I have posted over the past month regarding my first visit to Switzerland. I continue to read posts and am really becoming armed with some great information. Thanks to everyone who is helping many of us first-time visitors!!
An old friend of mine is strongly recommending that I incorporate Salzburg into my plans. Thus far, my plans were to arrive in Zurich, spend one or two nights there, and the rest of my itinerary was going to be: 3 nights Lucerne, 4 nights Wengen, and possibly 1 or 2 nights in Bern and/or Murten. I might go ahead and stretch my vacation from about 12 days to 14, but here is what I'm thinking I might want to do:
Fly into Zurich, spend 2 nights. Take the train to Salzburg and spend 3 days/nights there. After seeing pictures of Hallstett, I am convinced I would love it there. Would it be best to do this as a full-day excursion from Salzburg, or should I spend a night or two here as well? (I know this is a personal choice issue for many, and for me...I'm trying to weigh the time constraints with the fact that I love isolated places...and Hallstett looks like just the place I would fall in love with easily.) I want to see Salzburg largely for the history and "old world" feel, and Hallstett for the scenery and seclusion. Anyway, after Salzburg, I would take the train back to Zurich. I know the train ride from Salzburg to Zurich is anywhere from 5 to 7 hours long, so I would probably stay put in Zurich that night. The next day I would take the train to Wengen, spending four days/nights there. Finally, I would take the train to Lucerne for 3 nights. On my day of departure I would take the train straight to the Zurich Airport for my flight home.
My question is - is this probably the best and most time-efficient way to do this trip? Perhaps I should do the locations in a different order and sequence? I've been reading that the Half Fare card is probably still the way to go even when travelling both countries. I've also been checking the Switzerland and Austria rail sites for train schedules, so I'm getting a fairly good feel for the options. I'm always looking for other options though...ones that I may have missed in my research.
I'll be taking this trip the last two weeks of September, and I'm already getting excited!