Switzerland in March

by Julie
(Tampa, Florida)

My family and I (fit mom, husband, and 2 girls ages 7 and 9) are traveling to Switzerland March 15-24 and need help planning this spur of the moment vacation!

Last year during the same time, we spent a lovely 4 days in Chamonix and one (ok) day in Interlaken.

We arrive in Zurich the morning of the 15th and I have 2 nights (March 19-21) tentatively booked in Zermatt and plan to ski one day.

I was thinking we would enjoy the Bernina Express but have been advised by others to stay in the Bernese Oberland region.

I'm thinking we will travel by rail for the trip but need help planning a fun itinerary for all.

Should we travel March 15 from ZRH to Luzern and then how long to spend there/ideas and what to do after Zermatt.

Thank you in advance for your advice! I love your website!

Answer to

Switzerland in March

Hi Julie,

March is a fantastic month for skiing. The sun gets warmer, the prices a bit lower and there's plenty of snow in Alpine regions for skiing and sledding or whatever takes your fancy.

However, lower areas are a bit dreary. It's not winter anymore, but it's not quite spring either. Leafy trees are still bare and the weather is on the cool side. Lots of mountaintop excursions are still closed. Do pack warm cloths and good walking shoes.

Lucerne and its surroundings sure offers lots of things to do and see and so does the Bernese Oberland (best views to the Bernese Alps - in my opinion - from the Schilthorn above Mürren). Have a look at this page.

But why not head south to the Tessin/Ticino? The climate is a bit warmer and the Magnolias should be in bloom. Swiss Miniature Park near Lugano opens its doors mid-March.

And if you truly like to travel by train and your girls don't get easily bored, taking the Bernina Express is not such a bad idea. Head from Zürich to Chur and board the Bernina Express to Lugano (train to Tirano then Bernina Bus to Lugano - it's all included in any pass or ticket). Don't forget to make a reservation though (reservation fee not included in any ticket).

You'd be too early for the "Camelie Festival" (March 20 -24th) but the Parco delle Camelie in Locarno (a bit further north of Lugano - about one hour by train) is open.

Magnolias in full bloom near Lugano

In Locarno board the Centovalli Express and travel via Domodossola (Italy) and Brig to Zermatt. Again, passes and tickets are valid on the Italian stretch too.

After Zermatt I would travel via Visp - Brig - Spiez - Interlaken and Brünig-Hasliberg to Lucerne and spend the remaining days there. This way you are also closer to Zürich Airport, reachable in about an hour from Lucerne.

Have a fun on your "spur of the moment" holiday in Switzerland :)

PS: Don't forget to pick up the Family Card so your girls can travel for free.

PSPS: Please do share a few photos and words of your Swiss experience. I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Comments for Switzerland in March

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March itinerary
by: Julie

That sounds like a Lovely itinerary and would allow us a chance to experience Northern Italy as well.
I think we have decided to do the itinerary in Reverse however.... Please feel free to make suggestions and comments:

March 15 arrive Zurich, travel to Lucerne
March 16 Lucerne/Mt Rigi (Have March 15, 16th booked in Lucerne)

March 17-18 Leave Lucerne for Bernese Oberland? Where to go/stay exactly not sure? Maybe visit Jungfrau.

March 19 Travel to Zermatt via Interlaken?
March 20 Skiing Zermatt

March 21 Leave Zermatt, travel to South... Tocino area? Centovalli Express and travel via Domodossola (Italy) and Brig

Spend 1-2 nights somewhere pretty- Locarno/Lake Cuomo, see Magnolia Festival
March 23 Travel back to Zurich via Bernini Express to Chur
March 24 depart Zurich

Any help with specific suggestions/train routes is greatly aprreciated!!!

Switzerland in March
by: Fida

I'd say that's ALMOST perfect:)

You'd leave from Zermatt via Visp - Brig - Domodossola and Centovalli Express to Locarno. The Centovalli Express leaves twice daily from Domodossola (9.25am and 4.25pm), but there are regular hourly trains too.

Ascona (just a hen's race outside Locarno) is a lovely place to stay.

Lido in Ascona
Lido in Ascona

I checked the Bernina Express timetable and they don't run from Lugano to Tirano until March 29th (thereafter daily until 20th October 2013). Apologies for not checking that before I recommended the Bernina Express.

Alternative Route
Instead of the Bernina Express you could take the Palm Express. This trip is done on a post bus between Lugano and St. Moritz and operates between January and June on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays (March 23 is a Saturday). The Palm Express leaves Lugano at 11.35am and drives along Lake Como and Chiavenna through the Bergell valley (Val Bregaglia) to St. Moritz (arrives at 3.35pm). It is an extremely scenic trip. From St. Moritz you'd board a train to Zürich. Trains operate every half an hour. For ex. leaving St. Moritz at 4:02pm and arriving in Zürich at 7:23pm. This would be quite a long day and I recommend taking this trip only if the weather is nice enough.

However, Lugano is a very nice city and why not spending a little more time sightseeing there, and maybe a few hours in the SwissMiniatur Park near Lugano before boarding a regular train to Zürich?

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