For many first-time visitors to Switzerland, the temptation of visiting numerous beautiful cities and towns can result in a busy itinerary that requires you to move location often.
This is totally understandable – after all, how do you choose just a few places to visit when you want to see them all?
It’s even more difficult deciding which places to visit when you have a very limited amount of time in Switzerland, or if you’re travelling during winter when the daylight hours are less.
Today’s guest, Nicole Riede, also had multiple different locations on her Swiss bucket list, but as she and her family were visiting in winter, Nicole chose Lucerne for the family’s base, rather than moving around to lots of different locations.
And it’s a decision she couldn’t be happier with.
As you’ll hear in today’s episode, Nicole, her husband and their two teens, spent six days in Switzerland as part of a European vacation in January 2023.
Nicole shares the highlights of her family’s trip, tells us why she chose the Tell Pass for transport and sightseeing, and she chats about all the advantages of travelling during winter. She also has some tips for other folks who are planning a Swiss winter vacation.
There’s lots of fabulous info in this episode that you won’t want to miss.
[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]
Before we get started, I’d like to say thank you to the Switzerland Tourism team for sponsoring the podcast. Make sure you visit their website myswitzerland.com for loads of tips and inspiration to help with your trip planning. When you need the train ride of a lifetime, you need Switzerland.
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Nicole Riede is from Sydney, Australia. She and her husband and their two teenagers visited Switzerland in January 2023 as part of a European white Christmas vacation. They based themselves in Lucerne whilst in Switzerland.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- Why Nicole chose to spend a week in Switzerland as part of her family’s European vacation
- The family’s itinerary – where they stayed, what they did each day, where they ate
- The transport and sightseeing pass that Nicole’s family used
- Advantages and disadvantages of travelling to Switzerland during winter
- Highlights of the family’s trip
- Nicole’s tips for other travellers planning a winter vacation
Places mentioned in this episode
>> Lucerne – a medieval city in central Switzerland. Nicole and her family used Lucerne as a base for their Switzerland vacation and did day trips each day from the city.
>> Mt. Titlis – located above the village of Engelberg, Mt. Titlis is known for its glacier, a cliff walk, adventure activities and excellent skiing. Engelberg is just 45 minutes by train from Lucerne and the summit of Mt. Titlis can be reached by cable car.
>> Mt. Rigi – surrounded by three lakes – Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug and Lake Lauerz – Mt. Rigi offers superb views. The mountain can be reached by Europe’s oldest cogwheel railway from Vitznau (around 1 hour from Lucerne) or by cable car from Weggis (55 minutes from Lucerne.
>> Mt. Pilatus – the valley stations of the ‘dragon mountain’ are less than 30 minutes from Lucerne, making a visit to Mt. Pilatus an easy day or half-day trip. Visitors can reach the summit by the world’s steepest cogwheel train from Alpnachstad or by cable car from Kriens. There are lots of activities to enjoy at Mt. Pilatus.
>> Lauterbrunnen – situated in the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Jungfrau Region, this authentic Swiss village is well known for its many waterfalls and its proximity to some of the most famous mountains in Switzerland. It takes around 2h:20 to reach Lauterbrunnen from Lucerne by train with a change required in Interlaken.
>> Bernina Express – one of Switzerland’s most famous panoramic trains, the Bernina Express connects Chur in the German-speaking part of Switzerland with Tirano in the Italian-speaking region. The train route includes the Albula Line, a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring spectacular viaducts and bridges.
The Riede family purchased the Tell Pass which covered the majority of their transport and sightseeing. You can read our detailed guide about the Tell Pass here.
For further information about the Bernina Express, read this article.
There are lots of helpful guides about things to see and do in the Lucerne region here, and for more info about Lauterbrunnen and the Jungfrau Region, take a look here.
Top image courtesy Pilatus-Bahnen AG
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This episode is sponsored by Switzerland Tourism
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