switzerland/italy december 2023, 8 days

  • 10 December 2023
  • 6 replies

  • Keeps calm and carries on
  • 26 replies

i am planning an anniversary trip for my kids, 18,20,22, my husband and myself.  i would like to see zermatt and highlights of switzerland, and perhaps northern italy.  wondering how much time we need in all the places, don’t want to be rushed but also don’t want kids to get bored.  also, not sure if packing ski gear to ski for one or two days in zermatt is worth it.  finding a hotel in zermatt is proving to be difficult and expensive(because of last minute planning).  please help with advice/itinerary.  thanks


Best answer by ralderton 10 December 2023, 17:43

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Userlevel 7
Badge +4

It’s a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question!

Switzerland lends itself well to basing yourself in one place, maybe two, and exploring by rail. It’s so easy and quick to get around, and reasonably cheap if you have a railpass.

You could easily base yourselves in a city like Bern for a few days to a week, and do day trips from there. You can even do day trips to many ski areas - have a look and ‘Snow and Rail’. This would give you the benefit of not repacking every day or two, and would give the kids a chance to do their own thing on some days.

1 or 2 days in Bern, 1 day trip to a ski resort, 1 day on a scenic railway like the Glacier Express (from Zermatt) or Bernina Express, 1 day trip to Zurich.

That’s a minimum of four days. I would at least stay a week, and pick some other areas you want to visit.


thanks for your insight.  would zermatt be a place we could go for a day?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Yes, just over 2h from Bern, for example. You can see timetables for all Swiss trains on

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Yes sure, it's totally a good place for a day trip. My advice would be to start the day early as the sun sets at 4:30 at the moment, earlier in the valleys.

Feel free to decide on the day depending on the weather, you don't have to book anything in advance.

If you've got a Eurail pass all trains until Zermatt are covered. Simply log the train to the app before boarding and hop on. Sit wherever you want, seat reservations aren't a thing.

As a general tip : front/rear ends are always less busy as people are lazy and board in the middle.

I wouldn't ski in Zermatt though : prices are crazy and there's not a lot of easy slopes.

The Gornergrat cogwheel railway is not included : unlike most other mountain railways, you don't get a discount either. If you wish to take it expect to pay 120 CHF per adult...


so we would travel to zermatt for the day, what would you suggest we plan there?


Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Here is a picture I took from Gornergrat towards the Matterhorn on a clear winter day (it wasn't that cold, just below 0°C!).

Honestly if it's your first time in Zermatt I'd bite the bullet and take the cogwheel train to Gornergrat. I had a quick look at tickets : 92 CHF per person (winter price). It's expensive for sure but half Jungfraujoch price...

Obviously only buy the tickets when the weather forecast is clear or when you're there. Tickets cannot sell out and are valid all day.