Your advice on a 7 day Swiss trip: Zermatt&Lucerne

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8 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 2:33 AM

Hello Folks,

This is my first ever trip to Switzerland. Travelling in from Barcelona, along with my wife. Myswissalps has really helped me out to get started and figure out a basic itinerary. Need guidance/suggestions to make this even crisper. Help much appreciated!

Day 1, 3rd June: Landing in Geneva from Barcelona at 8:15. Geneva Airport > Zermatt (Train) - Night stay at Zermatt.

Q: 1. Is it possible to catch a 9:02 train? or will it be too tight?

2. Considering we can reach Zermatt by 12:51, if I take the 9:02 train, would probably be done with check-in, lunch etc. by around 15:00. How can we spend the rest of the day in Zermatt?

3. Is it worth staying back at Geneva for a while and doing something instead of reaching Zermatt early?

Day 2, 4th June: Zermatt > Gornergrat > Zermatt - Night stay at Zermatt

Plan to take the cogwheel train to Gornergrat. Spend some time up there and hike from Rotenboden to Riffelalp on the way back.

Q: 4. How much time usually would it take us for this entire Gornergrat trip? If we start early in the first cogwheel train (07:00) can we do something else after coming down to Zermatt?

5. What all can we do once we are at Gornergrat? Any suggestions for good restaurants, hiking etc.?

6. Any hiking trail better than Rotenboden-Riffelalp when around Gornergrat?

7. What to do in Zermatt in the evening?

Day 3, 5th June: Zermatt > Klein Matterhorn > Zermatt - Night stay at Zermatt

Plan to take the first cable car from Zermatt to Klein Matterhorn and reach by 09:08. Check out outdoor + indoor views and maybe do some snowboarding/snow tubing + see ice grotto. Hike somewhere.

Q: 8. If we plan to hike in this area, which one would you suggest on our way back - Trockener Steg > Gandegg hut OR Furi > Zermatt?

Day 4, 6th June: Zermatt > Andermatt > Lucerne OR Zermatt > Chur > Lucerne - Night stay at Lucerne

Plan to take the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Andermatt / Chur. And reach Lucerne by evening.

Q: 9. Which option is better - Glacier Express only till Andermatt and catch Gotthard Panorama Express from Goschenen to Lucerne? OR Glacier Express till Chur and catch a train to Lucerne?

10. What should we do in Lucerne if we reach around 17:00?

(Still planning the rest of these following 3 days)

Day 5, 7th June: Lucerne > Interlaken > Zweilütschinen > Lauterbrunnen > Wengen > Jungfraujoch (Return: Jungfraujoch > Grindelwald > Zweilütschinen > Interlaken > Lucerne) - Night stay at Lucerne

Day 6, 8th June: Lucerne > Engelberg > Titlis > Lucerne - Night stay at Lucerne

Day 7, 9th June: Lucerne > Zurich - Flight back Home

944 posts
top member
Apr 9, 2018 - 11:37 AM in reply to Apoorv

Hi Apoorv, and welcome to MySwissAlps,

  1. If you don't have to buy train tickets and with hand luggage only, you might be able to catch that train. Otherwise it is tight. If you're flying Swiss your flight will most likely be on time. But my experience with Spanish airlines is not so good.
  2. Have a look at this page: rmatt/activities.
  3. Go to Zermatt directly. You could visit Montreux on the way.
  4. Allow at least an hour to visit the Gornergrat. This does not include the time to get there. The whole round trip from Zermatt takes at least 2.5 hours.
  5. Click on the link in the above answer to research our section on Gornergrat.
  6. More hiking trails can be found on this page: king.
  7. Use our search box on the top right of this page and read what other forum visitors do in Zermatt.
  8. We have lot of experienced forum members. I would suggest to open a new topic specifically with your questions about hiking in that are. You will probably get the answers you're looking for. Or use the search box.
  9. What do you mean by better? Time or scenery? Here you can read about the different legs of the Glacier Express and here about the legs of the Gotthard Panorama Express. You can use the Swiss timetable to plan your trip.
  10. Please visit: cerne/activities.

Since you're still planning the rest of your trip you may want to visit the following pages on our website: Jungfraujoch, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald, Mt. Titlis, Mt. Pilatus.

Have you decided on a rail pass already? If not please visit: ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass.

Last modified on Apr 9, 2018 - 11:41 AM by Chantal
8 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 4:31 PM

Hi Chantal,

Thanks for your response. I've been to these pages, though was wondering if I could get answers based on more personal experiences. For example, Zermatt has plenty to do as mentioned in that page but if we reach in the evening, are there any local experiences other than sightseeing (that takes at least half a day) that we can go for. Good local restaurants, pubs etc. Same with my 5th and 10th question.

About hiking though, I shall search through properly.

9. By saying better I was referring to the scenery. So since I plan to go to Lucerne, and also travel in the Glacier Express, I was wondering if I could combine both Glacier Exp and Gotthard Panorama Exp as referred on this page tthardpanoramaexpress/ gettingthere Its mentioned - Zermatt to Lucerne: Zermatt - Andermatt (Glacier Express*), Andermatt - Göschenen (cogwheel train), Göschenen - Lucerne (Gotthard Panorama Express)

However when I see the timetables, the first GE reaches Andermatt at 10:46 and the next cogwheel train I can catch for Göschenen is only at 11:29 that reaches by 11:44. And the only GPE from Göschenen to Lucerne is 11:13. So is the info mentioned wrong here?

Looking forward to your response!

Thanks, Apoorv

944 posts
top member
Apr 9, 2018 - 5:58 PM in reply to Apoorv

Hi Apoorv,

There might be other forum members that will comment on this post tonight and share their personal experiences. If not, you could open a new topic with a title related to your question. I'm sure people will comment on your post. Did I mention the search box at the top right of this page already? If you search 'restaurants Zermatt' for example, you get a list of related posts.

You read the timetable correct. There's less waiting time if you decide to take a regular train instead of the GEX (see * on the page you were referring to). It follows the same route. You could take a train at 06.37 which arrives at 10.44 in Göschenen.

8 posts
new member
Apr 10, 2018 - 4:51 AM

Hey Chantal,

Sure I'll check out the forum for restaurants and stuff, and open new topics if required.

About train to Lucerne, as I said I wanted to take the GEX and not the regular train. I think I would probably go to Chur instead in the GEX and then get back to Lucerne if I have the time. Because honestly what I don't understand is the fact that the route is written under a title 'Combine the Gotthard Panorama Express and Glacier Express' where in the description its clearly written you could do this in a day (which is practically not possible at all). And then on top if it there is a * saying one needs to take a regular train to reach in time, which means GEX and the Panorama Exp can't be combined in this route in a day. And its not that there is less waiting time, according to what I see, it is not possible at all. (i.e. reaching Göschenen at 11:44 by the GEX, where in you would need to reach by 11:13)

I suggest we should change the information on this page if what i'm saying makes sense and if i'm not missing out any other detail.

Thanks again for your help!


12313 posts
expert &
Apr 10, 2018 - 6:28 AM

Hi Apoorv,

I will change that header "Combine the Gotthard Panorama Express and Glacier Express" on tthardpanoramaexpress/ gettingthere to indicate it's about combining routes more than specific trains. Thank you for the suggestion. However, with 3 out of the 4 combinations described there, one can travel on the actual express trains. Only the Zermatt to Lucerne route does not allow to take the actual Glacier Express, as it arrives to late in Andermatt to catch the Gotthard Panorama Express.

As for Zermatt: if you can spend time from 15h00 and the weather is good, that is still enough time to go up to Gornergrat to enjoy the view and perhaps have early dinner. The last train down departs 19h18. Taking the cable car to Furi to walk back down to the village would be another option.

Last modified on Apr 10, 2018 - 2:48 PM by Arno
8 posts
new member
Apr 11, 2018 - 2:34 PM

Thanks Arno,

That helps. Also, shall keep your Zermatt suggestion in mind.

Cheers, Apoorv

83 posts
active member
Apr 11, 2018 - 8:39 PM

Four of us stayed in Zermatt for 4 days in late November, 2017. Two went snowboarding, two just shopped, took the cog up to the Gornergrat and the "bubbles" up to the Klein Matterhorn. There are great shops and restaurants. I recommend getting restaurant reservations in advance. We had wonderful meals at Old Zermatt, the Post Hotel (Brown Cow and Stubli), Puro Cervo, and the Omnia. Several of the restaurants and stores that we wanted to visit were closed until mid-December but we had a great time anyway. It's a gorgeous village.

1317 posts
top member
Apr 11, 2018 - 11:52 PM

Getting from Genève to Zermatt

if your plane arrives on time at 08.15 you should have ample time to get the 09.02 train, but as you are in Genève you might want to go and see the United Nations and the famous Jet d'Eau and waterfront, before moving on to Zermatt.

You can leave Genève as late as 14.30 and still get to Zermatt at 18.14


I have stayed in Zermatt many times so could answer most of any questions you may have

You ask what do do after coming down from Gornergrat. As I read your questions, I was thinking of a possible answer only to read on and discover you are already planning to do that on the next day

You seem to have already planned well to do most of what is on offer at Zermatt.

For walking I would recommend the Zermatt to Zmutt walk. It takes you up a valley opposite the base of the Matterhorn and to a small hamlet off the beaten track (no road or railway access)

The only thing I can add is that there is a river gorge walk in summer

Otherwise, all I can say is all the walks are nice, just go as the fancy takes you. Your accommodation and/or the tourist office will supply all the information you will need - or just look at maps on walls (or online!)

Zermatt to Luzern

I recommend you go Zermatt - Chur, as this includes the most spectacular section of the so called Glacier Express route ie the Oberalp Pass, and further on the Ruinaulta Rhine gorge close to Chur. If you stop at Andermatt you will have traversed the least interesting section of the route.

There are plenty of connections Chur - Zurich - Luzern but a good one would be:

Chur 14.39 (panorama coach (1st class only) in train)

Zurich 15.53 track 8

Zurich depart 1604 from adjacent track 9

Luzern arrive 16.49

lastly, the Gotthard Panama express is a single train, it only runs once a day. Otherwise you catch ordinary local type trains that are all that is left on the Gotthard mountain route since the opening of the base tunnel.

Last modified on Apr 11, 2018 - 11:58 PM by 1960man

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