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4 week stay... starting mid Oct.. where?

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2,310 posts
40 reviews
50 helpful votes
4 week stay... starting mid Oct.. where?


Myself (61) and wife (55) plan to be in Switzerland for about 4 weeks - starting around Oct 10/12 or so. We are looking at staying in one place for the entire 4 weeks and make day trips / overnight trips as desired - to Bern / Basel / Zermatt and other places. We are inclined towards staying in Lucerne for the entire period.

We are already looking at apartment options in Lucerne....... though no hotel / apartments are booked yet.

Can anybody advise on our plan - is it a ''good plan'' to stay in one place for 4 weeks? We feel that most of the places we may wish to visit are at maximum 3 hours by train... if inconvenient we will simply stay overnight. But continue to keep Lucerne as our base.

Thanks in advance....

2 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Switzerland, Kyiv (Kiev)
Level Contributor
7,275 posts
36 reviews
12 helpful votes
1. Re: 4 week stay... starting mid Oct.. where?

Not really a good plan imho.

Weather after mid-October can still be decent - sunny, not hot any more - but can also be time for first winter storm, snow on several mountain roads, fog in valleys at lower altitude. Postal bus will stop operating mountain pass tours. November low season will be used for cable car maintenance and inspections.

And despite Switzerland being a small country with excellent public transport infrastructure and services - travel can be slow due to mountains, and you might spend to much time traveling (with in addition daytime [sunrise to sunset] being less than 10 hours after November 1st)

With 4 weeks, consider 3-4 bases. Lucerne can be one, check Tell Pass for traveling in central Switzerland (at lower winter prices from November on), Bernese Oberland an other. Very different Engadine Valley and region in SE Switzerland, and on the West side Lake Geneva NE area. I could consider a tour such as Zurich to Engadine Valley, Glacier Express (not operating October 25 to December 18, 2021) to Zermatt, continue for a few days in Montreux-Vevey area, then via Golden Pass line to Bernese Oberland, followed by Lucerne area. Use bad weather days for city trips.

Avoid any non-refundable reservation - number of Covid cases in Switzerland is now increasing [much to] rapidly.

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
54,782 posts
230 reviews
370 helpful votes
2. Re: 4 week stay... starting mid Oct.. where?

I totally agree with jm2cents. If you base yourself only in one place for the entire time you will not be able to see the places you have on your list. For example, travelling from Luzern to Zermatt will take you 3h10 each way. That is a huge chunk of time when taken out of one day and at a time when it gets dark earlier.

Also - the summer season in the mountain resorts ends between 10 and 15 October depending on the resort. After the season is over most hotels and restaurants in those places close until the winter ski season. So if you come for 4 weeks and start your stay in mid October many of the mountain villages will already be very quiet. The weather is a factor too. As a rule the second part of October is not as good weather as the first half. More rain, cooler temperatures etc. And on the plain (where all the cities are aside from a very few) the winter low fog will have started. This doesn't happen every day but when it comes things seem colder and damper than they really are. It also means that views are cut down - and you have to be above the fog which tops out at about 1000m to see any mountains.

So all in all I suggest you come in late September if you can. Go to one of the mountain resorts for a week - Zermatt would be perfect. Then move on to somewhere else for the next week - Montreux perhaps? And finally go to Luzern, base yourself there for the last two weeks and use that as a base to see Central Switzerland. If you want to go to the Engadin maybe swop that for Zermatt.

For travel here getting a Half Fare card is likely to be the best option for you. See www.sbb.ch/en. And use the local tourist office sites to search for accommodation. On most of those you can search for apartments which for longer stays are really the best and most economical ways to go. Here are some of the sites:





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