hotels or www.myswissalps.com/brienz/hotels

Does this help?

Ildiko

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2022 - 9:20 PM in reply to Ildiko

Yes thank you!

Dangrad
Dangrad
3 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2022 - 11:34 PM in reply to Mek0722

Hi Mek0722,

Yes, we are booked……bought tickets as part of a trip to Cairo prior…..believe it or not across the Atlantic two times on Air France in Business for USD$1,300 each!

Dan

1960man
1960man
4383 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2022 - 12:19 AM in reply to Mek0722

Interlaken is fine, plenty of accomodation possibilities and the best public transport as it is a main transport hub

1960man
1960man
4383 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2022 - 12:26 AM in reply to Mek0722

All along the Rhone Valley there are lots of interesting geological formations, some with castles on top. Saxon is in this area, but also places like: www.tourbillon.ch/

Near Sion you also have: lac-souterrain.com/en/

If you want to go to the trouble of going into France then by all means visit Chamonix - your choice!

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2022 - 12:58 PM in reply to Dangrad

Wow! That is good. Seems cheaper to fly to Europe than within the US! I plan on booking this weekend just trying to confirm the dates for travel.

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2022 - 12:58 PM in reply to 1960man

Thank you!

Art2164
Art2164
8 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2022 - 4:50 PM in reply to Mek0722

Wow this sounds familiar. My wife & I are in our late 50's, love hiking & natural attractions also. We had a similar itinerary "booked" for the Fall of 2020. Luckily, we only lost a few nights of hotel stays. We still have a United Airlines credit and had not purchased our Swiss Pass before "you know what" hit.

We too are now planning to rebook again for fall of 2023 (late Aug/ early Sept), with some "possible" changes. We "originally" had booked all hotels (except 5-nights in Lauterbrunnen, which was a condo/apt). Our "original 21/22-night itinerary" was:

Late afternoon flight (overnight) - Arrive early AM in Vienna, AT: 2-night stay... AM train to Salzburg, AT: 2-night stay... AM train to Innsbruck, AT: 2-night stay... AM train to Zurich, CH: 1-night stay... AM train to Luzern, CH: 2-night stay... AM train (Gotthard Exp) to Lugano, CH: 1-night stay... AM bus to Tirano, IT & train (Bernia Exp) to St. Moritz, CH: 1-night stay... AM train (Glacier Exp) to Zermatt, CH: 2-night stay... AM train to Lauterbrunnen, CH: 5-night stay... AM train (Golden Exp) to Montreux, CH: 2-night stay... AM train to Geneva, CH: 1-night stay... AM flight home to USA.

We are flexible with our re-booking plans (ie: longer stays, re-routing, etc.), but we really want to see all the places mentioned above. I'll be watching this thread (and others) for ideas and recommendations. I hope you have a wonderful time. The people of and on "MySwissAlps" are terrific, very helpful, and a great resource. God Bless.

Mek0722
Mek0722
11 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2022 - 10:09 PM in reply to Art2164

That's funny we originally started to plan for 2020 but never followed thru! Still planning for Fall 2023 and also looking at a couple hubs versus one. It turns out we are going to have 24 nights in this beautiful country. We are now looking at Interlaken and Chur as a couple hubs for apartments staying about 8 to 10 nights and then traveling and staying at hotels in Zermatt and Lucerne for a couple nights. We plan on booking our flights next week provided they are still reasonable.

Day hiking is what we would like to do a lot of but know that the weather can change that!

Good luck with your planning and hope you have a great time!

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