I have just returned from the most amazing vacation I've ever had. Switzerland has been one of my dream countries that I want to visit (apart from Iceland and Norway) due to its amazing nature. Needless to say, I am very happy that I stumbled upon this forum that helped me when I needed answers for a few questions when I planned my itinerary. For tips, scroll down below for the summary.
My trip was on 12-26 Nov (minus 2 days for plane travel), and I travelled all around Switzerland. I would say I have hit all the important spots during this trip. For this trip we all bought 15-day Swiss Travel Pass (2nd class) that costs 429 CHF.
- 12 Nov = Flight from Jakarta to Singapore to Zurich
- 13 Nov = Zurich - Luzern
We reached Zurich early in the morning (8 AM), and we directly took the train to Luzern arriving at around 11 AM (incl. quick lunch, drop off luggage at hotel). After lunch, we went to Meggenhorn Castle. It was very calming and the scenery was quite breathtaking. The castle was aesthetic, combined with Lake Luzern and wide field of green grass made it so calming. This was just the first day and I was already in awe of the nature and landscape.
We then went back to Luzern to just walk around the old town and take pictures of the Chapel Bridge and a few other architectures. Since it was a Sunday, many shops are closed so we just walked around town. Though Bachmann was open so we enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate (not great, wouldn't recommend) -> check 16 Nov and 23 Nov itinerary for good hot chocolate. Our dinner was at Rathaus Brauerei, one of the most recommended restaurant in Luzern. It was good, and the staff was nice. TIP FOR ASIAN TOURIST : Since we are Asian (a group of 6 people) and Western world's portion are much larger than normal Asian portion, we only ordered 5 portion and the restaurant had no problem with it. We also have asked and mentioned if it's okay to share since we don't want to offend or go against the culture, and they are totally fine with it. So don't worry about not ordering for the whole group, as long as you are polite about it.
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 7/10
- 14 Nov = Luzern - Vitznau - Mt. Rigi
We took the very first cruise in the morning from Luzern to Vitznau at 9 AM, so it wasn't too crowded, especially during November since it's low season. But you WILL still see tourists as well, so don't expect empty cruise. I would say it's around 60% capacity. The view from the cruise was a mix of green, yellow, brown (basically autumn colors but towards the end of autumn). I'm sure it would be prettier during early autumn. The train up from Vitznau to Rigi had great views. TIP : Sit on the left side going up, and sit on the right side going down. Rigi Kulm itself was very cold, even though the weather was only around 2-4 degree Celcius, but the wind was so strong that my selfie stick was almost blown away by the wind. The view was good, and it was a little bit cloudy/foggy but it made the view became magical. You will see this view many times in Switzerland in November, where there will be low fog on the hills. It was so mesmerizing to look at.
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 8/10
- 15 Nov = Luzern - Montreux - Gstaad - Les Diablerets
We took the direct train (not golden line panoramic train) from Luzern directly to Montreux (transit Lausanne), and we had a very nice view of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), stayed at Eurotel. We reached at around noon and had lunch nearby, then went to Gstaad. We took the replacement bus from Montreux to Montbovon, then panoramic train to Gstaad. TIP : SBB mobile app is your greatest weapon for Swiss Trip. It is such an amazing app that I planned everything up to the minute through the app so we can be efficient with our time. The replacement bus ride to Montbovon was very very scenic as you look at the villages and mountains all around you. The panoramic train was also breathtaking. To be honest I have no more words to describe the experience, you just have to visit Switzerland and experience it yourself.
For Gstaad, we reached at around 2.30 PM and many shops were closed, so we just walk around Gstaad promenade, took some pictures, and bought some food at Coop. Since we had more time, we then took a bus to Les Diablerets (totally unplanned) and it was a good decision. The ride itself was very scenic as well because the mountain that we looked at Gstaad was actually the icy mountain that hosts Glacier 3000 and Peak Walk Tissot, and the route that the bus took routed the mountains. At Les Diablerets, we took some pictures, then went back to Montreux by train via Aigle. Man, the views of the mountains are amazing.
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 8/10
- 16 Nov = Montreux - Chillon Castle - Geneve
In the morning, we went to Chillon Castle early (around 9 AM) before it opened, and we pretty much had the whole outer side of castle for ourselves. The lake view beside the castle was so amazing that we took 30 minutes just to pose and take pictures (see attachment). The weather was very clear too so we are able to take panoramic pictures along with icy mountains far away from the Chillon Castle as the background making it so beautiful (Note: one of Windows stock photos is Chillon Castle with icy mountain as the background, yes that is what we see, it's that amazing). The castle itself was full of historical stories, though I'm not gonna put it here. Do pay the castle a visit.
In the afternoon, we visited Geneva. It was an Okay-looking town, and there are many museums. I just personally don't like cities/towns that is crowded that much, and it was quite crowded. The aura was quite loud, so I didn't quite like it (but that's just me). I'm sure lots of people do like it. I pretty much just sat around relaxing and looking at people while my families are shopping (the girls loved it since it has many shopping stores). Near the afternoon, as 3 of the group is still shopping, the other 3 of us looked for hot chocolate. We google searched some recommendations and stumbled upon La Bonbonnière Chocolaterie Genève, and we drank the hot chocolate there. It was very thick and creamy, soooooo good. But very sweet. Would've loved if it's not as sweet. Hot chocolate score: 9/10
In the evening, we had dinner at Les Amures Hotel Restaurant (we previously had reserved it). I decided to reserve that restaurant as many said the cheese fondue was good. So... I tried the cheese fondue. As much as I hate to say it, I am not really a fan of the cheese fondue. I can eat it, but I just don't really enjoy it. I think it just doesn't really suit the Asian tongue. Although I am sure for people who liked the taste, it is good. The texture itself was good, stretchy and all, but there's just certain smell that I can't really enjoy. Fondue score: 6/10* (*again, as an Asian, might not represent the true score).
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 7/10
- 17 Nov = Montreux - Zermatt - Gornegrat
We took early morning train and replacement bus from Montreux to Zermatt (transit Visp and Tasch). The view was good as well (I won't say it anymore, ALL OF SWITZERLAND'S VIEW FROM BUS AND TRAIN ARE ALWAYS AMAZING AND UNIQUE). We reached Zermatt at around 11 AM, and we ate simple lunch, then went up to Gornegrat. We were lucky that the weather is very fine, very little cloud. At Gornegrat, the view of Matterhorn was so amazing and breathtaking. TIPS : DO NOT BELIEVE PICTURES ON THE INTERNET, BECAUSE THE REAL VIEW FROM YOUR EYE IS EVEN MORE AMAZING. The mountains and Matterhorn is MUCH BIGGER from your eyes rather than in picture (photo attached). It's just so magnificent. The weather is not windy so we had a great time taking pictures even though it's around -5 degree Celcius up at Gornegrat.
After that, we went down back to Zermatt and took 1 hour rest in our hotel, then started walking up to Zermatt Viewpoint where you can see Matterhorn from afar while overlooking the village of Zermatt. I took a timelapse there for around 1 hour and took pictures. Great view. Nothing much to say.
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 10/10 - Matterhorn just looks so huge and majestic up at Gornegrat
- 18 Nov = Zermatt - Interlaken - Thun
We took our time and enjoy our hotel in the morning and started our trip again to Interlaken from around 8.30 AM. The trip took around 3 hours as there's quite a lot of transit. We then checked in into our Airbnb, and then proceeded to eat lunch nearby. Our itinerary was to enjoy the Lake Thun Cruise as I know we need "slower" days to relax. The cruise lake was around 2 hours and we dropped off at Oberhofen instead of Thun, since I was more interested in Oberhofen Castle. My goodness the lake is so blue even though the weather was not fully sunny. Imagine on a clear summer day, it would've been so blue. Yes, IT IS BLUE, SAME AS THE ONES YOU LOOK ON THE INTERNET. It's mindblowing.
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 8/10
- 19 Nov = Interlaken - Blausee - Adelboden
We went to Blausee in the morning and reached at around 9 AM. The small hike was very calming, feels like you're in a small forest. Once I reached Blausee, it was a little bit underwhelming. The reason why is because it was not too sunny so the reflection of the lake was not that good, and the trees color are mostly already dull. I don't really recommend Blausee in November because it has pretty much loses its charm, but it's still very good lake regardless. I am damn sure it would look amazing on September/October. I can imagine how it looks so amazing during full blown autumn or during winter season.
After Blausee, we took a bus to Adelboden. Adelboden is a gem that not many tourists know about. During our visit to Adelboden, we only see locals, no tourists at all. So it feels very "private". We went up to Tschetenalp using the cable car, and the view of the alps as well as Adelboden village from up there was so mesmerizing. You've got to be there. There are groups of people paragliding and we enjoyed looking at them getting ready and then taking off. The giant swing overlooking the village was also breathtaking. It was a little bit scary as it's quite slippery but worthwhile. Getting to the swing is not as easy as it looks as there's a slope, not a flat land. Combined with ice and some wind, it can be scary. Would advise to be careful. (photo attached). Adelboden is a GEM, MUST VISIT.
Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 9/10 - would be 10 if Blausee is during its peak season.
- 20 Nov = Interlaken - Murren - Lauterbrunnen - Meiringen - Lungern
Went up to Murren via Grutschalp cable car, and the views are absolutely beautiful. Seeing Lauterbrunnen and Staubbach Falls from the Cable car is a treat. Unfortunately since it's low season, Murren is basically dead, combined with it being on a Sunday. But because of that, we managed to get so many good pictures with no people at all, it's like renting the whole Murren for ourselves. After an hour up in Murren, we went down to Lauterbrunnen. Not much to say other than it looks more amazing in real life than in pictures. There's a reason why Lauterbrunnen is called "heaven on earth". It feels so magical to look at.
After Lauterbrunnen, we went to Meiringen by bus. On the way, lake Brien z was so blue because it was very sunny so it was a treat to look at throughout the whole bus ride. When we are close to Meiringen, we also passed Oltschibachfall that often shows up in Instragram but not many people know about its whereabout (I knew because of lots of research and asking around), so upon passing Oltschibachfall, I managed to record a video from the bus ride and capture its beauty.
At Meiringen, we at first planned to do Aareschlucht but it was not open, so we went to Sherlock Holmes Museum. It's very small and nothing much is there, although if you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you'll be quite excited to listen to the story. I watched the movie and the series by Benedict Cumberbatch, but we pretty much just walked around for 10 minutes and get out because we didn't see anything too interesting. We then went to Lake Lungern to view one of the most beautiful blue lakes in Switzerland, and it REALLY IS a sight to see. Especially it's very empty on a Sunday. We walked down from the train station to Lungern, and took pictures, sat by the lake and just enjoy the sight.Satisfaction Score (for the itinerary during the day): 9/10
- 21 Nov = Interlaken - Basel - Bern (totally unplanned)
We decided to go to Basel and Bern because we managed to visit Lungern the previous day, and figured that we can slip in Iseltwald the next day since our next day was only to Grindelwald. I would say this is pretty much the "worst" visit of the trip especially to Basel. As much as I love Switzerland, I just don't see Basel interesting at all. And the vibe that I got from Basel doesn't have the calm and relaxing atmosphere that I got from other place. I feel like I have to be on my guard at all times as it's crowded (I know Switzerland is very safe but you still need to be on guard, because 1 mistake where you lose your bags/passport can be disastrous for your most amazing trip to Switzerland). We only spent 2 hours walking around Basel and eating lunch (I ate crepe and it was good, not amazing though). Wouldn't come back.
In the afternoon, we went to Bern since it's on our way back, and Bern is so much better than Basel, the vibe has that old town vibe, and we found a few spots where we can sit down and just take in the "old town" view. The place feels very antique as there are a lot of old buildings. Sadly we didn't explore too much of the town as we are quite tired from yesterday's packed schedule so we went home early to do some shopping at Migros for snacks to bring back home and share with our friends/families.
Score (for the itinerary during the day): 5/10 - [0/10 for Basel, 9/10 for Bern]
- 22 Nov = Interlaken - Iseltwald - Grindelwald
As Iseltwald is very famous nowadays, we went there quite early and reached around 8. There was already a tour bus taking pictures, but they were considerate and didn't take too long. We queued at the Crash Landing on You bridge for pictures and we only waited 10 minutes (I've seen google review stated they had to wait more than 30 min), so we were fortunate to come early in the morning. TIPS : COME EARLY IN THE MORNING to avoid crowds (because when we are going back from Iseltwald, there are 3 more tour buses coming and it became crowded). It's not too sunny so the picture we took was not that amazing, but when you just look at it, you will be amazed by the view, it's great. Lake is blue as always, would be even better during sunny days.
Next up is Grindelwald. Wow... the view of the mountain is indescribable. It's soooo HUGEEEE. The ones you see in the picture? Yeah that's a lie. The view in real life is 10000000x better than the ones in picture. The ones in the picture look tiny in comparison to the real one. It's just "there" in front of your eye, soooo bigg. No other comments, just blown away by it's amazingness. Especially the weather was also clear but full of snow, it was very magical seeing some low fogs clearing up while the mountains have snow on them. We didn't go up to Jungfraujoch as we had enough of the alps from Matterhorn and Adelboden (it's also very expensive) so we decided to not go up.
Score (for the itinerary during the day): 10/10
- 23 Nov = Interlaken - Zurich
Towards the end of the trip, we had planned to stay at Zurich for 2 nights so it's easier to catch the plane early in the morning. We went to Lindt Home of Chocolate, but to be honest, it's not too interesting inside. The "all you can try" chocolate is great and all but since they're all very sweet, you can't really eat too much chocolate anyway, so the 15 CHF you pay is more for the experience itself. If I can go back in time, I recommend to just skip the chocolate tour, and go straight to the Shop and do a shopping spree. There's so much flavor that you can't get anywhere else like Pistachio, whole Hazelnut, new flavors, etc etc etc. So... many... things... to... buy.
We then went to Bahnhofstrasse to do some luxury shopping (not me), and I looked for Sprungli hot chocolate since it's recommended. I would say if you want a good hot chocolate, do Sprungli. It's not too sweet, not too thick, quite creamy enough, and tastes good. I am sure there are other places that have good hot chocolate, but for new visitors who just want to have good hot chocolate, Sprungli would be good. Nothing much to say for this post, just walking around, enjoying the vibe. Yes, somehow while Zurich is crowded, I can still enjoy the vibe, it has the relaxing Swiss vibe as compared to Basel. It's comforting to just walk around the old town and Bahnhofstrasse.
Score (for the itinerary during the day): 7/10
- 24 Nov = Zurich - St. Moritz - Zurich
At first we wanted to do day trip to Liechenstein, but scratched it off and visited St. Moritz instead because we wanted to explore those areas. The train from Zurich to St. Moritz is the BEST TRAIN I'VE EVER RIDDEN. Rhatische Bahn from Landquart to St Moritz is EXTREMELY CLEAN and WELL MAINTAINED. Even though it's not Glacier Express or Bernina Express, it feels like one, very amazing. The views are also spectacular as we saw snowy mountains, villages, rivers, etc. Just basking our eyes one final time before we leave Switzerland for 2022. In St. Moritz, the weather is very sunny so we were very lucky to be able to take picture of Lake St. Moritz in its full glory (white blue white) and fully reflective of the mountains (photo attached). So beautiful and mesmerizing. Since the train ride back to Zurich was 3.5 hours, we went back at around 2.30 PM and reached Zurich at almost 6. We then had dinner at Zeughauskeller for the best meal I've ever had in Switzerland (not my whole life, but it's very very good). I had the pork shank, 100/10, very tender. MUST TRY. After the dinner, we visited Wienachtsdorf (Christmas Market) and enjoyed the vibe there. Not too long though as we had to go back to hotel early to pack up for tomorrow's flight early in the morning.
Score (for the itinerary during the day): 8/10
And... that sums the whole trip up. Such an amazing country to visit. For my trip, I would rate it 9/10. Would've been a perfect 10 if I planned a little bit better for the routes, but I think it'salready good enough as I manage to visit pretty much all the "big" attractions. There are many smaller places I wanted to visit, but it's either closed during low season, or hard/too far to reach (like Lac Bleu, Appenzell Ebenalp, Lugano Lucarno Area, etc).
I think these are enough, hopefully my report and tips/notes can help you plan your dream trip to Switzerland. BIG THANKS TO THIS FORUM AS WELL, such an amazing forum. That's why I wanted to write this extensive report to help out other people who are interested in Switzerland. You will NOT be disappointed to visit Switzerland. And it's not as expensive as you think it is so long as you don't eat out too much.