7 days in Switzerland

by Chandan

We are living in Belgium for the last few years and will be visiting Switzerland next week for first time for 7 days. We will be staying in Interlaken for all 7 days. We prefer mountain, valleys, lakes... over visiting cities or museums and will be using Swiss saver pass of 8 days (4 adult). After reading in many forums I have made below itinerary for our visit. With so much to see and with limited knowledge of the place I have listed different possibilities.

Appreciate any suggestion to improve this......

Day 1: Arrive in Geneva at 9:30am, travel to Montreux and visit Château de Chillon. Keep our luggage in Montreux station (we will be travelling light) Take bus from Montreux direction of Villeneuve. On return take boat to Montreux.

My preference was boat ride from Lausanne to Chillon. But from Lausanne (we arrive at 10:45) or Montreux (11:00) I do not find immediate boat ride to Chillon (the next boat ride is at 13:00).

From Montreux, I see two possibilities:

Option 1> Take golden pass from Montreux to Interlaken (taking the boat from Spiez to Interlaken)

Option 2> Travel to Gruyères to see cheese and chocolate factory (or one of them). And then from Broc travel to Interlaken.

Is it possible to visit both? I have no clue how much time we have to take in account. Alternatively I have thought to visit Gruyères one of the next days.

Any other possibility to spend day 1?

Our apartment only allows check-in after 3:30. Did not realize it while booking and cannot book an extra day as they are full. So trying to make best use of first day.

Day 2: Take golden pass from Interlaken to Lucerne. Visit Pilatus (Golden round trip).
On return if time permit visit Chapel Bridge. For return to Interlaken take train to Brienz and then take cruise to Interlaken Ost. Is reservation required for golden pass travel?

I read about Mt. Rigi but then also that if visiting Mt. Pilatus one can skip Mt. Rigi.

Day 3:
Option 1: Interlaken - Zermatt - Gornergrat & Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Spend a few hours visiting Zermatt and then go to Gornergrat. In afternoon visit Matterhorn glacier paradise if time permits else skip it. If I have to choose between Gornergrat and Matterhorn which one is recommended?

Option 2: Grindelwald and Eiger. Between Zermatt and Grindelwald which one is recommended?

Day 4: Take golden pass to Luzern, visit Mt Titlis. Back to Interlaken.

Day 5: Trip to Gruyères for cheese and chocolate factory. We plan to do this on our own and not in chocolate train. As I understand we have to upgrade pass to 1st class and then start from Montreux.
If Gruyères is covered in Day 1, travel with glacier express. Considering our stay in Interlaken which is best place to board Glacier Express and come back?

Day 6: Mürren, Schilthorn, Trümmelbach fall. First visit Schilthorn, then during return spend few hours in Mürren and then visit Trümmelbach.

Day 7: Explore Interlaken. Our return flight is from Basel at 7:00pm so we plan to explore Interlaken on this day. Some of the places we have thought of: Sailing on Lake Thun, Beatus caves, Harder Kulm. Walk along the shores of Lake Brienz.

Any very short hiking tour is suggested on any of above day?

Thanks in advance!

Answer to

7 Days in Switzerland

Hello Chandan,

You've quite a packed itinerary, but if you don't mind long days, then go for it:)

Day 1
You can travel from Lausanne to either Montreux or Chillon by boat. To reach Lausanne-Ouchy, the port, take the metro (subway) from the train station (approximately 5 minutes). You probably won't reach the boat that leaves at 11.00am. The next one leaves 12:30 from Lausanne-Ouchy, enough time to enjoy lunch at this funky lake-side town.

You won't have time to visit Gruyères on that first day, unless you skip Montreux and Chillon. You need about an hour to see the village of Gruyères, then another hour for La Masion du Gruyère (cheese museum). If you rush it you might even be able to visit Caillier Chocolatiers in Broc-Fabrique before heading to Interlaken but there could be some waiting time involved at Cailler because it can be quite busy at this time of the year.
There's more info on this here, half way down the page.

Day 2: If you want to catch the Golden Pass from Interlaken Ost (and not the normal train) to Lucerne make sure the train has panorama coaches (not all do). And yes, then a reservation is needed.

Since you visit Lucerne from Interlaken, you only have time visiting either Pilatus or Rigi in one day. The scenery is different, and both would be worth your time.

Note: You would need an additional ticket for the stretch between Kriens and Alpnachstad.

The Chapel Bridge is right outsight the train station in Lucerne, so you will have time to see it.

Day 3: You have the better view to the Monte Rosa Massif and Matterhorn from Gornergrat, but the panorama view from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is truly breathtaking too. There's also the Glacier Grotto that maybe makes it alluring to some. But it's hard to recommend one or the other. Zermatt is small, and you can see it while walking through the village to the Klein Matterhorn Bahn. Do check the weather channel before leaving for Zermatt. It could be very disappointing if you arrive in bad weather and can't see anything from the top.

Grindelwald or Zermatt? They are completely different, and it's hard to recommend one over the other - again :) The roundtrip Interlaken - Grindelwald - Kleine Scheidegg (from where you go up to the Jungfraujoch) - Wengen - Lauterbrunnen and back to Interlaken offers dramatic views. You can stop in each village for sightseeing, maybe go up to First in Grindelwald and have an exhilarating zip line adventure. Or visit the Trümmelbach Falls while stopping in Lauterbrunnen. There is more to see and do in the Jungfrau Region than in Zermatt, especially on a not so beautiful day. I would make it dependable on the weather.

Note: Neither the trip up to the Klein Matterhorn nor to Gornergrat are included in the Swiss Pass (50% discount). Also, for the stretch between Grindelwald and Wengen you would need the connecting ticket for Rail Pass holders.

Day 4: Just an idea: for a bit of scenery change and instead of travelling the same route to Luzern twice, take the train via Bern then return from Luzern through the Entlebuch Biosphere via Langnau i.E., Konolfingen and Thun to Interlaken (3 changes of trains - approx. 2.35 minutes travel time).

Day 5: Great idea to visit Gruyères on a sperate day and on your own. You could do a roundtrip so you don't have to take the same route twice: Going there via Zweisimmen - Montbovon and back via Fribourg - Bern. Maybe you even catch the Blüemlisalp-boat from Thun to Interlaken (Tuesday - Saturday, 6:40pm from Thun) or the Lounch-Boat (Wednesday and Thursday, 7:10pm).

The Glacier Express travels through an entirely different region: From Zermatt (or Brig) to St. Moritz or visa-versa. Even if you only take part of the trip - which would be a pity since you would miss the most dramatic stretch, the UNESCO landscape between Chur and the Engadin - it would be a very, very long day on trains.

Day 6: Roundtrip Lauterbrunnen - Mürren - Schilthorn - Stechelberg - Trümmelbach Falls - Lauterbrunnen: Mürren is small, so you actually can see it while walking form the train station to the Schilthorn Cable Car Station. Tip: if you are there on June 29, you can attend the Grand Opening of the BOND WORLD 007 on Piz Gloria/Schilthorn.

Note: the trip on the Schilthornbahn is not included in the Swiss Pass - you receive 50% discount.

Day 7: I would rather see you travel early enough to Basel, instead of spending all day in and around Interlaken. Swiss trains are reliable, but delays can happen and I don't want you to miss the flight home. For example, you could travel from Interlaken West to Thun by boat, stroll through the old city (picturesque), have lunch at Castle Schadau (visit the Wocher Panorama while there), then continue to Basel and spend the remaining hours sightseeing there.

Interlaken is small and easily discovered on an evening out. Even going up to Harder Kulm can be done late in the afternoon - last train up: 6:25 on weekdays and 5:55 on Sundays. If time permits, take a stroll along Lake Brienz and through the very picturesque town of Brienz on your return trip from Luzern on Day 2 before hopping on the last boat to Interlaken.

Enjoy your holiday,

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