Suggested Itinerary

  • Fly into Zurich.  Take the train from the airport to Lucerne (~ 1 hour)

  • Spend one night in Lucerne; check out the famous covered bridge and the city.  If the weather is good, the next morning do the ‘Golden Round Trip’ (~$100), starting at 9 am.  It is a boat, cog wheel train, cable car and bus to the top of Mt. Pilatus and back down. There are hiking trails at the top to do (or not do).  If the weather forecast for the day is not good, don’t bother; you will not be able to see anything from the top.  (Also, it’s 20 degrees colder at the top; plan accordingly.) If bad weather, just take a morning train to Interlaken Ost; then change to Lauterbrunnen and lastly transfer to the train to Wengen.

  • Get five to eight day “Jungfrau Travel Pass” at Interlachen OST train station (or Zurich airport).  It is good for trains, gondolas and trams, not busses.  Be clear on what it is and is not good for.  No need to rent a car.  Train passes over multiple days are expensive, but not as expensive as renting a car, and much more convenient.  The transportation system in Switzerland is the best in the world.

View From Wengen

  • Book five to seven nights in Wengen (W). I have stayed at both the Hotel Falkin (in 2009) and the Arenas V. Lauberhorn Wengen (in 2022); both are good; check around for prices.  Be sure to get a room with a view of the Jungfrau Mountain – pay a premium for the view.  The higher the room floor, the better (get third or fourth floor, if possible).

  • Wengen is a small town with (almost) no cars.  It is ideally situated to go in many directions for daily hiking and sightseeing.  From Wengen (W) you can go down to Lauterbrunen (L) (10 minutes on the train; it runs every half hour) and go many directions from there; or take a cable car or train up for many hikes.

  • In no particular order – check on the weather each day as some would be less good on a rainy day – I would recommend the following, always leaving in the morning (8 – 9 am, or earlier; check train and gondola schedules):

  • From W to L on the train, then up the cable car on the other side of the valley to Murren.  Many trails here.  Hike to/thru Winteregg and Murren and if the weather is good, take the (expensive, ~$80) cable car to the top of the Shilthorn — the most dramatic cable car lift in Europe.  Very cool, but if cloudy don’t bother. Have lunch either in Murrin or at the Shitlhorn.

Come all the way back down to Gimmelwald at the valley floor (walk from Murren, or take the cable car) and walk to Trummelback Falls; a waterfall within the mountain.  Take the lift to level 6, then walk up to level 10, and then walk all the way down to the bottom. Interesting/unique waterfall.  Walk 45 minutes back to the Lauterbrunnen train station (or take the bus), then train back up to Wengen.  Great day.

A picture containing text, tree, outdoor, sign

Take the cable car from Wengen directly up to Mannlichen.  For 5 extra CF you can ride on the roof of the cable car (The Royal Ride).  Nice.  You can hike from Mannlichen or take a different cable car, a few meters away, down to Grindelwald, a larger tourist town with many shops and many hiking trails.   For some trails, you need to take a bus to the trail starting point.  Look at hikes to/around First.  After hiking some of the trails out of Grindelwald you can come back to town and take a separate lift, the Eiger Express Gondola, from Grindelwald to Eigergletscher (15 minutes).  Hike from there to Kleine Schiedegg (KS).  From KS it is a nice, long walk or a brief train ride back to Wengen.

 Kleine Schiedegg

  • On a separate day, consider taking the train from Wengen through Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungraujoch – the highest train station in Europe.  It goes through a very cool ice cave/tunnel at the top.  Expensive (~$90) but good – on a good weather day. (Not worth it in bad weather).  From the top, train back to KS, then train or hike back down to Wengen.

  • Spend a day in the Interlachen area.  Do a boat ride on Brienz Lake (free on the Jungfrau pass ticket) and take the cable car up to Harder Kulm – beautiful views on a clear day.  Have lunch or drinks or dinner up there.  In town, have drinks and/or a salad on the outdoor patio of the Grand Hotel Victoria Jungfrau.  Beautiful view across a park to the Jungfrau.

Harder Kulm

  • Spend a day in the Schynige Platte area.  Train down from Wengen, through Lauterbrunnen toward Interlachen Ost, but get off at Wilderswil.  From here it’s a slow, 50-minute cogwheel train up the mountain.  Good views and many hikes – the 2 ½ hour laucherhorn panorama trail or the all-day, 6-hour hike to First.

  • Zermatt area

A picture containing mountain, sky, snow, outdoor</p>
<p>Description automatically generated

The Matterhorn


Zermatt, about a four-hour train ride from Zurich, is iconic for the Matterhorn.  I would not stay in Zermatt – too busy and touristy.  But there are many small towns within an hour train ride that are worth considering for 4-6 days.  There are myriad hiking trails out of Zermatt and in and out of all the smaller towns.  Bettmeralp was a good one with many trails, particularly up to the Grosser Glacier.  From Zermatt the Gorner Glacier, and hikes around it, is also spectacular.  Get one nice hotel (ask for a view) and explore from there on daily hikes.